Vanhee breeders, "About Breeders"

Annemie Vanhee

Michel Vanhee

Gerard Vanhee

We shall let the Champion himself talk, concerning his method as to his selection of breeders; in this way, perhaps the technique of the reader will thus be improved, as a result of reading this information. This knowledge should be of vital importance to every fancier at the time of the yearly culling.

"What is the goal of every fancier when he is making his yearly selection ?
In the first place, he is to select his breeders, and secondly, he has to fill the gaps in the empty nest boxes of the racers. Is there really a means which will permit us to discover a really valuable breeding pair, through selection ? We do not believe so. Indeed, the only way to get good breeders is to discover them. Let us always bear in mind that he who has nothing can only give nothing. One should only look for the good producers among the families of good pigeons, and only among birds of excellent origin. Does that of necessity mean that all pigeons of good origin will make good breeders ? Unfortunately, such a state of affairs would be too simple, and the sport would lose a great deal of its attraction. There is only one valid point, one single proof of quality, and that is in the birds produced. One will never be able to say that a bird is a good breeder, if to date, the bird has produced nothing of value. Because of this, we have always told our visitors that it is to every fancier's interest to breed out of every pair of quality pigeons, and to put the youngsters in the races. This was also Vander Espt's way ; and thanks to this method, he always had good breeding pairs. We would like to see every fancier rear at least two youngsters out of every pair of his quality pigeons, for, out of two from the same nest, one may expect to find at least one good one. Quite often, unfortunately, both youngsters will be inferior in quality, while the birds from the second nest may be of a much higher quality. Of course, one should always limit one's breeding, at the risk of becoming over-crowded. No matter what type of loft you may have, and regardless of what your goel may be in either breeding or flying, one should never lose sight of this principle. Naturally, if one is lucky enough to raise two good ones from the pair, then of course the pair will be kept together ; possibly, you may have run into a good cross, or one of the two parents is an exceptional bird, which every fancier dreams of owning !

If one youngster is good, his sex and his build should give you an indication as to which parent he resembles the most-and whose qualities he has been influenced by. For example, out of a trial pair of breeders,you rear an "extra" young hen that looks like the father ; let us suppose that with another pair, the very opposite occurs, then the chances are, that the cock from the second pair and the hen from the first pair would make a good pair of breeders. When the type, the origin, the sporting qualities create affinity, it will be to your interest to mate these together, and later, to test their products to discover their rue worth. If one is fortunate enough to discover a good breeding pair, then one should take extra good care of these. One should not fly such a pair any longer, for the risk of losing one or both would be too costly. One should never forget that the really good breeders are a rarity, and of necessity, all the more valuable. Surely, many pigeons could have become good producers, bringing joy and success to their owner, and possibly earning him a small fortune over the years. Unfortunately, in many lofts, by the time one finds out this rare quality in one of his breeding pairs, one of the two may have already got lost on the road, or has been killed. Do not forget that the best racer is not always the best breeder, and quite often it is not able to reproduce its sterling qualities in its offspring. Many "Ace" pigeons are of ordanary origin, and one should be reminded that the sporting qualities and true value often skip a generation. It would not be the first time to find an "Ace" mated to a strong hen of excellent origin, both of which produced only youngsters of average worth. However, from such average offspring,quite often one is able to breed "Aces" and "Champions." And so, one should always consider this peculiarity in forming matings for future breedings.

The beautiful wing of "De Atoom"

The first rule naturally should be this : take pigeons only of excellent and well-known origin. This point cannot be stressed enough, since it is impossible to produce only excellent must rear also, some excellent breeders. In principle, the project may be defined as flollows : Breed first, to a definite type. When one possesses a good pigeon, of known origin, one should always attempt to breed young from it, which will either equal or surpass it. Study this stock bird completely, so that one may become familiair with those qualities which make it into a Champion. One should go over its number of winnings - flow under what conditions - what was the competition - etc.etc. Is its plumage right - is the bird in possession of a good wing - does it have a strong muscular structure, and is it in exceptional health ? Does this bird have any physical defects ? Does she accomplish her best performances in rain, in fog, or in smashes ? These would show an exellent ability to orientate correctly. Or, does this bird turn in its best records in beautiful weather, with a head wind or with a tail wind ? These would be proof of its resistance, tenacity and will-power. Does it suffer from heat or thirst ? If it does not, the bird is in possession of a balanced digestive system and a correct glandular structure.


A full knowledge of the bird's mental make-up is no less important. Are we dealing here with a nervous pigeon, which loses time on the roof ? Does it come in on the line of flight, or does it home from an offcourse direction ? This knownledge is indispensable. We must remember that some physical and mental qualities are reproduced more easily than others. A complete study such as this, should be made not only of the "Ace" that one may own - but also on his entire family, parents, grand-parents, brothers and sisters. When the dominating qualities are, or become, related qualities, then the chances to succeed are increased. When the desirable qualities are found only in the single bird alone, such chances for succes decrease. One shold know that generally, the physical qualities are more easily transferred than mental factors. For example, one may notice that the qualities of the feathers, the suppleness of the wings, the muscles, are more easily carried over ; qualities such as a good digestion or general health are carried over to a much less degree. Among the second classification of qualities are to be included the orientation ability, the will and perseverance, stamina and nervous inflow - all of which are carried over quite irregularly. We must remember, however, that such worthwhile and desirable qualities, if overdone, may in themselves cause undesirable results. For example, a good plumage may develop into an over-abundant plumage, and this in itself would inhibit tha racing. An over-substantial muscular structure makes the bird too heavy. An exaggerated vigor, too great a nervous tension, will result in irregularity of performances, loss in training and in the races themselves. The study of the bird and its family is very useful, not only to establish or to reject breeding potentially, but also to determine the choice of the better half, in the pair. Thanks to this study, you should increase your chances to succeed. Do not forget that only the ultimate results themselves are what count, when all is said and done"