NICO VAN NOORDENNE, Hardinxveld-Giessendam (NL)
This time I'm taking you to Hardinxveld-Giessendam, a municipality with approximately 18.000 inhabitants which lies in the Alblasserwaard in the Dutch province of South-Holland. I'm visiting a special Dutch champion in the Short Middle and one-day Long Distance races, whose biggest ambition is to make a much talked about stunt result: Nico van Noordenne.
The 44-year old Nico has an office job during the day and spends about 4 to 5 hours with his pigeons. He is a fancier who was introduced to the pigeon sport through his father Laban. Nico has been active in pigeon racing since 1987 and formed a combination together with his father up to and including the 2001 season. 2001 was the year that father Laban had to stop racing pigeons because he became allergic to them and his lung capacity was reduced to 50%. Nico began racing under his own name in the 2002 season. He is a member of P.V. De Stormvogels in Hardinxveld-Giessendam. This is a club with about 30 racing lofts. In this club they race in 4 classes, but the club is so strong that in every race about 20 fanciers are competing for victory.
The racing lofts of Nico are behind his parent's house bordering on the river, the Giessen, a peat river in the Alblasserwaard, which starts in the north-east of the area and travels south-westerly through Giessenburg and Giessen-Oudekerk in Hardinxveld-Giessendam and ends in Merwede. This river has a winding and picturesque course and the water is used for recreational purposes: sailing, swimming and sometimes ice skating. The surrounding area is so much in demand that there are not many places that haven't been built on. One loft measures about 13 metres in length with the front facing south-east, another loft of about 5 metres faces west. The widow hens are in two aviaries during the day and at night go into the loft that is situated between the aviaries. The breeding pigeons are kept in the large attic in Nico's house (Nico lives on the same plot of land as his parents).
Father Laban built his loft up with pigeons from the world famous strain Gebr. Janssen via Arie Kant from Werkendam. When Arie Kant stopped racing, father Laban bought all his pigeons. He later bought pigeons directly from the Gebr. Janssen, Cees Bosua, Peter van de Merwe, de comb. Verkerk, Cees van de Poel, Marijke Vink and Marcel Sangers. When Nico buys pigeons, he prefers to buy youngsters. Nico has a strong preference for the short middle distance and one-day Long Distance races.
Nico has about 25 couples for breeding, they reside in large lofts in the attic above his house. One of these breeding pigeons is Nico's stock pigeon: Kasai. This cock was obtained via Colijn - Ganus and was a real topper as a racing pigeon. He also turned out to be a breeder of top niveau. The pigeons are usually crossed successfully. The breeding pigeons are paired in the first week of December. The racing pigeons are coupled later, in the second week of January. Only the youngsters of the best racing pigeons are kept. Nico usually breeds about 80 youngsters for his own use.
KASAI 98-NL-5809093 raced among other things:
" 1st ace pigeon short middle distance division 5 in 2000
" 1st Houdeng against 6.626 pigeons
" 1st Peronne against 6.289 pigeons
" 1st Creil against 2.673 pigeons
" 1st Peronne against 713 pigeons
" 2nd Chantilly against 2.263 pigeons
" 3rd PS Maxence against 1.417 pigeons
" 4th PS Maxence against 2.646 pigeons
" 5th Duffel against 2.007 pigeons
" 5th Strombeek against 1.946 pigeons
" 7th St. Ghislain against 5.030 pigeons
" 8th Ablis against 1.692 pigeons
" 8th Morlincourt against 1.014 pigeons " etc.
He is, amongst other things, father of pigeons, who together have won the following series of 1st prizes
" 1st Strombeek against 3.929 pigeons
" 1st Duffel against 2.045 pigeons
" 1st Chantilly against 896 pigeons
" 1st Peronne against 516 pigeons
" 1st Chantilly against 420 pigeons
" 1st and 2nd Creil against 34.117 pigeons
" 1st Strombeek against 1.130 pigeons
" 1st Ablis against 949 pigeons
" 1st Chantilly against 437 pigeons
" 1st Chantilly against 279 pigeons
" 1st ace pigeon short distance South Holland - East in 2001
" 1st ace pigeon total old and general in the club in 2001
TORERO 01-NL-5151021 is another topper, who achieved the following:
" 1st national ace pigeon short middle distance NPO 2004
" 1st ace pigeon short middle distance South-Holland East 2002
" 1st ace pigeon short middle distance South-Holland East 2004
" 2nd national short middle distance pigeon WHZB 2004 and also won the following prizes:
" 1st Pt. St. Maxence against 24.402 pigeons
" 1st Hensies against 5.373 pigeons
" 1st Peronne against 464 pigeons
" 1st Pt. St. Maxence against 289 pigeons
" 2nd Putte against 2.030 pigeons
" 3rd Chantilly against 2.099 pigeons
" 3rd Ablis against 1.345 pigeons
" 5th Peronne against 2.567 pigeons
" 5th Peronne against 894 pigeons
" 6th Chantilly against 4.740 pigeons
" 8th Chantilly against 2.959 pigeons " etc.
