Wilson Dekens (Zingem, BE): from successful sprint race fancier to winner of First National Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2012

You can call it a crowning achievement; the icing on the cake. This is the undisputed highlight of a successful pigeon fancier’s career. Wilson used to win sprint races, now he excels in the long and the extreme distance!

This is remarkable. Wilson used to breed birds (for instance finches) before he became an avid pigeon fancier. There are countless examples of top class pigeon fanciers who used to be bird breeders (or who still are) and Wilson Dekens is no exception. His first pigeons were in fact fantail pigeons. He got rid of them at the request of his neighbour and they were replaced by racing pigeons!

Wilson and his wife Lydie moved into their house in Zingem in 1973 and they built a first loft for their collection of pigeons. They would soon win first prizes and titles in the sprint competitions. When things go well most fanciers start to think about expanding their collection. So did Wilson Dekens, who has a roomy loft now. He does not basket his pigeon for sprint races anymore. He was tired of having to spend his time and energy on his pigeons every day and to see his pigeons arrive home after a flight of only ten to fifteen minutes. It did not satisfy him so he decided to switch to the middle distance. He had to quit his job as a welder sooner than expected due to back problems and a surgical operation so he tried his luck in the long and extreme distance. He really enjoys the waiting game when his pigeons are about to arrive home from a national.

The switch from sprint to the longer distance went fluently. This trusted bloodline of his favourite stock pigeon Oude Roden, which stems from the old line of Jules van Caeneghem (via Georges Verschueren) made the move from sprint to long distance without problems. The pigeons were able to cover the additional kilometres without having to sacrifice speed or strength. They are true winners with great motivation and drive! Wilson experienced that the pigeons of this bloodline perform well both in short and long distance. That is why this breed is omnipresent in the loft; they are crossed with the other stock line, the Jordy line (Jordy was 6th Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2008). These pigeons continue to breed excellent racing pigeons and they are the basis of this pigeon family.

Meanwhile he purchased some additional pigeons that are well suited for the longer distance races and the skilled Wilson managed to get the most out of them in his loft. If you want to earn your place in a region with a lot of champions (for instance Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede) you have to stay on top of your game, says Wilson. Otherwise you will be left behind.

New Ace gains international fame

The title of First National Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB is a well deserved reward for some remarkably successful seasons. This is probably the greatest title a fancier can win in his career, something every long distance fancier dreams of. We see a fierce competition every season and in 2012 it was super champion New Ace of Wilson Dekens and his wife Lydie that took the victory. These are his results:

-New Ace BE10-4030190
First Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2012

Souillac Prov  1,934 p. 1
       Zone A  3,447 p. 8
       Nat     7,760 p. 8
Cahors Prov    1,759 p. 15
       Zone A  2,695 p. 24
       Nat     8,348 p. 29
Limoges Prov   3,466 p. 10
       Zone A  5,957 p. 38
       Nat    13,781 p. 40
Brive Nat   11,130 p. 1311
Angerville     237 p. 4

This pigeon won the title of national ace pigeon with the three results in bold.
Click here for his full list of achievements + pedigree

We already mentioned that the breeding line of Jordy is invaluable in the lofts of Wilson Dekens. He owns several excellent racing pigeons with the origins of this splendid breeding line, for instance:

-Blauwen 191 BE10-4030191

Pont St. Max   252 p. 8
Vierzon Prov 5,893 p. 270
Cahors  Prov 1,759 p. 32
        Zone 2,695 p. 53
        Nat  8,348 p. 69
Tulle   Prov 1,345 p. 12  (loc: 2nd prize)
        Nat  6,817 p. 84
Brive   Nat 11,130 p. 2040
Libourne Nat 8,269 p. 732
Narbonne Nat 7,027 p. 560
       I.Nat 9,966 p. 722

He is a son of Blauwen Aelbrecht 630/09 x Blauwe Halfzus Jordy 967/08

-Geschelpte Super Jaarling BE11-4225220

Won in 2012:
Angerville     283 p. 4
Orleans Prov 3,405 p. 104
Montluçon      708 p. 6
       Prov  5,335 p. 23
       Zone  7,828 p. 39
       Nat  22,875 p. 426
Argenton Pro 5,548 p. 221
       Zone  8,476 p. 309
       Nat  22,384 p. 787
Limoges Prov 4,573 p. 215
       Zone  7,419 p. 369
       Nat  17,735 p. 765
Tulle  Lok     139 p. 7
       Prov  2,490 p. 24
       Nat  10,251 p. 88

