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Ad Fortuin (Strijen, NL) takes prestigious international win in St. Vincent with Willeke

Ad Fortuin takes a 1st International St. Vincent against an impressive 10,597 pigeons. He had already claimed a 1st National YLs Agen last year (with the fastest bird overall), which shows that this is a top quality pigeon family.

Ad Fortuin (l) en sportvriend Hugo Batenburg (r)

At 5:37am on Sunday morning, after a 999km race, racing hen NL17-1262043 was clocked by Ad Fortuin in his loft in Strijen. It resulted in both a national and international victory. This is yet another highlight for a passionate long distance fancier, who also claimed a 1st National Agen YLs last year (with the fastest bird overall). Click here to reread our report on his 1st National Agen. The 58 year old fancier works as a project leader for the Numan & Kant company (Strijen), which specializes in measurement technology for air conditioning systems throughout the country. Besides, many fanciers know Ad as a part-time Supply Agent for PIPA. He and Jawin van Namen are responsible for the PIPA agency in The Netherlands.

Ad, and a few of his classmates at the time, got involved in pigeon racing at an early age, thanks to a number of pigeon fanciers from their hometown. A few of his classmates are still keeping pigeons today. Ad competed in the program races in his early days, and he did his first extreme long distance races in 1995. He eventually decided to focus exclusively on the marathon competition from 2012, encouraged by Hugo Batenburg. However, his demanding daytime job somestimes makes it difficult for him to look after his pigeons. Fortunately he can always rely on his son Cas. Cas was himself a motivated fancier as a youngster, and he claimed a few titles in the WHZB competition as a junior as well.

Ad Fortuin, the satellite loft for Batenburg v.d. Merwe (Klaaswaal)

This is without doubt the number one satellite loft of Hugo Batenburg. Every season a number of eggs from the breeding and racing birds from Klaaswaal are transferred to Strijen, to be put to good use in various races. But the hen that claimed a national first prize in last year's race from Agen was an exception: she had been ringed and bred by Hugo himself, and he took her with him to Strijen while he was visiting Ad. The winner from St. Vincent has a similar history: Hugo told Ad in 2017 that he was about to breed a few youngsters from his best racing birds for his team, which is something he rarely does. Every Saturday, Ad goes to Hugo to pick up a batch of pigeon feed, and it was during one of these visits that he said: "How about you take these youngsters with you?" And you've guessed it: one of them was this race winning hen. One of the few pigeons in Strijen that does not stem from the Batenburg pigeon breed is a hen of Wim and Betrik Murk (Ijsselstein) from the line of a 1st Nat. Barcelona, which comes from the Houten family (also from Ijsselstein). Ad's first pigeon in Barcelona 2019 was in fact a youngster of this hen.

The stone loft where national and international victories have been won

Ad has a stone loft with three sections, two of which are home to the racing birds from 2017. The third section hosts about 80 youngsters. And he has an additional loft in his barn, which consists of three sections as well. Two are used for the older racing birds from 2014 to 2016, as well as his yearlings. His third section is home to 12 feeding pairs, to brood the eggs from Hugo Batenburg every year. A stone wall was built around his best performing loft four years ago but that did not work out well: the loft promptly stopped producing top results. Jelle Jellema suggested a few changes two years ago (isolating the roof, removing the ceiling with just a small opening in the ridge of the roof), and look what happened: Ad claims a 1st National and 1st International two years in a row, in a single section that is hardly two metres wide. 

This loft relies on 46 breeding pairs and a few single yearlings for the long distance competition. The pigeons are getting warmed up in widowhood, after which they complete the long distance races from the nest. Ad makes sure that his pigeons are basketed for their first race with a youngster, and they complete their second race with eggs, or perhaps another youngster. The yearlings complete Agen and sometimes Narbonne, the two year olds race in Pau, St. Vincent and Perpignan. The three year olds and older go on to race Barcelona. Although this all depends on how the racing goes of course.

NL17-1262043 Willeke, 1st International St. Vincent (10,597 p.)

Race winner NL17-1262043, a white winged hen, was renamed Willeke after her international victory, after Ad's wife. She was the first nominated of a team of 14 birds, basketed with eggs of about 6 days old. She earned the confidence of the team after winning an early prize in Pau earlier this year. Here are some of her best results:

678th Nat. Agen YLs      4,776 p. (2018)
761st Nat. Narbonne      3,082 p. (2018)
 67th Nat. Pau           3,785 p. (2019)
  1st Int. St. Vincent  10,597 p. (2019)

The sire of Willeke is Golden Monar Boy, from a joint breeding with Etienne Meirlaen (Deurle, BE) x Batenburg v.d. Merwe (Klaaswaal, NL), from the lines of Monar and Witbuik. The dam is Yvette, and she also comes from a joint breeding between the two grandmasters. Click here for the magnificent pedigree of this wnner. Having just won a 1st International, Willeke is likely to move to the breeding lofts soon, where Hugo will try and breed successful descendants.

Closing words

Due to his demanding job as a project leader and part-time Supply Agent for PIPA, Ad tries to keep everyting as simple as possible. The birds only train in the evenings, and the pigeons get a full freeding tray throughout the racing season. Besides a trichomoniasis treatment in the brooding seasons there are no further treatments, except in case of sickness. He personally checks his pigeons for trichomoniasis every week with his own microscope, which he learned from Jelle Jellema. He also checks the droppings and a few birds every six weeks. This approach, combined with a group of top quality birds, is proving to be a successful strategy, as you can tell from his 1st National Agen 2018 and now his 1st International St. Vincent.