Pedigree : Click here
Racing system old pigeons
During the last season Nico began the races with about fifty widowers. Next year he wants to try his luck with twenty yearling hens. He takes his pigeons once or twice to Dordrecht to train them for the first race. The hens are always shown before basketting for a race. For a short distance race they are shown for about 10 minutes, for a short middle distance race about 20 - 25 minutes and for a one-day Long Distance race for about an hour. Nico doesn't darken the old pigeons. He has tried it with one or two compartments, but decided that it didn't make any difference in the performances so why should he bother with all the extra work? Nico has all the usual problems when deciding in which order to nominate his pigeons! He blames it on his selection policy. Nico's pigeons have to be able to win 1st prizes in the big races (such as a 1st in the province South-Holland). He selects the pigeons by studying the number of top prizes in the big races. He takes it for granted that a pigeon that has won a top prize one week, will miss in the next few races. Due to this selection, the pigeons often have a changeable performance curve.
To sum up: if Nico wins first prize with a pigeon this week and he nominates it first the following week, then it is more than likely that the pigeon won't score any points for the nominated championship. Nico doesn't want pigeons that race fifteen prizes or more yearly, he is only interested in pigeons that achieve real top prizes. His pigeons are given a bath every week. If the weather conditions are favourable on the day before liberation then he gives his pigeons a bath on Thursday or Friday. If the forecast is bad weather for the racing day, then the pigeons receive their bath on the Monday or Tuesday.
At the beginning of the week Nico gives the pigeons Gerry Plus from Versele Laga. After this the pigeon food (racing mix) is increased up until the time of basketting. This racing mix is often a mix of the racing mixtures from the firms Versele Laga, Beyers and Mariman. Next to the usual additives, the pigeons are given brewer's yeast over the feed once a week and also once a week vitamins in the drinking water. If it is warm weather, the pigeons are given electrolytes in the drinking water on the day of basketting (until 12.00 o'clock and there after only fresh drinking water) and when they return home.
Training the pigeons
At 06.30am Nico releases the first compartment of widowers. Whilst the pigeons are outside he cleans the compartment. As soon as the loft is clean, the widowers are called in and fed. They only fly for about ten minutes. Once all the widowers compartments are clean, the youngsters train for 45-60 minutes. In the evening the widowers are let out from 4pm to 6.45pm, with all the compartments being allowed out at the same time. The widowers train with the traps closed and without the flag. They can train well enough by themselves.
Nico doesn't put too much effort into training the youngsters because he finds it hard work having to get hold of all of them. He liberates them himself three times from a distance of 30 km and then they go with the training races from the club (up to about 60 km). The youngsters are darkened from the beginning of March until the beginning of June from 6pm until 6.30am. Lighting is not used by the youngsters later in the season. Once the youngsters have to be basketted for two nights for a race, the sexes are separated and raced on the sliding door system. Before basketting the youngsters are allowed together for one to one and a half hours. After a race which had a smooth course, the youngsters stay together until the evening. If it was a tough race then they are allowed to stay together until the following morning.
About a month before pairing the pigeons are given a Parastop cure from Henk de Weerd. During the first brood and just before the start of the racing season they are given a cure for trichomoniasis. During the season the racers are given another trichomoniasis cure. For the rest, medicine is only given on the advice of the vet. According to Nico it is very important to give as little medicine as possible in the drinking water. After a race the pigeons are given dextrose in the drinking water.
