2° National Bourges 31.824 Youngsters in '07
6° National La Souterraine 18.973 Youngsters in '07
9° National Gueret 12.586 Youngsters in '07
25° National Argenton 20.844 Youngsters in '07
1° National La Souterraine 16.297 Youngsters in '04 with stock-mother "Queen L.
On a gentle morning at the end of January, we left for the 'Laarhoeve' in Berlaar, where the young pigeon duo Paul & Jelle Roziers are heading for the "National Top" , which became evident this last season in the "National competitions" for the youngsters. We didn't only tickle our taste buds with the culinary delights out of the 'Laarhoeve' kitchen the main reason for our visit was of course to sound out the pigeons and the 'success method' which launched them like a 'catapult' to between the absolute top lofts in the National Long Distance races for youngsters. We were especially interested in the man behind these top successes a young bloke of hardly 24 years, who, in the area (and much further), has been described as one of the 'top carers' by far or to use football terms: "the most successful coach" by far Jelle Roziers. Someone who is full of enthusiasm and drive, is busy with the pigeons day and night, and who doesn't leave anything to chance in trying to achieve his goal, and that is "winning" with the pigeons!
The Roziers family has a 'rich pedigree' where the pigeons are concerned. The wife of 'pigeon celebrity' Jef Houben from Itegem, who is called Eveline, is a cousin of Paul Rozier's mother, the father of Jelle. It is no surprise that someone who is as 'crazy' about the pigeons as Jelle, was soon like one of the family in the Houben household, and had an 'ideal teacher' in Jef Houben. Because of the deeply regretted death of Jef and Nadia Houben in 2007, the roles are reversed at the moment and it is Jelle who helps son Luc Houben in word and deed with the care of the Houben colony. Jelle got the unique chance to put his knowledge into practise with the top colony of Hubert Schroyens (also a brother-in-law of Jef Houben) when he was a successful carer there in 2004.
In 2005 he was active at home in the lofts of his father Paul, and in 2006 he was joint carer with Chris Cleirbaut under the name Cleirbaut-Roziers from Bonheiden and straight away they created 'terror' in the national races, whilst father Paul formed a duo with his good friend Tom Guldentops under the name Roziers-Guldentops.
In 2007 Jelle once again (and now for good?) came home and formed a duo with father Paul, and was directly given 'carte blanche' in caring for the racing pigeons (young and old). The competition knew straight away how things were Father Paul concentrates mainly on the building up and additions to the colony: in other words, the buying of pigeons and the coupling of the breeding pigeons etc... and helps with the training of the pigeons. Before Paul opened the 'Laarhoeve' he was a trainer of racehorses and his current 'breeding system' with the pigeons is based on his experience with the racehorses!
Quite simply: when you've got a 'top stallion', you have to let it breed with the best 'mares', and vice versa when you have a 'super mare' you have to look for a 'top stallion' to breed with. There's no flaw in that argument but of course, that's easier said than done, because first of all you have to have a 'top stallion' or 'super mare' in your loft.
Stock mother "Queen L"
Paul & Jelle Roziers have won the 'big lottery' with their 'super mare', say wonder hen "Queen L", who is well on the way to becoming a 'Stock mother out of thousands'. On her father's side she comes from "Angelo", bred from the old pedigree Roziers (built up with pigeons from father and grandfather August Roziers) x "Nathalia" (a hen Theo Yskout). This "Queen L" ring 6277729/04 won as a youngster:
1° National La Souterraine 16.297 p. in 2004
They had their 'super mare', so they went looking for 'top stallions' to breed with. This leaves 2 possibilities either you try to buy something, or you try joint breeding with lofts that have such a 'top breeder'. Paul was supported in his search by the fact that he was related to 'Jef Houben', and that several 'national toppers' in the area (including Van Hove-Uytterhoeven, Jos & Jules Engels etc ) who are customers in his restaurant, the 'Laarhoeve'. When Paul visited Jef Houben, looking for a 'top breeder' he soon came to an agreement to pair "Queen L" with the best 'Houben-breeder' at the moment: the "Pinocchio".
