Oscar & Koen Brackenier (Oosterzele, BE) men with a passion for the long distance!

Brackenier… a name as resounding as a clock in pigeon circles… which stands for class and quality. This came to the surface once again in the 2011 pigeon season. Time then to spoil our taste buds once again in bistro ‘Onder de toren’ and chat with Koen by the pigeon with a nice glass of wine.

Grandfather Oscar (90 in the meantime) has swum through all the ‘waters’ of the pigeon sport… has been at the absolute top of the pigeon sport for more than half a century, earlier in the sprint and middle distance… the last few years in the bigger work, in other words the ‘national long distance races’! Oscar used to wear his pigeon overall when he was just 14 years old…  after a career of 75 years, the pigeon sport doesn’t hold many secrets for him. During his pigeon career he stood on the highest podium numerous times, even up to provincial and national level. Over the years he has built up a colony which is respected far beyond the borders of our country. For the last few years he has been joined by grandson Koen and the rifle changed over to the other shoulder…  the accent now lies exclusively on the game with the old widowers in the long distance… youngsters are only trained well, a question of giving them racing routine for later, but real performances are not demanded of them. In the new the gates to ‘national fame’ opened wide for the Brackenier colony with ‘bangers’ so as: 

1° National Bourges 5.708 p Zone A in 2001
1° Champion long distance ‘Belgische Verstandhouding’ 2003
1° Champion long distance FVOV 2003 (Fondclub East-Fl)
1° Steeple Cup ‘Grand Slam of Belgium’ 2003
1° General national champion “Belgische Verstandhouding”
1° Provincial champion long distance “ KBDB East-Flanders”
1°, 10° and 12° Provincial Acebird long distance “KBDB East-Flanders”
1° Criterium der azen (long distance/extreme long distance) “Belgische Verstandhouding”
1° Winner “Tierce” of the long distance “Belgische Verstandhouding”
1° National Acebird “Belgian fondtrophy”
1° National Acebird long distance “Les amis du grand fond”
1° Champion light long distance “Vierdaagse van de Zwalmvallei”
1° Champion “Peterchampionschap Oost-Vlaamse Jeugdclub”
1° National Limoges zone A
Winner of the car by Voeders Vanrobaeys 2000 (with youngsters)
2° National Acebird long distance “KBDB”
2° National Bourges 21.593 p in 2001
2° National Champion of Belgium long distance KBDB 2003
3° National Ace bird long distance “Belgische Verstandhouding”
3° National champion long distance “Belgische Verstandhouding” etc.. 

No easy feat, although after these glorious years the ambitions have to be adjusted. Oscar was on the road all his life… buying pigs from farmers, bringing them to the slaughterhouse, and then cutting them up and processing them in his own meat processing plant. There was not much time left to take care of his pigeons. Luckily he had excellent help from his wife Aline… she often had a hand in the glorious successes, especially in the game in the nationals with the youngsters up to say, 2002! Then her engine started to sputter, followed by a serious operation and lengthy revalidation… she was no longer able to take care of the pigeons. Hence Koen and Oscar decided no longer to race the youngsters, but concentrate fully on the game with the old racing pigeons!

We have now mentioned grandson Koen…  because his ‘strong shoulders’ now carry the responsibility of extending the colony further for the future. The parents of Koen took over the meat processing plant from grandfather Oscar, and so remained active at the parental property. Koen was brought up with the pigeons and could always be found in the pigeon lofts when he was just 7 years old. Koen (32y) has now graduated as chef, and runs his own business, where he… mainly during the weekend, when he can unleash his ‘culinary delights’ in his restaurant bistro ‘Onder Den Toren’, situated by the church in Gijzenzele. By the way… highly recommendable for anyone who likes to dine out with a nice glass of wine by ‘sommelier’ Koen! 

Rich stock

You can read everything about the ancient stock building, from which the current standard bearers in the breeding lofts Brackenier have sprouted, especially the classy 'Shrek 1' (1 ° Ace 'Les amis du Grand Fond "2006) and" Shrek 2 "(1 ° Prov & 2 ° Nat Ace Pigeon long distance KBDB 2006)in a previous article on this colony: click hier

The current Brackenier colony consists of 20 breeding couples (+ a few lates from SHREK 2), 44 widowers, and every year 100 youngsters are ringed for own use, but they are not raced. The breeders raise 3 rounds. The racing pigeons (a few cocks) never breed before the season, but may brood twice at the middle of December and the end of March. The eggs from the top racers are sometimes placed under a few stock couples. Before the pigeons are basketted for a long distance race, the yearlings are shown their hens, the old birds on the other hand only very rarely or never. According to Oscar it is mainly the quality and the ability of the pigeon in the long distance and extreme long distance which are the deciding factors. By the homecoming they are given their hen of course, but not immediately. Oscar thinks that tired long distance racers which have just delivered a top performance are best left to recuperate for an hour before being given their hen. Where the feed is concerned, the widowers are given a homemade composition in a joint feeding dish. Because the widowers are all in the same loft, and this for the middle distance, long distance and extreme long distance, those which remain home are given diet mixture after the last basketting.

Where the medical side is concerned, Oscar & Koen find a visit to the vet a must. The pigeons are checked over several times a year, but they are never cured blindly, only on the advice of the man in white! Natural products are used to try to keep the pigeons healthy, so that in this way they build up more resistance to all types of ailments. Oscar’s years of experience has taught him that it is exactly the pigeons with the greatest ‘natural resistance’ which come into top condition the easiest, and can also keep it longer! Wise words, and good advice from an ‘experienced hand’ in the subject: Oscar Brackenier.

The 2 toppers and titles from 2011

The 2011 sport season by the Oscar and Koen Brackenier household was extremely good, with successes in the long distance and grand distance… resulting at the end of the season in beautiful titles from club to provincial and national level, take a look: 

1°Champion long distance o.b. “recht en plicht” Zottegem
1° winner quarté “Belgische Verstandhouding”
1° Acebird long distance o.b. “recht en plicht” Zottegem (Black 001)
2° Acebird long distance o.b. “recht en plicht” Zottegem (Gladiator)
5° Provincial Acebird long distance KBDB (Black 001)

The two main pawns in the racing team which largely signed for the aforementioned titles and Acebird titles are the ‘Black 001’ and the ‘Gladiator’. Time then to take a look at their magnificent honours list!

-‘Black 001’ BE06-4060001

5° Prov Acebird long distance KBDB 2011
1° Montélimar          96 p. ’11
           13° Zone A 979 p.
71° Nat Brive      10.089 p.
14° Montélimar        797 p.
48° Argenton        1.440 p.
56° Prov Souillac   1.296 p.
147° Zone A Bourges 6.154 p.
472° Nat Souillac   7.045 p.
644° Nat Montauban  9.091 p. 

He is a grandson of the stock bird ‘Dax 018/94’ (16° Intnat Dax), as son of the ‘Secret Dax 109/05’ x ‘Inbred Ludo 700/01’ (double granddaughter of the legendary ‘Super Ludoduivin 897/91’ Frans Waerniers)!

-‘Gladiator’ BE07-4010247

1° Tulle  174 p. ’10
                6° Prov  1.345 p.
                12° Zone A 2.571 p.
                22° Nat 6.695 p.
3° Limoges 738 p. ’11
                27° Prov 4.489 p.
                132° Nat 19.373 p.
4° Souillac 293 p. ’09
                18° Prov 1.780 p.
                73° Nat 7.597 p.
8° Bourges 366 p. ’08
                19° Prov 2.453 p.
                33° Zone A 3.921 p.
                79° Nat 16.771 p.

Son of ‘Den Teen 473/04’ (grandson of both the legendary top breeder ‘Smalle Witpen 457/79’ by Frans Waerniers, as the ‘Marseille 019/92’: winner 1° Nat Marseille) x ‘Granddaughter Dikke Neus 944/03’ Frans Waerniers!

The Brackenier pigeons haven’t only shined in their own lofts for years, but also in numerous other lofts they do very well, with a series of victories up to provincial and zonal level. This was proven again last sport season, with the following resounding performances:

-Herman Pappaert: won the following top results with 2 different pigeons (50% Brackenier)  

1° Provincial Montrichard 3.047 pigeons
2° Montauban 148 p., 7° FCD 568 p., 30° Zone 2.641 p., 248° Nat. 9.091 p. 

-Willy & Gunther De Vos: won with their‘Superke 450’ (a granddaughter ‘Shrek 2’) a.o.: 

1° Zone A Bourges 4.873 p., 178° Nat 20.544 p.
1° Montrichard 592 p., 13° Prov 4.049 p.

-Gerard John: 1° in the 520 Km-race FCI Thailand 2011 (bred out the pigeon which in 2010 won the 36° prize, a 50% ‘Shrek 2’-product).

These are just a few examples which perfectly illustrate that even today the Brackenier pigeons still belong to the leading long distance racers of our country. A colony built up by master hand and grandfather Oscar, and which is now clearly in good hands by grandson Koen… who is making serious work of the further extension of the loft, not only in the hope of consolidating the achievements of Oscar in the future, but to possibly surpass them! Success! 

Perfromances from 2011

Bourges I          
Club    555 pigeons 14-112-138-167-171 (11)
Zonal  6.416 pigeons 78-833-1100-1449-1463

Club    738 pigeons 3-53-70-137-178-215 (by 178 the 5 first nominated from 8 p.)
Prov.   4.489 pigeons 27-393-555-1055
Zonal  8.120 pigeons 101-1269-1634
Nat.   19.373 pigeons 132-1749-2367-4165

Club     96 pigeons 1-25 (3 p.)
Prov.     859 pigeons 15-200
Zonal    979 pigeons 14-216
Nat.    8.040 pigeons 276

Club    347 pigeons 4-107 (2 p.)
Prov.   3.172 pigeons 28

Club    194 pigeons 17-53 (3 p.)
Prov.   1.589 pigeons 187
Nat.    8.105 pigeons 891

Club    292 pigeons 26-63-64-98 (4 first nominated of 5 p.)
Nat.    9.091 pigeons 644-2203-2204

Club    205 pigeons 17-36 (4 p.)
Prov.   1.565 pigeons 159-259
Nat.    8.269 pigeons 657-1228

Club     53 pigeons 2-3 (2 p.)
Prov.     784 pigeons 14-27
Nat.    4.866 pigeons 69-110
Intnat 10.622 pigeons 95-150

Club     54 pigeons 3-10 (2 p.)
Prov.     512 pigeons 37-79
Nat.    4.865 pigeons 281-798

Club    314 pigeons 36-68 (2 p.)
Prov.   2.277 pigeons 328-526
Nat.   12.170 pigeons 2304

Club    402 pigeons 3-16 (2 first nominated of 7 p.)
Prov.   2.404 pigeons 16-96
Zonal  4.703 pigeons 23-179
Nat.   10.089 pigeons 71-478

Club    589 pigeons 19-36-55-123-128-150-158-190 (17 p.)

Club    160 pigeons 2-14 (2 first nominated of 5 p.)
Prov.   1.296 pigeons 2-56
Zone    2.507 pigeons 2-120-622
Nat.    5.667 pigeons 37-350-1372

Club    123 pigeons 10 (first nominated of 2 p.)
Prov.     879 pigeons 59
Nat.    5.591 pigeons 319
Intnat 15.192 pigeons 870