Patrick & Dimitri Houfflyn (Wortegem-Petegem, BE): long distance fanciers with a long tradition

This is indeed one of the most praised pigeon families in Belgium in the long distance and the grand distance. There is one unfulfilled dream though: to take the first prize in the National Championship KBDB!

We reckon many fanciers are less ambitious compared to the Houfflyn loft that has to set the bar a lot higher. The fanciers from Wortegem-Petegem know the taste of success after winning such titles as a 2nd Nat. Champion Long Distance KBDB 2006, a 2nd General Champion KBDB 2006 as well as winning several provincial victories. This calls for more. It reveals the ambitions of the motivated fanciers Patrick and Dimitri Houfflyn.  

We understand that they are ambitious. Since Patrick moved his loft to its present location his team has achieved most of its objectives. The dream was to be able to compete with the best national long distance and grand distance fanciers in the region. The dream has come true, that’s for sure. This is thanks to a carefully composed pigeon breed based on the bloodlines of the late Robert Willequet from Kluisbergen and maestro Gaby Vandenabeele from Dentergem, where Blauwe Fideel (1st Nat. Brive ’95), Ronker (1st Nat. Limoges ’95 & 1st Prov. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB) and Witbuik (3 first prov. prizes) play a key role. The combination of the lines of Willequet x Vandenabeele proved very successful and it pushed the Houfflyn family to the top level of national pigeon racing. In addition, the pigeons of Desmet-Matthijs matched perfectly with their breed. Meanwhile Patrick & Dimitri did some joint breeding with the best pigeons at national level and they exchanged some birds as well.

Patrick’s son Dimitri has been part of the combination for many years, although Dimitri lives 6 km away from home and has started on his own as well. In fact he is now playing with the young birds. He has also made an attempt to race hens (old hens and yearlings) in widowhood. However Patrick thinks that their hens are not well suited for widowhood; he thinks they are too fiery and too eager to breed. If they would carefully select a few hens it might be possible to compose a (successful) team of hens for the widowhood game after a few years. However Patrick focuses on classic widowhood in his loft because it works out well.

Geronimo as the key figure

This loft houses about 20 couples of breeding pigeons and about 50 cocks in widowhood. For the 2013 season there will probably be 32 old birds and 18 yearlings, spread over six sections. Two of these sections are coupled simultaneously with the breeding pigeons for an early breed; these birds did not breed during the previous racing season. The other four sections can breed one youngster after the racing season but not before the start of the new racing season, which starts after two broods. The system rotates every year so next season two other sections will have an early breed. The system comes full circle every three years. Patrick concludes by saying that there is no difference in performance of his racing birds in the different sections.

At the moment supercrack Geronimo is the key figure in the breeding loft. He is an amazing athlete, both as a racing bird and as a breeder.

- Geronimo BE00-4282486
He stems for 50% from the old bloodline of Houfflyn (line Barcelona 658/95 crossed with the 5th Prov. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB) x 50% Gaby Vandenabeele via his dam Blauwe Grietje 026/99, which stems from the amazing ‘Wittenbuik’ of Vandenabeele. This bird has won the following top prizes:

Marseille  Club      124 p. 4
           I.Prov    152 p. 7
           Nat.    5,195 p. 44
           I.Nat  20,187 p. 72
Montélimar Club      182 p. 1
           Nat     8,538 p. 102
Marseille  I.Prov    180 p. 1
           Nat     5,738 p. 35
           I.Nat  19,627 p. 89
Orange     Club       78 p. 2
           Nat     6,751 p. 87
Marseille  Club      138 p. 1
           Nat     4,398 p. 89
Carcassonne Nat    3,911 p. 10
           I.Nat  10,448 p. 20 etc…

In the beginning of the breeding season Geronimo sits in his usual space in the breeding loft among the other breeders. In spring he is moved to a separate loft, comparable to a spacious breeding box, where he breeds new top class descendants with different hens almost throughout the year. He is often coupled with Nationaaltje BE04-4167560, who won a 4/4 in the national races for young birds in 2004 (Nationaaltje is a granddaughter of stock bird ‘Zoon Blauwe Fideel 584/96’, which is in his turn a son of the 1st Nat. Brive 1995 of Vandenabeele).
We give you an overview of some of the best racing birds bred by Geronimo.

