Andre Colbrandt with his wife Chris.
I had a great afternoon at Bottelare, the place of André Colbrandt. We didn’t talk for just half an hour or an hour but we talked about pigeons the whole evening. André Colbrandt isn’t just a regular pigeon fancier, he is a very good one with fantastic pigeons. We didn’t talk about his national victory the whole evening, but about a lot of other stuff like the passing away of his good friend, late Roger Florizoone.
André is 65 years old and just retired…. He got intrested in pigeons because of his grandfather, however his father also was a pigeon fancier. Just like everybody in that period, his father and grandfather were short / middle distance racers. But because Andre got in touch with big names like Deraedt – Van Grembergen, Jules Rijckaert, etc… he got intrested in racing longer distances. When he became 18 years old, he started racing on his own and immediately started with the long middle distance, Angoulème etc… In the sixties he got married and moved to Gavere. In that time he raced with young pigeons; on Orleans, Bourges and Angoulème. He lived in Gavere for 4 years and then he moved to his current house in Bottelare. On this moment he decided to start racing the long distance, thanks to his good relationship with professor Van Grembergen he could immediately purchase some high quality pigeons. Also prof. Van Grembergen introduced André to the legendary André Vanbruaene. Normally it was very difficult to get in touch with André Vanbruaene, but luckily he knew the professor. André Vanbruaene was a super pigeon racer but he wouldn’t tell you any secrets. If you were lucky you could take a look into his lofts.
Because of his job André Colbrandt also got in touch with nobody less than late Roger Florizoone. They became good friends and André could get anything he wanted from Roger. Roger was a special person, you had to take him like he was. You couldn’t ask him to see his pigeons unless Roger suggested himself. You better didn’t ask any pigeons from Roger, only when Roger offered some pigeons himself, you could have some. Sometimes André received 4 to 5 pigeons during one visit, just for free, because Roger didn’t have too much space or because he just wanted to help his friends. If you are lucky to breed from these Florizoone pigeons, it makes things easier to get good results. Later André also became close friends with Etienne Devos and now they still exchange pigeons and breed together.
The total auction of Roger Florizoone took place in May 2005. As a good friend of Roger, André helped a lot by working 2 months in a row day and night to find out everything about the pedigrees on the boards Roger used to write down his pigeons (see picture). It was a though job because Roger didn’t wrote down a lot. When he bred youngsters e.g. and he wanted to say this is the father and this is the mother, he just referred to Place in the loft number 1 coupled with hen from place nr 3…but those hens changed from place time to time, so it was not easy to find out the real pedigrees for the auction.
The represented strains on the loft of André are mainly Florizoone (90%), Meremans, Etienne Devos and Vanbruaene for the other 10%.
On the breeding loft he only has about 12 breeding couples, but not just regular couples! André has 3 children of Witneus, 2 children of famous Primus I of Florizoone (according to André, the best breeder ever in the loft of Roger Florizoone), a son of Dax I, a son of Dax II, he also has the grandfather of the 1st Nat. Acepigeon of Michel Denys…, a son of oude Molenaar, 2 brothers of Rivaldo and Ronaldo of Etienne Devos, also the famous ‘Vlaamse Leeuw’ which won the 2nd International Dax in 2000. If we ask for the most beautiful moment of his career, André refers to the winning of the 2nd International Dax against almost 12.000 pigeons. This pigeon called ‘Vlaamse Leeuw’ is a 100% Florizoone. Another highlight in his career was in 2004 when 10 yearlings where basketted on Beziers and he won on National Level these prizes: 17, 54, 66, 184, 400, 435, 1122, 1368 against 5.934 yearlings!
On the hard race of St. Vincent this weekend, André basketted 18 pigeons, 13 cocks and 5 hens. He wins 50% prize with 9 pigeons. In his club in Zottegem he wins 1st, 4th , 7th, 14th .... St. Vincent is about 900 KM for André. The winning pigeon, which is named Blue St. Vincent, is really an extraordinary pigeon, a very strong blue cock, middle sized. You wouldn’t say he raced 900 KM the day before. The races in 2005 before he won the 1st national Sint Vincent: 2 x Noyon (175KM), 2 x Dourdan (2 x 310KM), 2 x Chateauroux (485KM). On the both Chateauroux race he won a prize. As a young pigeon he raced until Dourdan. André has about 21 widowers and 30 yearlings. He has about 85 youngsters, which is a lot, but he almost didn’t loose any youngster yet. He starts breeding around February, which is rather late so that’s why he can only race his youngsters until maximum 310 KM. Because of the limited number of pigeons, André has a good overview about his pigeons.
The pedigree of the winning pigeon is fantastic; the father is a full brother of Rivaldo (Etienne Devos). Rivaldo, who is also brother of Ronaldo, wins this year for the 6th time on Barcelona. And not just a regular price, a very early national price. Rivaldo races every year also Perpignan or Beziers after he raced Barcelona. Ronaldo, who won 1st Acepigeon BDS in 2000, is also a super pigeon. The mother of the St Vincent winner is direct Florizoone… Guess what… a daughter of famous Witneus.
The parents of the 1ste National St.Vincent.
If we ask André what he can give us as good advise, he says: Stay close to the nature and give your pigeons a lot of mais, mais and again mais! Every year he buys about 1.000 kilo of mais for his pigeons. His young birds do not eat anything else, because youngbirds have to grow! Also his old birds get lots of mais. Here also old pigeons can eat on the day they are basketted, they get as much as they want.
Concerning the medical supervision, André only threats them against trichomonas regularly.
The loft for the youngsters, hens and breeders.