Vermander Eric, "Allround-pigeons"

Eric Vermander from Oekene


Oekene is a part of Roeselare in West Flanders. Here I have come to visit an allround fancier. He participates in all flights – Arras to Barcelona. He owns a strain capable of flying all these distances. Many of his pigeons have raced distances from 100 to 1100 km with very nice prizes. Only very few lofts achieve this level of quality. The first time I heard the name Eric Vermander was when I came to Noël Lippens in Aarsele. The father of his ‘Vital 798/88’ came directly from Eric Vermander and it was a child of his ‘Oude Blauwe Witpen’, who made it 8 times into the national top 100. Because I am somewhat of a curious nature I have decided to visit this Eric Vermander, best friend of Noël Lippens, once. Several months later I did it. I was standing in front of Eric Vermanders’s door in Oekene. His wife lets me into their beautiful home, because Eric is clocking pigeons. Pigeons form Orleans are arriving and Eric has 8 pigeons in this race. His first pigeon has already showed up. This was his best pigeon in 2002 and 2003 seemed to be a good year also. One week later I will find out that this champion ‘De 5000’ has landed yet another one of his top prizes. We will talk about this “Rocket” later.
In the meanwhile the Eric’s loft manager has arrived and Eric finally has time to tell me all the details. We leave the terras next to the lofts and we move to the kitchen. From time to time Eric runs back to the terras when he hears the alarm. He still wants to know which pigeon has just arrived and in what condition. And that is the way it should be. The businessman Eric Vermander own’s two butcher’s shops and has very litlle free time. Therefore is the loft manager a necessity, but the time that Eric is at home he wants to dedicate to his pigeons. He is a fancier with every inch of his body. A man with motivation and ambition, who is very succesful in his business and in the pigeonsport. I quickly saw the resemblance between him and his friend. They both are champions in thier lifes.

The first years
Eric Vermander became a pigeon fancier when he was 12 years old. His father Albert was an excellent middle long distance racer and Eric has learned a lot from him. Unfortunatelly, his father died when Eric was still very young and he had to take over the duty of taking care of thier pigeons.
In 1975 he moved to a different house, but stayed in Oekene. The pigeons moved with him and soon the succes continued. Eric was hard to beat in middle long distance. Father Alfred’s strain consisted of pigeons from Reyntjes (Hérinnes) and Henri Vermander (Eric’s uncle) and they proved to be excellent for these distances.
In 1980 he slowly switched to long distance. Immediately, he started winning top prizes. Each time he would basket only one or two pigeons, but he was able to clock them very quickly. The fanciers in West Flanders have noticed immediatelly that they had a strong competitor – for the pizes as waell for the financial awards. It didn’ take long for times in the top 100 of the national ranking ( besides others also 5th intern. Lourdes). He grow to be one of th best breeders in the province. He is the direct father of ‘Kamiel’ (he flew 18 long distance flights out of which he only missed one; he became the 1st provincial and the 2nd national Pau and also became the European Ace pigeon of Pau for the period of five years) and also the grandfather of ‘Vital’ of Noël Lippens from Aarsele. Mostly, he was coupled with ‘804/98’ and together they made up the basic breeding couple of the loft. The hen ‘804/89’ flew very well as a young hen and became the mother of ‘Kamiel’, ‘De Clijsters 977/99’ (2nd international Pau 2001), grandmother of the 1st national Bourges of M. Lerno. She is a mother of six provincial winners. Talk about an excellent breeding hen! The second key breeding pigeons from in this loft is without a doubt ‘Oude Zwarte’. He was bred form a crossing of the old Vermander strain with the strain of Lucien Staelens. ‘Oude Zwarte’ is the father of ‘644/96’ (the best breeding hen at the moment), grandfather of the ‘De 5000’, grandfather of ‘Ronaldino’…etc. These names will become clear to you further on.
Later he made a step to overnight flights. Also here he stands out with his excellent results: he won the 3rd national Beziers, 2nd intern. Pau, 4th nat. Barcelona, 14th intern. Dax… During the championships of 2002 he was only beaten on the extreme long distance flights by his good friend Noël Lippens by 1 small point. He left behind him names like Etienne Devos, Vaernewyck, Lietaer, Moreels, Decroix Vansteenkiste, Duhamel and Gilles-Galle. His strain of quick pigeons has very little of other blood added. The most important are only Gaby Vandenabeele from Dentergem (the line of de Bijter) and a substantial amount breeding together with his friend Noël Lippens was done (mainly in the line of de Turbo).

