But first things first: the home base of this team is Hille, a town in the far northeast of Bundesland Nordrhein-Westfalen, about 100km south of Bremen. This is where the racing birds of Koschnitzkis are raced from. This team has had a truly fantastic young birds' season in 2017, winning one top result after another. Let's start by taking a closer look at the German young birds' championships, and the requirements in particular.
The German young birds' championships are based on the last four races, and in these four races 3 of a total of 6 nominated pigeons can earn championship points. The four races need to cover a total distance of at least 850km, and there needs to be at least one race in the Regionalverband, covering at least 300km. This is a brief summary of the requirements for the young birds' championships.
A it turns out, the Koschnitzki pigeon family met all the requirements, and has delivered a fanastic performance, eventually taking home the title of 1st German Champion Young Birds.
The pigeon loft
This pigeon loft was initially led by Heinz (86) and his son Stefan Koschnitzki (53). Heinz sadly passed away in April 2017, which means he did not experience the team's biggest triumph so far. Stefan continued to race on his own, and he has been doing a great job so far. His father had been sick for several years, which means he could no longer take care of his pigeons. In other words, Stefan had been running the pigeon loft mostly on his own in recent seasons. The pigeon lofts are still located in his father's garden, although Stefan is thinking of building a new loft near his own house. If anything, he would no longer have to cover the 1.5 kilometres from his house to the pigeon lofts. And this is the reason why he is selling his best young birds: moving his entire pigeon collection from one loft to another would be too cumbersome.
His racing approach
Stefan races with a team of 45 widowers, but these do not raise younsters. He has a team of 25 breeding pairs to take care of this; they breed about 100 youngsters every season.
The breeding birds were paired in between Christmas and New Year of 2016 to breed youngsters for the following 2017 season. This means the first youngsters were raised in late February. These were transferred to the young birds' loft but they were not yet released outside. They had access to a large aviary, where they can gradually get used to the environment and to the different weather conditions. They were only released for the first time on the 2nd of May 2017. Most young birds got used to their new home fairly quickly, with just a few birds failing to find their way back home. By the end of the first week almost every youngster was back home by the end of the day.
From early May until 9th of July the young birds are darkened from 6 in the evening until 7:30 the next morning.
Due to lack of time, there are not many private training flights. The young birds' team then basically takes part in the training flights and the young birds' races in the RV. There are no additional training flights on weekdays.
The young birds' races
The team competes in their club in Hille in Regionalverband Minden-Schaumburg, racing in easterly direction. The following palmares does only include their best results, e.i. their top 100 prizes.
20.08.2017 Wolfsburg (153 km) 4,342 p.: 1a-1b-3-4a-4b-6-7-8-9-10a-10b-14a-14b-18-19-42-70- 84-85 etc. (43 prizes/83 birds) 27.08.2017 Wolfsburg (153 km) 3,291 p.: 7-9-13-22-24-25-30-31-32-41a-41b-44-45-47-48-50-52a-52b-72-73-97-99 etc. (47/61) 03.09.2017 Magdeburg (192 km) 3,296 p.: 1-2-3-4-5a-5b-7-30-55-57-60-61-74-75a-75b-77-78-80-81-82-86-93 etc. (55/64) 10.09.2017 Genthin (225 km) 3,080 p.: 2-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-21-22-36a-36b-38-39-41-98-100 etc. (46/63) 16.09.2017 Ludwigsfelde (312 km) 3,279 p.: 1-3-12-13-24-52-87 etc. (39/63).
These are some impressive results indeed, and so is their prize percentage. This is the palmares worthy of a German champion. We now take a look at the best three young birds of the team and their best result. They happen to be three racing hens.
We start with the star of the team, the 03639-17-486. She is the best young bird in the club, in the union and in the Regionalverband, having won the following top prizes:
1st prize in Ludwigsfelde (312 km) of 3,279 p. 2nd prize in Genthin (235 km) of 3,080 p. 3rd prize in Magdeburg (192 km) of 3,296 p. 7th prize in Wolfsburg (153 km) of 4,342 p. 24th prize in Wolfsburg (153 km) of 3,291 p.
This is quite a fantastic palmares! She wins 497 on a total of 500 ace points.
He has won more ace points than racing hen 03639-17-455, which scored an equally impressive 485 out of 500 ace points. This makes her the second best young bird in the club, and the third best young bird in the union. Her best results are:
3rd prize in Ludwigsfelde (312 km) of 3,279 p. 4th prize in Wolfsburg (153 km) of 4,342 p. 4th prize in Magdeburg (192 km) of 3,296 p. 44th prize in Wolfsburg (153 km) of 3,291 p. 106th prize in Genthin (235 km) of 3,080 p.
The third best pigeon in the team is 03639-17-426, winner of the following top results:
2nd prize in Magdeburg (192 km) of 3,296 p. 9nd prize in Wolfsburg (153 km) of 4,342 p. 9th prize in Genthin (235 km) of 3,080 p. 52nd prize in Wolfsburg (153 km) of 3,291 p. 218th pize in Ludwigsfelde (312 km) of 3,279 p.
The „426“ became the 4th best young bird in the club in Hille.
We have been taking a closer look at the pigeons of this team, and we quickly noticed that they are close to perfect. This pigeon breed has a great future for sure, and they turn out to have excellent origins as well. However, we will not be discussing the origins of this breed this time, simply because it would take us too far. Stefan Koschnitzki summarised the origins of his breed on his website: "A breakthrough came after we successfully introduced pigeons of the Dutch fancier André Oppermans from Tilburg, back in 1988. Almost his entire pigeon breed was based around pigeons of the Janssen brothers, whom André was good friends with.
In the autumn of 2002 the team also invested in a group of pigeons from Dutchman Henry van Venrooij, a renowned Olympiad fancier and owner of many Janssen bloodlines. Stefan was able to incorporate their speed into his own breed, which in turn enabled him to win several first prizes in the following years.
And what about today? Pigeon racing never stops, and the team has continued to introduce renowned pigeons from Belgium, The Netherlands and fellow German players, which should allow Stefan Koschnitzki to further raise the bar in his loft.
We wish him all the best in his new pigeon lofts.