Team De Jaeger with caretaker Marijn Laureyns (left),
Freddy De Jaeger (center) and Frank Morre (right)
This is only the first season for Team De Jaeger in their new formation and this makes their impressive achievements of 2013 even more remarkable. They have also won the title of 4th Champion Yearlings Cureghem Centre and the title of First Champion Long Distance in the Meetjesland region (first and second nominated), where several of their best pigeons have won ace pigeon titles as well. They completed the 2013 season with no less than 20 first prizes, 16 second prizes and 17 third prizes. The highlights of 2013 include two zonal victories (a first Nat. Zone A Montluçon 3,154 yearlings and a first Nat. Zone A1 Nevers 253 old birds) and four national second prizes in Zone A1, as well as 75 zonal top 50 prizes. They have also won 20 national top 100 prizes. 2013 was without doubt a splendid first season for the new team of Freddy De Jaeger. This is quite exceptional!
A different approach
The friends and relatives of Freddy De Jaeger know him as a successful businessman. He runs the Jaegerson company, specialising in plate work and sophisticated welding robots. His commercial know-how has been a great help in his pigeon loft as well, which takes his mind off his professional career. He learned an important lesson as a businessman: if you want to achieve something you have to start with something good. That is how he has made it to the top in his professional career but it has also helped him reach the top in pigeon racing. Freddy is not afraid to make major investments either, simply because he always strives for quality. He aims for maximum efficiency and perfection, in an attempt to stay ahead of his opponents. He is always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve his breed, because this is the only way to make it to the top and to maintain your position. Freddy thinks it is never a good idea to rest on your laurels. These insights show he has gained a lot of experience over the years.
Meanwhile he has quite a few top quality pigeons in his loft in Knesselare. You can take a look at the composition of his pigeon breed by clicking here. His most important stock pigeons are the golden Tsunamiduivin (a direct Gaby Vandenabeel and a daughter of the famous Bliksem), Diamond Girl and Britta (two direct H.P.Brockamp pigeons), Anja (a direct M.Aelbrecht from the line of Bak 17), Crayonné Zorro (a direct son Zorro from N. & F.Norman), Rik (a direct Rik Cools), De Tulle and of course Super Witpen, Dax and Prinses, three pigeons from the world-famous line of Roger Florizoone. These are the key players in the breeding lofts of Team Freddy De Jaeger. They have a few strong pigeons from their old bloodine as well and last year’s introduction of pigeons from caretaker Marijn Laureyns have been of great value as well. These pigeons have allowed Marijn to win multiple titles of General Champion and Emperor in the Meetjesland region!
This gives you an idea of how he has managed to become a successful fancier. A collection of top quality pigeons does not make you successful though; you have to know how to get the most out of it. Freddy believed that there was a lot of room for improvement, so he decided to get in touch with Marijn Laureyns in mid-2012. Marijn has been a great champion for many years and he is a tough opponent from the sprint up to the light long distance competition. He is a man with an astonishing list of achievements and Freddy says he can do wonders in a pigeon loft.
Freddy wanted Marijn to join his team and Freddy is known for reaching his goals: Marijn Laureyns became his new caretaker in late 2012 and he was assigned a simple task: to get the most out of his racing team and his current breeding pigeons. Freddy noticed a significant increase in performance right away, while convincing his good friend Frank Morre to join the team as well. His task is to keep track of the performance of his pigeons, the breeding references, the pedigrees and the championship results.
The three are now running a successful pigeon loft in Knesselare. Freddy and Marijn are focused on the pigeons and Frank takes care of the administrative side. This appears to be a successful approach, because they have been doing very well right from the start. Their first racing season as a trio (2013) was one of the most successful, if not the most successful season. This team is a unique blend of ambition, knowledge and experience, which explains their rise to the top.
A great aerial view on the lofts and the infrastructure
A flying start
The international victory from San Sebastian in 2006 illustrated the qualities of the De Jaeger racing pigeons and several other national top results were to follow. Still, that was not enough for the ambitious Freddy. He was convinced that he could further improve the performance of his racing team, which is why he wanted Marijn Laureyns to take care of his pigeons. The goal was to give an increase in performance and to reach a higher level and it seems that he has reached this goal after only one season!
When Marijn started working in the loft he quickly dropped quite a few pigeons from the team, because it is difficult if not impossible to achieve results with pigeons of mediocre quality. That is why Marijn Laureyns would rather get rid of these pigeons. The loft had an initial 220 racing pigeons but only 35 of them were still there at the end of 2013, one year after Marijn started taking care of the pigeon family. This was quite a selection process. In 2014 the racing team consists of 120 widowers, including 35 old birds, a few 18 months old pigeons (late youngsters of 2012) and mainly yearlings of 2013. Last year they tried racing with 14 hens as well and it proved a successful experiment. They will have a team of 24 racing hens for 2014 (6 old birds and 18 yearlings) and they will be raced on widowhood with partners that stay in the loft. This means there will not be an empty nestbox when they come home; the partner will be waiting for them.