He was bred from a crossing of the old bloodline, namely top class breeder Allround Roden 432/06 x Zus Jordy 466/06. His nest brother performed as follows:
-Rode Nestbroer Super Jaarling BE11-4225219

Montluçon Pr 5,335 p. 159
       Zone  7,828 p. 224
       Nat  22,875 p. 1191
Argenton Pro 5,548 p. 349
       Zone  8,476 p. 478
       Nat  22,384 p. 1295

Nestbroer Moeder New Ace BE08-4112821 (bred from Jordy x Lolita) x Zus 1° Nat Perpignan have bred another highly talented yearling, namely

-Blauwen 241 BE11-4225241

Limoges Lok    335 p. 1
       Prov  4,573 p. 3
       Zone  7,419 p. 3
       Nat  17,735 p. 17 
Argenton Pro 5,548 p. 40
       Zone  8,476 p. 59
       Nat  22,384 p. 183
Montluçon N 22,875 p. 4223

The Jordy line has bred several other top class extreme distance pigeons when crossed with extreme long distance birds (for instance the Aarden pigeons that bred New Ace). A good example is Zwarten Sterken, which is bred from Geschelpte Beer 903/04 (a half brother of Jordy) x Zwart Geschelpt Aarden 688/06. He won for instance:

-Zwarten Sterken BE07-4046731

In 2008:
Vierzon Prov 2,003 p. 121
     I.Prov  5,076 p. 202
St.Vincent I 1,581 p. 349
       Nat   8,393 p. 1936
St.Vincent II  145 p. 9
       Prov  1,448 p. 66
       Nat   7,356 p. 270
     I.Nat   8,612 p. 304
In 2009 :
Chateauroux    467 p. 25
       Prov  3,840 p. 94
Barcelona Pr 2,395 p. 192
       Nat  13,502 p. 1024
     I.Nat  27,669 p. 2259
In 2010:
Blois  Prov  2,595 p. 83
Vierzon Prov 7,030 p. 105
Montauban Lok  116 p. 1
       Prov  1,291 p. 5
       Zone  2,597 p. 10
       Nat   6,654 p. 13
Tarbes Int  15,035 p. 2778
In 2011:
Blois  Prov  3,600 p. 44
Pau    Nat   2,279 p. 185
     I.Nat   8,555 p. 741
Perpignan      185 p. 25
       Nat   5,591 p. 709
     I.Nat  15,192 p. 1973
In 2012:
Limoges Nat 13,781 p. 957
Montauban Pr 1,383 p. 206
        Nat  6,822 p. 864

A yearling that is a brother of Zwarten Sterken did well in 2012:
-Zwart Geschelpten BE11-4225215

Orleans Prov 3,405 p. 677
Chateauroux  4,019 p. 328
        Nat 15,902 p. 1107
Narbonne Pro 1,571 p. 24
        Nat  6,933 p. 65
      I.Nat 11,000 p. 73

Two sons of Zwarten Sterken have already proved that they know how to win top prizes.

-Zoon Zwarten Sterken BE10-4031613

In 2011:
Vierzon Prov 4,366 p. 300
Chateauroux  6,148 p. 223
       Zone 10,587 p. 587
       Nat  25,263 p. 1072
Argenton Pro 4,948 p. 235
       Zone  8,000 p. 423
       Nat  19,782 p. 817
In 2012:
Vierzon Prov 5,893 p. 126
Perpigan Nat 6,661 p. 1495

-Jonge Zwarte Sterken BE11-4225323

Angerville     283 p. 17
Narbonne       250 p. 6
        Prov 1,571 p. 34
        Nat  6,933 p. 96
      I.Nat 11,000 p. 109

To conclude, a grandson of Zwarten Sterken has won a second prize National & International Narbonne yearlings in the lofts of Driessche-Boone!

Wilson only keeps the youngsters from about 30 breeding couples, which makes for a total of about 100. When pairing his pigeons he always tries to aim for certain bloodlines. In fact he sometimes breeds closely related pigeons, for instance father x daughter, mother x son, brother x sister. The best youngsters (especially the hens) are immediately reserved for the breeding loft to be crossed with other breeding lines. With this approach he has managed to create a high quality pigeon family. When he pairs pigeons he pays special attention to the wings. He favours very short secondaries and he checks the last four feathers (which should be nearly the same length). Wilson prefers pigeons with a good balance between endurance and speed and a high degree of intelligence. He thinks these are the characteristics of great pigeons!

