Alain Delhove (Villers-la-Ville, BE), a passion for the extreme long distance races!

Since falling in love with our fantastic hobby (he started in his very early childhood), Alain Delhove has always been fascinated with the marathon races. For him, there is nothing more beautiful than trying to get a pigeon that flew several hundreds of kilometres to arrive home on the same day.


Alain & Sigrid Delhove with their granddaughter.

After completing his medical studies Alain started to race under his own name. But his racing career took another dimension in 2004 when he met the legendary Dutch champion Cor De Heijde. He then decided to get rid of all of his pigeons, investing heavily in the De Heijde pigeons instead. Four years later, he was lucky enough to win the 1st national St-Vincent against 8,383 yearlings with a hen called 'Maxima'. She was of course a 100% De Heijde. This victory was won in very tough flying conditions and it gave everybody a better idea of the sheer quality in the loft of Villers-la-Ville.
It must be said that Alain used to spend a lot on reinforcing his pigeon breed. In addition to his numerous visits to Cor De Heijde, Alain Delhove also purchased pigeons from some others famous lofts such as Jelle Jellema, Chris Hebberecht, Joost De Smeyter, Hugo Batenburg, Frans Bungeneers, Etienne Devos, etc. All these introductions had the same caracteristic: they were all bred from the best lines of the respective fanciers. And when we talk about the 'good lines', we are talking about national/international winners or ace pigeons. Moreover, Alain never purchased any distant descendants of these champs but rather their direct youngsters. And he never made any compromises: the pigeons he chose had to match his criteria, with the best physical qualities possible and with the softest plumage. The best example of these introductions is 'Son Zidane', directly purchased from Etienne Devos:

- 'Son Zidane' (BE09-3136054)

Click here to check his pedigree.

With such a pedigree this exceptional cock was destined to become a top breeder himself, and so it happened. He features in the pedigrees of the following pigeons:

- 'The Supercrack' (son)

1. Libourne nat zone 1,945 p.
1. Souillac nat zone 1,866 p.
3. Limoges nat zone 3,838 p.
9. Souillac nat zone 1,388 p.
...

- 'The Narbonne' (son)

Moral winner from Narbonne national '15
1. Montauban nat zone 2,013 p.
34. Brive nat zone 1,492 p.
76. Limoges nat. 13,493 p.

- 'Lady 07' (granddaughter)

2. National Ace Pigeon Extrem Long Distance Yl KBDB '16

With this exceptional team of breeders, Alain has been able to make some exclusive couplings. And more importantly, he put the result of his breeding pairs to the test in the races. And since his national victory from St-Vincent, 'the doc' has been really successful, winning several podium places in the national championships KBDB:

2nd National Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance Yl KBDB '16
2nd National Champion Extreme Long Distance Old Pigeons KBDB '13
3rd National Champion Extreme Long Distance Yl KBDB '16

When you are planing to compete in the international races of the extreme long distance, you are always racing against the best of the best of Belgium and Europe. Your results in the national championships have great significance because they are won against the cream of the crop of pigeon racing in Belgium. Again, your championship results will give us an indication of the quality of a racing team. For Alain, the 2016 racing season has been a great success once again as he was the breeder of a bird that won a prize in the ace pigeons championships. Unfortunately he had to settle for second place but that did not prevent him from enjoying his feat. But who is this one year old hen that claimed a second prize on the national podium?

- 'Lady 07' (BE15-1067607)

2. National Ace Pigeon Extrem Long Distance Yl KBDB
22. Libourne national - 3,697 p.
69. Narbonne national - 3,187 p.
   176. International - 7,811 p.

Click here to check her pedigree.

Efficient management

62 years of age, Alain Delhove has been running a doctor's practice for quite a few years. He is a much appreciated doctor in his area, who works at least 14 hours a day. This means that he doesn not have a lot of free time to take care of his pigeons. Fortunately, he can count on the help of his friend Pol De Tournay who takes care of the daily management and most of the trainings during the season. At the begining of the season, the racing pigeons are coupled in early april. The pigeons two years of age and older can brood their eggs for 10 days before being separated. As far as the yearlings go, the pairs can keep several nest up until the end of may but they are never breeding. It enables them to reach peak fitness once the international races start. Things only start to get serious in the end of May when they need to improve their fitness to reach their future goals. Like in most of the extreme long distance lofts, priority is given to the natural health instead of using too many medicines. In fact, the extreme long distance pigeons have to be as strong as possible and the use of medicines would only reduce their natural resistance. In 2008, after his first national victory, Alain explained: 'I'm seeking to develop their natural strength as much as possible, which is of crucial importance if you choose to focus on races of more than 800km.
When they are coming home, they only get some clear water without electrolytes or anything else. I think I can learn a lot from my pigeons while observing their ability to recover after a heavy effort.
'
This philosophy is the same nowadays. However, Alain goes to the vet for a medical check-up in early April, only to have a better picture on the general condition of his racing team. If they do not perform as they should, he goes back to the vet to see what's going wrong. During the rest of the year, he uses some products from the market to help his pigeons stay in good health (Avidress, Sedochol, garlic oil & beer yeast etc).
Another important thing concerning the pigeons is that they are placed in a large aviaries during the winter and this only to strengthen their immune defense.


A global view on the accomodations.

In conclusion

His indisputable passion for the extreme long distance pushed Alain Delhove to heavily invest in the best lines available on the market. Finally, he has been able to reap the rewards of his work and his investments while entering the top of the Belgian pigeon sport. In several weeks' time, he will definitely say goodbye to his favourite hobby, ending at the same time his very enjoyable career. We wish him an excellent racing season.

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