Geert (49) and his wife Annick have become very successful pigeon fanciers in only seven years. This is an achievement we don’t see very often in pigeon racing. When Geert and Annick decided to become pigeon fanciers seven years ago they had a well thought out plan and they were very ambitious: they wanted to make it to the top sooner rather than later. Geert believed it would take him five years to make a strict selection and to learn the ropes. After that period he wanted to have a successful team of pigeons. In 2012 they have clearly achieved that goal!
Excellent pigeons to start with
Not every pigeon can win top prizes. It is something that should be inherent in the pigeon. When Geert and Annick first started they had the opportunity to work with some of the best breeding and racing pigeons available. This might seem a happy coincidence but you should keep in mind that Geert was not a complete newcomer to the sport. He has been a bird keeper for fifteen years, just like his father. In addition he has been a carriage driver for nearly 20 years so he knows how to treat animals. He is a good example of a bird keeper who turned into a highly successful pigeon fancier. He works for a car company in Oostakker and Xavier Verstraete has been a colleague of his for many years. Geert got fascinated by the great stories fanciers told him at work. They convinced him to get rid of his collection of white pigeons (that were used for weddings) and to purchase a couple of racing pigeons. As you might have guessed, his first pigeons came from the miracle loft of Raoul and Xavier Verstraete: they gave him a round of ten eggs that were bred and raised by the white pigeons that he already had. He turned the hay loft of his horse stable into pigeon lofts and that was the start of a new career for him.
Some time later he came into contact with Gaby Vandenabeele, the undisputed champion from Dentergem. He gave him a round of eggs as well and these pigeons would become an important factor in the success story of Geert and Annick Van Renterghem in the years to come. In fact Geert and Gaby became friends and Gaby gave him a few pigeons that were bred from his best Vandenabeele bloodlines. More importantly he gave him some valuable advice as well. It is not surprising that 90 to 95% of the pigeons in his loft are based on the Gaby Vandenabeele pigeons, combined with Raoul and Xavier Verstraete birds and some pigeons from Chris Hebberecht.
Success based on top class pigeons
It must be great to be able to work with such excellent pigeons right from the start and to be supported by the champion Gaby Vandenabeele, who guides you on your way to the top. It was just a matter of time before Geert achieved his first successes. He has already won a few great prizes:
1st NAT. GUERET 2011 14,362 p.
1st Int.Prov. Argenton 2008 4,544 p.
1st Int.Prov. Blois 2009 4,094 p.
1st 3Prov. La Souterraine 2010 951 p.
1st Int.Prov. Tours 2011 1,670 p.
1st 3Prov. Montluçon 2012 776 p.
This is only a small selection of victories at provincial and national level, but the list of achievements is quite impressive already. You can find the results of this pigeon loft in the following overview:
- Click here for the provincial top 10 results from 2008 to 2012
- Click here voor de national top 100 results from 2009 to 2012
You can see that the Renterghem pigeons know how to win prizes. This loft gained international recognition with their national victory from Gueret, the last race of 2011. The winning pigeon was Verona. Her loft sister Tsara had already won a first Interprovincial from Tours against 1,670 young birds! This is no coincidence as when we take a closer look at the pedigrees of these pigeons we notice that a lot of these top results were won by descendants of the excellent breeding pair of Geert Van Renterghem: Tasby 1 x Kim 1.
Click here to read more about the achievements of the direct descendants of this wonder pair!
A fancier can only achieve provincial and national top prizes with good quality racing pigeons. That is why Geert is very demanding of his pigeons. He would rather get rid of his pigeons before the winter than to have a team of average birds in his loft. He has three basic principles: he wants a solid base, he wants to apply a strict selection procedure and he wants motivated pigeons. His pigeon Verona was obviously highly motivated when she was basketed for Gueret, where she took the national victory. We tell you the story of this national first prize:
Three yearling hens were housed in the loft of the young birds. One of them was paired to a young cock and they had built a nest somewhere on the floor in a corner. When the pair had built their nest they abandoned it. Verona saw the nest and she decided to lay her eggs there! However, the cock of the first breeding pair believed that these eggs belonged to his partner so he wanted to brood them. This was not to the liking of Verona. They were often in a quarrel and they started fighting around the nest. Geert decided to remove the cock from the loft but he was placed in the loft again a few times, just to motivate Verona. On the day of basketing Geert placed the cock in the loft regularly. As a result Verona was highly motivated when she was basketed and we know the rest of the story. She won the first national from Gueret with a big lead and as the fastest pigeon of all!