- Zoon Geronimo BE08-4234037

’12 Perpignan Lok     191 p. 2
              Nat   6,661 p. 10
            I.Nat  16,893 p. 13
’10 Chateauroux Pro 4,093 p. 21
’10 Brive     Zone  6,470 p. 27
              Nat  16,815 p. 40
’10 Montauban Zone  2,597 p. 50
              Nat   6,654 p. 72
’08 Tours     Prov  3,091 p. 66
’11 Perpignan Lok     181 p. 3
              Nat   5,591 p. 113
            I.Nat  15,192 p. 360
’11 Souillac  Zone  2,507 p. 86
              Nat   5,667 p. 273
’08 Blois     Prov  4,257 p. 121
’08 Tours     Prov  2,903 p. 123
’09 Argenton  Zone  8,935 p. 436
              Nat  21,092 p. 1788
’11 Limoges   Nat  19,373 p. 692
’09 Limoges   Zone  7,586 p. 357
              Nat  16,893 p. 835
’10 Souillac  Nat   7,045 p. 1218
’12 Limoges   Nat  13,781 p. 1491
’09 Tulle     Nat   7,467 p. 1616
’12 Souillac  Nat   7,760 p. 1699
’11 Montauban Nat   9,091 p. 2113

- Star Geronimo BE11-4196616
This pigeon was, as his name says, one of the stars in the yearlings racing team. He has had some great results:

’12 Bourges   Lok     269 p. 1
              Zone  5,193 p. 19
              Nat  16,859 p. 28
’12 Montlucon Lok     431 p. 3
              Zone  7,828 p. 11
              Nat  22,875 p. 234
’12 Argenton  Lok     381 p. 6
              Zone  8,476 p. 37
              Nat  22,384 p. 113
’12 Limoges   Nat  17,735 p. 2753

- Geschelpte Geronimo BE11-4196606

’12 Chateauroux Lok   299 p. 8
              Zone  6,962 p. 36
              Nat  15,902 p. 37
’12 Montlucon Lok     431 p. 7
              Zone  7,828 p. 32
              Nat  22,875 p. 385
’12 Argenton  Lok     381 p. 5
              Zone  8,476 p. 35
              Nat  22,384 p. 110
’11 Blois     Prov  5,246 p. 346

The Geronimo bloodline is not the only source for top class pigeons at Houfflyn’s. This loft has a great number of talented racers and breeders, which results in outstanding performances in all competitions, including the long distance races. To illustrate we introduce two other top birds of Houfflyn.

- Zoon Red Barcelona BE09-4210212

4th best pigeon of Belgium in 2012 over four national long distance races (PIPA ranking)
’12 Tulle     Zone  2,460 p. 76
              Nat   6,817 p. 85
’12 Souillac  Zone  3,447 p. 170
              Nat   7,760 p. 174
’12 Montauban Zone  2,493 p. 70
              Nat   6,822 p. 126
’12 Limoges   Zone  5,957 p. 62
              Nat  13,781 p. 65
’12 Vierzon   Prov  5,893 p. 551
’11 Limoges   Prov  2,690 p. 87  (25 June)
’11 Limoges   Nat  19,373 p. 1973 (4 June)
’11 Chateauroux Pro 5,500 p. 264
’10 Chateauroux Lok   351 p. 3
              Nat  22,718 p. 29
’10 Tulle     Nat   8,323 p. 520
’10 Limoges   Nat  14,211 p. 2358
’10 Argenton  Nat  19,816 p. 3674
’09 Blois     Prov  4,094 p. 26   (18 July)
’09 Blois     Prov  5,142 p. 519  (11 July)

His sire, the Red Barcelona BE04-4167696, was winner of a first prize reg., a 40th Nat. Barcelona against 11,802 pigeons and a 45th Nat. Barcelona against 11,484 pigeons. That explains his talents!

- Silvester BE09-4210201

’11 Ablis     Lok   1,118 p. 1
’12 Narbonne  Lok     223 p. 1
              Nat   6,583 p. 8
            I.Nat  13,092 p. 9
’12 Bordeaux  Nat   4,971 p. 339
            I.Nat  10,724 p. 522
’11 Chateauroux Pro 5,500 p. 101
’10 Limoges   Zone  6,810 p. 31
              Nat  14,211 p. 125
’10 Argenton  Nat  19,816 p. 845
’10 Chateauroux 3Pr 1,110 p. 102
              Nat  22,718 p. 815

Each one of these pigeons is a genuine Houfflyn pigeon. The fanciers from Wortegem-Petegem do not use special motivational methods prior to basketing their racers. When the races with two or three nights in the basket begin the cocks get to see their hen for a short while. When they arrive home they sit with their hen until the clocks are opened and they are home from the club. However they try to let the young birds do a few provincial and national races in order to gain some experience. These races are considered training rides for the young birds’ team. The results do not really influence the selection procedure, which is mainly based on the build of the pigeons and of course their origins.