Paul also visited Van Hove-Uytterhoeven, and Gust, Mit and Geert were prepared to couple "Queen L" with super breeders such as "Shinji San" and the "Golden Boy".
Both couplings for the joint breeding were enormous successes, because 5 grandchildren of "Queen L" ended in the 8 National races from 2006 + 2007 for youngsters in the 'Top-10' Nationally!
They are nails with very 'thick heads'! In the meantime "Queen L" has been paired with the best from Jos & Jules Engels, namely the "34" and the "1° Nat Argenton"! If everything goes well the first descendants will be tested in 2008. Meanwhile they were successful in Berlaar with a hen from Van Looy-Somers .
The success method As mentioned above, Jelle (despite his youthful age of 24j) is seen as one of the top carers in our pigeon land. His great passion and skilled knowledge typify him, and form a scornful advantage in achieving the top in the pigeon sport. The racing pigeons are very important to him and he is given 'free range' from his father Paul. This made the 2007 season a special year for him.
He didn't just start independently, but it was a great challenge to confirm all the good things he had achieved in other lofts, in his own lofts. If we look at the final balance of the 2007 season, we can't do anything but conclude that this was a triumph.
Arlon Youngsters 180 km District D-B-B 688p. 5 - 18 - 25 - 31 - 46 - 47 - 50 - 65 - 96 - 149 - and 18/45
Arlon Youngsters 180 km District D-B-B 808 p. 9 - 11 - 17 - 26 - 45 - 58 - 59 - 85 - 109 - 135 - 141 - 142 - 143 - and 18/45 Dourdan Youngsters 360 km Union Antwerp south east 400 p. 1 - 13 - 22 - 24 - 25 - 33 - 38 - 49 - 53 - 60 - 64 - 72 - 73 - and 26/32
Union Antwerp First prize. 747 p. 6 - 30 - 46 - 48 - 50 - 61 - 68 - 86 - 91 - 98 - 104 - 113 - 116 - and 28/32
Bourges II Youngsters 475 km Long Distance club Bevel 689 p.
1 - 6 - 11 - 14 - 26 - 61 - 92 - 99 - 15/41
Union Antwerp 1.519 p.
1 - 7 - 13 - 16 - 34 - 96 - 163 - 176 - 225 - 247 - 258 - 260 - 265 16/41
Prov. 4.290 p.
1 - 17 - 27 - 34 - 76 - 208 - 350 - 384 - 501 - 563 - 591 - 597 - 608 16/41
CFW Fleurus 8.360 p.
1 - 31 - 44 - 65 - 125 - 299 - 416 - 457 - 578 - 626 - 661 - 671 - 686 - 895 26/41
Nat. z. II 13.049 p.
1 - 24 - 37 - 53 - 116 - 357 - 597 - 649 - 863 - 974 - 1028 - 1046 - 1068 . 17/41
Nat. 31.824 p. 2 - 67 - 93 - 133 - 279 - 759 - 1218 - 1339 - 1809 - 2025 - 2165 - 2197 - 2245 - 20/41
Argenton Youngsters 550 km
Long Distance club Bevel 404 p. 2 - 10 - 18 - 20 - 25 - 34 - 47 - 69 - 73 - 74 - 77 16/36
Union Antwerp 930 p. 3 - 16 - 26 - 29 - 35 - 50 - 72 - 110 - 118 - 119 - 122 - 149 - 150 16/36
Prov. 2.712 p. 10 - 35 - 56 - 60 - 73 - 115 - 179 - 275 - 297 - 298 - 308 19/36
CFW Fleurus 6.286 p. 13 - 30 - 53 - 60 - 75 - 132 - 198 - 308 - 334 - 335 - 353 - 451 - 455 - 562 - 564 23/36
Nat. z. II 7.621 p. 16 - 52 - 83 - 88 - 103 - 173 - 279 - 452 - 486 - 487 - 501 - 652 - 656 - 822 - 824 20/36
Nat. 20.844 p. 25 - 75 - 130 - 141 - 180 - 316 - 526 - 887 - 962 - 965 - 1002 - 1359 - 1367 - 1748 - 1751 20/36
La Souterraine Youngsters 590 km
Long Distance club Bevel 345 p.
