Conaert Jean and son from Dilsen-Stokkem

1ste national St-Vincent 10.623p 2004

It must have been about 7 years ago that I have visited Jean and Gerry Conaert for the first time. They won 1st provincial Jarnac with their fantastic cock ‘De Toekomst 684/95’. I did not know back them that this cock should become one of the most important breeders of these successes. Father and son Conaert won 1st national Cahors with hens before but the big success started after my visit. They won 9 times national and owned 8 ace pigeons provincial.

What good performances:
1st national Cahors hens 1993
1st national Perpignan old birds 2001
1st national St-Vincent yearlings 2004
1st national St-Vincent hens 2004
1st provincial Barcelona 2002
8th national Barcelona 2002
2nd national La Souterraine
3rd and 5th national La Souterraine
1st Belgian hen Perpignan
Provincial Champion Limburg KBDB Speed races 2003
1st and 10th Ace Pigeon Speed KBDB
5th National Champion Speed races KBDB 1998
10th National Champion Speed races KBDB 1999

5 x top 20 national races on Barcelona and Perpignan between 2000-2004

One can see the big success in speed races AND on the extreme long distance. Jean and Gerry Conaert use the same system (double widowhood) but different strains.

The building of the loft
Jean Conaert (55) and making his living in the building business, became a pigeon fancier because his father owned and raced pigeons. This is how many fanciers begin. On his 14th birthday he got a loft of his own and wanted to race the long distance. He entered the Barcelona race 5 years in a row but did not win any prizes. Pigeon racing was not that easy. When he was 18 years old he entered races under his own name, he was a real fancier now.
His son, Gerry (27), was also very interested as a young kid and for the last 6- 7 years has taken care of the youngsters, the breeding stock and. all the paperwork. This is something that Jean hates; he does not like to do paperwork (results, championships etc). "I want to see my pigeons arrive from a race. 1 wants to be in my loft and observe my birds, my friends. When I come home from work, almost in the dark, He just goes to my loft to watch the behaviour of pigeons."
During the seventies and the eighties, Jean had birds from very different fanciers and strains, some good and some bad.
In 1987 he went to the famous fanciers Nouwen & Paesen (Grote Brogel), 1st International winners of Marseille 2001 and bought 23 youngsters. Mr Jaak Nouwen advised Jean to put 4 youngsters on the breeding loft and race the other 19. This was the big breakthrough for Conaert & Son. The 4 breeding stock birds produced excellent racing birds; amongst the 19 racing birds were several good racing birds and a few excellent ones. Later they also proved good breeding birds. After this success with the Nouwen & Paesen birds, Jean got other birds from Pros Roosen, Dirk Leekens, Jos Thone, Braakhuis, L Gerits, H Bogaerts, Symczack, and H Donders Stoffels and for the speed races from M Milissen and Jef Vervoort.

Foundation Stock!
The basic breeders for the long distance can.
Be reduced to 3 cocks and 2 hens. Basic cock number one is 5099877-85 direct L Gerits (As) from a brother of his National ace pigeon KBDB. This cock is a sire of 1st Provincial Jarnac. Basic cock number two is 5318853-87; direct Nouwen & Paesen (bought in 1987). Number 3 , Full brother of basic cock two "875-87" is called "Pau-Man" because he won 5 times in a row from Pau (3rd Provincial, 9th Provincial), but also 3rd Provincial Perpignan. Almost every bird amongst the long distance flyers is related to "Pau-Man".
Mainly 70% of the birds are from the strain Nouwen –Paesen. The best crossbreeding in 2003 and 2004 were 1st national Perpignan (also mainly Nouwen-Paesen) X 1ste international Marseille Nouwen-Paesen 2002 and this same cock X 1st provincial Barcelona 2002. Not less than 6 birds were clocked on the last St-Vincent from these crossbreeding. Jean and Gerry introduced some blood from Wijnands Harry and Roger (NL, Maastricht) and J. De Ridder (via H. Ramaekers) lately with big success.
The basic hen number one is 5189615-90, daughter of an Olympiad bird of T Stoffels. She was usually matched with "Pau-Man". Basic hen number two is NLI007853-91; direct Braakhuis off the "Golden Couple", the black murderers of Holland! ! The best breeding couple for speed races is a cock from Milissen (Boorsem) and a hen from 1 Vervoort (Aarschot). The progeny are made up of 50% excellent speed racers. 1 will tell you more about them later in my article (see "Speed Devils").
Barcelona 2002
Again a super result on their favorite race. The hens did excellent. The first hen won 1st provincial against 572 hens, 1st provincial against 2106 old birds, 3rd national 2926 hens and 8th national overall. The sire of this hen is brother of 1st national Perpignan 2001 (strain Nouwen-Paesen) and the mother is Van der Wegen (NL). The second bird on Barcelona was the hen ‘Smetje 5116534/98’. She won 7th provincial and 51st international against 26.928 pigeons. The sire is a brother of 1st national Barcelona from Desmet , the dame is halfsister of 1st national Perpignan 2001. The third bird was ‘Mieke 5075242/99’. She won 244th national Barcelona 13.021p BUT also 193rd national Perpignan 2002. She is inbread. The sire is half-brother of 1st national Perpignan 2001 and dame is half-sister 1ste national Perpignan 2001. What a hen.
The last bird on Barcelona was the hen ‘Interparis 5075255/99’. She is really all-round. She already won 8 times 1st prize on a speed race and now 892nd national Barcelona. The sire is a brother of father of 320/99 and the dame is a daughter of ‘Primus-inter-Pares’ of Pros Roosen (Kermt).
1st National Perpignan 2001
The winner of this race is the hen 5166917/96, a beautiful small cheq hen with long muscles. She is called "Lady Di". As a youngster she was not raced, not even tossed but as a 2 year old she was raced from Barcelona and won in the Club against 337 pigeons 5th; Provincial 2,209p - 13th; National 12,678p -69th; International 29,139p- 159th and International Hens 5,189p - 40th. "Not bad!" said Jean and sent her to Perpignan a few weeks later. She won in the Club 99p -2nd; Provincial 694p -6th; National 5,855p -86th; International 16,025p -21Oth. With these excellent results on the two longest races she became lst ace pigeon Marathon LFM (Provincial Championship).
In 1999 she was raced again on these two races. She won Barcelona National 645th and Perpignan National 662nd. In 2000 Barcelona National 875th and a sma1l prize on Perpignan. In 2001 she was prepared with a few other hens for Barcelona and Perpignan on the same special system. One week before the
Barcelona race she was tossed on a distance of 40km, late in the evening, almost dark. All the hens (78) came home immediately, before darkness, but "Lady Di" was not among them. She arrived at midnight in the total darkness.
On Barcelona she won 597th National bens but Jean had hoped for a better prize. One week before the Perpignan race the same method was used. Now the same happened, all bens arrived just before darkness and 917-96 at midnight, in the dead of night. This must have helped her with her Perpignan victory. At 5am she was already on the roof of the racing loft. Did she fly at night? Mr Conaert does not know. He only knows she was not at home at midnight hut was resting on the roof at 5am, an amazing performance by this hen.