When it comes to taking care of the pigeons there was one remarkable change, which related to their feed. Since last year Patrick & Dimitri have switched to the system of Matador feed, which implies that the pigeons are given a mixture of ‘Super Start’ and ‘Vlieg’ until three days before basketing. In the final three days (or final four days in case of an international race) the pigeons are given ‘Long Distance Mixture’. To experiment they have added some ‘High Energy’ (a mixture rich in fat) to their feed in the last few races and the results were amazing. You can find the highlights of the 2012 racing season below.

The Houfflyn pigeons have been doing great in other lofts as well, take for instance the ‘Fackier’ of Arsene Taveirne (see one of our previously published PIPA reports), the first Prov. & second National Ace Pigeon 2010 for Gevaert-Lannoo, the first prize from Chateauroux for Rudy Franssen, the first Prov. Gueret and the third Prov. Ace Pigeon KBDB for Declerck-Blanck and the second Nat. Libourne yearlings 2011 for Norbert Ally. They have also provided top class birds for Dobbelare-De Buck, promising talents for Baerts-Debusschere and national top class racers for Filip Deprol and Joël Verschoot. These are some of the best examples of the past few seasons.
The Houfflyn pigeons are some of Belgium’s finest; it’s as simple as that!

The 2012 Highlights of the racing team of Patrick & Dimitri Houfflyn

19/5 Vierzon Prov 5.893 old birds:
157-312-551-584-746-945-1030-1226-1240-1396-1417 (11/20)

26/5 Bourges  269 yearlings: 1-73-90 (3/4)
Nat: 16,859 yearlings: 28-3093 (2/4)

02/6 Limoges Nat. 13,781 old birds:
65-82-497-762-1035-1064-1158-1420-1479-1491-2295-2300-2909 (13/16)
02/6 Chateauroux Nat 15,902 yearlings:
37-308-437-615-1145-1707-2760 (7/15)

09/6 Montélimar  Lok 79 old birds:
2-4-5-19-26-28 (5/6)
Nat 6,718 old birds: 158-540-728 (3/6)
09/6 Poitiers Lok 110 old birds:
3-24-31-35 (4/5)

16/6 Cahors Nat. 8.348 old birds:
8-840-1104-1798 (4/5)
16/6 Montluçon Lok 431 yearlings: 3-7-14-34-61-81-86 (7/18)
Nat 22,875 yearlings: 234-385-772-1403-2416-3508-3777 (7/18)

23/6 Limoges Int.Prov  2,594 old birds:
29-259-297-500-573-727 (6/10)
23/6 Montauban Lok 181 old birds:
1-5-41-50 (4/6)
Nat 6,822 old birds: 53-126-1031-1236 (4/6)

30/6 Bordeaux  Nat 4,971 old birds: 103-339 (2/2)
Int.Nat 10,724 old birds: 147-522 (2/2)
30/6 Bordeaux Int.Nat 10,620 yearlings: 1033-1661 (2/3)
30/6 Orange  Nat. Zone A 349 old birds: 34-35 (2/3)
Nat. 4,443 old birds: 256-259 (2/3)

07/7 Brive Nat. 11,130 old birds:
160-441-881-2036 (4/10)

15/7 Limoges Nat 17.735 yearlings:
143-974-1081-1812-2753 (5/10)

22/7 Marseille Nat 3.245 old birds: 99-353 (2/3)
22/7 Souillac Nat 7.760 old birds:
89-174-540-726-743-1674-1699-1785 (8/12)

29/7 Narbonne Lok 223 old birds: 1-22-30-42 (4/4)
Nat 6,583 old birds: 8-419-922-1356 (4/4)
Int.Nat 13,092 old birds: 9-535-1243-1947 (4/4)

29/7 Narbonne Lok 194 yearlings: 1-17-54 (3/6)
Int.nat 11,000 yearlings: 7-893 (2/6)

03/8 Perpignan Lok 191 old birds: 2-10-43-54 (4/5)
Nat  6,661 old birds: 10-327-1266 (3/5)