1 - 3 - 7 - 8 - 13 - 18 - 20 - 30 - 34 - 41 - 45 - 49 17/30
Union Antwerp 764 p.
1 - 4 - 8 - 10 - 18 - 26 - 28 - 48 - 54 - 69 - 80 - 91 - 108 - 17/30
Prov. 2.541 p.
2 - 11 - 22 - 27 - 42 - 57 - 61 - 107 - 116 - 144 - 167 - 190 - 229- 274 - 297... 18/30
CFW Fleurus 5.581 p.
2 - 10 - 19 - 23 - 49 - 68 - 78 - 142 - 150 - 186 - 209 - 236 - 284 - 356 - 381 - 459 - 583 18/30
Nat. z. II 7.161 p. 2 - 12 - 24 - 30 - 59 - 83 - 91 - 159 - 173 - 225 - 258 - 306 - 378 - 477 - 523 - 648 - 875 17/30 Nat. 18.973 p. 6 - 29 - 51 - 62 - 128 - 195 - 214 - 376 - 406 - 534 - 607 - 725 - 906 - 1199 - 1320 - 1649 18/30
Gueret Youngsters 585 km
Long Distance club Bevel 267 p. 3 - 12 - 14 - 15 - 23 - 29 - 30 - 37 - 15/30
Union Antwerp 513 p. 4 - 16 - 18 - 19 - 30 - 41 - 42 - 53 - 55 - 72 - 85 - 97 15/30
Prov. 1774 p. 4 - 20 - 23 - 24 - 58 - 79 - 80 - 105 - 110 - 147 - 174 - 201 - 211 - 232 - 240 18/30
CFW Fleurus 3.656 p. 3 - 25 - 29 - 30 - 70 - 111 - 112 - 148 - 153 - 203 - 242 - 289 - 297 - 350 - 361 18/30
Nat. z. II 4.661 p. 6 - 26 - 32 - 33 - 90 - 144 - 147 - 210 - 219 - 294 - 369 - 444 - 469 16/30
Nat. 12.586 p. 9 - 38 - 50 - 51 - 168 - 282 - 285 - 409 - 427 - 610 - 761 - 942 - 989 - 1173 - 1227 16/30
In 4 National races Youngsters:
3 times in the Top Ten National
13 times in the Top Hundred National
19 times per Hundred National
59 times per Ten National.
Where does such a youthful chap of 24 years get so much pigeon knowledge from? So as we have already mentioned, he had the advantage of being like one of the family by 'Jef' and daughter 'Nadia' Houben. It goes without saying that their deaths in 2007 left their mark on Jelle with the loss of his 2 great pigeon friends whom he regularly visited three or more times a week . Grandfather August Roziers also taught him the tricks of the trade, and is an ideal teacher. Jelle also regularly seeks advice from Willem Mulder about feeding (feeding specialist for the Matador-mixtures), and he learned a lot from Eddy Noël about the modern pigeon sport, such as the combination of darkening + lighting, feeding, race system, few antibiotics etc people who he can still ask for advice daily if necessary.
When we arrived at the "Laarhoeve" we thought that Jelle was still busy with an 'after party' because the music was playing so loud, but nothing could be further from the truth. Here it is a daily occurrence, and in every compartment of the lofts speakers have been installed, and the pigeons are treated to the radio every day. It calms the pigeons, because they are not disturbed or frightened by other noises. To clarify what we are about to report we have to say that the system is based on the 'Matador'-feeders. The coupling of the breeding pigeons (30 couples) etc is in the hands of father Paul, then once the youngsters are weaned (when they are about 25 days old) they are completely in the charge of Jelle. The first aim is to keep the youngsters calm for as long as possible, and they don't have to fly very much for the first few weeks.
