Van Noordenne Nico, "A ‘new star’ in the pigeon sky!"


NICO VAN NOORDENNE, Hardinxveld-Giessendam (NL)

1st National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance NPO 2004 !!
3rd National Champion Middle Distance NPO 2004 !!
7th National Ace Pigeon One Day Long Distance NPO 2005 !!

Did we fall in love with this region back in December, after our visit to master Kees Bosua or are we simply under the spell of all the superior pigeons that cross the skies in this region? Fact is that Dr Carlo Gyselbrecht went once again, in the company of the undersigned, to Drechtsteden/Randstad at the end of February. The last time we stopped in Dordrecht but now we made our way around numerous rivers and moved on for about 25 kilometres to halt in Hardinxveld-Giessendam where the ‘new top star’ of Dutch Middle Distance and One Day Long Distance, Nico Van Noordenne, is living at the ‘Buitendam’. Once again we were fortunate to enjoy the hospitality of our northern neighbours and we put some interesting tips down on paper during a ‘cosy pigeon chat’ at Nico Van Noordenne’s place.
Just like Kees Bosua, Nico put up the pigeon lofts on the waterfront: a river on which one could easily do some ‘sightseeing’ on a pleasure yacht. No wonder that climate control is being regulated by means of under floor heating which is connected to a hygrometer. But let us first introduce the man himself behind all these top successes.

A spectacular start
Nico and his father Laban van Noordenne are probably the most famous pigeon fanciers in the region of Hardinxveld-Giessendam. Father Laban established, with his friend Cees van der Poel, CELA Woonwereld a company which focuses on interior design products such as carpet, wallpaper, curtains, etc... His son Nico is in charge of the bookkeeping of the 2 shops. Nico considers this is an advantage because his office is situated in his house which allows him to be with his pigeons within a minute, and there are advantages attached to that... As from 1987 Nico and his father Laban have been taking part in pigeon racing as a team and immediately, they earned eternal fame by winning the 1st National Barcelona 1987 (by the way, they won 1st + 9th out of 3 basketted pigeons). The team made itself immortal; in the years to come they excelled in Middle Distance as well as in ((overnachtfond / one night basket races)). But then suddenly, father Laban started to suffer from the feared ‘pigeon lung’ in the early 2000’ and the pigeon loft became ‘off-limits’. Nico took over completely as from 2002 but Laban is still fascinated by pigeons and is keeping up with the achievements of his son Nico very closely. Laban confided to us that he is still as ‘nuts’ about pigeons as he used to be; he gets nervous each time the pigeons are about to arrive and he still gets a ‘kick’ out of an early pigeon, although he cannot get in the lofts himself.
Due to these developments, Nico firmly decided to sell the pigeons that flew extreme long distance and he started to concentrate on Middle Distance and One Day Long Distance races in an area with keen competition by the way. Nico clearly does not like to do things by halves, he is a born winner. And to get somewhere in pigeon sport these days you partly have to ‘live’ for these pigeons, spend a lot of time and work on them otherwise you are put out of action. Nico is very much aware of this which is why he took the firm decision to specialize in Middle Distance and One Day Long Distance races and which is also why he decided to emphasize on top achievements (1st prizes against a lot of pigeons) and not on championships.

Founding the strain with only the ‘very best blood
Nico had to continue on his own as from 2002 and could of course fall back on the powerful strain of pigeons which he had founded together with his father Laban and which is maybe gradually becoming one of the most talented pigeon strains at present in The Netherlands. Our host gave us a tour of the lofts and naturally we started with the ‘golden’ breeding source which is installed on top of his house and which comprises 25 breeding couples. The foundation was laid by pigeons from the Janssen Bros. in Arendonk, Belgium. Father Laban had bought a collection of pure Janssenpigeons from Arie Kant in Werkendam at the time and later-on he personally paid several visits to the Janssen Bros. in the famous ‘Schoolstraat’ in Arendonk, Belgium. Nico let us hold one of the progenitors from the Janssen strain in our hands: a powerful scalloped cock with white feathers and radiant white eyes. A true class bird from 1994 that really made an impression. He could easily have lied about his age: 10 years old and still he looked sharp and lively and certainly not at the end of his tether.
Nico started looking for some suitable cross breeding material and he only looked for ‘the best of the best’, preferably in his own region. The first reinforcements were obtained at the ‘N° 1’ of the latest seasons in The Netherlands: Kees Bosua from Dordrecht. Nico took home descendants from ‘het Autokoppel’, ‘het Bange-koppel’ and nearly all of the best pigeons. And the reinforcements immediately paid: the Van Noordenne team moved into gear and... the 1st National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance NPO 2004 is one of the direct hens from Kees Bosua, but more about that later.
In 2003 some pigeons were obtained at Bas and Kees Verkerk’s, birds which had all been raced but soon enough some real ‘supers’ were moved to the breeding loft. Other birds come from Lindelauf were Nico went in 2003, as well as some pigeons from the famous ‘Zwartjes’ from Peter Van de Merwe, 2 descendants from the ‘top couple’ of Marijke Vinck and also some birds from Marcel Sangers and Wouters-Coremans as well as Koopman pigeons (via Cees Vd Poel) completed the present colony. Actually a collection of the real ‘cream of the crop’, as far as I am concerned you can call it ‘pure world class’ from The Netherlands and Belgium as far as Middle Distance and long distance racing is concerned. No wonder Nico Van Noordenne made his way to the very top of Dutch pigeon sport in no time with such a rich growing basis at his disposal, driven by ‘modern management’.

