Bert Vanden Berghe (Wortegem-Petegem, BE) excels in Agen with a 2nd National Yearlings and 3 x top 50

Bert Vanden Berghe wants his pigeons to be in top form for Agen every season. Due to the difficult weather conditions he was initially planning to basket just one team of one year old cocks. "But they were looking good, so I basketed a second team as well", Bert says smiling. And the results are in: a 2nd national yearlings, three top 50 prizes and almost 5 top 100 prizes.

Bert holding his 2nd National Agen of 4,086 yearlings

Den Boswachter, 2nd National Agen 4,086 yearlings

The one year old cock NL17-1410366 Den Boswachter wins a 2nd National of 4,086 yearlings in Agen (and a preliminary 6th International) with an average speed of 921.88 m/min. "He arrived home fairly relaxed, together with an unknown pigeon from The Netherlands. It was starting to get dark (10:26pm), so I could hardly see him approach the loft", Bert recalls. "His name refers to forest ranger (Boswachter in Dutch) Luc, who is always there when the pigeons are about to come home. But this time he overdid it a bit, spending 30 hours by the loft", Bert says smiling. He is happy to be adding a 2nd national to his already excellent palmares:

1st Nat. Agen 5,507 p.
1st Nat. Guéret 9,754 p.
2nd and 11th Nat. Brive 5,929 p.
2nd Nat. Agen 4,086 p.
2nd Nat. Libourne 6,658 p.
2nd Nat. Guéret 14,362 p. (later disqualified because the rubber was not clocked)
3rd Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance Olds
3rd and 4th Nat. Libourne 7,957 p.
3rd Nat. Poitiers 13,135 p.
4th and 8th Nat. Limoges 14,271 p.

Forester Luc, steevast toeschouwer in het weekend, bleef 30 uur lang zitten voor Agen

Racing bird Den Boswachter comes from The Netherlands, and he is the result of the friendship between Bert and Jan Hooymans, who gave Bert one youngster from a nest. "All young cocks are small, with good plumage, and they are strong in character. Their character comes from the Hooymans breed, and their small size and plumage stems from their Cor de Heijde origins, which Jan often breeds with", Bert explains. Den Boswachter carries all three characteristics as well, although he is slightly bigger, due to not being related to Van de Heijde. The sire is a brother of the renowned Harry (1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance WHZB 2009). Harry is a grandson of top breeder Bliksem of grandmaster Gaby Vandenabeele, which originates for 75% from Bert's pigeon family. The dam NL13-1390395 is a daughter of Dreampair (Bosua x Koopman bloodline), which comes straight from team Snellen & Son. The Dreampair are the parents or grandparents of a 1st NPO Pont-St.-Maxence 7,536 p., a 1st NPO Orléans 5,998 p. and an 8th Nat. Ace Pigeon NPO 2012. Click here for the full pedigree of Den Boswachter.

The eye of Den Boswachter ...

And his magnificent wing

Hooymans x Cor de Heijde: more of the same

The 2018 race from Agen was a tough race in high temperatures, a clear blue sky, and a fairly strong north-easterly wind. It did not seem to have any effect on Bert's one year old cocks, since his team not only claimed a 2nd National but four more early prizes: a 31st, 45th, 88th and 102nd National. That's right, he had 3 pigeons in the top 50 after a demanding race, including a 2nd national, and almost 5 pigeons in the top 100. Keep in mind the pigeons were not ready the week before Brive, which is why Bert hesitated whether to basket one or two teams. "I was of course very happy to have opted for two teams. This is a great performance from my loft caretakers Wim (Dewitte) and Dirk. Getting your pigeons in peak form for one single race is quite a challenge as it is, let alone winning several top prizes in such demanding conditions", a proud Bert explains. Here are the other four early birds, which all stem from Hooymans x Cor de Heijde:

The wonderful lofts in Wortegem-Petegem

Motivation tool: spending several hours together

As with the other youngsters, Den boswachter was hardly raced last year. He did Châteauroux in June, his first national race, and before that he won two early prizes from Fontenay (12th of 203 p.) and Orléans provincial (51st of 3,417 p.). He did another 60km training flight the day before basketing, and he was then allowed to spend seven hours with his hen before being sent off to Agen. Bart: "Seven hours seems a bit too long to most. When I started again in 2011, I let the cocks see their hens for just a brief moment, like most other fanciers do. I noticed this was more or less useless, since the pigeons hardly knew what they were coming home for. This is why I keep them together much longer." 

Libourne or Narbonne, perhaps Sint-Vincent

Bert has 23 birds left of the original 34 one year old cocks. These are now kept in two separate racing teams, one for Libourne and one for Narbonne. "Agen and Narbonne are my two extreme long distance races of choice this season, although I am thinking of doing St. Vincent for the first time as well. Who knows, maybe my 2nd National can claim a second top result for the national championships, although I think the chances of a high ranking are few. The yearlings have one joint category for the long distance and the extreme long distance, but there are simply much fewer birds in the extreme long distance", Bert explains. One thing's for sure: Den Boswachter will continue to race this season, and we are really happy about that.