Leo & Gerry Dockx (Koningshooikt, BE) take their first national victory with Jente, the first national young bird from Nevers

The first national race from Nevers was quite a difficult one. Leo & Gerry Dockx from Koningshooikt took the national first prize against 11,579 young birds. Their hen, Jente, achieved a velocity of 1201,02 m/min completing 470,581km.

Leo & Gerry Dockx with Jente and (grand)sons Niels & Dries. A new generation of fanciers?

"Today could be the day that things fall into place." That is what Leo Dockx said when he was basketing his pigeons for the national flight from Nevers on Thursday. He had been investing a lot of time and money in recent years so the Dockx pigeon loft had a good chance of winning a top prize sooner or later. However, nobody expected him to win last weekend, as the wind was blowing from the east.
How did they achieve such an excellent result with their hen? We give you a brief history of the Dockx pigeon family. Leo Dockx used to race the sprint races only (Quiévrain, Noyon) but his pigeons were not doing very well and Leo had no idea what to do. In 2008 they were having an open house at the farm and Jos & Jules Engels were there as well. They are relatives of the Dockx family and Leo asked them to come and have a look at his pigeon breed. Jos & Jules Engels advised him to talk to Gaston van de Wouwer, who was also visiting their farm that day. They said he knew a lot more about pigeons. They had a pleasant conversation and Gaston said: "I'm going to turn you into real pigeon fanciers. Just come to my loft next week and I will help you."

The loft where the national winner comes from

That explains why Leo & Gerry now have a wonderful white loft in Koningshooikt, based on the Gaston van de Wouwer loft. In fact 90% of the Dockx pigeons originate from Gaston’s loft. They now have a top quality loft but that is just the beginning. They were able to improve their results season after season and they are still looking for ways to improve their results. They installed a wire on the roof of the loft two weeks ago, to make sure that their pigeons enter the loft immediately instead of landing on the roof. It was Gaston van de Wouwer who gave him the advice. In fact Gaston is always there to give them advice and to help them. Nowadays their pigeons are performing at a very high level.

They race with their old hens most of the time, simply because there is not enough time to spend on the young birds. Racing their cocks is not an option either, as there are approximately 200 to 300 unknown pigeons that circle around their farm. These pigeons are attracted by the farm’s food supplies and they prevent the cocks from returning to the loft after their flight: the racing cocks of Dockx pay too much attention to the young hens around the farm. The old birds have been doing very well this season with, for instance, a fifth national from Argenton and a second provincial from Vierzon.

Leo & Gerry think that their victory with a young hen has everything to do with a different way of keeping their pigeons motivated. The hens can join their cock for three quarters of an hour before basketing. They can usually already see each other from behind wooden bars but this time Gerry had darkened the room so that they could not see anything. This must have really influenced this hen. In fact the other seven young birds were basketed that way as well and they performed a lot better compared to previous races. This was the only thing they did differently this time. Their pigeons are always darkened from mid-March until early June and they are lightened from 21 July. The pigeons are fed with Matador Start and Fly two times a day. The veterinary surgeon checks the pigeons regularly and provides a cure whenever necessary. This is quite a common approach.

Has this hen been successful all season? “Not really, to be honest”, says Leo. She was basketed for Noyon three times and she did a race from Angerville, but she did not win a top prize there. Then there was the important young birds’ race from Bourges. They said with a smile that the hen arrived home one day later than the prizewinners. She took a 514th provincial prize from Issodun but she could not win a prize in the next flight from La Souterraine. This is quite a talented hen but things did not work out for her this season. Leo says pigeons have to be in perfect health and they need the right motivation as well. That was the case last weekend and it resulted in a great prize. This hen will now be placed in the breeding loft to breed a new generation of champions. It is worth nothing that her feet were covered in mud, which indicates she had taken a break to have a drink somewhere. We are really curious about what she has been drinking during her flight. Click here for the pedigree of Jente.

There is one more flight to come next week and they might win another top prize. Leo & Gerry Dockx have several other excellent pigeons in their loft and the next race is a good opportunity to add another win to their list of achievements. We hope Gerry has been able to catch up on sleep by then. He had a short night after his national victory, which is understandable. Some say that the Dockx family owes its victory to his excellent pigeons and to Gaston van de Wouwer, a great friend who has been of great help. However, we think Leo & Gerry are two excellent fanciers who really have the skill to get the most out of their pigeon breed. This is a great team backed by their two wives who gave us a warm welcome and who take care of the administrative tasks. We are confident that this is only the beginning for the Dockx family. We think they will win several other victories in the seasons to come. It seems that Gaston has made himself a new opponent in his neighbourhood!

Leo and Gerry, congratulations again on your national victory. We hope to see you again soon to talk about your next important victory. It would be well deserved!