Classic widowhood with cocks

After visiting this rich ‘breeding stable’ Nico gave us a tour of the racing lofts which are separated into 2 different lofts and which are situated just beside and behind the parental home. On the left there are 3 compartments, each housing 12 widowers and next to that there are 2 compartments for young pigeons that are raced with open door. Behind the house on the right there is yet another compartment housing 12 widowers with a loft for young pigeons beside it. As mentioned above, an ideal loft climate is created by means of under floor heating which is turned on and off by means of a hygrometer (because of the high level of humidity which is the result of the location next to the river).
At this moment, about 47 widow cocks (old and yearlings) are ready for 2006 and each year, 100 youngsters are added. Following Kees Bosua and Bas Verkerk Nico tried to race hens on widowhood but he was not satisfied with their achievements. It turned out to be a lot of extra work, results were disappointing and Nico decided to focus on classic widowhood with cocks. Nico has an eye for modernization and he is following the competition very closely. He noticed for example that the pigeons of Bas Verkerk are basketted once a week; they race a middle distance race one week and they are basketted for a long distance race the next week. Nico had been racing his pigeons every 2 weeks up until that moment, so the birds flew a race one week and then had 1 week of rest, etc... But in 2005, he performed a little experiment with his yearlings according to the ‘Verkerk system’. What struck him was the fact that the Verkerk pigeons succeeded best in accepting this system although Le Mans put a spoke in the wheel. No matter what is said or written about this national ‘Le Mans’, according to Nico Kees Bosua (1 + 2) and Gerard Koopman (3) were the real top players... But still, this race was partly a disaster race as several real top birds did not make it back... as e.g. ‘de SUPER 210’ from Nico Van Noordenne, a direct Verkerk pigeon which had before excelled with a 1st Nat Ablis NPO 22.235 p… 1st Harchies 4.332 p… and 6th Pont St.Max 24.402 p, but alas, he never returned home from Le Mans as some other promising yearlings. Nico draws the conclusion that racing following the old system, i.e. every 2 weeks a long distance race, is the best for his pigeons or the racing system.

