A fabulous season with 7 first and 11 second provincial prizes and a title of General Provincial Champion KBDB
The 2017 season was a new highlight in Luc De Laere's pigeon racing career, although his best results came only halfway into the season. That does not mean his first half of the season was less successful, quite the opposite. By the end of June he had already won four provincial second prizes and 9 pigeons in the provincial top 5. Many fanciers would be more than happy with that at the end of the year. Still, we reckon no fancier would want to finish in second place so often. It seems as if luck is not on your side, despite your racing team being in great form.
And with his pigeons in such great form, the inevitable happened in early July: the team started winning one provincial first prize after another, and before they knew it, 2017 turned out to be their best season yet, with a list of achievements almost impossible to match:
7 x 1st Provincial 11 x 2nd Provincial 5 x 3rd Provincial 4 x 4th Provincial 2 x 5th Provincial
And to add to that, Luc De Laere not only won 7 provincial first prizes, but also a 1-2-3-4-5 Provincial, a 1-2-3 Provincial, and a 1-2 Provincial. We let the results speak for themselves, not only focusing on the provincial victories but on the overall results from the team:
19/8 Orleans Prov 3,398 YBs: 1-2-3-4-5-7-11-12-26-33-41-42-49… (27/44) 02/9 Tours Prov 1,483 YBs: 1-2-3-7-8-8-8-17-20-26-28-33… (30/34) 05/8 Pontoise Prov 18,184 YBs: 1-2-22-23-39-56-70-92-93… 08/7 Orleans Prov 1,649 YLs: 1-3-138 (3/4) 08/7 Chateauroux Prov 2,328 YLs: 1-14-170… (8/14) 26/8 Blois Prov 2,380 YBs: 1-7-10-16-41… (18/27) 06/8 Bourges II Prov 652 olds: 1 (1/4)
They went on like that almost every week. It goes without saying that a season with so many top prizes would inevitably lead to a number of championship titles as well; here is a look at their titles of 2017:
General Provincial Champion KBDB West Fl. 2017 2nd Prov. Champion Longer Middle Distance Olds KBDB 2017 2nd Prov. Champion Longer Middle Distance YLs KBDB 2017 4th Prov. Champion Allround YBs KBDB 2017 5th Nat. Champion Shorter Middle Distance YBs KBDB 2017 8th Prov. Champion Shorter Middle Distance YLs KBDB 2017 9th Prov. Champion Long Distance YBs KBDB 2017 13th Prov. Champion Sprint YBs KBDB 2017
Luc De Laere: I have no explanation
As a kid, Luc De Laere (56) got his first taste of pigeon racing from his family, through both his father and grandfather. He kept a few pigeons on his own in his father's breeding loft, although he was not yet allowed to compete in races. That was until a few of his pigeons competed in a training race, where they proved faster than those of his father and grandfather. This is where his passion started to develop. His career took off for good in 1988, when he really got involved in the pigeon caretaking, forming a combination with his father Maurice. This pigeon loft was entirely focused around winners. Things started to go really well, especially after Luc obtained pigeons from Willy Ruttijn and Julien Demilt, two fanciers from Kruishoutem. These two lofts had been impossible to play against lately. A hen from Ruttijn became the team's first stock dam, backed up by three pigeons of Demilt.
Things went fairly quickly around the start of the new milennium, in part thanks to the birth of the now famous Tieke BE00-3010207 (himself a son of 2 excellent first prize winners). This pigeon was a very talented bird, and winner of a title of 1st Prov. Ace Pigeon Middle Distance KBDB West Flanders. He was also pivotal in the title of 1st Nat. Champion Middle Distance KBDB 2002, with particular success in the many classics from Orleans in this area.
