Van Den Brande Brothers (Berlaar, BE): a genuine sprint breed at the highest level

They have been outstanding in the highly competitive Diamond Union, one of the strongest Ententes in the sprint in the province of Antwerp. This team has excelled on a weekly basis in the races from Quievrain and Noyon, and this resulted in numerous championship titles as well. They were again outstanding in 2018.

Frans & Marcel Van Den Brande, with Carl (Marcel's son) in the middle

A top level team for years

The Van den Brande Brothers (Frans & Marcel), with the help of Marcel's son Carl, have been one of the teams to beat in the sprint competition. This team has won top prizes in the races from Quievrain and Noyon on a weekly basis, both in their own club in Berlaar and in the Diamond Union. They also started to get great results in their other union (Langs De Nete) in basketing club Bevel as of 2017, which was in fact their first season in this union.

The 2018 season has only just come to a close but the championships sprint had been announced a few weeks ago already. And it is quite clear that this team will be adding a few more titles to their 2018 palmares. Here is a quick look:

Diamond Union

1st General Champion Quievrain
1st Ace Pigeon Quievrain yearlings
2nd General Champion Quievrain + Noyon
2nd Ace Pigeon Quievrain olds
2nd Champion Quievrain yearlings
2nd Champion Noyon olds
2nd Champion Noyon yearlings
3rd General Champion Noyon
3rd Champion Quievrain olds
3rd Ace Pigeon Noyon olds
3rd Ace Pigeon Noyon yearlings
4th Champion Quievrain young birds
4th Ace Pigeon Noyon yearlings

Club Berlaar

1st General Champion Quievrain
1st Ace Pigeon Quievrain olds
1st Ace Pigeon Quievrain yearlings
1st Ace Pigeon Noyon yearlings
1st Champion Quievrain olds
1st Champion Quievrain yearlings
1st Champion Noyon yearlings
2nd Ace Pigeon Noyon yearlings
2nd Champion Noyon olds
2nd Champion Quievain young birds
3rd General Champion Quievrain + Noyon
3rd Ace Pigeon Noyon olds

A simple approach leads to great results

The racing strategy of this combination could be considered rather straightforward. They start with 14 widowers in late March, which are raced in traditional widowhood. They can see their hen for 15 minutes before basketing, and they can spend one to two hours together after the race. However, they do breed two rounds of young birds before the start of the season. Their diet consists only of moult mixture, and they always have a full tray, although they try to avoid spillage. The vet adds a disinfectant to the drinking water after the race, to rule out a tricho outbreak. The widowers do not get any additional medication. They are trained twice a day for about 45 minutes.

As far as the young birds go, the team keeps things simple as well, similar to their old birds' approach. The young birds are free to go about their season, and most of them will eventually have a nest. The young birds sometimes end with 2 or 3 different nests. They also get a full tray of moult mixture, and a disinfectant is added to the drinking water. There is an additional treatment for the airways about twice per season. Needless to say, they train every day.

A breeding loft with proven racing birds

The breeding loft of Frans, Marcel and Carl is first of all home to a group of racing birds with a proven record. These are mainly pigeons that have excelled here at home, and which appear to have plenty of speed and intelligence. These are two key ingredients for any new breeding bird in this team. After all, these new breeders are expected to deliver new generations of racing birds with which this team can maintain its place at the top. The hens are then selected based on their achievements as young birds, and on their breeding qualities in the racing loft (as widower hens). Like we said, the widowers raise at least 2 rounds of young birds every season, which gives a good idea of their breeding potential. Needless to say, the team also turns to neighbouring lofts and their closest opponents for new investments.
Almost all breeding pairs are reunited after the winter, with a few exceptions. This is to try and increase the chance of finding the perfect breeding pair. Today, the breeding loft is home to several successful birds; here is a look at few of the team's most valued pigeons:

BE12-6054213 - Superblauwe 'Asduif Noyon' - 8 x 1st prize, 2 x 1st ace pigeon

This is the star of this loft, with an impressive 8 first prizes from Quievrain and Noyon to his name, including a 1/772, 1/638, 1/142, etc., and three 2nd prizes. He is a genuine sprint bird indeed. He also became 1st Ace Pigeon in the Diamond Union in 2015. He shows to be a great breeding bird as well, having already bred Sagan. This successful racing bird wins 2 first prizes and 7 top 5 prizes. Unfortunately he failed to return home from a difficult race this season.

His sire is Stekpender, a genuine top breeder and winner of one first prize and 4 top 10 prizes. The two parents have each won two first prizes as well. Click here for his pedigree.

BE14-6115421 - Diamant - 8 x 1st prize, 1 x 1st ace pigeon

Diamant is without doubt one of the stars of Team Van Den Brande, with 8 first prizes, 3 second prizes and an impressive 20 top ten prizes to his name. This sprint bird has really played an important role in this loft over the years. Diamant became 1st Ace Pigeon Quievrain in the club in Bevel in 2017, after his titles of 4th ace pigeon young birds Diamond Union and 3rd ace pigeon yearlings Diamond Union in 2014 and 2015 respectively. His descendants are promising to be quite talented as well: one of his youngsters has already won a 10/380 and a 27/717 from Quievrain.
He is a half brother of one of the team's best racing birds of today: Ronaldo. This pigeon has won a first prize and two second prizes.

