Karel & Stijn De Rouck (Oosterzele, BE) take the first national prize from Guéret young birds with Nina

Some say pigeon fancying is not popular among young people but this performance proves the opposite. The 25 year old Stijn De Rouck is a motivated and sensible fancier who was bound to win a top result sooner or later.

Stijn has a master’s degree in history and he started keeping pigeons in 2009 with full support from his parents. His father Karel helps taking care of the pigeons but he is also a handyman. He follows the advice of his son Stijn and he provides feedback. Stijn can always count on the support and the help of his mother, Martine, as well.

Stijn gained an interest in pigeons when he joined his neighbours Karel & Koen Leus while they were waiting for their pigeons to arrive. Back in 2009 Stijn could barely hold a pigeon. He had to start from scratch but soon his talent started to develop. This reputable top class pigeon family with top prizes in the middle distance and the longer middle distance is founded on a sound basis of excellent bloodlines. Karel and Stijn started in 2009 with 65 pigeons that came from Karel & Koen Leus, which means the majority of their pigeons are related to the breeds of Erik Limbourg and Ludo Claessens. Karel and Koen Leus are always willing to help and Stijn and Karel receive great advice from other middle distance fanciers, including Raf Den Haese (Moortsele) and Eric Hofman (Scheldewindeke).

Goal-oriented approach leads to results

Stijn is a self-taught fancier who spares no effort to further improve his skills with the help of the internet, literature, the advice of his colleagues and of course his own experiences. This allowed him to develop an excellent method for maintaining his pigeon family. 24 breeding pairs are paired at the end of November. The eggs of his regular pairs are put in the bowls of the feeding pairs. In 2013 his racing team consisted of 16 old birds (8 cocks and 8 hens) and 72 young birds. The old birds are raced on total widowhood; the hens are basketed weekly and the cocks are raced every two weeks. The young birds are darkened from March to the last weekend of June and there is no lightening afterwards. He tries to motivate his young birds by using the sliding door and he baskets racing pigeons depending on their current form. He always tries to combine the weekly races from Angerville with the nationals (Argenton, Issoudun, Bourges). The pairs are placed together for a short period of time (30 to 45 minutes) before being basketed. When the racing birds arrive home they can join their partner until Sunday morning.

He does everything to make sure his pigeons are in good health, which means his pigeon get a regular medical check up from veterinary surgeon Vandercruyssen in Oosterzele. His pigeons are only treated in case of a health problem but there are preventive vaccinations against paratyphus, paramyxo viruses and the pox. His pigeon loft has a good ventilation system so his pigeons are not susceptible to canker. He always uses the mixtures of Versele: Gerry Plus, Champion Plus and Energy Plus (in the recommended portions). He uses Hemolit 40 and Boost X5 at a regular basis as well, which he adds to the feed with oil or sheep fat.

Nina (BE13-4124430) takes a well deserved first national against 11,926 pigeons

If you believe in the quality of a pigeon you should always consider giving it a second chance. Otherwise Nina would not have been able to take the national win. Nina had been lost after the third flight from Noyon, in early July. She finally arrived home together with the pigeons that had completed the national race from Bourges and she appeared in great shape. She was training very hard; the next day Stijn noticed that she did everything to defend her nest bowl. Since her comeback this hen won a 53rd Orléans against 618 pigeons, a 44th from Angerville against 450 pigeons and an 81st from Angerville against 244 pigeons, before being the fastest of 12,552 pigeons from Guéret. Stijn tried to increase their motivation for Guéret by having an additional training flight on Wednesday, after which they could join their partner. They had a very relaxed day on Thursday with some extra straw in the lofts. Click here for the pedigree of Nina.

Gueret was an overall success, with a first, seventh and 50th provincial prize against 2,989 pigeons as well. Stijn also won a 1-2-11-16-19-36-44-72-112-147 (12/23) against 563 pigeons in the club. The winner of the seventh provincial (Mina BE13-4124425) is a half sister of Nina. Click here for the pedigree of Mina. His pedigree indicates that her parents and grandparents were quite successful as well (including a first provincial Blois). This pigeon family has achieved excellent results overall, with 12 victories (7 with the yearlings and 5 with the young birds) in 2013 only.

These achievements and a goal-oriented approach have allowed Karel and Stijn to really make it to the top. It is promising to see this new generation of fanciers win important prizes. We wish them good luck!