As soon as he joined the breeding loft, Tieke became the number one breeder for De Laere, turning into an invaluable stock breeder that would bring several generations of prize winners. His bloodline was combined with descendants of the legendary Bliksem of Gaby Vandenabeele in 2006, and that was a big step forward: the team of the late Maurice and his son Luc De Laere started to dominate the competition, even in provincial and national longer middle distance races, with an occasional top prize in the light long distance races from Limoges, Brive and Tulle as well. The combination of the Tieke bloodline with lines of Juste-Bliksem and Brave-Bliksem was an instant success, leading to several provincial first prizes and national top results. We take a look at their best results in recent years:
-2010: 5 x 1st Provincial, 20 x 1st prizes and almost a national first prize: a 2nd Nat. Bourges 14,119 yearlings
-2014: virtual winner of a 1st Nat. Chateauroux… Luc found the pigeon in his loft. The gummi ring was not clocked in time, and so he missed out on a national win.
-2015: 3 x 1st Provincial victories
-2016: 3 x 1st Provincial victories and a 1st Prov. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance KBDB West Flanders with Jerommeke
-2017: 7 x 1st Provincial, 11 x 2nd Provincial, General Champion KBDB West Flanders, 5th Nat. Champion Shorter Middle Distance YBs KBDB etc.
For an overview of the pigeons that won seven provinical first prizes, click here to read our previous report.
We asked Luc if he could think of an explanation for his team's impressive form in 2017 and he said in all honesty: No, I have no explanation. They were in great health, and they were suddenly in great form, which they managed to sustain for quite some time. Caretaking was almost similar to previous years, and they were given good quality feed and side products of Röhnfried.
The racing birds (he started with 44 cocks in widowhood: 12 olds and 32 yearlings) were paired in late November, as in previous years. They did not raise any youngsters, only the eggs of the 7 or 8 best racing cocks were brooded by feeding pairs. The racing birds were then kept in an aviary for two months, with plenty of fresh air, to get used to the outside conditions. They returned to the racing loft in mid-February, and they increasingly started to be trained from home. Another pairing of 3 to 4 days takes place in late March, and the pigeons are trained with the distance increasing three times. They are then ready to be basketed in the club for Arras. Do they only one training flight per day in the evening in April. However, as soon as the middle distance season kicks off in May, they have two 30 minute training flights per day.
Luc told us he never shows his hens before a race anymore. One day he came home late from work, and he had no time to show the hens before basketing anymore. The next day, his pigeons went on to win a 1st-2nd-3rd-4th Prov. Ablis of 6,285 pigeons. He had learned his lesson. Why would you waste your energy carrying your hens around if the outcome is the same, or in this case even better? He does keep his cocks and hens together after the race, until Luc returns from the club with the clock, which can take up to 2 or 3 hours. It is a reward for their hard work. The pigeons are not raced in widowhod or with the sliding door. The youngsters are basically kept together throughout the season, and they race in the position that they are in at the moment: with eggs or a youngster in the nest, or after pairing. Luc does place a few cardboard boxes in the loft, to make them a bit more agitated. Luc organises two training flights a day in August (sometimes for an entire hour when the day of basketing approaches), for the entire team, even the pigeons with a nest. He used to take the pigeons away in between races as well, but that is no longer the case. A demanding training regime requires a proper diet! The pigeons appear to get used to the training schedule fairly quickly, as you can tell from the results.
The breeding loft, the beating heart of every loft
Stock breeder Tieke features at least once in the pedigree of each breeding pair, and often even 3 to 4 times! Luc is not a great believer in breeding pairs, he thinks super class breeding birds are much more important; think of the type of breeder that can breed top quality youngsters with several different partners. Stock breeder Tieke is a perfect example. One of the most talented sons of Tieke is Perfect Tieke, a great looking racing bird that is now following in the footsteps of his sire. Perfect Tieke is now the sire of Amor, winner of a 2nd Nat. Bourges 14,119 p. (and himself the sire of 2 x 1st Prov. Gueret, 1st Prov. Compiegne), and Tiekes Bliksem (sire of 6 different first prize winners, including 3 x first provincial). Here is a look at the current stars of this loft that come straight from the Tieke bloodline:
-Perfect Boy BE16-3053765
2nd Prov Tours 6,720 p. 2nd Prov Chateauroux 3,084 p. 3rd Prov Clermont 15,097 p.
