Daniel Aerens (Drongen, BE) fulfils his dream and wins a first international Barcelona hens 2013

This international victory in the hens’ category is a crowning achievement. He did great in the race from Barcelona 2013 with the first six prizes in the club and he was the best Belgian loft in this demanding 2013 race from Barcelona!

Daniel Aerens has gained a reputation among fanciers as chairman of the Union & Liberté Club and especially the OVV-FVOV organisation, which organises provincial and national longer middle distance races. He has been of great value to our sport. He became a fancier at the age of ten. At first he had a loft together with his father but when his father passed away he could no longer run the loft on his own. He was a businessman and chairman of a number of partnerships so he did not have time to run his own loft. It was only in the early 1980s, when he moved to his house in Drongen that he started a new loft, after a break of twelve years. It was his goal to excel at the long distance and he dreamed of winning the classic from Barcelona.
Meanwhile Daniel has turned into a true Barcelona specialist and possibly one of the best in Belgium. He owes his success to three things: a carefully composed breed, a simple yet well planned caretaking scheme and most of all patience. You have to allow your pigeons time to grow and to develop into full-grown and full bred marathon racing birds. He visited three renowned pigeon lofts to develop his own breed: Cyriel Martens, Jozef Vandenbroucke and Mas Palomas of Norbert Norman. To further improve his pigeons’ stamina and character he also paid a visit to one of the best extreme long distance lofts in 1995: the Dutch fanciers Anton & Lucie Vanderwegen. He obtained really strong pigeons but he also learned a lot from Anton & Lucie. He gained an insight into the development and guidance of the modern day extreme long distance pigeon. He applied his knowledge to his own pigeon breed, eventually becoming one of the best Barcelona racers at international level.

A dream comes true

Daniel Aerens has really set his mind on the international competition, including of course the classic from Barcelona. Unsurprisingly, his dream was to win Barcelona one day. People who are familiar with Daniel and his breed know that his pigeons will never give up. They are not afraid of hard work. Just take a look at the international results and you will notice that they perform at their best in the most demanding races.
This means the 2013 race from Barcelona suited them perfectly well. It proved one of the hardest Barcelona races in years with almost no clouds along the course and a strong headwind from the north east. With these weather conditions everybody expected the Daniel Aerens pigeons to perform really well and so they did. In fact they really dominated the race with no less than 6 first prizes in the club, three pigeons in the national top 100. He was also the first fancier with six pigeons in the national results (the sixth pigeon had a 182th prize) and last but not least he won the first international prize in the hens’ category! We believe that Daniel Aerens was probably the most successful fancier in this race from Barcelona, even at international level! Just have a look:

Barcelona club 150 old birds:
1-2-3-4-5-6-9-11-12-15-18-24-31-37-38-39-44-45-47-48 (20/37)
Provincial  1,933 old birds:
311-334-394-427-437-463 (24/37)
National 10,542 old birds:
4-64-83-118-124-182-280-355-446-558-662-836-989-990… (25/37)
Internat Hens: 1 etc…

This is already his fourth (inter)national victory in his career. This is his impressive list of achievements:

1st Intnat Barcelona Hens 2013
1st Nat Orange 6,751 p. in 2005
1st Intnat St.Vincent 1,666 hens in 2007
1st Nat Montélimar 616 hens in 2004
2nd Nat Pau 2,180 p. in 2004
4th Nat Barcelona 10,542 p. in 2013
5th Intnat Barcelona 25,382 p. in 2013
4th Nat St.Vincent 6,521 yearlings in 2007
4th Intnat St.Vincent 7,515 yearlings in 2007
5th Intnat Pau 8,116 p. in 2004
5th Intnat Perpignan 3,131 hens in 2007
5th Nat Pau 1,984 p. in 2009
6th Nat Béziers 6,522 p. in 2001
6th Nat Barcelona 13,021 p. in 2002
6th Nat Barcelona 11,484 . 2008
6th Intnat Barcelona 6,520 hens in 2008
8th Nat Mont Ventoux 2004
9th Intnat St.Vincent 1,666 hens 2007
9th Nat Barcelona 11,484 p. 2008 