Speed Devils
You have already read that Jean and Gerry Conaert also have amazing speed results. They own a very exceptional breeding pair for these races. The cock 5030070-90, direct Michel Milissen won twice lst Provincial in two weeks. He is a grandson of "Vooruit" of the famous Flor Vervoort (Hallaar). The hen 2209073-94 is direct Jef Vervoort from Aarschot. Son Gerry says 50% of all the youngsters are good racing birds. The best that won the 5th and 10th National Championship 1998 and 1999 are Kluivert 218-95 (18 prizes out of 19 races with 3xlst prizes!), Billie 592-98 (16 prizes out of 17 in 2000) and Ronaldo 197-97. These three brothers won 40 prizes in 3 years. Also, other fanciers own lst prizewinners from this breeding pair! ! The best middle distance bird of 2001 was 828-00. This cock is bred out of the cock 118-96 (Soontjes via Pros Roosen) and the hen 590-98, direct Rudy Hendrickx of Maasmechelen (lst Provincial Argenton x lst National La Souterraine).

The breeding stock is matched in February when the weather is good and Jean is waking from his "winter sleep". In one year approx 120 youngsters are ringed. Some of them (10 in 2001 but next year more) are raced up to 500km. Most of them are tossed a few times. Jean selects his birds by hand. The yearling and old birds (approx 100) are matched on 4th April (except some old hens for Barcelona & Perpignan). After 4-5 days breeding the cocks stay on this "widowhood loft", the hens go to another compartment on V- perches (See photo). The hens stay in this compartment. They don't pair with other hens because Jean has used this system for many years. The hens that easily pair with other hens are eliminated during the years. In the morning there is no training session. Jean has no time; all birds get food and new water that is all.
In the evening the hens are released from their compartment and train for one hour. In the beginning of the season they are forced to train (with a flag!) during this training the cocks go from their widowhood loft (with next boxes) to the compartment of the hens. The hens are called in, eat in the widowhood loft and the cocks can train for one hour. When the hens are done eating, they go back to their compartment. The widowhood cocks are called in and get food. An birds, widowers, youngsters, breeders get a moulting mixture the whole year round.
The hens race every week, the cock’s some- times have one week's rest. The hens and cocks don't see one another before basketing. They can stay together after the race for a few hours. After the racing season, in September, the racing birds can raise youngsters up to 5-6 days old. Now the cocks and hens are separated and stay in their compartment until the beginning of the next season. No training in winter. Jean Conaert selects hard when they are yearlings. In 2001 he started with 45 yearling birds and only 6 win stay, only the best is good enough!
Jean and Gerry have another system for the Barcelona & Perpignan hens. They initially have the widowhood system, no rest in April and are raced several times. By the end of May. beginning of June, they go to another compartment and get a partner. On this natural system they go to Barcelona with youngsters of 2-3 days old, maybe then to Perpignan with a second nest. The last week before basketing, they get evening training to 40km.

1ste national St-Vincent 2004 Miss Williams
This small dark hen was waiting on the roof of the loft on 4.50 in the morning. The grandmother ‘Lady Di’ did the same when she won 1ste national Perpignan ! ‘Miss Williams’ or 5030508/03 was clocked on 5.13 and still won 1st national.
As a youngsters she won :
Mariembourg 901p-124
La Ferte 1441p-333 - Dizy le fros 900p-124
In 2004:
24/04/04 La Ferte 148d-12
15/05/04 Orleans prov. 2534d-197
22/05/04 Vierzon prov. 2209p-128
12/06/04 Chateauroux prov. 4611p-152
03/07/04 St-Vincent prov. 1183p-1 Nat. 10.623p-1
The father of this hen is ‘De Kraai 5262287/01’. He is a son of ‘De Toekomst 684/95’ (1st provincial Jarnac 1997) , son of basic breeder 877/85 (L Geris) X basic hen II 853/91 (Braakhuis). The mother is NL2070940/02’ direct from Harry and Roger Wijnands (Maastricht NL).