The sire of Diamant was another super class sprint bird: Blauwe 219 has won four first prizes from Quievrain, he was 1st ace pigeon olds Diamond Union 2014 and he became 3rd ace pigeon old birds Diamond Union 2015.

De dam is a direct hen of Gert Heylen.

Click here for the full pedigree.

BE15-6106512 - Blauwe 512 - 3 x 1st prize, 8 x top 5 , an exponent of three highly talented generations along with 401 and Floere

Blauwe 512 was still part of the racing team this year, and he added another first prize to his already impressive palmares. He won the following top prizes from Quievrain: 1/282, 1/202, 1/121, 2/261, 3/429, 3/264, 4/146. He is now the sire of another first prize winner, BE17-6082715. This bird won a 1/669 from Quievrain but he went missing later this year.

The sire is Super Blauw BE14-6115401, himself winner of three first prizes from Noyon (1/555, 1/150 en 1/134), as well as 13 x top 5 and 2 x 1st ace pigeon in the Diamond Union! He is now the sire of at least three first prize winners. He was a son of another important member of this breeding team: Floere BE13-6150288. This top class breeder is the sire or grandfather of an impressive 12 first prize winners!

Super Blauwe 401, a top class racing and breeding bird for the Van Den Brande brothers

Floere, the grandfather of three invaluable generations!

The dam of Blauwe 512 is one of a kind as well. Sneeuwwitje is the dam of 4 first prize winners, and she the grandmother of two top class racing birds for the Jager Brothers (Blijham, NL). NL17-1568829 wins a 2/4,215, 2/2,710 and a 14/6,695 pigeons. Nestbrother NL17-1568828 wins in turn a 1/3,421, 2/3,780, 4/13,013, 8/2,624 pigeons, etc.

Sneeuwwitje, a fantastic breeding hen

For the full pedigree of Blauwe 512, click here.

Piraat, BE14-6115469, 2x 1st prize and 15 x top-10 / (grand)father of at least 3 first prize winners

Piraat deserves a spot in this list as well. He is one of the youngsters of top pair Blauwe Aerts x Vaal 329, one of the stock pairs of this team. They are the parents of Piraat, and of several other talented racing birds, including Kapitein (3 x 1st prize, 8 x top 5 and a 1st ace pigeon title). Blauwe Aerts is himself the sire of Sneeuwwitje (see earlier).

Piraat won himself two first prizes (1/444 and 1/377) from Quievrain, as well as several top 10 prizes. His youngsters have already won 2 first prizes. His grandson Ronaldo is a talented pigeon for the future: he wins a 1/491 anda 2/326 from Quievrain, and a 2/302 from Noyon and 6 top 10 prizes. He became 2nd ace pigeon yearlings in his club in Berlaar.

Click here for the pedigree of Piraat.

Top pair Vale Alex BE16-6155848 x BE16-6080723 - parents of 3 x first prize in 2018 and 13 x top 10

Vale Alex and Blauw 723 are without doubt a future top pair. They bred three different first prize winners this year: 1/819, 1/423 and 1/326, each time from Quievrain. Their youngsters have won 13 first prizes in total.


Vale Alex is a direct Alex Docx. Blauw 723, herself a talented racing hen (5 x top 10 as a young bird and 2nd ace pigeon Quievrain in Berlaar), is a granddaughter of Piraat (see earlier).

Blauw Alex, BE13-6251844, grandmother of Goed Grijs, 7 x 1st prize

This list is far from complete but we did want to include Blauwe Alex, a direct Alex Docx. Her youngsters have won a first prize, and 12 top 10 prizes. 

Top breeder and the grandmother of Goed Grijs, of the Leideman brothers

But she is first and foremost the grandmother of Goed Grijs, a top class racing bird and winner of 7 first prizes (no doubles) for the Leideman Brothers (Hardenberg, NL). This is her palmares:

1st NPO Laon - 6,371 pigeons
1st Duffel - 5,821 pigeons (2 minute lead)
1st Heusden-Zolder - 2,775 pigeons
1st Laon - 1,052 pigeons
1st Wijchen - 786 pigeons
1st Heusden-Zolder - 656 pigeons
1st Hapert - 231 pigeons

Top class hen Goed Grijs, a direct Van Den Brande Brothers - Click here for the pedigree

A sister of Goed Grijs has won a great result as well: a first prize of 1,009 pigeons from Quievrain.

To conclude: references from at home and abroad

We talked you through some of the top references of the Van Den Brande Brothers. And several other teams have had great results with the sprint pigeons of the brothers as well, including of course the Leideman brothers and the Jager brothers. Several other names have not even been included in this article but the names of Gaston Van de Wouwer, Roger Maris, Alex Docx, Jo Van den Brande, Ludo Helsen and Laurent Serneels come to mind, in Belgium alone. Outside of Belgium we have the Brandenburg Brothers, Sibble Broos and Jan Van der Putten, just to name a few. And there is also a top reference from Romania: pigeon fancier Pasha won a title of 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance YBs 2016 in his home country, with a direct descendant of a pigeon from Berlaar that he invested in.