Simplicity and success

Wilson thinks pigeon fancying is not all that complicated. It comes down to a collection of good quality pigeons. The main focus is on the old cocks in the long distance and the extreme distance. He keeps all the young birds from the first round but he only trains the cocks of the second round; the finest hens are usually reserved for the breeding loft. The young birds game is not a goal. The cocks are usually basketed for one of two provincial flights. Last year they only did Angerville and the provincial from Vierzon. In 2011 the young birds only had a few flights from Noyon and a flight from Angerville due to bad weather at the weekends. Still, they did great as yearlings in 2012 in races until Narbonne. In 2013 fanciers will have to adapt to the new national calendar and it is possible that the young cocks will only be trained until Angerville. “I do not plan this in advance because it provides experience for later seasons. I only plan to basket a few of the young hens for national races, preferably those with a nest”, says Wilson.

Wilson has a team of 64 cocks for 2013 with 33 old birds and 31 yearlings. They do not breed before the start of the season; they only brood for ten days. After that the pigeons sit together for a few days during the training flights. This is how they start the racing season. In the beginning we try to keep them calm during basketing and we do not show the partners. This changes for the middle distance races, where we do show the partners. The pigeons will be more excited and some yearlings will be playing around. That is why the widowers can see their hens for quite some time before the race (sometimes 30 minutes or more for a long distance flight). The most important races for the yearlings are Limoges-Tulle for the best racers in the team and Libourne-Narbonne for the others. Wilson noticed that the best pigeons here are usually successful later on as well. The race from Narbonne sometimes leads to surprising results but the best pigeons there, are very often the best long distance pigeons in the future!

Wilson keeps things simple for the feed as well. “I tend to feed my pigeons very often. When the vet came to treat my pigeons for paramyxo he noticed immediately that my pigeons were too heavy. That could be the reason why the first races of 2012 were not a success. However, my pigeons did great in the long distance races, winning the title of First Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB! I have given them a mixture with a lot of barley after the moulting period but I still give them large meals. During the racing season they have a full feeding tray with a mix of three or four sport mixtures of different companies, complemented with some purifier or diet mix at the beginning of the week. On the last couple of days before basketing they get a little extra: I feed them a mixture of sweet seeds that I composed myself. It includes kempseed, linseed, hemp seed, peeled oats and rice. On the day of basketing they can eat this mixture around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. They are really fond of it and the they are well nourished and have a (half) full crop when entering the basket. All pigeons are given Naturalin one week and apple cider vinegar and some Duo Kruiden Elexir the other. Wilson and Lydie think this is a great approach because their pigeons never suffer from adeno-coli infections. We give them some additional vitamins before they are basketed as well. When it comes to medical guidance we just try to avoid tricho and coccidiosis infections. Wilson thinks a fancier can notice himself if there are any respiratory diseases among his pigeons. This is something he does not have to worry about; his lofts are well ventilated. However, his pigeons are treated for paratyphoid fever for eight days before and after the racing season.

There is not much more to it. He trains his pigeons regularly and more importantly, he races them! They train for an hour in the morning with closed doors, after which they can play around with the windows open for fifteen minutes. In the evening they have another training flight of one hour with closed windows, after which they can fly around for another hour. After that they have plenty of time to eat before the feeding trays are taken away.

A successful career as a fancier does not cost a fortune

Wilson and Lydie live a quiet life and they never look for attention. They take things as they come. They maintain their pigeon family together on a daily basis and they really enjoy it. The successes of their pigeons are a reward for their hard work and their efforts. Pigeon racing is not all that expensive, says Wilson. He has always kept things simple and he never spent a fortune on pigeons when looking for reinforcements. He focuses on quality and talent, which he usually finds in the lofts of nearby fanciers. You have to give the pigeons a chance to prove their worth (basket and race them regularly) and then you have to select. This is how he patiently created a successful pigeon family that is now among the strongest in Belgium. He saw his efforts rewarded with the title of First National Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2012 with his New Ace! Many congratulations!

Click here for the list of achievements in 2012