Kessel is a small municipality in Nijlen, on the border of the Antwerp Kemp region, situated in the centre of the diamond industry in Antwerp. In fact, the 67 year old Willy Daniels is a retired diamond cutter. The town of Kessel is usually associated with pigeon fanciers Karel Schellens and Maurits Voets, two grandmasters in the middle distance that have put Kessel on the map as pigeon fanciers. It is safe to say Willy Daniels is now a renowned fancier in this area as well: he has won an impressive number of prizes in recent seasons, with a remarkably small team of racing birds.
Belgium's smallest yet most successful longer middle distance loft?
Willy Daniels does not keep too many pigeons but he does have quite a number of talented racing birds, obtained through selection. In late 2013 he decided to no longer race his racing cocks but to create a team of racing hens instead. His team consists of no more than 12 to 15 hens, and when he won his national first prize his team consisted of 3 old birds, 7 one year old hens and about 35 young birds, as well as 16 breeding pairs. That's it.
Apparently that is all it takes to excel at national level. A small collection of top quality pigeons is much more valuable than a large group of average quality pigeons. At the moment Willy competes in the old birds' and yearlings' races only with a team of hens. During the day they are kept in a small aviary in front of the loft; at night they are kept in their living boxes. Willy does not mind whether his pigeons train for fifteen minutes, half an hour or an hour straight, he is most of all interested in how well they perform during the weekend. However, he wants to make sure his pigeons head straight for their loft as soon as they land on the roof after training. The hens can spend 30 minutes with their hen just before they leave, to keep them motivated.
Willy started keeping pigeons in 1978 in his current loft. When fellow pigeon fancier Maurits Voets fell ill, Willy looked after his pigeon collection for a while. Mauritz showed his gratitude by giving some of his pigeons to Willy, including some descendants of his stock breeder Lichte Bourges. That is when the pieces started to fall together for Willy. You can read more about this in our PIPA report that was published following his national victory from Chateauroux in 2015.
A small but invaluable pigeon collection; this is arguably one of the most successful breeds in the longer middle distance in Belgium. Last weekend Willy managed to win his third national first prize in just over a year, with a very small team of racing birds. It is already his fourth national victory in his career as a fancier. Let's take a look:
1st Nat Argenton 5,208 p. ’08 1st Nat Chateauroux I 18,604 p. ’15 1st Nat Chateauroux III 5,868 YL ’15 1st Nat Chateauroux 9,505 YL ’16
It is safe to say that Willy Daniels is particularly successful in the race from Chateauroux, having won three national first prizes there almost in just a single season.
1st Nat. Chateauroux yearlings 2016
Willy had basketed three outstanding racing birds for Chateauroux; their palmares can be found below. It was his 3rd nominated (The 025) that was clocked first in Kessel, at 13:58'29" (over a distance of 526.475km). She had a velocity of 1304.8247 m/min, which made her the fastest of 16,390 pigeons overall. It also resulted in a national first prize against 9,540 yearlings. The 025 had already shown to be very talented, having won a top result from Argenton and Bourges:
1st Nat Chateauroux 9,540 YL ’16 (fastest of 16,390 p.) 9th Nat Argenton (Chat II) 12,449 YL ’16 86th Nat Bourges I 19,889 YL ’16 468th Nat La Souterraine 9,080 YL ’16 59th Nat Chateauroux IV 10,442 p. ’15 473rd Zone B1 Issoudun 3,582 p. ’15…
Sire: De ‘23’ BE08-6373623
Bred from a grandson of super class breeder Zoon Broer Lichte Bourges 066/99 (Maurits Voets).
Dam: Zus Nikky BE10-6025224
A full sister of Nikky, 1st Nat Chateauroux 18,604 p. in 2015. She was bred from Zoon Zot BE07-6044289 (Zot won 14 first prizes for De Meyer & Son) x Daughter of stock breeder BE09-6217201 (from the aforementioned Son Brother Lichte Bourges 066/99).
Click here for the pedigree of the 1st Nat. Chateauroux 2016.
The (preliminary) 1st AND 2nd best yearling of Belgium over 7 national races of the longer middle distance
The first two nominated pigeons did great in Chateauroux as well, adding an additional two top results to the palmares of Willy Daniels this season. One week ago Willy also won a 1st Provincial Argenton with Sara, which had to settle for second place national. He eventually managed to win a national first prize last weekend:
Chateauroux Prov 1,207 YL: 1-18-70 (3/3) Zone B1 2,776 YL: 1-19-84 (3/3) National 9,540 YL: 1-32-251 (3/3)
These first two nominated pigeons, Sara and the 024 (a nest sister of the 1st Nat. Chateauroux), are one of a kind. They hold the 1st and 2nd place in the the preliminary ranking for best yearling of Belgium after the first series of 7 national races. In fact, super class hen Sara is currently the number one candidate for the title of National Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance KBDB (with 0.7374%), and she is also the best pigeon of Belgium over 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 national races. Keep in mind there is only the national race from Bourges still to come. This team might be on its way to winning a prestigious title later this season.
Candidate for title of 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance YL KBDB 2016 1st Best Yearling of Belgium over 4-5-6-7 national races (until 16/7)
She won a 1st Zone B Issoudun 3,582 pigeons as a young bird, which showed that she was a very promising racing bird. Her palmares can be found below.
Click here for the pedigree of Sara.
-De ‘024’ BE15-6034024
2nd Best Yearling of Belgium over 7 national races (until 16/7).
An own nest sister of the ‘024’: 1st Nat Chateauroux 9,580 yearlings.
This team consists of no more than 10 racing birds, and yet Freddy has the best two yearlings of Belgium over 7 national races (after 7 races), as well as the winner of a national first prize from Chateauroux. This is nothing short of impressive!