The method

Eric owns only 8 breeding couples. “I put very little importance on the word breeding pigeon.” For some fancier it seems to be a holy word. There are only good pigeons in my breeding loft. They all had to fly very good on ALL distances for several years. This year I will put the ‘Provinciaal’ in the breeding loft. He flew top prizes from Arras to Perpignan. In my breeding loft I only put pigeons who have sprint qualities but who also perform very well on international long distance races. I don’t believe in a special long distance strain. I believe that a pigon that can fly well at Arras, Clermont or Chartres can fly well also at Barcelona, Perpignan or Beziers. Or at least they should be able to. A pigeon that only gets a prize at Barcelona, does not make it to my breeding loft. It is not my thing but I do have a lot of respect for people who specialize in this.”
All the coupling happens in the first week of December. By all I mean the 8 breeeding couples and the 54 widowers (including yearlings). The old and the yearling widowers sit together in several lofts. The breeding pigeons first have an opportunity to breed several times with their firm partner, and they are bred with a few other partners also. Theracing pigeons are after one round with their partner taken apart and then coupled again on 20th of March.
After three days of sitting on thier eggs starts the widowhood and the training. This goes on very quickly, because Eric likes to start with the first flights in April. Like we said before, the sprint flights are an important indicator for him about the coming racing season. They all have to take part from the first Sunday to the last one. Usually, the pigeons fly till half May 1 x Arras, 1 X Clermont for the old pigeons and 3 X Clermont for the yearlings and then the middle long distance. Afterwards they are raced every fourteen days. Pigeons that fly superbly on the middle long distance go on to the long distance. He doesn’t keep any pigeons specially for the middle long distance. This whole preparation procedure was in 2003 halted by the fowl plague. But at several other places it was even more serieous.

After returning home from a race the pigeons always receive a mix from Beyers (Gaby Vandenabeele) and electrolytes in their drinking water. Every 14 days they are treated for tricho and they receive regularly one Appertex against coccidiosis. “I started using also the products from Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht and I’m extremely pleased with the results” adds Eric. In the beginning of the season the widowers still have to learn to train. That is when the flag is used but later on it is not necessary anymore. In his daily caregiving is Eric helped by his 76 year-old loft manager Remi Creupelandt, who does everything up to the smallest detail exactly the way Eric asks him to. The widowers fly like rockets back to their lofts after every training. The experience of he older Remi comes in handy too. The last three days before basketting receive the cocks and extra spoon of maize in their box. Eric likes it when the widower eats a lot. Not eating in the last days mostly means no prize. After their return the gentlemen don’t get too long to enjoy thier ladies. “A half an hour up to an hour for the longest flights is long enough”, says Eric.
Eric is a real expert with older pigeons. The young pigeons receive somewhat less attention. They are not kept in darkened lofts and they are only trained up to Clermont, theearliest youngsters up Blois or Tours. As youngsters they then cannot show lists of spectacular results and the most of the yearlings of 2003 were late pigeons anyway.

The toppers
The pride of the loft is the ‘De 5000’ or the 3160050/00. As a young pigeon he became the 9th provincial ace pigeon, as a yearling he was the 3rd provincial ace pigeon and as a two-year old again 3rd provincial ace pigeon. Who could beat that? On top of that this pigeon flew excellent results from the first Orleans of 2003. Here is a small peek at his list of records form year 2002. In that year he already won 104 prizes.

