Nance could not cope without Bart and vice versa. They are both responsible for the caretaking of the pigeons and it does not really matter which of them calls the pigeons home. They are both highly motivated and passionate fanciers who love what they do. They have been continuously expanding, adapting, testing and racing their pigeon family since 2001. However, they have not been able to take advantage of the collection of their father Jan Van Oeckel since Jan sold his entire team in 1994 because he was moving house and Bart did not keep pigeons at the time. Bart was interested in joining the sport as well but he could not combine this hobby with his bakery so he had to look for an additional caretaker. That is how Jos Vissers got involved in the Van Oeckel pigeon family. However, Jos would only join the team if he could bring his own pigeons as well. Unfortunately there was not enough room for his pigeons but Bert was interested in his collection of Geerinckx pigeons (14 to 16 birds). One of these pigeons was Zwarte Diamant, which is now their very best breeder. Today, this pigeon breed has won national and provincial victories, an Olympiad title and several championship titles as well. Many fanciers would be really satisfied with such a prize list but the fanciers from Oud-Turnhout do not want to rest on their laurels. Bart and Nance Van Oeckel are always looking to make improvements and we wanted to know more about their plans for the future.
Dream team Bart & Nance Van Oeckel with their new team of young birds
Diamonds and tennis
The fanciers from Oud-Turnhout have the benefit of not one but two top-quality bloodlines (the lines of Diamant (Dutch for Diamond) and Tennis), thanks to years of testing, breeding and pairing. The stock sire of the Diamant line is Zwarte Diamant (BE05-6054296) whereas the line of Tennis originates from stock sire Lendl (BE09-6349640). Zwarte Diamant is the sire of for example Miss Poznan (Olympiad pigeon) and F16 (1st National La Souterraine). Lendl is the sire of Kournikova (BE11-6130581), Sharapova (BE11-6126022), Nadal (BE11-6126250), etc. You can find more results and an overview of the best descendants from these two stock sires in a previous report that was published in January 2014: Bart en Nance Van Oeckel (Oud Turnhout, BE) have an international breakthrough in 2013.
Stock sires Zwarte Diamant and Lendl
The two stock sires have bred quite a few successful descendants already, which you can tell from their excellent results. Click here for the results of the Diamant line and the results of the Tennis line. The two bloodlines will be paired to each other from 2014 as well. Diamonds and tennis have proved an excellent combination in the successful "Diamond Games" tennis tournament in Antwerp and we hope Bart and Nance will be just as successful with this combination.
Bart and Nance have a few changes coming up in the near future. They have been looking to move to a bigger house because they have three daughters growing up. They have found a new house just a few kilometres away, also in Oud-Turnhout as they did not want to leave their hometown. Moving an entire pigeon collection is quite a challenge so they had to prepare well. They would usually start the season with 250 young birds but they will now be divided into two groups: 150 young birds will be raced from their current location; the remaining 100 are to be housed in the new loft. This means they are planning to move after the racing season, in late August or early September. The young birds that will move to the new loft first will only be trained there; they will not compete in races yet.
They are also planning to compete in races of 700 to 1000 km in the future, instead of focusing only on 500-700 km races. For this purpose, they will be keeping two separate racing teams: one team of breeders provides racing pigeons for races of 500 to 700 km and a second team breeds pigeons for races of 700 to 1000 km. Bart and Nance realise that this will be a time-consuming process but they think it is worth the effort. They have quite a few commitments already: They run a bakery, they are the chairmen of the Oud-Turnhout long distance club and they are the parents of three daughters. So they thought it would be a good idea to get assistance from an additional loft manager.
In the meantime, Bart is also looking to get the latest information on how to build the perfect loft on his new location. Building a new loft from scratch is the perfect opportunity to get everything right. This is obviously a stressful time but the two fanciers work very hard and they know how to relax from time to time as well. It seems they have everything in place and are a great team.
We all know that some of Bart and Nance’s breeding pigeons have been stolen a while ago, which is why they installed additional security systems. They are now assisted by their new dog Smos as well. Today, Smos does not look very frightening yet but Nance takes him to a training school regularly where he will soon develop into a true guard dog that will scare off potential intruders. Smos is also there to help motivate the pigeons: he prevents the young birds from landing on the grass during a training flight, which is of course an interesting side benefit.
'Smos', the partnership's future guard dog