“Good Pigeons Make Master Breeders” The Vandenheede Story

A synergy is where different entities cooperate advantageously for a final outcome. If used in a business application it means that teamwork will produce an overall better result than if each person was working toward the same goal individually.

The ancient Greek word syn-ergos, συνεργός signified a rudimentary idea of things 'working together'. It was refined by R. Buckminster Fuller who analyzed some of its implications more fully[1] and coined the term Synergetics.[2] It quite literally filled the space missing for an opposite of the concept entropy. Hence it was perhaps more of a 'discovery' etymologically speaking.

· A dynamic state in which combined action is favored over the difference of individual component actions.
· Behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately. More accurately known as emergent behavior.
· The cooperative action of two or more stimuli (or drugs), resulting in a different or greater response than that of the individual stimuli.
· Synergy usually arises when two persons with different complementary skills cooperate.  In business, cooperation of people with organizational and technical skills happens very often.
·  In general, the most common reason why people cooperate is it brings a synergy. On the other hand, people tend to specialize just to be able to form groups with high synergy.

The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
An increase in the value of assets as a result of their combination
A great deal of information has appeared in the pigeon press regarding  the Vandenheede clan and I do mean clan for their Father, Grandfather, all their brothers and brothers in law keep, breed and race pigeons.. No one can doubt the abilities and success generated by Rene Vandenheede or his sons Freddy (19-02-1960) and Jacques (18-04-1945).Rene was, for his entire 30 plus year career at the very top of the result sheets.  Freddy eventually took over the reins in the early 1990’s he achieved incredible results including Provincial and National success.
Jacques a retired metal worker and Freddy a primary school teacher or more specifically he is the Director of a primary school that numbers some 350 students, began competing together as a team in 2008.This new combination allowed them to not only race their young and old hens but it also enabled them to participate in the long distance races with their old cocks. The combined success of the new partnership was almost immediate and in that first year they were 3rd and 8th National Ace Pigeon KBDB. So clearly synergy between the brothers is evident where together they were able to consolidate and take their individual talents to even greater heights.

The Vandenheede’s have created their own line based on the birds of Hencke-Haelterman-Voorde. These pigeons have been infused with exceptional performance pigeons of local area fanciers. It is a point of great interest to note that the area of East Flanders, is to the best of my knowledge the Belgian province with the largest concentration of active racing pigeon fanciers9 over 11,000 fanciers).The Vandenheede’ s are from Zingem just south of Ghent.
Zingem is part of a triangle of towns (Zingem, Gavere and Asper) which the Belgians often refer to as the “Golden Triangle”. Why? Well Stefan Mertens in an article written by him in 2003   for my good friend Ed Minville quoted Freddy as follows
No, it is an area, more specifically the towns Zingem-Gavere and Asper, where a lot of top lofts are situated. Of course, our first question was how is it possible that there is such a concentration of top lofts in such a small area? "That's easy to explain," answers Freddy Vandenheede. "Our region is known as a real pigeon nest, and due to the hard racing results we're no longer welcome in a lot of clubs. Now, at this moment we're in a situation such that the various top lofts cannot avoid each other. So each week we race against each other. Due to this, our club has become stronger and stronger. It will not be the first time that in our club the race is finished and that other fanciers can still clock prizes in their club. And now it comes, as the selection is, most of the time, made on the local results, that our 'selection-limit' is set very high. I like to gamble and losing money is not in my plans. I also have to select my birds, and so my birds become stronger and stronger. In fact, thanks to our limits we have become stronger."

Origin of base stock

Martin Martens wrinting in 2005 gave some interesting background info on the breeding of the stock that is in fact the base of the Vandenheede stock.I quote him directly:

