The winning hen receives a kiss from daughter Gwen
We all know the feeling of being followed by bad luck. To reassure you; even the top fanciers such as Peter van der Merwe have to think things through. To explain further, the story mentioned below about coli during the races, the fright of every pigeon coach. The start of the youngsters season was fine.
In the second race from Strombeek they won 1, 2, 4, 11, 14, 26 30, 31, 33, 35 etc against 4.563 pigeons in the District Drechtsteden. (119 entered and 69 prizes). However, after the third race for youngsters the adeno-virus struck mercilessly.
On the Tuesday a number of pigeons were vomiting, so they were directly treated with 4-in-1 from Henk de Weerd. Even on Friday - the day of basketting - a few were still retching. It was decided that no youngsters would be basketted that weekend. Sick pigeons in the basket infect the pigeons from other fanciers and Peter absolutely didn't want that on his conscience. The treatment was fully completed and on the Sunday they had improved enough to be able to participate in a small trainings race. The convalescence continued and the following week first prize was once again won in District Drechtsteden against men such as Piet van der Merwe, Kees Bosua and Adrie van der Rhee, to name just a few. Two weeks ago it was nearly bingo. In the first NPO-race from Sezanne the 2nd and 3rd was won and 49 prizes were scored from the 100 pigeons basketted. To win first prize everything has to be 100% in your favour, an extra flying round usually costs the victory. Then you have to hope for the best in one of the following three races. National Ablis promised to be a good race. It was excellent racing weather in France with a western wind on the course line. They were liberated at a later time because of departing showers in the Netherlands.
Saturday afternoon around three o'clock at the Noordendijk
Just before the return of the pigeons from Ablis, the pigeons from the late race returned home.
Peter had basketted 43 and a bombardment followed. In just 9,5 minutes 40 had stormed over the landing antennas.
This resulted in 1, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 etc. against 1464 pigeons. During this bombardment a pigeon landed that had obviously flown more kilometres than the other pigeons. She came from low down behind the house and dove directly onto the trap. Mother van der Merwe was watching the clock and confirmed Peter's suspicion that this was one from Ablis. It was soon evident that she was two minutes ahead of the rest in the club and that of course was a good sign. Clarity came halfway through the evening. The eighth victory in an NPO-race was a fact.. Yes, you read it correctly, this was the eighth time that the name Peter van de Merwe was at the top of the teletext race and both Peter and father Arie still enjoy it to the full.
The winning hen has a lineage to make your mouth water.
The father is Amigo who, before being moved to the breeding loft, won amongst other things, a 2nd from Ablis against 4.568 pigeons (after loft companion, Peter had 13 by the first 14) and a 4th from Peronne, 3 pigeons landed at once, which resulted in 1, 2 and 4 against 44.240 pigeons. In 2007 he was Ace pigeon Sprint and Ace pigeon General in the Drechtsteden and 9th Best Ace pigeon WHZB. The Amigo comes out the Replay, a 100% Koopman via Marcel Sangers. The Amigo was at the time coupled with Black 872.
The mother of the winning hen is Senne who won amongst other things, 2 first prizes in the District. She comes out the Bauer, a stock pigeon by Peter who was Ace pigeon Short Middle Distance in the West European Nations Cup in 2004. Bauer was coupled with the favourite from Ad Schaerlaeckens. Another youngster from this couple won a 2nd prize in the NPO race from Sezanne 2 weeks ago. A breeding couple to treasure I think.
The breeders are coupled in December. No eggs are transferred. The various rounds of youngsters are kept apart until they start to fly, then the separating doors are opened. For the first months they are given plenty of heavy feed in the form of Start Plus from Versele Laga. Then they are changed over to Junior Plus, also from Versele. During racing the feed is increased, the same as by the old pigeons. This means in the beginning Junior Plus mixed with feed from Ronny van Tilburg. By basketting for 2 nights their last feed is Champion Plus from Versele Laga with a little nibbling seeds.
They are darkened from the beginning of March until the longest day for 12 hours a day. No lighting is used. The youngsters are raced with the natural system. They only train once a day. Before basketting the separating door is opened at around midday and a few brooding dishes are used to try to increase the motivation. Depending on the time that they return home they are either separated on the Saturday evening or on the Sunday morning.
They try to keep the youngsters healthy with a 2 day BS-cure every 3 weeks. In addition they are given a Magic coccidiosis tablet halfway through the racing season. Preventive cures against coli is a waste of time according to Peter; medicine is only useful if there is a sickness present.
The 66-year old father Arie usually takes most care of the pigeons. For the last few weeks Peter has been free from his work, so he has been in charge in the Noordendijk. Wednesday last week he wanted to call the cocks inside, when they were frightened by something. It was impossible to get them inside. Finally they placed a few lockers outside and after three quarters of an hour they finally got the pigeons inside. Apparently they were still in shock on the Saturday; the second arrival was a cock that remained motionless on the roof before looking for the trap. I think that it is a story that is familiar to all of us.
Such things don't only happen to us, but also the big names such as Peter van der Merwe. Another unfortunate incident. Usually the youngsters by Peter are "thrown outside", as they say in Dordtse. Last week was no different. Only it didn't end so well; 3 returned home severely wounded and 7 were lost. Many hens were amongst the lost and wounded, which could be explained by the extra motivation according to Peter, because now new couples have been formed. It shows the strength of the topper because he doesn't give up, but just carries on along the chosen road.
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