Method of success
The breeding pigeons are coupled early December and they grow 2 rounds of youngsters. The racing birds are coupled between mid January and mid February (this year), depending on the weather. The cocks are allowed to choose their hen freely. If 1 day has passed and they have not yet coupled, the cocks are locked up in the box together with the hen for 1 night after which everything is usually back to normal. Nico has been trying different methods: one part was allowed to brood twice, another part was allowed to raise youngsters prior to the season but afterwards the difference between their achievements was barely noticeable.
As for 2006: about two thirds of the pigeons in the racing lofts are yearlings, so they are allowed to raise one youngster after which they will go on widowhood immediately. During brooding a cure against trichomoniase of about 7 days is administered. The racing pigeons are flying training races as much as possible as from the coupling to allow the yearling cocks to familiarize themselves with their loft. These training races could not take place due to the fact that the Dutch government decided that poultry should be moved indoors because of the avian flu although, in the meantime, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.
During the season, the hens are always shown before departure. The time that the cocks can spend with their spouse prior to a race depends on the race they have to fly. This means that it varies from a couple of minutes up to an hour. The time they are allowed in each other’s company after a race also depends on the severity of a race, weather condition, distance, ...
Nico Van Noordenne is using mixtures produced by the Belgian company Versele Laga in Deinze and especially the PLUS mixtures appeal to him. Upon their arrival the pigeons receive good nutritious food: ‘Superstar Plus’, some dextrose is added to the drinking water and every 3 to 4 weeks they get some additional B.S. (Belgica De Weerd). Afterwards, the birds receive the somewhat lighter mixture ‘Gerry Plus’ for a couple of days. Then, they are slowly fed and the last 2 to 3 days they again receive the racing mixture ‘Superstar Plus’ with some additional seeds that are rich in fat and some peanuts. Brewer's yeast and vitamins are added to the feed one time a week. The widowers train twice a day, the young pigeons only once.
Selection is very tough in the Nico Van Noordenne’s lofts. Nico does not bother for prize racers; only birds that fly top and preferably 1st Prizes get his attention. They make a chance to survive the strict selection procedure. Weakly prize racers or championships do not interest him. He gets the ‘ultimate kick’ out of winning 1st Prizes and top prizes against lots of pigeons, that is what it is all about... He has also tuned his selection policy to this way of winning and –it has to be said– with success.
When the season is over the pigeons are not liberated anymore as from September. Partly because of lack of time (days are getting shorter) but also because Nico fears birds of prey. The old pigeons that have survived the selection procedure are removed from the loft, their living boxes are closed off and they are moved to the young pigeon’s loft. The young cocks are then moved to the widowers’ loft and are free to occupy the empty living boxes. As soon as the young cocks get hold of a box, the old cocks are reintroduced 1 by 1 into their old living box. If some of the old birds run amok they are again moved to the young pigeon’s loft to make them change their minds. By the end of October, early November another cure with ‘Parastop’ against paratyphus is administered but the pigeons receive no vaccination. Only the obligatory vaccination against paramyxo and one against smallpox and diphtheria (with the brush) happen on a yearly basis.
So nothing fancy...and according to Nico there is no need for that. Keeping it simple is also for the pigeons the best method. Because in pigeon sport, it is all about 1 thing... ‘good pigeons’. If you haven’t got those you are out of the game, simple as that... but most of the people just do not want to face that, so says Nico. And he certainly knows what he is talking about as he has invested in pigeons of ‘pure top class’ and in no time, he made his way to the ‘very top’ of Dutch pigeon sport with amazing achievements. We made a selection from these top feats that speak volumes (see separate frame).

Phenomenal ‘Star Pigeons

As mentioned above Nico is solely interested in pigeons that win 1st Prizes and top prizes, preferably against a lot of pigeons in the region. All these top successes are undoubtedly the result of our host believing in... real ‘super pigeons’. The opportunity to overwinter in his lofts has to be earned and as we indicated before: Nico is pursuing a tough selection policy. Winning prizes such as 1st National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance NPO 2004, and 7th National Ace Pigeon long distance NPO 2005 are the logical result of the selection procedure on the one hand and the search for the ‘very best of the best blood lines’ to populate the breeding lofts on the other hand. Let us take a closer look at these 2 fantastic ‘star racers’.

- TORERO NL01-5151021
1st National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance NPO 2004
1st Ace Pigeon Middle Distance South Holland East 2002 + 2004
1st Pont St.Max 24.402 p
1st Hensies 5.373 p
1st Pont St.Max 289 p
2nd Putte 2.030 p
3rd Chantilly 2.099 p
3rd Ablis 1.345 p
4thPeronne 2.744 p
5th Peronne 2.567 p
6th Chantilly 4.740 p
8th Chantilly 2.959 p
10th Chantilly 957 p... etc

Father :
NL98-7042508 ‘Paarse Ring’
Won 2nd Chateauroux 1.718 p, 9th Creil 2.956 p, 9th Chantilly 2.263 p…. and is a son of ‘de PINDA’ 363/96, a direct from AM vd Rhee (that won 1st Bourges 607 p, 5th Tours 1.467 p, 6th Etampes 3.683 p, 10th Menen 1.889 p…) x ‘DOCHTER DOMPIE’ 810/95 (2nd Peronne 2.727 p)
Mother : NL99-5957937 ‘VERO’
A direct from Kees Bosua, Dordrecht from the famous main couple ‘PORKY’ 136/92 (1st Roye 9.182 p, 1st Strombeek 5.330 p…) x ‘MISS MARBELLA’ 918/94, 1st Sens 24.033 p + ‘de Auto’ (and therefore a daughter of ‘Autokoppel’ at Kees Bosua’s).
There is a real star bird working on the future of the colony in the breeding lofts of Nico Van Noordenne !