These are pigeons with an extraordinary ability to perform and an undiminished drive. The foundation of these permanent successes has its origins in the inimitable breeding power ! This is an own strain of pigeons that has been formed over the years with the absolute ancestor ‘DE ZIEKEN’ 886/64 which was a pigeon that had been purchased at Mencke-Haelteman in Zandbergen and descended from the super couple ‘De KORTEN’ x ‘PAULA’ (which is a couple with a lot of blood of Santens from Oudenaarde running through its veins). ‘De ZIEKEN’ was the father of a whole series of top pigeons (racers as well as breeders), just think about ‘de VAN LOOY 209/66’, ‘DEN 100.000’ 309/76… etc. But it was especially ‘de JONGE ZIEKEN’ 4654895/79 who took over from his father and founded the present generation of super pigeons. He is the father of (among others):
- ‘het KRIJT’ 810/88 who formed one of the ‘top couples’ together with ‘ANTIGOON’
- ‘de KILIMANJARO’ 203/87 who formed another main couple of the present colony together with ‘EXPRESSO’
- ‘ARUBA’ 777/88 x ‘IGGY’ who were the parents of, amongst others, ‘PATROON’ (2nd Provincial Ace Pigeon KBDB Long Distance) who, for his part, was the father of ‘MILLO’ (1st National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance KBDB, Eddy Leutenez)
This is the main line of pigeons from which nearly all the present top breeders and top racers are descending. They form the backbone of the colony together with some pigeons from De Rauw-Sablon, Lebbeke (1st National Champion KBDB Long Distance and 2nd National Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2001), pigeons from Freddy’s brother Jacques Vandenheede, Dirk Nachtergaele-Zingem, Lucien Velghe-Zingem, Marnix Dhondt-Semmerzake, Dirk Vindevogel-Liedekerke and De Schepper-De Temmerman-Merelbeke etc… which were all obtained to strengthen the colony. This combination of fresh blood and the original iron strain of pigeons, breeds several excellent pigeons every year.

Reference: http://www.pipa.be/en/newsandarticles/reports/vandenheede-freddy-name-sounds-superb%E2%80%A6

The rest of the story

Lets for a moment return to my original remarks about synergy.The brothers  Freddy and Jacque work exceedingly well together but that is not the synergy that I wish to discuss.The synergy I have in mind began in 1994 and it has literally changed the racing fortunes of some of the biggest players in our sport.Something exceptional was created, a new force which is only now comming to the attention of the racing pigeon sport on an International level.Those of you who are Koopman affecianados will recognise some of the names and you may actually develop a far better understanding of how the Europeans look at pedigrees and always strive for improvement through  selective breeding , always looking to improve their lines while we North Americans talk ad nauseum abot strain as if there really existed a “pure strain”.
In 1994 Fredy Vandenheede  attended an off season ( wintertime) champions celebration.Present at that same event was one Frans Sablon ( half of the incredible “De Rauw Sablon” partnership that we North Americans ( late as usual) are only now beginning to wake up to and appreciate.Freddy and Frans met they hit it odd so to speak.They enjoyed each others company and remained in contact and ultimately became great friends.It is funny how many things in life are purely by chance.With the passage of time these two new friends , in the true spirit of friendship decidede to exchange pigeons. Not any pigeons mind you but only the very best pigeons that would do their respective breeders proud!Frans Sablon gave Freddy Vandenheede a cock  from his “Dream Couple” and that cock was named “FRANS” and in return Freddy Vandenheede  gave Frans Sablon  a cock also from his best breeding pair which was then “Antigoon X  t Krijt”  and this cock was called “FREDDY”!
The year was 1994 and the rest as they say is “History”!

"Freddy" bred by Freddy Vandenheede and given to Frans Sablon as a gift  and currently owned by Pros Roosen!One of the most import sires in the world today!

Below is the pedigree of “Freddy” bred by “Freddy Vandenheede”. 

Reference: http://www.prosroosen.com/website/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=68&Itemid=102
Both of  “Freddy” and “Frans” ( the pigeons that is)  succeeded  very, veryy well indeed.From 1994 and on Freddy Vandenheede continued to infuse “De Rauw Sablon” pigeons into his line on a regular basis and the majority of these were from the  De Rauw Sablon “Dream Couple”.
Now just in case  my North American readers are a little confused let me state that “Freddy” is in fact the Father of Koopmans of a “ton” of exceptional pigeons including “Blauwe Prins”, “Dromer”, “Kastaar” as well as a host of others.

So how was it that “Freddy” was eventually sold? In 2003 the partnership of “De Rauw Sablon”  unfortunately came to and end due to a serious heart condition suffered by Frans Sablon.It was decided by the Partners Etienne De Rauw and Frans Sablon to liquidate their entire loft via public auction and so it came to pass and at that auction Pros Roosen was the successful bidder for “Freddy” and at that very same auction  “Freddy’s” son “De Dromer” was purchased by Koopman for 13,500.00 Euros. “De Dromer” is also the brother to Koopmans “Mr. Expensive” and Mr Expensive” in turn is the Father of “Doran” the 2007 winner of 1st national NPO Orléans – 640 KM.