To achieve this, the youngsters are fed nothing else except Premium Breeding up until May. Starting in May, it becomes serious and they are changed to a combination of Premium Start + Premium Sport mixture. This change over takes place because the youngsters now have to fly seriously. When the pigeons fly well, then after two weeks the training starts (beginning of June). At the end of June the tough work begins and the youngsters are trained hard for their 1e national race from Bourges (end of July). Here Jelle tries to achieve 'top form' because according to him the 4 national races are not only the nicest, but also the toughest for the youngsters. Jelle believes that every year the pigeons can only be kept in 'top condition' for about 8 weeks, which is why he tries to achieve 'top form' towards the period end of July- beginning of September. From this moment on the pigeons are given nibbling seeds when they return home + Turbo Energy mixture in the evening. After a tough race they also receive this mixture on the Sunday. At the beginning of the following week they are given Premium Start, followed by a build up of Premium Sport mixture, and the last two days before basketting they are given 100% Turbo Energy supplemented with peanuts , nibbling seeds and the Omega+ granules from Cédé sometimes diluted with liquid sheep fat-Herbots or energy rich oil over the food. Jelle informs us that at the beginning of the week the hens are fed less than the cocks.
Look, there are stories going round that 'young pigeon specialists' have a medicine cabinet in their lofts it could be true in some cases, we wouldn't to comment on this Jelle Roziers proves that this really is not necessary. On the contrary, he is a fervent 'enemy' of antibiotics, and tries to give them as little as possible. During the top season (July-September) he leaves nothing to chance and visits the vet every Monday, and seeks the advice of Raf Herbots, Henk De Weerd or Ann Havet from Blanden whom Jelle has visited for years for professional advice, which is followed to the letter. Jelle tells us that his youngsters are 'never' given pure water to drink.. they are given a whole range of natural products. As soon as the pigeons are weaned ,up until they are basketted, they are given Belgasol + Biovit in the drinking fountain every Saturday and Sunday. This is followed during the week with a variety of natural products such as apple vinegar, Vita Duif, Vior, Kaucabam, TS-6 Plus, Prange Suppe etc being given for all the 5 days. When the pigeons return home from the races with 2 night's basketting, they are given a light cure for Trichomoniasis, interchanged with 2 days B.S. + Belgasol De Weerd, or a Spartrix, or a Belgamagix. On the other days they are usually given a double dose Kaucabam in the fountain when they return home. Before the start of the season for youngsters they are given Cobel (for intestinal problems) for three days, and before basketting for Bourges or Argenton they youngsters are given something for the airways for 2 days, in the drinking water, but always different products. For the rest there is once again a variation of natural products and during the period of the national races Jelle is lavish with Belgasol, especially as the day of basketting approaches.
Motivation and training
The youngsters are raced in widowhood, so for this the sexes are separated as much as possible by the weaning. The pigeons are darkened from the beginning of March until the 21st of June. Later lighting is used, starting the week before Bourges (from 5:30am to 11pm), by using a light dimmer whereby there is 30 minutes of time in the morning to bring the (low-energy) light bulbs to full strength, and in the evening 30 minutes to turn off the lights. The sliding door system was previously used, but Jelle found that the motivation and performances where at their best when the youngsters were paired with older partners. The young hens with old cocks, and the young cocks with old hens. That's why the youngsters are coupled with an old partner at the end of June, who have first spent 4 days in a half-closed box. On returning home they stay with their partner for 2 days. Jelle does this at 11 o'clock at night or when it is dusk, in order to avoid fighting matches. Jelle usually visits the lofts at 4:30 am to check that everything is going well.