The hen that took the international first prize from Barcelona was renamed I have a dream after the race. This is her list of achievements in the extreme long distance:

-I have a dream BE08-4334409

1e Intnat Barcelona Hens 2013
’13 Barcelona  Prov   1,933 p. 2
               Nat   10,420 p. 4
               Int   25,382 p. 5
’11 Barcelona  club     221 p. 34
’10 Barcelona  Nat   12,641 p. 1395
’11 Perpignan  Nat    5,591 p. 700
’12 Perpignan  club     152 p. 46
          Hens Int    3,849 p. 825

Sire: BE96-4428080 Zilveren Vleugel
He is the winner of the Silver Wing Award from Barcelona in the Barcelona Club in Bruges, as its name suggests. His sire is a direct Vanderwegen, paired to a hen from his own breed.

Dam: BE02-4400276 De 276-duivin
She was a great racing hen with top prizes from Argenton, Limoges and Perpignan. She is a granddaughter of the main stock sire of Daniel Aerens, the stock bear Zwarte Pau BE88-4160348, which is a crossing of the old Cyriel Martens breed x Norman.

The pigeon family of Daniel Aerens achieved a spectacular result from Barcelona and it is remarkable that five of the first six pigeons that arrived from Barcelona and that took the first six prizes in the club, belong to the bloodline of his stock sire Zwarte Pau. We provide an overview:

-2nd Barcelona BE10-4241218

’13 Barcelona Lok    150 p. 2
              Nat 10,542 p. 64

He was bred from Mont-Ventoux II BE99-4116273 (a son of the first prov. Ace Pigeon Long Distance East Flanders: the 727/90) x 141-hen BE03-4033141 (a 50% A&L Vanderwegen).

-521 Barcelona BE08-4334521

’13 Barcelona Club    150 p. 3
              Nat  10,542 p. 83
’11 Barcelona Club    221 p. 12
              Nat  12,170 p. 605
’10 Barcelona Nat  12,641 p. 1646
’12 Perpignan Nat   6,661 p. 446
        Hens  Int   3,849 p. 108
’11 Perpignan Nat   5,591 p. 237
        Hens  Int   3,861 p. 192

A very successful hen. She is a daughter of Broer Montélimar BE03-4033311, a brother of the first Nat. Montélimar and of the first internat. St. Vincent Hens (from Son Zwarte Pau 106/94 x Sister 1st Barcelona 292/99) x Barcelonaduivin BE06-4092807 (a granddaughter of Zilveren Vleugel).

-Kleindochter I Narbonne BE07-4228031

’13 Barcelona Club   150 p. 4
              Nat 10,542 p. 118
’12 Barcelona Nat 11,590 p. 775
’11 Barcelona Club   221 p. 37
’09 Barcelona Nat 13,503 p. 1646
’12 Perpignan Club   152 p. 28
         Hens Int  3,849 p. 592
’11 Perpignan Nat  5,591 p. 865

This is a strong hen that has already completed four Barcelona races and two Perpignan races. She was bred from a Son Narbonne 311/00 x 412-hen Be01-4390412 (a daughter of 595/95 Vanderwegen x Daughter Zwarte Pau 307/99).

-5th Barcelona BE10-4241128

’13 Barcelona Club   150 p. 5
              Nat 10,542 p. 124
’13 Perpignan Club   127 p. 29

She did great in the tough race from Barcelona 2013 but she had a great result in last weekend’s Perpignan, in very hot temperatures. She is a daughter of Mont Ventoux BE99-4116308 (a son of stock bear Zwarte Pau) x 720-hen BE04-4202720 (a crossing of the old bloodline + Daughter Euro 478/02 of A&L Vanderwegen).