 “De Dromer”  was bred  by “De Rauw Sablon” from "Freddy X "Lieve"world famous son of "Freddy" purchased by Koopman in 2003
at the dispersal sale of “De Rauw Sablon”  for 13,500.00Euros.


Frans Sablon opposite a photograph of the "Dream Couple". Albert & Paola (i.e. the Dream Couple), Limoges, De Dromer, Goudklompje, Narbonne, the pigeons of BAK 17 of Aelbrecht...All these pigeons are the basis of huge racing pigeon achievements at the highest level in Belgium and the Netherlands in recent years. Frans demonstrates remarkable stock sense.

So we now know the rest of the story as regards “De Rauw Sablon’s”  “Freddy “ but what  does Freddy Vandenheede think about the pigeons of the “De Rauw Sablon” partnership that he began infusing into his line in 1994 and  continues to this day. Well in 2003 at the “De Rauw Sablon “dispersal sale Freddy Vandenheede purchased “Limoges” in fact Freddy and Frans purchased this pigeon jointly. Here is what Freddy’s responded to my question about the true value of the “De Rauw Sablon “pigeons was”
Our own pigeons were already very close inbred, above this, we mixed the De Rauw – Sablon, and so the result is super…
about the pigeons of De Rauw – Sablon
                       - very good pigeons
                      -  lying very good in the hand
                      - totally in balance
                      - great stamina
                      - good in all the weather conditions
                      - very easy to pass on the qualities
   At this moment they are the most required blood in the world, and take the important place. It is not unthinkable that within several years the blood “De Rauw – Sablon” will exceed that of the Janssen blood.

"King Ali" was bred from "De Dromer" by Koopman in 2008.Owned by “Big Andy’s Loft and currently breeding at the PIPA PEC Center.
It is quite incredible to contemplate the number of incredible racing pigeons that are  descendants of that Pigeon “Freddy” that was given to “De Rauw Sablon” as a result of a friendship developed between Freddy and Frans.The positive results just keep comming in every year and with every generation  there seemingly is no lose of genetic prepotency.

 Freddy Vandenheede and Frans Sablon of the former “De Rauw Sablon” partnership in my opinion are kindred spirits. The blood of both their lofts when combined helped both these keenly observant stockmen achieve new levels of excellence rarely ever imaged by others let alone achieved by others. The coming together, the cooperation and friendship of these two giants was truly synergistic achieving together much more than anyone might have imagined in 1994
The performances are amazing and they just keep on coming. In 2009 the ‘brothers’ Freddy & Jacques VANDENHEEDE, Triumphed from Bourges National both old birds and yearlings! These two hens demonstrate the depth within the Vandenheede lofts  racing and breeding program.
The ‘Chequered’ B07-4093286 -1st Nat Bourges Zone A 4.225 p. and 3° Nat 16.119 p.
The ‘Chequered’ B07-4093286 is a daughter out the ‘Rechoque’ B01-4483222 x ‘Daughter Antrax’ B05-4045330, self already mother of the 2° Nat Argenton Zone A 4.576 p. (out ‘Antrax 672/98’ x ‘Joeksel 680/00’, self 1° Nat Bourges Zone A 4.225 p. and 3° Nat 16.119 p.). She won amongst other things:
1st Bourges Nat  26.910 old
St.Vincent Nat 8.393 YL  149
Etampes 305 p. 2
Etampes  162 p. 9
Dourdan  346 p. 15
Vierzon Prov 5.076 p. 279
Chateauroux 3 .469 p. 240

The ‘Chequered’ B08-4095174  1st   Bourges National yearling against   21.972 p.
The ‘Chequered’ B08-4095174 is then a daughter out the ‘Blue Son Gimili 189/07’ (the ‘Gimili’ is a grandson of the super breeder ‘Kanselier 104/94’) x ‘Jeremy 039/07’, self 5° Dourdan 470 p., 7° Dourdan 259 p… (a half-sister of the 1° Nat Gueret YL in 2000). This national Bourges winner by the yearlings had already won:
1st Bourges Nat  21.972 YL
Orleans Prov  5.510 p. 76,Bourges 1.631 p.  45,Etampes 207 p. 6,Tours 730 p. 105,Toury 554 p. 93

Both sets of Brothers had every reason to be smiling its not everyday that you win two 1st Nationals in one day.