A great athlete bred from Perfect Tieke BE07-3204750 x Janssenduivin (borrowed from Rolf Huchtch).
Click here for Perfect Boy's full pedigree
-Little Prince BE16-3053733
1st Prov Orleans 1,649 p. ’17 ( 2nd Prov. 1,422 olds) 56th Prov Orleans 3,665 p. ’17 (62nd Prov. 2,927 olds) 62nd Prov Chateaudun 2,214 p. ’17 (113th Prov. 2,177 olds) 68th Prov Chateaudun 1,384 p. ’17 (88th Prov. 1,278 olds) 120th Prov Tours 3,414 p. ’17
He comes from the same top line as Perfect Boy. He is a son of The Blue King 2 BE14-3113784 (from a joint breeding with Gaby Vandenabeele, with Little King (half brother Gloria) x Perfecta, a daughter of Perfect Tieke x Justine Bliksem) x Kleine Barones BE09-3016368, inbred to stock breeder Tieke from a pairing of ‘grandson x daughter’ Tieke.
Click here for Little Prince's full pedigree.
The next pigeon comes from those same bloodline: Super Lady is a granddaughter of Amor (2nd Nat. Bourges), again combined with the line of Vandenabeele's Bliksem:
-Super Lady BE17-3021486
8th Prov Tours 1,483 p. 11th Prov Pontoise 11,609 p. 20th Prov Chateauroux 2,122 p. 33rd Prov Orleans 3,398 p.
She is a daughter of Sperwer Tieke BE11-3115660 (bred from 2 grandchildren of Tieke: Amor x Daughter Justine Bliksem) x Noella BE12-3098086 (granddaughter Bliksem).
Click here for Super Lady's pedigree.
One of the strongest young birds of 2017 comes from the bloodline of Perfecta:
-Little Magic Lady BE17-3021503
2nd Prov Bourges 5,452 p. (1st Bourges 1,034 p.) 3rd Prov Tours 1,483 p. (after 2 loft mates) 66th Prov Pontoise 9,111 p.
This pigeon is bred from top class pigeon Sproet Tieke (1st Ace Pigeon Two Flanders, and moral winner of 1st Nat. Chateauroux…) x Perfecta.
Click here for the full pedigree of Dochter Sproet Tieke
Another important name in this breeding loft is without doubt Accident Tieke, the sire of the moral winner of a 1st Nat. Chateauroux in 2014 (Sproet Tieke, now a renowned breeder) and of 2nd Ace Pigeon YBs Interprov. Jonge Tieke. And let's not forget the equally outstanding breeding dam Justine Bliksem, the dam, grandmother and great-grandmother of several first prize winners and renowned racing birds in the lofts of Luc De Laere. One of them is Fideel:
1st Prov Chateauroux 2,998 p. ’17 5th Prov Argenton 2,714 p. ’17 52nd Prov Chateaudun 3,753 p. ’16 61st Prov Chateaudun 3,594 p. ’16 Etc…
Fideel has an extensive number of top prizes to his name, but this time we limit ourselves to his most notable results at provincial level. He is a half brother of the moral winner of a 1st Nat. Chateauroux in 2014 from his mother's side (gummi ring not clocked in time), a 1st Prov. Fontenay 7,988 p. (fastest of 16,000 pigeons) and a 1st Ace Pigeon Both Flanders. In addition, he is a full brother (from the same parents) of Strong Lady: winner of a 2nd Prov. 1,057 p.and 12th Nat. Argenton 25,949 p. and a 3rd Prov. La Souterraine 2,856 p., within two weeks' time.
