In the heart of the Flanders 100 years ago, thousands of young men killed each other. On each side of the WWI trench, they were probably thinking about spring, about a hot dish at home and, for some of them, about the pigeon sport. Not far from this historical trench, Samuel Turcq built his house next to the signs of the most violent battles, still apparent. Samuel Turcq warmly welcomed me with his wife and their three daughters: Agathe, Camille & Raphaëlle. I'm directly surprised and impressed by his huge loft, built in the same traditionnal style as their house. The lofts looks like the most famous lofts of the big champions from the last century. It made me travel in time, thinking about the performances that can be achieved in this traditionnal Flemish farm. This old barn was built with a large entry to take in the hay and nowadays, this is where the pigeons are getting in. The stone floor and the big volume of oxygene looks totally like the huge barn lofts of Flanders.
Samuel Turcq is front of the atypical entrance of his loft.
The wondeful accomodations of the champion from Merris.
Three prestigious rankings from 2017
1st PIPA IATP Ranking 1st National Champion on the international races (Club des Internationaux de France - CIF) 3rd European Champion Marathon Races (la Colombe Joyeuse).
Samuel was not supposed to race pigeons as nobody from his family was involved in the sport. It was an old farmer from his hometown of Merris, Jules Liefooghe, who proposed it to Samuel. "I had some pigeons in an aviary. Jules, who lives in the same hometown, asked me why I wouldn't race pigeons? And that's how it started. I visited Jules a lot to talk about pigeons. I learnt a lot from him. We were then in 1998 when i bought my previous house in Merville. Two years before, Jules started to teach me some pigeons tricks. And then I took my first licence in a pigeon club called La Victoire. The farm where I live now, I bought it in 2007 and i started to race my pigeons in the international calendar at the same time."
The 2017 season started with 14 widowers. The racing team was composed of 7 old birds and 7 pigeons of 18 months. When they were aged of 1 year, they were trained a lot during the winter to end the next season with Bergerac. Then, at 18 months, they were entered in the international races. Concerning the 7 old birds, they won at least 2 or 3 prizes in the international races in 2017.
Samuel Turcq is racing his pigeons on classic widowhood. The racing loft has a capacity of 20 places maximum. Samuel Turcq preferes to keep the boxes on the ground empty. All the lofts are housed in the barn. The breeding team is composed of 6 pairs, then you can add the youngsters and the widowhood hens.
'My lofts are not wet and the temperature is ideal.' Samuel Turcq also explained us that when he still had some lofts in his garden, the temperature inside the barn was sometimes 5 degrees higher.
Concerning the medical guidance, he follows up the trichomonose and he cures with parastop against the paratyphus. He use the mixtures of Demey from Winnezeele. Concerning the preparation for the racing season, Samuel Turcq has tried a lot things but he decided to keep on the same system since 3 years. After Perpignan, the racing team can raise a couple of youngsters before being separated. Then they are coupled once again before the season on the 25th of March when they can brood for 5 days.
A relaxing room
Samuel Turcq also built a small loft of only 2 meters square where his racers can see their hen before being basketted for an important race. They can only see their hen before leaving and not after a race. It means they can stay 3 or 4 weeks without seeing their hen. Before leaving for the club before a race, the pigeons can go in the room with their hen so they do not disturb the others who stay at home.
His basic strain comes from Philippe Bodart from Calonne-sur-la-Lys, son of the French champion Léon Bodart. Philippe Bodart was from a great support during the whole season and it's also him who pushed Samuel to race his birds from Marseille. Result: 3 prizes from 3. Without this support, the champion from Merris would have never won the IATP ranking. Philippe Bodart's loft is mainly built around the pigeons of Daisy Slots from Lede (BE). Thanks to this origin, Samuel is achieving the results everyone knows today and in 2016, he also won the 2nd national & 9th international Barcelona with Papesy. In 2014, it was his Kloden who was brillantly put under the spotlights as 2nd European ace pigeon.
Kloden FR11-193582: 2nd european ace pigeon
2012: 273. national Narbonne of 2,022 pigeons 2013: 419. national Saint-Vincent of 2,541 pigeons 2014: 129. national Pau of 1,964 pigeons 22. national Saint-Vincent of 2,836 pigeons 60. national Perpignan of 3,832 pigeons 2015: 579. national Perpignan of 3,846 pigeons 2016: 380. national Pau of 2,861 pigeons 384. national Saint-Vincent of 3,379 pigeons 450. national Perpignan of 3,333 pigeons 2017: 190. national Mont de Marsan of 3,748 pigeons 329. national Saint-Vincent of 4,163 pigeons 171. national Perpignan of 4,192 pigeons
This fantastic racer will be raced in 2018.
An area traditionaly focused on the marathon races
Several famous French fanciers already wrote history in the villages around Merris: Paul Schercousse from Godewaervelde, Maurice Gruson from Steenvoorde, Joseph Hallosserie from Boeschepe. But they are all dead now. Nowadays, the French hard core of this discipline is grouped around the city of Hazebrouck: André Coddeville, the president of the famous ALC-CALC which is the most prestigious club of the French pigeon sport, but also Paul Decool from Cassel, Alain & Valérie Pocholle from Morbecque & Jack Gruson from Saint-Sylvestre Cappel. These three fanciers have won a least a national victory, several titles of champion in the ALC-CALC or a European title. Some big names who are now dominating the pigeon scene. Samuel Turcq has now reached the same level. Congratulations !!!
Samuel Turcq receives his trophy from Frank Morre (from the firm Jaegerson, on the left) & Ivan Willockx (PIPA, on the right).