Pedigree "Torero" : Click here

- ‘De BLAUWE VOORUIT’ NL03-1135208

7th National Ace Pigeon One Day Long Distance NPO 2005
2nd Ablis 1.345 p
2nd Vierzon 1.223 p
21st Nat NPO 11.229 p
2nd Tours 919 p
14th Nat NPO 8.426 p
7th Blois 2.085 p
61st Nat NPO 20.755 p
8th Duffel 4.571 p… etc.
‘ BLAUWE VOORUIT’ is a direct from Bas en Kees Verkerk and what is more; he descends from the top couple ‘PETER PAN’ x ‘KIMBERLEY’ (a Cor Leijtens hen).

Pedigree "Blauwe Vooruit" : Click here

- ‘SANTOS’ NL01-1898166

1st Ace Pigeon Distance South Holland East 2002
1st La Ferte 1.666 p
3rd Pont St.Max 2.670 p
3rd Hensies 5.373 p
4th Ablis 2.093 p
5th Chateauroux 1.803 p
6th Tours 2.362 p
6th Chateauroux 1.276 p
7th Bourges 1.325 p…
‘ SANTOS’ is a direct Kees Bosua pigeon:
Father: ‘LATE van de 04’ (the cock from ‘het Autokoppel’)
Mother: ‘NATASJA’ (daughter of ‘het Bange Koppel’)

Pedigree "Santos" : Click here

- ‘RAMON’ NL02-1657244

1st National Bourges NPO 11.311 p
1st Troyes 2.195 p
7th Nat Troyes NPO 12.067 p
2nd Bourges 1.744 p
6th Vierzon 2.143 p… etc
‘ KASAI’ won 1st Houdeng 6.626 p, 1st Peronne 6.289 p, 1st Creil 2.673 p, 1st Peronne 713 p… etc.
Mother: ‘XANDEE’
Top hen, the result from a crossbreed of Gerard Koopman x Wouters (via Cees Vd Poel)

Pedigree "Ramon" : Click here

As you can see, Nico Van Noordenne is well off as far as top class pigeons are concerned. And this is definitely the result of his well-considered approach as well as to building up the strain, as to selection and support. A man who knows where he wants to go in pigeon sport, what he needs (i.e.: SUPER PIGEONS) to get there and how to make it all work... In short: a real star from which we will certainly here again in the near future. The slogan goes: BEAT THE MASSES! Where did we here that before ???

List of achievements of the Nico Van Noordenne colony
In 2002 :
Duffel 986 p. 1,2,3,5,10,18,19… and 35 prizes on 46 basketted pigeons
1.695 p 2,3,4,7,13,24,25…
4.647 p 4,5,6,10,22,39,41…
La Ferte 408 p 1,2,13,14,31... and 11 on 20
670 p 1,2,18,19,43...
1.666 p 1,2,29,33...
Chantilly 561 p 3,4,5,6,9,23,24,26... and 16 on 33
2.959 p 7,8,9,10,18…
12075 p 17,18,25,26,47…
Pont St.Max 583 p 1,2,7,10,12,19,20... and 17 on 30
1.121 p 2,3,8,12,14,27,28…
Chateauroux 474 p 2,4,6,7,8,13,22,26… and 15 on 24
761 p 3,5,8,9,10,16,31,38…
1.803 p 5,11,18,22,26,33…
Pont St.Max 384 p 1,2,5,6,7,10,11,16,20,21,22,23,29,30... and 16 on 20
Niergnies 1.153 p 1,2,3,4,5,16,17… and 17 on 50
Strombeek 867 p 1,2,3,4,5,7,11,12,13,15,16,25… and 32 on 40
1.739 p 1,2,4,5,6,9,18,19,20,22,23,34…
3.929 p 1,2,4,5,6,9,22,23,24,26,27,47…
Hensies 767 p 1,7,8,16,20,21… and 18 on 39
3.844 p 1,22,23,46…

