Willy Daniels and his national winner Nikki.
From Karel Schellens and Maurits Voets to Willy Daniels
Kessel, a municipality of Nijlen, is located in the diamond region, which explains why so many locals earn their money in the diamond cutting industry. Willy Daniels (66) is one of them but he is now retired. Kessel has quite a tradition in pigeon racing as well; it was Karel Schellens who put his town on the map with his renowned 'Nationaal I'. And then there is Maurits Voets, who at times dominated the middle distance competition in the region with overwhelming results.
Willy started keeping pigeons in his current loft in 1978. At first, Willy looked after the pigeons of Maurits Voets who was suffering from illness. Maurits thanked him by giving him some of his pigeons, including a few descendants of his stock pigeon Lichte Bourges. These were top class pigeons that have bred 'De 37', Willy's winner of a 1st Nat. Argenton 2008, and Olympiad Pigeon later that season. Nikki, the winner of the 1st Nat. Chateauroux, originates from these lines as well. He also found reinforcements in the loft of Jos Bastiaens from Wommelgem (family by marriage), whose Noyon pair proved a true stock pair, and he also introduced pigeons of Luc & Bart Geerinckx. He then obtained four pigeons from the neighbouring loft of Meyer & Sons, which proved a great combination. You can tell from the pedigree of last weekend's national winner. Meanwhile, a granddaughter of Queen L of Paul & Jelle Roziers has developed into one the loft's stock dams.
Willy is fond of pigeons with a soft plume, a medium size, and preferrably a strong back and strong muscles. The eyes of a pigeon tells you a lot about their vividness and intelligence.
1st National Chateauroux and a 100% prize percentage
Willy Daniels does not have a large collection of pigeons but they are of top quality! He obtained them through strict selection. He put his game with the cocks on hold in late 2013 to concentrate on the hens' game instead. His racing team consists of no more than 12 hens. He started the longer middle distance season with 12 pigeons, 10 of which have managed to start in the team for Chateauroux. They have managed to achieve a 100% prize percentage, including of course the national first prize for Nikki, a four year old hen basketed as third nominated. She was clocked at 17:22'36", covering 526.475km with a velocity of 1275.99 m/min. She has had quite a season already:
In 2015: Chateauroux Nat 18,604 p. 1 Bourges Prov 2,663 p. 382 Vierzon Prov 2,196 p. 116 Some earlier top results: Vierzon Prov 10,480 p. 4 Bourges Nat 22,663 p. 33 Gueret 1,106 p. 68 Poitiers 1,575 p. 179 Bourges 8,005 p. 540
Sire: Zoon Zot BE07-6044289
Comes from De Meyer & Son from Kessel, being a direct son of supercrack de Zot BE00-6135770 (winner of 14 first prizes) x 127-Duivin BE06-6073127
Dam: Dochter Grootvader 37 BE09-6217201
Granddaughter of stock sire Broer Lichte Bourges 271/94 from Maurits Voets, a super class breeding bird that was also the grandfather of 'De 37', winner of a 1st Nat. Argenton 2008. She is a daughter of Zoon Broer Lichte Bourges BE99-6188066 (from Broer Lichte Bourges BE94-6382271 x Dochter Dikke BE98-6170123 Mariën-Roybergs) x 843-Duivin BE08-6062843.
Click here for the full pedigree
A total of 10 pigeons were basketed for the national race from Bourges, and each one of them can be found in the national results. This means they had a 100% prize percentage, and three national top 12 prizes - quite an impressive performance:
Chateauroux Prov 1,855 olds: 1-6-228-325 (4/4) Nat. 18,604 olds: 1-11-1167-1898 (4/4) Chateauroux Prov 3,205 yearlings: 7-86-116-255-519-886 (6/6) Nat. 25,710 yearlings: 12-253-369-952-2634-5057 (6/6)
His racing hens were clearly in great shape, as you can tell from their results in recent weeks:
Bourges Prov 2,663 olds: 13-42-382 (3/4) Bourges Prov 3,743 yearlings: 10-21-194-333-679-698 (6/7) Vierzon Prov 2,196 olds: 3-116-147 (3/5) Vierzon Prov 1,576 yearlings: 23-103-118 (3/7)
The racing hens seize power
As we said earlier, Willy Daniels has started focusing on the hens' competition in the longer middle distance. He believes it takes fewer pigeons to compete in the hens' game, and it involves less work as well, hence his decision.
Willy thinks keeping hens is less labour intensive, and less troublesome. He explains why:
- They need to be trained just once a day, and training is less important than for cocks
- They are housed in the aviaries in front of the lofts or locked in their boxes at night
- They perform better than the cocks
This means it was an easy choice to make for Willy.
When the hens are basketed for the longer middle distance, they can spend some time together with their cocks, usually half an hour. Still, the goal is to basket them as quietly as possible. They can then spend a few hours together after the race, and sometimes until the next day, in case of a tough race or a late arrival (for instance after a late release). The hens have fewer training flights during the week than the cocks used to have, but Willy thinks training does not make all that much of a difference, irrespective of the duration of the training. He argues that they cover more than enough kilometres during the weekend. What is more important, is that the hens are called in quickly after arriving on the board. When the pigeons wander about on the rooftop you are likely to risk mutual pairings. He avoids this problem by racing his pigeons with the sliding door as young birds, and by eliminating any of them that are eager to pair. In addition, he found out that pigeons are less willing to pair if they are raced on a weekly basis. They are usually basketed for three or four longer middle distance races in a row, followed by a shorter flight (Quiévrain for instance).
Good quality pigeons... the bread and butter of pigeon racing
The basket is the only criterion for Willy; a good quality collection is all that matters in our sport. It takes a lot of races and strict requirements to acquire a group of top class pigeons, and that is especially the case in a loft with limited space, as is the case here. Willy allows nothing but the most talented pigeons in his loft, and this shows in his impressive list of achievements.
He won a national first prize from Argenton in 2008 with De 37, which also became an Olympiad Pigeon. In addition, he won the title of General Champion Long Distance Club Antwerp in 2013, and he won the title of 1st Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance in 2012 and 2013. Last year he was 4th Nat. Champion KBDB Long Distance Young Birds. He took a flying start in 2015, with a national victory from Chateauroux and three pigeons in the national top 12. We think his pigeons have a lot in store for us. Congratulations!