-De ‘245’ BE05-4389245

’11 Barcelona Club   221 p. 3
              Nat 12,170 p. 90
’13 Barcelona Club   150 p. 6
              Nat 10,542 p. 182
’12 Barcelona Club   257 p. 76
’10 Perpignan Nat  6,257 p. 273

She has won prizes from Angoulême, 3 x Orange, Irun, 2 x Narbonne, Marseille etc. She is a very strong hen that was bred from the same pair as the granddaughter of Narbonne 031/07, winner of a 4th in the club and a 118th national Bercelona 213!

Daniel Aerens basketed 37 pigeons for Barcelona 2013 and 25 of them won a national prize, including nine of his ten first nominated. Nine hens were basketed first, followed by six cocks. The hens were all on their nest with one to three day old eggs. Daniel knows from experience that this is the preferable nest position for the hens for Barcelona. The hens were prepared in the flight from Chateauroux (1 June), after which they were paired, followed by another flight from Angerville with eggs in their nests. The cocks (widowers) completed Chateauroux and Montluçon to prepare for Barcelona.

Keep it simple

Daniel (74) adopts a simple approach he feels comfortable with. He sticks to his ideas, even when things are not going as planned. It is especially useful for fanciers that would like to excel in the extreme long distance and especially Barcelona, which has always been the main goal for the loft in Drongen. Daniel believes sticking with your plan is more important than the plan itself. In fact Daniel Aerens focuses on a basic approach, on keeping it simple. We take a closer look at his approach.

Most youngsters are hardly trained (the first round is trained no further than Arras) and some are not trained at all in their year of birth. They are given time to develop and to gain strength. They are trained and basketed for races mainly at the age of one. The sexes are not separated and they are not given a nest box either; all pigeons are simply basketed together. Daniel thinks he loses less pigeons compared to fanciers who train their young birds regularly. “How many yearlings do you have left if you train 100 young birds or basket them for the national races?” he asked. He loses a few yearlings once in a while of course but this is very limited. Both the cocks and the hens are trained only as yearlings and then they are selected based on their results from Argenton, Brive (this used to be Limoges) and possibly Narbonne. In the races closer than Chateauroux the pigeons are not really clocked, they are basketed just to be trained. A possible disadvantage is the lack of experience in the races, as a result of which they are not likely to win top prizes right from the start. This is not really a problem however, because the true long distance stars are usually at their best only at the age of three, when they start to excel in the marathon competition. The cocks are moved to the widowers’ loft and are part of the widowers’ team at the age of two. This means that the old birds have a lot of time to work on their power and strength by the time they need it the most: in the extreme long distance races.

The widowers are not paired after Perpignan. Daniel thinks they have a better moult if they cannot come to the nest. The widowers (40 old racing birds) are given a partner only at the end of October, after the moulting period. The one year old cocks are paired at the same time so that they get used to their new loft and their breeding box. The pairs are allowed to brood on plastic eggs twice before they are separated again at the end of December. They are paired on 15 March to get ready for the new season. This time they can raise a youngster and they can brood for a few days as well. Meanwhile the first training flights take place. The cocks cannot see their hen before basketing when on widowhood and this is something Daniel learned from the Vanderwegen family. Daniel believes a pigeon can be in top form over a period of six weeks, which is long enough for the international races from the end of July until the beginning of August. He has always been using two mixtures for his pigeons: breeding mixture and purifying mixture, with the proportion depending on the task ahead.

The old widowers are given a tricho treatment every three to four weeks, which is unavoidable with pigeons that stay in the basket for three to four days. Electrolytes are added to the drinking water when the birds arrive home and vitamins are provided one day before basketing. That is about it when it comes to medical guidance. He does not give coccidiosis treatments or other cures. The young birds, the yearlings and even the breeding pigeons are never given any kind of treatment. The breeders are paired for the first time in January and they breed youngsters until August. Most of Daniel’s breeding pigeons are proven marathon racing birds.

This approach has allowed Daniel Aerens to become one of the best Barcelona fanciers of Belgium and his first international prize in the hens’ category is a crowning achievement. Congratulations on your deserved victory!

Notice the control stamp on the wings of the first international hen from Barcelona 2013