Adri van der Bijl Jr. (Woerden, NL) wins national Narbonne 2013 in The Netherlands against 4,508 pigeons

Adri van der Bijl Jr. From Woerden is the proof that a fancier with a small collection of pigeons can win a ZLU race with an additional distance of 100km from Maastricht. He won the national from Narbonne in The Netherlands, which is an impressive achievement!

A high velocity for the first pigeons from Narbonne

The fastest pigeon from Belgium had a velocity of 1,359 m/min or just over 80 km/h, which was a good indication for the pigeons from The Netherlands. The first pigeons in the south of the Netherlands had to land at around 6pm if they wanted to match the velocity of the fastest Belgian pigeon. The famous partnership of Harry and his son Roger Wijnands from Maastricht clocked their first pigeon at 18:14. He achieved a velocity of 1304 m/min, which made him slightly slower than the Belgian winner. This pigeon from Maastricht would win a fourth place in the ZLU. For a while it looked as if Teeuwen and Jaco from Warnsum (North Limburg) would take the win; their pigeon had a velocity of 1,306 m/min but that was not enough for a victory in the end. Two fanciers from western and central Netherlands had a pigeon that was slightly faster: J.W. Schreurs from Nieuw Vennep had a second place with a velocity of 1,313 m/min. This pigeon had already won the race from Perpignan. The fastest pigeon from Narbonne came from Woerden: Lex was clocked at 19:27’15” in the loft of Adri van der Bijl Jr, completing 1003 km with a velocity of 1,343 m/min. This cock was nearly as fast as the fastest Belgian pigeon.

The top six was completed by Jac. Van den Bosch from Hengstdijk (5th with 1,304 m/min) and Piet de Vogel from Oude Tonge (6th with 1,294 m/min). Piet De Vogel lives almost 50km closer to the release site than Adri. When Adri heard that Piet’s pigeon had landed he ran outside to wait for his pigeons to arrive as well. He saw his first pigeon land from Narbonne and he was really excited: this had to be a very early pigeon. Indeed, it was the earliest pigeon from Narbonne in the Netherlands!


From decent prizewinner to national winner

The winning pigeon from Narbonne 2013 is called Lex. His ring number is NL09-1235157 and he is a widower. Ha had already won quite a few prizes, including:

2220th Nat. Cahors 2010 against 10,325 pigeon
393rd  Nat. Bordeaux ZLU 2011 against 4,504 pigeon
374th  Nat. Narbonne 2012 against 4,307 pigeon
970th  Nat. Agen ZLU 2013 against 6,210 pigeon

You can see that Lex wins prizes regularly and he was a national winner for the first time on Friday 26 July 2013. This was not just any race; it was the ZLU flight from Narbonne. A pigeon from Woerden managed to beat all pigeons from Limburg, Brabant and Zeeland.

The winning pigeon from Narbonne originates from a cock from the Ros partnership (Lekkerkerk). The sire comes from Steketee x Ouwerkerk, the well known crossing of the Ros family. The Steketee breed is based on the lines of the Donkere Steketee (from the Stayer bloodline) and the hen from Ouwerkerk is Het Vleugeltje, bred from Bonte 57. The dam of the national winner from Narbonne was bred from Nooit Gedacht, a pigeon from Adri’s brother Rob van der Bijl. This dam won a 5th national Mont-de-Marsan against 3,704 pigeons in 2006 and she is a daughter of top pair Puck (from the Arie van der Bijl bloodline) x Snelle 66. This pair not only bred the fifth national Mont-de-Marsan but also the 8th national Bergerac 2005 and the 3rd national St. Vincent 2008. A grandchild of this pair has now won a first national Narbonne ZLU 2013.

Lex might have been extra motivated in the race from Narbonne. This widower had two brooding boxes, because he had taken over the box of his neighbour, who had been lost in a race. Could this be an explanation for his performance? No one knows. We do know that this cock is very talented, hence his national victory!