Once the sun has fully risen, the pairing has usually been successful and the real widowhood can begin. From Bourges until La Souterraine the couples are put together for 1-2 hours before basketting and once they return home they are allowed to stay together until the evening. For Gueret they are coupled the evening before to give them extra motivation. By the in-between races (between the nationals) the pigeons are not shown, and when they return home they are only allowed to stay together for an hour. When the pigeons train well at home (for about 2 hours)and undertake long trips, then, according to Jelle, they can begin with the training flights. In this way, the youngsters in 2007 managed to go to Quiévrain in 4 steps (from 7-15-25-50 Km). They then raced 3 x Quiévrain and then Toury. Because of the problems caused by the bird flu an alternative programme had to be followed, whereby the pigeons had to be basketted on both Saturday and Sunday during the first weekend, in order to gain as much experience as possible in the shortest possible time. Jelle only did this because there was a 'tailwind' and therefore they were easy races.
The racing schema was as follows:
1st week of July: Saturday Dudelange + Sunday Arlon
2nd week of July: Arlon
3rd week of July Saturday + Sunday Quiévrain
On Wednesday the youngsters raced from Soissons and were basketted again the next day for Bourges National. During the first three weeks of July Jelle took the pigeons to Ittres 3 x per week himself. Following Bourges they were taken to Ittres on the Tuesday. From the 80 youngsters trained in 2007, only 40 left for the national races, where they had to take their final exam and obtain 'great honours'.
The "4 B's"!!
That was the racing system and coaching of the youngsters by Paul & Jelle Roziers, over which Jelle talked openly and frankly. No secrets, according to Jelle, because secrets don't exist in the pigeon sport it is after all, the pigeons themselves that have to finish the race. The difference in the 'CLASS' of the pigeons determines (next to the weather conditions, which we don't have any control over) which pigeon ends in 1st place in the results. The ultimate filtering happens during the 4 national races for youngsters, and whichever pigeons manage 3 top prizes in these 4 races are allowed to stay. For 2008 Jelle now has a team of hens which he hopes will do well in the races for yearlings and old pigeons. The strategy that Paul & Jelle Roziers follow to achieve the top successes in the pigeon sport is in fact traceable to the principle of the "4 B's", namely:
B1: Breeding (plenty of breeding in order to find good or even the best combinations)
B2: Basket (coach, train and race all the pigeons well and let the 'basket' do its work, because the basket determines which pigeons are 'good' or 'bad')
B3: Be strict (know no mercy, the lesser pigeons or the ones that 'can't manage it' have to be got rid of straight away, irrespective of their pedigree only keep the real 'toppers ')
B4: Basis ( 'never' sell your best pigeons, because they have to form the basis of your breeding loft, to keep and extend your colony)
There's no flaw in that argument, and Paul & Jelle have proved their strategy of the "4 B's" with their stunt performances in the national races for youngsters! Extremely sympathetic people where the sporting aspect of our pigeon sport prevails! Fanciers where the sale has the upper hand or preference over their own performances will never last long in the pigeon sport! Let this be the pigeon lesson that Jelle wants to share with his fellow sportsmen!
The toppers of the loft
The "4 B's" method means that the pigeons here have to perform well, and the selection norm is very high in order to earn a place in the breeding loft, the pigeons have to have an impressive list of honours. Let us illustrate this with a few examples, some of which will make your mouth water take a look:
Winner 1° National La Souterraine 16.297 p.
in 2004 and also 'stock mother' of the loft.
6° National La Souterraine 18.973 p.
9° National Gueret 12.586 p.
1° Nat. Bourges 13.049 p. in Zone B
2° National Bourges 31.824 p.
29° National La Souterraine 18.973 p.
75° National Argenton 20.844 p.
133° National Bourges 31.824 p.
36° National Gueret 12.586 p.
67° National Bourges 31.824 p.
50° National Gueret 12.586 p.
141° National Argenton 20.844 p.
Finally, a few toppers in the breeding lofts of Paul & Jelle Roziers: