Andre Roodhooft (Pulderbos, BE) wins a 1st Nat. Gueret 3,379 old birds, a crowning achievement of a successful career!

The national win from Gueret in the old birds category is a crowning achievement for the King-Emperor of Union Antwerp after a successful career. It was the last race of the 2012 season.

It was the first real national win in his career, after having won a 1st national in the hens category and after a few national second places and other top results. Gueret was also the last race that counted for the Kingship 2012 in Antwerp union. It was his first nominated old bird (a one year old hen) that took the national win. André clocked his winning hen at 15h 54’ 11” over a distance of 601.108 km with an average speed of 1241.48 m/min. It promised to be a great day in Pulderbos; several of her loft mates had a good result from Gueret as well. André had basketed 19 old birds and 21 young birds and these were the result at provincial level:

Prov 640 old birds:

1-29-48-54-55-66-76-103-112-132-141-146-155 (13/19)
Nat. 3,379 old birds: 1… etc.

Gueret Prov  2,550 young birds:
78-97-144-301-311-335-470-490-512-548-629-724 (12/21)

Meanwhile it has become clear who will be crowned as king in Antwerp union this season. This is his 8th consecutive title (2005-2013) and the 13th title of King in his career, 10 of which were won in his lofts in Pulderbos.

Daughter Tom

The one year old hen Daughter Tom was basketed as first nominated and obviously she met the expectations, winning the first prize from Gueret for André. She is an excellent racing hen with some great results under her belt.

-Daughter Tom BE11-6025013

’12 Gueret  Nat   3,379 p. 1
’12 Melun           750 p. 1
’12 Dourdan         496 p. 2
’11 Quiévrain       356 p. 2
’12 Dourdan       1,051 p. 4
’11 Dourdan         826 p. 8
’12 Dourdan       1,964 p. 18
’12 Melun         1,155 p. 26
’11 Dourdan       2,040 p. 30
’11 Quiévrain       829 p. 42
’11 Dourdan       1,149 p. 73
’12 Argenton I      665 p. 7
            Prov  2,853 p. 35
          N.Zone  7,809 p. 38
            Nat. 22,384 p. 97
’12 Limoges         554 p. 15
            Prov  2,383 p. 46
          N.Zone  6,052 p. 78
            Nat. 17,735 p. 185
’12 Montluçon       743 p. 49
            Prov  3,284 p. 241
          N.Zone  8,766 p. 328
            Nat  22,875 p. 648
’11 La Souterraine  555 p. 7
            Prov  2,498 p. 51
          N.Zone  6,005 p. 60
            Nat. 16,665 p. 108
’12 La Souterraine  190 p. 16
            Prov    686 p. 44
’12 Bourges I       548 p. 99
            Prov  3,068 p. 415
            Nat. 16,859 p. 2431
’12 Bourges II      428 p. 118
            Prov  1,975 p. 474

In fact she stems from one of the best breeding pairs in the lofts of Roodhooft:
Sire: Tom BE04-6250335… who was a real champion himself and winner of 34 prizes, including:

1° Asduif Union Antwerp 2006
1° Asduif Union Antwerp 2005
1° Dourdan         665 p.
1° Marne la/V      321 p.
5° Melun           356 p.
6° Melun           491 p.
7° Melun           391 p. 
10° Dourdan        758 p.
13° Dourdan        341 p.
14° Prov Orleans 3,631 p.
14° Melun          657 p.
26° Marne la/V   2,555 p.

Tom is a son of top class racer 463/96 (The 463), winner of a 1st Toury 556 pigeons, 3rd Dourdan 482 pigeons, 8th Dourdan 379 pigeons, which stems from the bloodlines of Zoon Geschelpte Hengst 657/94 x Dochter Blauwe Hengst 708/94. The 463 was coupled with Sister 036 373/02, winner of a 1st ace pigeon union Antwerp 2001 & 2002. Tom is also brother of top class breeder Nestpenner.

Dam: Superkweekduivin BE03-6355923
As her name says she is an exceptional breeding dam and a full sister of Topkweekster 571/03, which is the dam of 229/06 (winner of a 1st ace pigeon yearlings Antwerp union 2007 (31 prizes), a 2nd ace pigeon yearlings Antwerp union 2007 with 37 prizes) and of 400/04 (winner of a 1st Nat. Zone B Argenton 1,622 pigeons and a 5th Nat. 5,001 pigeons, a 1st Toury 964 pigeons and a 3rd Nat. Limoges 17,456 pigeons). She was bred from the excellent breeding couple Son 323 141/100 (from the bloodline Hofkens via Nelles Van De Pol) x Dochter Super Kweekkoppel 610/93 (bred from Super Kweker 217/90 x Goudklompje 758/89 of Leo Wouters).

Top fanciers with a rich tradition

André Roodhooft from Pulderbos is probably one of the most committed fanciers we have ever seen. It would not be an easy task to find a fancier with a more successful career in the middle distance and the light long distance than André Roodhooft. He has dedicated his life to pigeons, but he is a down to earth fancier with a sense of reality. We guess this has to do with the experience he gained over the years. In a picturesque environment in Pulderbos he built a wonderful loft, where he has had great successes year after year. He has spent his entire life amid the pigeons in the Natural breeding station. It was there that he gained experience and laid the foundation for a very successful career and an unprecedented list of achievements. There is a lot we can learn from him!

Although the lofts in Pulderbos are situated in a very calm environment there is one disadvantage: there is an electricity wire in the vicinity of the loft, which causes several losses and injured birds every season, but after a while you start to get used to it, says Andre. However it is always hard when one of your favorites gets hurt. Throughout the years he has learned that some fanciers take things too seriously. There is nothing wrong with being dedicated, but you should try to keep things simple, don’t put too much pressure on yourself for things that are not very useful. For instance he used to pair the racing pigeons early in the season to be able to breed a round of early young birds, but recently they do it differently: he pairs the cocks for one breeding round just before the season (they are paired around 1 April). In winter the pigeons can stay in the aviary. This means there is less cleaning up and less maintenance in the loft. Only around the 20th of March are the racing pigeons allowed in the loft again for the first training flights of the season. When we paid a visit to the loft of André mid April this year we noticed that the pigeons had just been paired (around the first of April), after which they were placed on widowhood after 5 to 6 days of breeding. As soon as the weather allows the training is started right after the pairing of the birds. In previous years he also carried baskets and hens with him when the pigeons had to do a flight, but he skipped that as well: for the races of the grand middle distance and longer he would not even use a nest bowl anymore to motivate his pigeons. He would only use a hen or a nest bowl for the two or three first motivated old birds and yearlings in the middle distance. First you must have tried every possible approach before you come to the conclusion that most of this is in fact unnecessary, says André.

When it comes to feeding the pigeons Andre also uses a rather simple method. Back in earlier days he used to feed them different smaller portions: first a racing mixture, then some sweet seed or peanuts for desert, but nowadays everything is mixed together: he feeds them five portions of top widowhood, one portion of corn, one portion of nutripower natural, a quarter of a portion of peanuts and a sixth of a portion of sweet seeds. He feeds his pigeons slightly more than necessary and after 20 to 30 minutes the feeding tray is removed. When the pigeons arrive home after a race they are given a light mixture until Sunday evening, which consists of two portions of top widowhood, three portions of diet and one portion of nutripower with some brewers yeast and garlic oil. He also adds some electrolytes and amino acids to their drinking water. On Monday the pigeons are again fed with the racing mixture and some naturalin, apple cider and garlic is added to the drinking water, except for the days on which the pigeons receive medical treatment or when they are given vitamin supplements (usually on Tuesdays, together with some sedochol). But André tries to keep medical treatments to a strict minimum. “Take it from me, lofts that have been at the top for several years will not make use of medical treatments too often”, says André. His best seasons were the ones in which he hardly had to use any medication at all. When the pigeons return to the racing loft around the 20th of March they get a seven day treatment against tricho, which is repeated after two to three weeks. Throughout my career I have seen thousands of pigeons so I can quickly notice if a bird is in a good shape or if the bird is not fit. In that case I take action. For treatments against head diseases we act on instinct. We have experienced that if there is something wrong with the fitness of the bird it is usually something to do with its head or with its airways. In that case you have to react quickly. However, in the lofts in Pulderbos they try to keep the number of treatments to a minimum: maximum two to three per season for the old birds and possibly an extra treatment for the youngsters. This is especially the case in warm weather with a decrease in oxygen in the lofts. That is why the loft is equipped with windows with gauze for hot days. After the season the pigeons are treated against paratyphoid fever; vaccination is planned during spring. 

Preparations for Gueret

All the old racing birds are raced on classic widowhood, with their partners staying at home. The racing hens are paired after the national Bourges II (at the end of July), so that they could race La Souterraine at the end of the breeding period and Gueret with a small young bird. For the race from Argenton they were kept at home because most of the hens were laying an egg at that time. This approach seems to work out fine: in 2011 André clocked no less than seven old birds within the national top-100 in each of these races. In 2012 he took the national win from Gueret in the old birds category! This is a crowning achievement after a long career at the top of pigeon racing. Many congratulations to André, his wife Annette and his faithful assistant Roger!