Fideel is a son of Late Baron (grandson Justine Bliksem, from the Tieke bloodline) x Fredje (the dam fo the moral winner of a 1st Nat. Chateauroux).
Click here for Fideel's full pedigree.
That same bloodline has given one of the team's most successful young birds of 2017, and the winner of a provincial first prize from Tours:
-Super Magic BE17-3021521
1st Prov Tours 1,483 p. 10th Prov Blois 2,380 p. 49th Prov Orleans 3,398 p. 92nd Prov Pontoise 18,184 p.
He is a son of Prins Tieke x Strong Lady. Click here for the pedigree of Zoon Prins Tieke.
On top of that, we have the fantastic bloodline of the current champion of this loft: Jerommeke, winner of a 1st Prov. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance KBDB 2016. Luc bred another top quality youngster from Jerommeke's parents in 2017; she claimed a provincial first prize from Blois.
1st Prov Blois 2,380 p. 11th Prov Orleans 3,398 p. 22nd Prov Pontoise 18,184 p. 51st Prov Tours 1,483 p.
They both originate from the new top pair Bonten BE12-3116505 (grandson Tieke) x Gabriella BE11-3070273 (a direct Gaby Vandenabeele and granddaughter of both James Bond: 1st Nat. Bourges and Alfred: 1st Nat. Brive).
Click here for the full pedigree of Sister Jerommeke
One of the pigeons that definitely deserves a mention in this overview is the loft's strongest light long distance pigeon:
-Tiekes Limoges BE14-3070362
16th Nat Brive 5,850 p. ’16 (2nd Club 170 p.) 49th Nat Brive 9,132 p. ’17 177th Nat Limoges 13,493 p. ’16 (1st Club 382 p.)
He was bred from Maurice BE11-9079437 (a Casaert pigeon) x de 759 Tieke BE07-3204759 (a daughter of stock breeder Tieke).
Click here for the pedigree of Tiekes Limoges
Luc was happy to discover that the Tieke bloodline had even more to offer than just breeding prize winners in the middle distance alone. This Tiekes Limoges is a perfect example, just like Hypo Dream BE16-3053851, winner of a 1st Club 249 YLs and a 9th Nat. Jarnac 5,117 YLs in 2017. Hypo Dream is yet another grandson of stock breeder Tieke, bred from an inbred pairing of son x granddaughter Tieke (Zwarte Tieke x Justina to be precise). Click here for the pedigree of Hypo Dream. Nobody would be surprised to see Luc focus his attention more and more on the light long distance, aiming for the long distance classics of Limoges, Brive, Jarnac, Angoulême and Tulle.
The invaluable Tieke x Bliksem
The final conclusion would be that the pigeon breed of Luc De Laere is well defined: practically all successful new racing birds and first prize winners (including provincial level) originate directly from such iconic pigeons as stock breeder Tieke and Bliksem Vandenabeele (with Brave Bliksem and Justine Bliksem proving particularly valuable in Luc De Laere’s breeding lofts).
A pigeon family is only as strong as its breeding loft. This is where the valuable characteristics of your own champions are passed on to future generations. It explains why Luc will never sell his most valued pigeons. They are the beating heart of his pigeon breed, they help him further refine his existing family, and they provide him with future generations of racing birds. A truly invaluable breeding bird is often hard to find, and usually much too expensive for an average fancier with a daytime job. Why would anyone fortunate enough to come across a highly gifted pigeon in his own breed decide to sell it to someone else? You should cherish them; Luc knows that he needs these pigeons if he wants to continue to compete at the highest level. Luc has a clear understanding of what pigeon racing is all about. This understanding has enabled him to win 30 provincial victories and numerous championship and ace pigeon titles. He has been a particularly strong performer in recent years, and 2017 was a highlight in terms of results. His team is clearly on a winning streak, and we expect them to do even better in the years to come. Congratulations Luc and Sybille!