12th Tours 2 409p – 11th Bourges 1 672p – 4th Tours 1 058p – 13th Tours 1 553p - 286th Limoges 16 645p - 6th Orleans 7 233p
The father of this cock comes directly from Noël Lippens, from his geschelpte Turbo, and the mother is the 644/96, his best breeding hen and the daughter of the ‘Oude Zwarte’. A brother of this father is himself the father of the champ ‘Ronaldino 3255161/01’, who in 2002 won the 3rd national Beziers against 3 539 pigeons.
another champion from this loft is
‘ De Romario 3023928/99’. He won 102 prizes in 2 years time, everything from sprint to the extreme long distance. Especially on international flights of 2002 he was unbeatable.
Romario 3023928/99
2nd Clermont ’99 1,234p – 3rd Clermont ’99 877p – 7th Chartres ’99 795p – 25th national Narbonne ’00 6,929p - 29th intern. Pau ’02 7,867p – 14th intern. Dax ’02 14,537p
His father is a son of the ‘Bijter’ from Gaby Vandenabeele and his mother is a daughter of the base pigeon ‘De Kamiel’.
Another champion at the national flights of 2002 is
Rivaldo 3023907/99’. As a young pigeon he made a good impression at La Souterraine because he won the 199th national against 14 957 pigeons but he really put himself into to the spotlight in 2002: 71th national Brive 25 352p and 106th national Montauban 6 711 pigeons. He comes from the ‘603’ (son of the superhen 804) crossed with ‘622’ and won 78 prizes in thee years.
At to wrap up, one more champion that harvests prizes from sprint to Barcelona:
Renardo 3106025/00
44 prizes in his carreer out of which the best are
Barcelona 66th national 13 021p ‘02
Barcelona 253rd international 26 928p ‘02
He is a cross of Vermander with a hen from Etienne Devos from Deerlijk.

Results 2003
272p: 5-7-13-16-23-24-27-28-52-62-75-76-77-90
Bouillon 280p:4-26-29-30-40-43-45-58-60-62-69-73-76-78-81-83-89-98
Orleans 1068p:3-20-120…
Orleans 7233p:6-9-599…
Chartres 381p:7-9-27-29-45-54…
Chateauroux 6071yearlings: 129-153-239-288-318-371-378-411…
Limoges yearlings : 11 prijzen van de 17
Chateauroux 6544 yearlings:140-218-243-647-887…
Poitiers 730p: 14-46-91…
Poitiers 4190p: 75-199-408…
Angouleme 1764p: 18-284
Angouleme 310p: 3-58
Montauban nat. 6901p:82
Bourges 866p: 8-89-101-167-188-196
Souillac nat. 8327p: 104-253
Barcelona 1905p:176-672 - 550 prjzes
Results 2002
Dourdan 370p:3-11-26-36-43…(12)
Tours 2 409p:12-56 (2/3)
Brive 25 352p:71-256-536-686-997 (11/14)
Castres 3 222p: 32-125-247-6512 (4/4)
Barcelona 13 021p: 66-571 (2/3)
Dax 4 772p: 11-670 (3/3)
Perigueux 1 053p: 2 (1/2)
Beziers 3 539p: 3-388 (2/3)
Souillac 7 358p: 104-343
Several results 2001
Chartres 532p:1-3-5-11-15-16-30… (16/19)
Chartres 447p:1-4-25-29-45-64… (13/16)
Chartres 484p:2-3-6-18-25-28-37-73… (15/19)
Chartres 364p: 2-3-7-26-45-59-104… (9/12)
Geuret provincial 1-5-9-11-16 5/8
Beziers 328p: 42-52-53 (3/3)
San Sebastian 1193p: 11-88-266 (3/3) -
650 prizes with yearlings and old pigeons.