The pigeons arrived at the place of liberation on Thursday at around 18h30.
Pau, lies in the corner of the rural southwest of France. Pau is the capital of the region Béarn, a bastion of history and culture. The city has an unique geographical position in the hills at the foot of the Pyrenees. Pau not only offers a view of the awesome mountain chain – it is also only a few hundred kilometres from the great cities Bordeaux and Toulouse and even nearer to Spain and the Atlantic Ocean.
The liberation on the Friday morning had to be postponed due to the adverse weather conditions.
At 06h50 Saturday morning the sign was given for liberating international Pau.
The combination G. Kouters & son consists of father Gerard (81) and Anton (49). Gerard and Anton live approximately 500 metres apart in Noordhoek, a village in the North Brabant’s borough Moerdijk. The racing pigeons reside by Gerard and Nel and the breeding pigeons by Anton.
Anton works as a storeroom manager by Moerdijk council.
They are members of the P.V. De Gevleugelde vrienden in Noordhoek, but for the ZLU-races they basket their pigeons in the National Basketting Centre in Steenbergen.
The men had basketted seven pigeons for this competition.
Gerard and his wife Nel sat waiting for their pigeons from Pau on Saturday evening, whilst Anton sat at home in front of the computer, searching the internet to see if any pigeons had been reported from a shorter distance. When Anton saw the velocity of the first pigeons in France and Belgium he thought: “If we have one tonight, it will be a good one!” Whilst Anton was still sat at his computer, the telephone rang and his dream became reality: “They had just had a pigeon return home from Pau.”
Mother Nel (76), a pigeon fancier in heart and soul, had seen the pigeon arrive.
It was their blue cock NL05-0563752, who was clocked at 22h04.54 from a distance of 993,521 kilometres with a velocity of 1085 m/m.
This cock has as father a son of their stock cock, which they obtained from the gebroeders Bril in Ossendrecht. In the early nineties of the last century this stock cock raced times by the first 100 pigeons in a ZLU-race four times ( 3x from Pau and 1x from Marseille).
The mother of the “752” is: “Mother Jac” (a direct Jac van Dijk from Steenbergen).
This “Mother Jac” is a super breeding hen, because in addition to the current winner she also gave birth to:
• 5th national Dax
• 5th national Pau
• 18th national St. Vincent 2009.
The winner Pau 2009 was entered for the first time in 2008 in the ZLU-race Tarbes and was clocked at 21h45 on the day of liberation and with this was 9th national against approx. 4.100 pigeons.
The “752” was raced as a widower.
The other six pigeons from Gerard and Anton arrived as follows:
06h23, 07h38, 07h51, 09h21, 09h45 and 09h48. The competition was closed at a distance of 1000 kilometres at 10h30. This probably means that all seven pigeons have won a prize!
Gerard and his wife Nel clean the lofts every morning at 6am and let the pigeons train. In the evening this is done by Anton and Gerard. Anton is also the man that takes care of the widowers and of the feeding.
As preparation for the ZLU-races the pigeons only fly a race from Creil every fourteen days, which is 300km for them. This year the pigeons have been to Creil four times.
The racing pigeons are coupled at the end of January and are separated again after brooding for four days. For the following two months they are somewhat kept in the dusk. These pigeons are not re-coupled before the races.
The widowers are given their hens for one hour before they are basketted. When they arrive home from the race the couples are allowed to stay together for 1 to 1½ days.
The first two days after a race they are fed sparsely and then they are given plenty of racing mixture.
The pigeons train twice per day from May and then from 06h00 to 07h00 and from 17h00 to 18h00. The pigeons are not taken away in-between.
They visit dr. Henk de Weerd in Breda about three times a year. The last time they were there this season was two weeks before St. Vincent, because they were not “happy” with their pigeons. According to dr. Henk de Weerd there was absolutely nothing wrong with their pigeons. The doctor was right, because from that St. Vincent they began nationally with the 4th, 18th, 52nd etc. against approx 13.000 pigeons. Of the 29 pigeons entered, 13 had a prize (and all by the first 1300).
According to Anton it didn’t go so well from Mont de Marsan:”:190,191,204,257,368,649,790,799 etc. against 10.000 pigeons. Of the 17 pigeons entered 10 had a prize nationally.
After a race the pigeons are firstly given glucose or Belgasol. A few days later BS from de Weerd is added to the drinking water.
Earlier performances in the overnight long distance
Gerard and Anton have previously achieved top notations at national level:
2nd national St. Vincent
2nd national St. Vincent
3rd national St. Vincent
3rd national Pau
3rd international Dax
4th national St. Vincent in 2009
5th national Perpignan
5th national Tarbes
6th national Mont de Marsan
7th national Perpignan
9th national Perpignan
10th national St. Vincent
A very impressive honours list that has been achieved over the years.
Gerard and Anton have often been found at the top of the (inter)national results, only the much sought after national victory escaped them.
Pau 2009 is then definitely the crown on the pigeon career of Gerard. Gerard has kept pigeons since he was five years old and his greatest dream was to add a national victory to his name. He and Anton finally managed it from Pau 2009.
Family Kouters, on behalf of all the staff and readers of PiPa, warm congratulations on this magnificent victory. You deserve it, and enjoy it to the full, because you put in enough effort for it. Or so as Anton says: “We don’t live for the pigeons, but however we do and sacrifice everything for them!”