The KBDB had no less than 43,286 pigeons at the start of the national race from Chateauroux on 10th of June, and they were released at 6:45am in terrific weather and hardly any wind. Still, many fanciers were surprised by the speeds of most pigeons: the fastest pigeon and the winner of the race had a velocity of 1569 m/min; it belongs to Paul and Nancy Bellaert from Oedelgem. The pigeons in the shorter middle distance race were not quite as fast at 1400 m/min. It might have something to do with the stronger southerly wind at higher altitudes.
The old birds' race had a prestigious winner with Dirk Deroose, whose winning bird was also the fastest at 1544 m/min. He was clocked at 11:54, covering 477.260km. Dirk's first prize winner is quite a talented pigeon: he has won quite a few top prizes at national level both as a young bird and as a yearling. This racing bird is called Marcel, named after Dirk's father.
1st Nat Chateauroux I 20,487 p. ’17 9th Nat Chateauroux III 17,250 p. ’15 44th Nat Brive 5,929 p. ’16 187th Prov Vierson 7,056 p. ’17 507th Nat La Souterraine 9,760 p. ’15 Etc…
Last year Marcel won a top prize in the national long distance races of Libourne and Tulle. He is in fact a half brother of Matisse 558/09, winner of a 1st Nat. Argenton of 19,757 pigeons for Andre Van Herzeele, the fancier which Dirk Deroose obtained the sire of his national winner from.
What is most striking about this racing bird is that he has been successful throughout his early career, winning top prizes as a young bird, a yearling and a two year old, in varying weather conditions. He won a 9th National in the disastrous race from Chateauroux as a young bird. He then won a 44th Nat. Brive as a yearling, with a velocity of 1226 m/min with hardly wind, and now he claims a national first prize at the age of two, with a velocity of 1544 m/min in excellent weather and a southerly wind. He is the type of pigeon that can win top prizes in almost all weather conditions and wind directions, and across many distances. This is more or less the type of pigeon we all hope to obtain one day. On top of that, a half brother of Marcel won a first prize in the sprint race from Ecouen this year. These are quite versatile pigeons indeed.
Dirk Deroose is particularly fond of such talented racing birds as Marcel, which is why he decided not to sell his prize winner and to give him a spot in his breeding loft instead. He will be an invaluable addition for future season. Marcel originates from some of the most fundamental bloodlines in Dirk Deroose's pigeon breed, combining the lines of Andre, Picsou and New Freddy.
Andre: a genuine top quality stock breeder and the sire of two national first prize winners
Andre, the sire of many champions including two national winners
The sire of Marcel, the winner of a 1st Nat. Chateaouroux, is the black chequered Andre BE07-4145554, named after his breeder Andre van Herzeele, which Dirk obtained this pigeon from. Andre was an excellent prize winner himself (1st Blois 224 p. and 5th Prov. 2,352 p., 1st Argenton 173 p. and 21st Prov. 3,387 p., 313th Nat. Limoges 16,102 p.). And most of his descendants appear to have inherited his race winning abilities. Andre showed his worth in his very first year in the breeding loft, giving birth to racing bird Matisse, winner of a 1st National Argenton Yearlings 2010, which Dirk obtained as well. Andre continued to breed highly successful racing birds over the years, which were particularly successful in the national races:
1st National Chateauroux 20,487 p. 2017 (with Marcel 372/15) 1st National Argenton 19,757 p. 2010 (with Matisse 558/09) 1st Zone Argenton 609 p. 2016 (the 916/13) 9th National Chateauroux 17,250 p. 2015 (the 372/15) 20th Zone Tulle 2,432 p. 2015 (the 125/13) 21st National Jarnac 3,741 p. 2014 (the 125/13) 32nd Zone Chateauroux 3,661 p. 2015 (the 342/15) 44th National Brive 5,929 p. 2016 (the 372/15) 47th National La Souterraine 9,760 p. 2015 (the 378/15)
This is an impressive list of achievements which shows that Andre is an invaluable breeder indeed.
The dam of Marcel is a Dochter Niels BE12-4089425. Racing bird Niels BE11-4234385 won a 1st Nat. Zone Argenton 8,476 p. and a 6th Nat. 22,837 p., a 2nd Prov. Vierzon 2,738 p. etc., so he is quite a talented pigeon as well. He is a son of stock breeder Picsou BE06-4378467, which comes from Chris Hebberecht, and he was paired to Dochter New Freddy BE12-4216945. Dochter New Freddy is inbred to 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance KBDB 2010 New Freddy BE09-5052387, the five star stock breeder of the PEC, that was in turn paired to Piece of Gold BE10-5020548, a direct daughter of Superkweker Freddy of Pros Roosen. This shows once again that talent breeds talent.
Click here for the pedigree of 1st Nat. Chateauroux Marcel
A straightforward approach
Dirk Deroose likes to keep things simple, basically because due to lack of time: he is a manager with a busy work life (he is the CEO for Willy Naessens Group). Pigeon racing is not just his passion but also a moment to relax. It allows him to forget about the stress of everyday life for a while. He can also count on his loft caretaker Jeroen, who looks after the pigeons during the week. But during weekends he tries to get most of the work done himself.
He prepared for this season much like he did in previous years. During the rest period the racing birds spend day and night in the aviaries that were built in front of the lofts. These aviaries are low maintenance (easy to keep clean) and it helps your pigeons strengthen their natural resistance. The team used this approach at the beginning of this season as well, just until the bird flu outbreak. Dirk started the year with 25 pigeons in total widowhood (22 one year old and 3 old hens paired to 23 one year old and 2 old cocks). An additional 25 old cocks are raced in classic widowhood, with a partner that stays home.
Marcel is one of the cocks that was raced in classic widowhood. These cocks did not breed youngsters prior to the start of the racing season. They were paired in late March and were put in widowhood after five days of brooding. Dirk likes to basket his pigeons as quietly as possible. He does not show their hens and he does not flip the bowls either. The cocks are taken from the loft and basketed, and that's it. The team of yearlings on the other hand was allowed to make a nest in February and they got to raise a youngster, making them more tied to their box.
This team does not hold any big secrets. Their feed comes from the Black Label products of Versele-Laga, their pigeons' fitness is enhanced with side products of Belgavet and their health is looked after by veterinary surgeon Pascal Lanneau.
Dirk lives in Kruishoutem-Lozer, basically on the cut-off line between the western and central line. That is why he opts to train his pigeons along both of these flight lines: from west to central and vice versa. This allows them to break away from the group from both sides. Initially, you can clearly see that the pigeons are struggling with this, which in turn has an impact on their race performance. But the pigeons do learn to fly their own race and to be more independent. This is something that will prove particularly useful in the national races later on.
Dirk has seen a significant increase in fitness in recent weeks; he could tell from the training flights at home, which became longer and more intense. This suggested that they were close to peak fitness, and that was indeed the case: Marcel went on to win a national first prize in the old birds' race from Chateauroux. And we assume this will not be the only major win this season for the talented team from Lozer. Congratulations!
The racing lofts with the aviaries