Vanoppen-Luyten (Herk-de-Stad, BE) win first national Issoudon against 5,708 old birds

The Vanoppen-Luyten partnership has been working hard this season. It is hard to tell when a pigeon loft is in a good shape but is clear that the fanciers from Herk-de-Stad set the bar high. Exactly one week after their national win from Argenton II in the yearlings' category they can celebrate again. This time they took the win from Issoudon.

Their one year old hen Danila  BE12-5006272 was the fastest old bird, completing over 499km with a velocity of 1562.70 m/min.

This duo has been having a splendid season. It seems like the loft of Patrick Vanoppen and Carlo Luyten were chosen to win one prize after the other this season. They have won an impressive number of first prizes and top results and Patrick believes “we will never be able to repeat this season.”

These are very modest fanciers, regardless of the many successes at national, zonal and provincial level. “We keep our feet on the ground. We are well aware that things can start going downhill before you realize it.”

Not willing to play

Patrick is really looking forward to the end of the season. He and Carlo have been busy in the loft from the early morning until the late evening from April onwards. Meanwhile they have gained an interest in pigeon photography as well, which means they have no free time at all.

After their national victory from Argenton II they decided it was time to take things easier. “We did not feel like racing anymore. Keep in mind that our racing team has been working since April, sometimes in shorter distance races, sometimes in longer distance races.” In addition, they are busy training a new generation of racing pigeons as well.

The racing team consists of hens only and they were given rest mixture and purifying mixture from Matador on Mondays and Tuesdays. Carlo and Patrick were inspecting the lofts on Tuesday evening and they noticed that the pigeons were still looking very fit. They were having second thoughts and they had a look at the weather conditions. “One of the advantages of the game with the hens is that hens recover quickly”, Vanoppen explains. It was decided to basket the hens for Issoudun.

Pizza cutter

They did everything possible to have them eat a lot and lots of peanuts and walnuts were provided, which were smashed with a pizza cutter. Patrick smiles and says: “This was a hard job but you can’t take things for granted.” The nuts were obviously prepared in the microwave oven first and this meal was provided several times a day. The nuts were mixed with their Matador mixture.

The partnership pays a lot of attention to the feed, especially when the pigeons are being prepared for a race. “You have to make sure that their crop is not filled with tasty things only; it is important that they have enough high energy feed as well.”

Lost or not?

They were very nervous last Saturday. They had checked the PIPA radar and they concluded that a pigeon had to land at about 14:25 to win an early prize. Time stood still when two pigeons appeared at the loft at 14:17. They held their breath but it was soon clear that these were not late pigeons from Marne. It was an unknown pigeon accompanied by their eventual winner. Vanoppen said with a smile that this unknown pigeon really started to annoy some of them, as it constantly prevented their hen from landing on the board. They eventually both landed simultaneously.

She took the first prize according to Briconweb. “Now we had to wait to see if other fanciers could still beat us but after 45 minutes we were sure. Another national win; we are only just starting to realise.” They managed to win 21 provincial prizes with 44 basketed pigeons and 29 prizes in the CFW doubles, where they have five pigeons per ten against a total of 2,168 birds.

Partnerships are the future

It was especially Carlo Luyten who had to put in extra effort during the short and intense preparations for Issoudon, as Patrick was on holiday with his wife for a few days. They take great care of their pigeons but they also think that their success is the result of working as a team in a partnership. It allows them to split tasks, so that they have enough time to spend with their family as well. “We believe the KBDB should stimulate more fanciers to form partnerships without taking advantage from it”, says Patrick, who thinks membership fees are too high.

Pigeon soup

You can read more about medical guidance before and after the season in the article that we published after their national win from Argenton II. However, Carlo thinks their impressive achievements are the result of their pigeons’ health throughout the season. “Indeed, we have been looking around and we developed our own recipe for pigeon soup”, Patrick explains.

This is the recipe he is talking about:
Ingredients: 5 red onions, 2 gloves of garlic, 100 ml of brandy/gin, 80 ml of iodine, water, ROPA-B.

Mix the red onions and the cloves of garlic with a blender. Mix them uncooked in the blender while adding 100ml of brandy or gin. Then add 80 ml of iodine and mix everything in the blender again. Let it stand for five days while regularly turning/tilting the bottle. Then add 15ml (a spoonful) and 1.5 ml of ROPA-B (oregano oil liquid) to a litre of water.

A golden winter

They think their pigeon soup is very useful and it is served to all of their pigeons every day. However, Patrick thinks there is another thing that contributes to their excellent results. In the last few seasons they were losing about 20% of their racing team, even before the races had even started. “They could not fly well, as a result of being locked up all winter.” The reason was that several birds of prey prevented their pigeons from flying around in winter. As a result, they were in bad shape at the start of the season and they were only getting fit by the end of the season, winning only a few prizes now and then. Last winter they decided to train their hens anyway, if weather allowed. They lost a number of pigeons again but not as much as a few seasons ago.

Thanks to these training flights in winter their pigeons were a lot stronger and fitter, which was a big advantage. “The most important thing however was to maintain their basic fitness outside the competition. That is why we were successful from the first weekend of the season,” Patrick said.

An overview of their 2013 season: 4 provincial wins, 2 zonal wins, 2 national wins and possibly 2 national Ace Pigeons.

References: Ronny Menten (Rummen), Robert Lech (Polen), De Vroe-Van Gaver (Moortsele), Stefan Mantels (Lummen), Emil Gijsens (Rummen) and Ludo van Tuyn.