The way the pigeons are taken care of nowadays differs a lot from how it was done before Marijs was appointed as caretaker. Marijn trains the young birds right from the start, because the things they learn as a young bird will be useful at an older age as well. He prefers pigeons that are not too stout, which explains why they have to fast for a day once a week during the recovery period.
Marijn provides some feed every time the pigeons arrive home. This is usually a mixture of Super Widowhood Versele and Energy Corn or fine seeds. This mixture is provided until Sunday afternoon. They eat a purifying mixture on Monday and Tuesday as long as the pigeons cover races with one night in the basket (Arras, Clermont, Angerville or Fontenay). A racing mixture is added to the feeding bowl as the day of basketing approaches. The purifying mixture is left out and replaced with a racing mixture only when the pigeons are basketed for the longer middle distance and the long distance. The trick is to make sure the pigeons continue to eat. They are fed individually in their boxes, which allows you to keep an eye on them. After all, some pigeons eat a lot less than others. The pigeons that stay in the loft are given a different portion, just like the pigeons that have to recover from a flight. This has a lot to do with experience and observing the (eating) habits of every single pigeon. The pigeons are fed three to four times a day on the day of basketing, to make sure they eat as much as they can. "We try to have them eat a little more every time", says Martin. We make sure they eat and drink (pure water) enough before going into the basket. When they arrive home some recovery drink is added to the drinking bowl as well and they usually get some tea on Sundays and Mondays too.
One of the habits in this loft during the racing season is the weekly check-up by a veterinary surgeon. This means they can react quickly when something goes wrong but they can also be confident about the health and physical condition of their racing team. The result is that they no longer have to give random treatments, which implies fewer medicines. This makes keeping pigeons less expensive and it has a positive effect on the strength of the pigeons. After all, antibiotics tend to have a negative influence on the performance of the pigeons. This is something that should be avoided at all cost, hence the weekly check-up. The cocks get to see their hens before they leave, except for the extreme long distance with basketing on Monday. The pigeons that stay at home can see their hen as well when the other pigeons arrive home from the races on Saturday so it is not necessary to repeat this process on Monday.
The stars of the loft
As we said, his pigeons were put to the test very often in 2013. Marijn wanted to gauge the quality of his pigeons right from the start of the season. He wanted to know what his racing pigeons were capable of and the basket usually tells us a lot about a pigeon’s fitness. He wanted to keep only his very best racing pigeons and he decided to get rid of quite a few of his breeders as well, to separate the wheat from the chaff. This approach has led to several top prizes and impressive overall results; he closed the season with 20 first prizes and two first national prizes in Zone A1. We take a closer look at some of the most prominent pigeons in Freddy’s team of 2013:
This is a top class hen with a large share in the title of 3rd Nat. Champion Longer Middle Distance KBDB Yearlings 2013. These are her best results in 2013:
25/5 Bourges Club 226 p. 5 N.Zone 1,664 p. 31 22/6 Gueret Club 230 p. 8 N.Zone 2,222 p. 37 01/6 Chateauroux Club 594 p. 10 N.Zone 4,107 p. 61 06/7 La Souterraine 315 p. 10 Prov 2,118 p. 42 11/5 Blois Club 165 p. 11 30/6 Argenton Club 435 p. 12 N.Zone 3,403 p. 113 08/6 Poitiers Club 716 p. 17 Prov 3,845 p. 70
Her sire – the Gaby BE10-4325614 – is a 100% Gaby Vandenabeele cock and a grandson of stock dam Tsunamiduivin. Her dam is Bieke BE09-4336480, a talented daughter of Dax (Florizoone, via Andre Colbrandt) x super class hen Wonder Zhora, 1st Prov. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance West Flanders (for N. & F. Norman). You can also take a closer look at Kaatje's pedigree and her list of achievements.
-Blue Pipo BE12-4159161
A wonderful hen and winner of quite a few prizes:
In 2013: Nevers N.Zone 253 p. 1 Gueret II N.Zone 265 p. 2 Nat 2,656 p. 12 Bourges Prov 2,675 p. 14 Argenton II Prov 767 p. 16 La Souterraine Prov 2,118 p. 33 Gueret I N.Zone 2,222 p. 187 Argenton I N.Zone 3,403 p. 239 Montluçon N.Zone 3,154 p. 247 Chateauroux N.Zone 4,107 p. 407 In 2012: Gueret N.Zone 976 p. 21 Argenton N.Zone 1,429 p. 82
The sire of this hen is Blauwe Pipo BE04-3230867, a cock of Gaby Vandenabeele (a grandson of the legendary Wittenbuik, bred from Pipop Wittenbuik x Patsy). The dam is Tiffany BE09-4138742, a daughter of Crayonné Zorro (a direct son of stock sire Zorry of N. & F.Norman) x Isabelle (a direct Gaby Vandenabeele).