The toppers of the 2007 season
" Kasai Kid 03-NL-1157087
1st Creil against 34.117 pigeons and a 5 minute lead
1st Ablis against 949 pigeons
1st Chantilly against 420 pigeons
3rd Peronne against 1.062 pigeons
6e Strombeek against 4.761 pigeons
7th Chantilly against 1.731 pigeons
11th Peronne against 4.572 pigeons
11th Peronne against 4.477 pigeons
14th Chantilly against 2.310 pigeons
14th Peronne against 2.567 pigeons
Pedigree : Click here
" Banzai 05-NL-5514291
2nd Creil against 34.117 pigeons and a 5 minute lead, together with Kasai Kid
1st Strombeek against 1.130 pigeons
1st Chantilly against 279 pigeons
2nd Duffel against 4.772 pigeons
Pedigree : Click here
" Alonso 06-NL-1088205
1st ace pigeon Short middle distance South Holland-East 2007
2nd ace pigeon Short middle distance Division 5 2007
15th ace pigeon National Short middle distance 2007
10e Ablis against 4.144 pigeons
11th Peronne against 12.164 pigeons
Nico attaches most value on the result from the Creil race from the last season, because it was an achievement which he worked hard for, namely top prizes in the big races and in this instance it was magnificent with the 1st and 2nd prize with a five minute lead against 34.117 pigeons.
Pedigree : Click here
1st Loft Champion Short middle distance South Holland-East
1st ace pigeon Short middle distance South Holland-East
2nd ace pigeon short middle distance Division 5
3rd Loft Champion short middle distance Division 5
15th ace pigeon National Short middle distance
At the time of our interview not all the championships had been published, but Nico wants to express that he doesn't race for the championships. Nico wants - so as mentioned earlier - only to race for top prizes in the big races. The selection of his pigeons is according to the pigeons that are capable of achieving the greatest results. Nico prefers a pigeon that wins a big race once a year than a pigeon that wins 15 average prizes.
A few top results from the 2007 season
Meer 37 km. 923 pigeons 4,9,11,12, etc.
Duffel 84 km. 1.072 pigeons 3,7,11,13,15 etc.
1.952 pigeons 4,9,15,20,22 etc.
4.502 pigeons 5,12,22,31,37 etc.
Menen 162 km. 1.131 pigeons 1,26,36,37 etc.
2.032 pigeons 1,35,48,50 etc.
4.618 pigeons 1,45,65,68 etc.
Ablis 423 km. 949 pigeons 1,4,8,9,11,19 etc.
1.774 pigeons 2,8,18,19,27,38 etc.
4.144 pigeons 2,10,25,26,36,52 etc.
Creil 331 km. 867 pigeons 1,2,4,6,7,9,16,17,20,21,25 etc.
1.407 pigeons 1,2,4,7,9,11,19,24,29,30,38 etc.
3.490 pigeons 1,2,4,8,12,15,19,29,39,50,51 etc.
16.296 pigeons 1,2, etc.
34.117 pigeons 1,2, etc.
Chantilly 336 km. 437 pigeons 1,2,22,27,30 etc.
660 pigeons 3,4,31,43,46 etc.
1.765 pigeons 8,9, etc.
Strombeek 107 km. 1.092 pigeons 1,10,20 etc.
1.860 pigeons 1,20,46 etc.
4.051 pigeons 3,67 etc.
Creil 331 km. 433 pigeons 2,9,12,13,18,22 etc.
701 pigeons 3,15,19,22,29,36 etc.
1.715 pigeons 9,28,36,40,48 etc.
Peronne 249 km. 305 pigeons 4,5,8,24,31,33 etc.
533 pigeons 5,6,9,38,47,50 etc.
1.266 pigeons 5,6,9,43,56,59 etc.
6.009 pigeons 10,11,16 etc.
12.164 pigeons 10,11,16 etc.
Vierzon 549 km. 111 pigeons 1,3 etc.
180 pigeons 1,4 etc. 467 pigeons 4,11 etc.
1.792 pigeons 19,45 etc. 3.894 pigeons 22,69 etc.
Peronne 249 km. 927 pigeons 1,7,8,21,22,23,24 etc.
1.503 pigeons 1,7,8,24,25,26,27 etc.
3.240 pigeons 1,8,9,32,33,34,37 etc.
16.380 pigeons 3,21,35 etc.
28.531 pigeons 3,23,39 etc.
Peronne 249 km. 301 pigeons 4,6,7,22,23,24 etc.
477 pigeons 5,8,9,34,35,36 etc.
1.145 pigeons 8,17,18 etc.
The future Nico's goal is to achieve as many top prizes in the big races as possible during the next few seasons, especially provincial victories and top notations. In his loft he has Torero, a National ace pigeon, but his aim is to equal this achievement with other pigeons. Conclusion During my interview with Nico, I found him to be an enthusiastic and driven man who is a natural where the pigeons are concerned. Even though he has performed extremely well and achieved many titles, he remains a modest man. Combine this with the super pigeons that he has in his lofts, and it is guaranteed that we will hear a lot more of him in the future!