Etienne Meirlaen visiting Hugo Batenburg (August 2017)
We still vividly remember Etienne Meirlaen and Hugo Batenburg discussing their pigeon racing careers and their greatest feats in the spring of 2014, at a small table at the PIPA stand in the Fugare pigeon exhibition in Kortrijk, Belgium. It was there that they first thought about exchanging a few pigeons, or breeding a number of birds together. In the next couple of weeks the two iconic extreme long distance fanciers put their ideas into action: they agreed on a number of joint breedings, the descendants of which would then be put to the test in the two lofts.
The two fanciers were guessing that the combination of two strongly inbred pigeon breeds might give some spectacular results but they had not expected to be getting such outstanding youngsters. The pigeons that came from these joint breedings excelled in international races both in Klaaswaal (NL) and in Deurle (BE), with top prizes even in Cahors, St. Vincent, Barcelona and Perpignan. The icing on the cake was the title of 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance KBDB 2017 for Etienne Meirlaen’s Diamond Anita, a hen that came directly from this co-breeding. It was the highlight of an already highly successful project!
A first major achievement came in a particularly demanding race from Barcelona, the number one classic in the international extreme long distance competition.
There was an impressive overall result for Etienne Meirlaen in Deurle (BE), with a 1st and 2nd prize at club level of 244 olds, a 2nd & 5th Prov. Of 1,606 old birds, a 7th & 16th National of 7,874 old birds, and a 27th & 56th of 17,026 old birds. Both these racing birds came from the joint breeding with Hugo Batenburg.
At the same time a similar scenario unfolded in Klaaswaal in The Netherlands, where the first clocked pigeon from Barcelona was a hen (Yvette) from this very joint breeding. Yvette won a 23rd Nat. Barcelona of 4,505 old birds and a 54th Internat. 17,026 pigeons. Her nest sister scored a good result as well, winning a 193rd Nat. Barcelona of 4,505 old birds.
Long story short, three pigeons from this joint breeding finished in the top 60 at international level, winning a 27th-54th-56th International Barcelona of 17,026 pigeons in 2017. And that is quite something.
About four weeks later Diamond Anita (winner of a 7th Nat. Barcelona for Meirlaen) took another great result, now finishing in the national top 10 from Perpignan of 4,620 old birds. This top result led to a title of 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance KBDB 2017, a historic feat. It was a crowning achievement after a highly successful co-breeding between Etienne Meirlaen and Hugo Batenburg-Vd Merwe.
Diamond Anita: 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance KBDB 2017 from a joint breeding of Meirlaen x Batenburg (click here for her pedigree)
Meirlaen x Batenburg: a perfect cross-fertilization
In pigeon terminology: fertilizing a given breed (in this case a pigeon breed) with genetic material from a different breed of the same type (for instance racing birds). In this case, the objective is to ingrain certain characteristics or dominant features into an existing breed, in order to make them better suited for the extreme long distance.
Diamond Anita is an exponent of world class bloodlines, the result of crossing the highly inbred pigeon families of Etienne Meirlaen x Hugo Batenburg here in Belgium. And the descendants that are raced in The Netherlands are every bit as good as their Belgian counterparts. We take a look at three champions in the loft of Hugo Batenburg-Vd Merwe:
3rd Best European hen - 3 Internat. races – PIPA-ranking 2016 19th Nat St.Vincent 3,387 p. ’16 24th Nat Cahors 5,279 p. ’16 60th Nat Narbonne 5,338 p. ’16
Naline competed in five international races between 2015 and 2016, successfully completing each one of them. Besides the three top results above, she also won a 107th Nat. Perpignan and a 745th Nat. Pau.
Sire: Son Montauban BE11-4312932 Meirlaen
A son of the renowned long distance champion Montauban BE08-4298059, a son of stock dam Yelena (and a half brother of the iconic Meirlaen birds Monar, Montali etc…). He was paired to Turbo Cor BE09-4303121 (from a sister of Cor: 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance KBDB ’08).
1st Best pigeon from Montauban in Belgium 2010-2012 1st Prov & 5th Nat. Montauban 6,654 p. ’10 10th Nat Montauban 6,822 p. ’12 73rd Nat Montauban 9,091 p. ’11
A daughter of the 1st Nat. Narbonne 3,773 p. and a 2nd Int. Narbonne 14,457 p., and a half sister of a 1st Nat. Cahors 10,381 p. She is bred from Narbonne NL07-1719301 (winner of a 1st Nat. & 2nd Intnat. Narbonne, the sire of a 1 Nat. Cahors) x Daughter Jonge Witbuik NL10-1429565 (the dam of a 7th Nat. Cahors ’15, a 1st Prov. & 13th Nat. Perpignan ’15, 18th Nat. Perpignan ’17).
Click here for Naline's full pedigree
9th Nat Cahors 5,279 p. ’15 23rd Nat Barcelona 4,505 p. ’17 233rd Nat Narbonne 5,338 p. ’15 (98th Nat. Hens) 250th Intnat Narbonne 8,447 YL ’15 354th Nat Perpignan 4,027 p. ’16 472nd Nat Perpignan 4,789 p. ’17
Sire: Son Bonte Narbonne NL13-1219314 Batenburg-Vd Merwe
Inbred cock to Witbuik 153, from a pairing of brother x sister: Bonte Narbonne NL07-1765748 (winner of Barcelona Masters 2011, 24th Nat. Narbonne 3,850 p., 97th Nat. Barcelona 7,046 p.) x Dianne NL07-1765709 (5th Intnat. Ace Pigeon Perpignan 2010-2011)… both bred from ‘Son Witbuik 153’ 091/04 x Kweekmoedertje 145/04.
Dam: Dochter Montali BE11-4312939
A daughter of top pigeon and iconic breeder Montali BE08-4298110 (4th Nat. Montauban 9,091 p., 12th Nat. Montauban 6,654 p. and the sire of three provincial first prize winners) x Golden Lady BE10-4284516 (14th Nat. Narbonne, 163rd Nat. Barcelona).
Click here for the full pedigree of Yvette
-Blue Perpignan NL14-1040493
15th Nat. Perpignan 4,027 p. ’16 (3rd Nat. Hens) 193rd Nat. Barcelona 4,505 p. ’17 604th Nat. Narbonne 5,338 p. ’15 604th Nat. Perpignan 4,789 p. ’17
This Blue Perpignan is a nest sister of Yvette, and thus another daughter of breeding pair Son Bonte Narbonne NL13-1219314 x Dochter Montali BE11-4312939.
Click here for Blue Perpignan's full pedigree
It should not be a surprise that the two grandmasters of the extreme long distance and the international races are making plans for another joint breeding project next year. And we understand why. The joint breeding of two highly inbred pigeon breeds has given exceptional results, both for Etienne Meirlaen in Belgium and for Hugo Batenburg-Vd Merwe in The Netherlands. This project has made the two lofts even stronger than before, winning top results at international level (including Barcelona), and claiming a title of 1st National Ace Pigeon Extreme Long Distance KBDB 2017.
The invaluable Yelena bloodline plays yet again a crucial role in this succes story. It illustrates the enormous breeding potential of the Meirlaen pigeon family, which has repeatedly provided talented racing birds and prize winners in the long distance and extreme long distance, as well as ace pigeons at national level, not just in their home loft but for many other fanciers as well. The best of the best!