In 2003 :
Hensies 1.003 p 1,2,4,6,13,15,16,18,28… and 30 on 40
5.373 p 1,3,5,8,16,23,29,32…
Hensies 1.033 p 2,8,9,11,12,14,22,23… and 24 on 40
2.062 p 4,13,14,16,17,21,34,35…
Tours 912 p 1,2,3,5,15… and 13 on 20
2.362 p 1,2,4,6,16…
Nat 11270 p 6,8,14,17…
Duffel 1.183 p 1,2,3,4,6,9,10,12,13,19... and 34 on 66
5.401 p 1,2,3,4,6,9,10,12,14,23,37...
Bourges 369 p 1,2,7,15... and 9 on 20
Chantilly 896 p 1,8,12,17,23,24… and 20 on 28
Duffel 1.793 p 1,2,3,7,11,14,20,21… and 25 on 43
4.571 p 1,2,3,8,15,19,26,27…
Strombeek 735 p 1,2,5,12,13,14,15,21,23,25,26,27,30… and 33 on 42
3.685 p 2,3,8,18,19,20,22,30,32,38,39,45…
Niergnies 664 p 1,4,9,11,14,15,18,22,30… and 15 on 36
Peronne 516 p 1,2,4,5,6,15,19,26… and 13 on 18
2.407 p 9,12,27,28,30…

In 2004 :
1st National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance NPO
3rd National Champion Middle Distance NPO
St.Job 855 p 1,4,6,13,14,15…
Niergnies 4.351 p 1,8,10,38... and 30 on 52
Strombeek 820 p 2,3,4,10,15,17,18,19,20… and 23 on 49
3.780 p 6,7,8,20,33,37,38,40,41…
Peronne 2.967 p 1,28,48… and 22 on 29
29352 p 2…
Ablis 634 p 1,2,6,9,12,18,22… and 18 on 23
1.345 p 2,3,10,13,19,26,33…
Tours 289 p 1,4,20,25… and 5 op 9
Nat NPO 11495 p 18,67…
Pont St.Max 2.293 p 1,4,5,7,8,9,10,20,22... and 25 on 26
24.402 p 1,5,6,18,20,24,37…
Bourges 315 p 1,3,4,6,7,11,13,17… and 10 on 18
1.325 p 1,5,7,10,11,27,31,45…
Nat NPO 11.311 p 1,58,79,100…
Strombeek 1.108 p 2,3,5,6,7,8,9,13,14,18,20… and 55 on 87
2.444 p 7,8,11,13,14,15,16,22,23,33,36…
Chantilly 452 p 1,2,4,5,9,12,13,15,17,19,24,30… and 19 on 25
2.099 p 2,3,5,6,14,20,25,36,41,43…
21.892 p 25,26,32,33,98…
Pont St.Max 289 p 1,2,4,12,15,30... and 7 on 10
Niergnies 964 p 1,5,8,12,13,25,30… and 37 on 70
Peronne 2.008 p 1,27… and 11 on 28
Duffel 781 p 1,2,5,16,17,18,19,26… and 18 on 39
4.090 p 2,10,29,49…
Hensies 704 p 1,3,4,6,7,8,9,14,25,30… and 29 on 39
3.660 p 1,4,5,8,9,10,14,28,43…
Niergnies 3.873 p 1,2,3,7,16,45… and 30 on 38
30.635 p 2,3,5,18,68…
Peronne 1.053 p 1,4,5,6,7,21,25,34… and 26 on 35
21.757 p 22,49,62,68,73…

In 2005 :
7th National Ace Pigeon One Day Long Distance NPO
Harchies 862 p 1,3,4,10,21,22,23… and 32 on 48
4.332 p 1,8,10,19,34,35,38…
Peronne 889 p 3,4,5,10,11,12,13,27… and 30 on 47
4.477 p 11,13,18,31,33,34,35…
Peronne 3.488 p 1,9,20,23… and 24 on 46
37.382 p 6,37,88…
Ablis 441 p 1,3,8,13,14,19,21,22,28,30… and 21 on 36
2.093 p 1,4,15,24,25,37,39,44…
Nat NPO 22.235 p 1,13…
Blois 936 p 1,4,6,11,28... and 17 on 24
Nat NPO 20.755 p 35,61,86…
Peronne 389 p 1,3,7,15,20,25,28... and 16 on 18
21.725 p 23,34,99...
Vierzon 1.223 p 2,4,8,47... and 6 on 10
Nat NPO 11.229 p 21,34,69…
Duffel 4.886 p 1,17... and 28 on 87
Chantilly 328 p 1,2,4,5,14,17,25,26,28… and 13 on 18
1.731 p 3,4,7,11,25,32…
Tours 242 p 1,5,16… and 4 on 10
Nat NPO 8.426 p 14,40…
Harchies 707 p 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,19,20,21… and 26 on 28
3.824 p 13,14,15,16,17,19,20,21,46,47…
Strombeek 801 p 1,3… and 18 on 28
4.105 p 4,8…