At the moment the breeding loft consists of about 24 breeding pairs that breed approximately 100 young birds. The eggs are brooded by feeding couples. A lot of these young birds do not survive through the first year: there are a lot of electricity wires in the neighbourhood and several birds of prey seem to be fond of the Renterghem pigeons. That is why most of the pigeons can only prove themselves as yearlings after the first season, as long as they look fine in the hand. This is also because Geert believes that a Vandenabeele pigeon performs well only at the age of one or two. He has already discovered a few talented pigeons that did not seem very promising as young birds. A good example is the outstanding yearling Orlandor, which had only won two prizes as a young bird in 2011. He was not successful in his first season. Surprisingly, he turned into the most important member of the team of yearlings in 2012.
Tulle Nat 10,251 p. 39 Argenton Nat 22,384 p. 120 Bourges Nat 16,859 p. 159 Limoges Nat 17,735 p. 771 Chateauroux Nat 15,907 p. 1377
He has won at least five prizes per 10 in the five national races he was basketed for. This is great! He is a son of Orlando BE09-4280780, a direct Gaby Vandenabeele and a full brother of stock dam Lieske (bred from Captain Blue 555/05 x Nancy 698/03) x Nicofelia BE10-4275172, an inbred hen (a daughter of Nicolas 627/08 x Fidelia 102/09. These are both direct children of Fideel 504/03, winner of the Golden Ring).
Click here for the full pedigree of Orlandor.
A one year old pigeon is expected to win a few top prizes in this loft, otherwise he will be left out. Just to give you an idea: Geert and Annick will start the 2013 season with 13 old widowers and eight of them have already won a top 100 national! These old birds will be raced on classic widowhood. The yearlings are raced on total widowhood: there are 19 pairs (19 cocks and 19 hens) in two lofts that are separated by a sliding door. This is a very easy system and practical to use. These 19 pairs come together once a week, this is especially to avoid the hens from pairing to each other. At the end of the season the yearlings are moved to the loft of the old birds, on the condition that they are selected of course. The old birds breed once per season and afterwards they come together for a few days to train. Two of the best old birds of 2012 were the two half brothers, Cartier and Chardon. They are two sons of the excellent breeding dam Raxana BE06-4282895, a direct R & X Verstraete (a granddaughter of two important birds in the lofts of Verstraete: Uno and Topstar).
Tulle Nat 8,246 p. 20 (Loc 221 p. 1) Souillac Nat 7,760 p. 28 Tulle Nat 6,817 p. 63 Argenton Nat 19,816 p. 161 Chateauroux Nat 22,718 p. 338 Brive Nat 11,130 p. 732
Meanwhile he obtained a well deserved spot in the breeding loft at the end of 2012. He is a son of Memphis BE08-4281549 (a brother of Kim 1 and thus a son of Tauber 103/06 x stock dam Lieske 099/06).
Click here for the full pedigree of Chardon.
Souillac Loc 168 p. 1 Nat 7,760 p. 25 Limoges Loc 296 p. 1 Prov 2,594 p. 2 La Chatre Nat 7,487 p. 103 Argenton Nat 19,787 p. 109 Tulle Nat 6,817 p. 128 Brive Nat 11,130 p. 237 Limoges Nat 14,697 p. 242
His sire is the Super Gaby 1 BE08-4281572, a direct Gaby Vandenabeele.
Click here for the full pedigree of Cartier
These are only a few pigeons of the talented racing team that is housed in the old hay loft in Deinze.
A female fancier makes wonders
It is very difficult to combine a full time job and a career as a successful pigeon fancier. For instance you need to train your racing pigeons every day and they need regular attention. Luckily his wife Annick is there to help him. During the racing season she spends the entire day in the pigeon loft. According to an old saying, a female fancier in the loft does wonders! No less than 16 national top 100 results were achieved in 2012 with the old birds and the yearlings in the longer middle distance and the middle to long distance. This is very impressive, keeping in mind that this loft is not yet experienced in the old birds’ game. That is why Geert and Annick are grateful to Gaby Vandenabeele. He gave them top class pigeons and he guided them through the first seasons. They were complete beginners in 2006 but they managed to win national top prizes in no time. That is quite something! This is a pigeon loft in full bloom. The future looks good for them.