Winner of a top prize from Argenton (1601st Nat. against 25,949 p.) and Gueret (1176th against 16,988 p.) as a young bird. She did even better in 2013:
Chateauroux II N.Zone 935 p. 2 Argenton II N.Zone 767 p. 19 Bourges FVOV Prov 2,675 p. 34 Chateauroux I N.Zone 4,107 p. 54 Bourges I N.Zone 1,664 p. 77 Gueret I N.Zone 2,222 p. 91
She was bred from a crossing of Gaby Vandenabeele, as a daughter of Retro BE09-4138553 (from Rik x Femke) x Nicky BE04-4436808 (a granddaughter of Bliksem Vandenabeele, bred from Geschelpte Bliksem x Sientje).
A fantastic racing pigeon and winner of the following prizes in 2013:
Gueret I Club 230 p. 1 N.Zone 2,222 p. 2 Poitiers Prov 3,845 p. 81 Bourges I N.Zone 1,664 p. 88 La Souterraine N.Zone 2,118 p. 213 Nat 11,236 p. 889 Angerville Club 226 p. 17 Club 325 p. 21
He was bred from the in-house bloodlines and his sire is Marco BE11-4096879 (from Wim x stock hen Britta) x Geschelpt Tiekske BE10-4239893 (a granddaughter of the iconic Bliksem of Vandenabeele, bred from Geschelpte Bliksem x Daughter Mr Tulle). You can take a look at the pedigree and the list of achievements of Ramon by clicking the links.
-Don José BE12-4159091
An exceptional pigeon and zonal winner from Montluçon and several other top prizes in 2013:
Montluçon N.Zone 3,154 p. 1 Fontenay S-Eure Club 560 p. 6 Fontenay S-Eure Club 754 p. 10 Brive Prov 1,458 p. 120 Chateauroux I N.Zone 4,107 p. 129 Argenton I N.Zone 3,403 p. 245
His sire is Diamant BE10-5031426, a direct Jos Thoné from an inbred to the amazing hen Sedna I: he originates from Son Girder (from champion Girder, winner of a 1st Prov. Pau and a 15th Nat. Cahors) x Daughter Sedna I (from Supercrack Euro DImaond – Brockamp x Sedna I). His dam is Faye BE10-4239827, a daughter of stock sire Mr Tulle (1st Nat. Tulle 2005) x stock dam Tsunamiduivin (a daughter of the iconic Bliksem Vandenabeele).
-Geschelpt Dimitri BE12-4159052
Tours 2012 Club 142 p. 1 Prov 1.355 p. 14 In 2013: Angerville Club 325 p. 5 Angerville Club 226 p. 6 Chateauroux II N.Zone 935 p. 9 Argenton II N.Zone 767 p. 9 Bourges II N.Zone 1,265 p. 66 Montluçon N.Zone 3,154 p. 67 Bourges I N.Zone 1,664 p. 84 Bourges FVOV Prov 2,675 p. 117
This talented hen is a daughter of Dimitri BE08-4244455 (a son of stock breeders Crayonné Zorro x Tsunami-duivin) x Rost Raketje BE08-4244470 (a daughter of Zilveren F.Verstraete x Geschelpt 160 A.Timmerman).
A natural born racer and winner of two first prizes in the longer middle distance in 2013. This is her list of achievements up to now:
In 2012: Bourges Club 1,092 p. 19 Argenton Club 1,077 p. 56 In 2013: Bourges I Club 226 p. 1 N.Zone 1,664 p. 8 Chateauroux I Club 594 p. 1 N.Zone 4,107 p. 10 Gueret I Club 230 p. 5 N.Zone 2,222 p. 21 La Souterraine Club 315 p. 6 N.Zone 1,642 p. 45 Nat 11,236 p. 133 Argenton I N.Zone 3,403 p. 238
She is a daughter of Tsunami 115 BE06-4247115 (from Lichte Crayonnee x stock dam Tsunamiduivin) x Anneke BE09-4138780 (a daughter of stock pigeons Mr Tulle x Brita). You can also take a look at the full pedigree and the list of achievements of Griet.
This is only a brief selection of the most talented pigeons that were allowed in the team in 2013. It shows that Freddy had done his homework by getting nothing but top quality pigeons to his loft in Knesselare. This resulted in an impressive list of achievements for 2013 and the discovery of a number of outstanding champion pigeons.
The fanciers from the Meetjesland region know very well that Marijn Laureyns is a great pigeon fancier. He had a clear mission: he had to make the team of Freddy De Jaeger one of the best lofts at national level in the shortest possible time. This was quite a challenge but that did not stop him. He had everything he needed. Freddy, Marijn and Frank form a very strong team and their opponents will have to roll up their sleeves if they want to stop them. The 2013 racing season heralded the start of a new success story. Just wait and see!
Some of the lofts that have been built in an old factory