A team with his father and his brother

The now 51 year old Adri van der Bijl jr. has been involved in the sport since 1975. He first raced together with his father Arie and his brother Rob as ‘A. van der Bijl and sons’. He has been running his own loft independently from 1986.  He started with pigeons he bred together with his father and his brother but he also purchased pigeons from the Ros partnership, Theo Streefkerk & sons, Tim Hage and the De Haan partnership. The racing pigeons are housed in a small 3.5 metre wide loft that accommodates two sections of widowers. He has a total of 24 widowhood cocks in his loft. Adri has also built a small loft for 30 youngsters in his garden shed. Adri shows that a fancier with a small collection of birds can win a national race as well. The fancier from Woerden has eight breeding pairs and we asked him if he sometimes crosses bloodlines or pairs good pigeons with other good pigeons. “I wish I had two good pigeons to pair”, he answered. The pedigree of his winning pigeon indicates that Adri uses good quality pigeons from different lofts so he does make crossings.

A simple approach and regular medical check-ups

The breeding hens are paired to one loft of widowers around Christmas. The eggs of the breeders are then put in the nests of the widowers, after which the breeders are paired again. The second loft of breeders is paired in early March, including this year’s winner from Narbonne. The widowers are placed on widowhood in mid-April. Adri darkens his pigeons five weeks before Pau to slow them down a bit and he then trains his pigeons in the sprint and middle distance competition.

Lex had been scheduled for the race from Pau but he was not in good form at that time unfortunately. He had to stay at home until his fitness improved. His shape gradually improved and he was basketed for the ZLU race from Agen, where he won another top prize. In fact one of Adri’s yearlings won a 24th national against 4,386 pigeons from Agen, his season’s first highlight. Meanwhile the national winner from Narbonne was trained over a distance of 30km before being basketed for Narbonne.

Adri and Brigitta in front of the lofts. Behind you can see the youngsters' loft; the widowers' loft is on the right
(Picture: Fred Kruidbos)


Adri uses different mixtures to feed his pigeons: Mariman, Versele-Laga, Beyers and Matador. They are given the appropriate mixtures depending on the season and the pigeons are given additional feed during the racing season. When they arrive home a Gerry Plus mixture of Versele laga is provided, along with 15% P40 mixture. In the course of the week they are on a diet of racing mixture again. In addition to the regular feed and the P40 there is also some TOVO, sweet seeds and peanuts, especially towards the end of the week. Some Wimoral, grit and red stone is provided as well and in winter the pigeons can eat a lot of garlic too. Doctor Hans van der Sluijs gives the pigeons of this loft a regular check-up and a medicine against ornithosis is added to the drinking water every four weeks. During the racing season some comethose (Comed) is added to their diet, as well as some fruit juice. Some sedochol is added to the drinking water on Sundays and Adri provides a bath with some Halamid to disinfect the birds. Every four weeks the loft is smoked out with a block of Koudijs. In addition to the compulsory vaccination there is also a smallpox vaccination, both for the old birds and the young birds. A treatment against salmonellosis is scheduled for November as well.

Gevleugelde Vrienden, a great club

In the last few years Adri has been increasingly focusing on the ZLU competition. These are races with fair releases, because they start in the morning. The pigeons do not have to fly during the night so this has no influence on the results.

He is a member of the Gevleugelde Vrienden (Winged Friends) club from Woerden, a club with several strong fanciers. This is a club in which fanciers support and respect each other. The club organizes activities regularly as well. This is an example of what a club should be like.

Adri gets a lot of support from his wife Brigitta. She feeds the pigeons when Adri has to work overtime and she catches the latecomers in the loft when Adri is off to the club.

Adri van der Bijl jr. from Woerden proves that a small pigeon family is capable of achieving great things. He spends a lot of time with his pigeons, as success does not come for free. He has some fierce competition from fanciers with a much bigger collection of racing pigeons but the fact that Adri takes a national win should motivate every small-scale fancier.