Most pigeon fanciers will automatically link the name of Batenburg-Van de Merwe to the legendary Witbuik. This pigeon is not only the stock sire of Batenburg, he is also one of the very best long distance (and especially the extreme long distance) breeding pigeons worldwide of the last 30 years. When Witbuik NL81-1533120 hatched in 1981 Bas and his son Hugo could not even begin to imagine the role that this young bird was about to play at an older age. This pigeon has influenced their own loft but it has also influenced the international marathon races of the extreme long distance. We could say that Witbuik has shaped the modern version of the marathon or extreme long distance racing pigeon!
Inbreeding first, then crossings
The composition of a true pigeon breed is based on the inbreeding of one particular pigeon (for instance Witbuik for Batenburg-Van de Merwe) or one particular breeding pair. Hugo and Anita knew how to use the qualities of their phenomenal stock sire Witbuik and how to integrate these qualities into their pigeon breed. They did inbreeding but they also crossed him with some of the finest pigeons of international pigeon racing. It is a fact that an inbred pigeon family can be taken to another level when it is crossed with a different bloodline. If the combination works out you will be successful for years to come, especially when you combine this line with your old breed again.
Hugo says it is not all that difficult to keep a breed pure. Trying to improve your existing breed is usually a different story altogether. His dedication and the will to succeed have resulted in a constant search for improvement. This was often a very difficult task. The search for that one pigeon (or pigeons) that might significantly improve your existing pigeon breed is one of the hardest tasks for any fancier. On the other hand it is also one of the most interesting and intriguing tasks, says Hugo. The search for that one ultimate pigeon looks a lot like a young boy who is looking to find his first girlfriend. When he has found her he will be full of doubt and uncertainty, especially when he is on his way to his first date with her. When a pigeon fancier eventually finds the pigeon he is looking for he will be very excited but he will also be wondering if he or she is “the true one”. Will this pigeon actually give a boost to your pigeon family? And then there is the price tag of the pigeon in question, which is something every fancier has to decide for himself. It is also important to be quick on the draw; otherwise one of your opponents might have obtained that particular pigeon before you even had the chance. The number of pigeons that Hugo is really fond of is actually quite limited. He mainly focuses on National Ace Pigeons or superior National Winners. This is of course not the easy route but is likely to be the most successful!
Hugo Batenburg and Nikolaas Gyselbrecht have just purchased 'New Witbuik'
Hugo Batenburg believed that he had found that one pigeon he was looking for when he saw the pigeon that won the First Nat. Barcelona 2012 in The Netherlands, which belonged to Antoon Schults from Bruinisse. Hugo fancied that bird a lot. Unfortunately this excellent racing pigeon was very expensive. We know that fanciers from other parts of the world are willing to pay a lot more for a super class racing pigeon than fanciers from here. Hugo had never paid so much money for a pigeon. That is why he started looking for a financial partner whom he could fully rely on and the idea was to purchase the pigeon together. Hugo did find a partner: it was Carlo and Nikolaas Gyselbrecht of PIPA. They were soon on their way to Bruinisse to have a closer look at the wonderful pigeon that Hugo was eager to buy. Carlo knows a lot about Barcelona pigeons and as soon as he saw the pigeon he understood why Hugo was so enthusiastic about it. This was really amazing. It was the crème de la crème. It was a pigeon that made us really excited, said Carlo.
We know the rest of the story. It was no surprise that a deal was made and that Hugo Batenburg and PIPA purchased the pigeon together. This pigeon has a lot of similarities with Witbuik, the legendary stock pigeon of Hugo. They had the same remarkable appearance, a great body, soft plumage and a magnificent eye; the eye of a true breeder. Not surprisingly this new pigeon was called New Witbuik ( NL09-1244606)!
When Hugo Batenburg brought the first descendants of the joint breeding with New Witbuik to the lofts of PIPA in Knesselare Wilson Dekens had just brought in his New Ace, winner of a First Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2012. Hugo is always curious and eager to learn so he wanted to take a closer look at this New Ace. This was another pigeon that left a great impression on him. He was so impressed by this strong looking pigeon that he asked if he might obtain one or a few descendants of him. It did not take long before a deal was made. Just before the National Ace Pigeon Long Distance was transferred from Belgium to the Far East both Nikolaas Gyselbrecht and the future owner of this pigeon gave Hugo the permission to pair this exceptional pigeon to some of the best hens of the talented Batenburg breeding loft that originate from the Witbuik line. Another high quality bloodline was added to his pigeon breed, one that will prove useful in the future!
Established at the top
A fancier who wants to make it to the top has to combine good management and dedication, passion, idealism, motivation and of course a great deal of knowledge. It seems that this is the case for the Batenbrug-van de Merwe combination and this is what turned them into successful pigeon fanciers. They work towards the future with a focus on continual improvement. It is of course, not easy for them to further improve their existing pigeon breed or to find even better bloodlines. After all they already have a pigeon family of outstanding quality and they are aware of that. Still, they try to find ways to do even better. This explains the purchase of New Witbuik together with PIPA and the joint breeding with New Ace! It has been Hugo’s strategy for many years now and this is what turned him into the best fancier in The Netherlands in the long and extreme distance. His name has been on top of the results in the most important competitions and championships in recent seasons. He also topped the podium of the National Marathon and the Western European Marathon! Furthermore he has managed to dominate some of the greatest marathon races (including Bordeaux ZLU 2012) on a regular basis. This proves once again that the modern day Batenburg-van de Merwe pigeon is world class! We might even say that they are the Messis of pigeon racing!