Hold image Have room for more birds? You might get lucky in Siegel's Pigeon Giveaway!
Search for products or helpful info:
View my Cart How to Shop Online
Home News Catalog Ask Ed Our Loft Timers Contact Us
  News > Belgian National Winners 2010

Belgian National Winners
K.B.D.B. 2010:
Bourges, Brive,
and Chateauroux,
Part I

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo for larger version 

and family


Head of the
1st National

Wing of the
1st National


Bourges results

Pedigree of
1st National
Bourges old birds

Head 2nd
National Bourges





Wing of the
2nd National



Making a success out of the national race of Bourges I (raced in the month of May) in the past few years has not been so exceptional. We recall during the past five years races with Davy Tournelle (Rummen) and Vandenheede Bros (Zingem). They both won in the same race the 1st National old birds and also the 1st National yearling birds from Bourges. This was a great performance, and it is difficult to do better! But this Bourges race 2010 was again a little known super result!

Our French speaking sports friend Christian Harchies saw two widowers coming home from Bourges side by side.  With a difference of only two seconds, they came in the loft (5th and 2nd marked pigeons of six basketed old pigeons). With a speed of 1156.18 m/m and 1156.06 m/m, they were good for the 1st and 2nd National Bourges against 22,516 old pigeons!

14 years later...

For those who follow the pigeon sport very well, the name Christian Harchies will sound familiar. For our French speaking pigeon friends, this colony Harchies has without a doubt the label "SUPER" because already for many, many years, this name stands for top results on the 400 km races and also on the long-distance races. Also on a national level, Christian (37 years old) is also racing very well. Fourteen seasons ago, he won the 1st National Montauban! In 2002, he won the 2nd  National Argenton and the 3rd  National La Souterraine.

Every year he starts the season with a limited team of widowers, 16 old and 12 yearling birds. He has also 80 youngsters and 15 breeding couples in his loft.

Team work

Christian explains: "Before I tell you more about my system, I want you to report that I have the great support of my father Michel. For my job, I work in a three-teams system, so I need this support very much! My colony is based on pigeons from Louis Deleus (Boortmeerbeek), Maurice Casaert (Néchin), Hetru Charles (Kain), and Wilfried Vandemaele (Heule).

The widowers were coupled in the beginning of December, and they raised a couple of youngsters. Before they again laid eggs, everything was separated and a second coupling was begun on the 10th of April. For a maximum of four days, they may brood again and then it started…

As preparation-races they got; Noyon (110 km), Ecouen (190 km), Angerville (275 km) and Bourges (regional organization - 398 km). After this regional race organized to prepare for the big Bourges race, they got a week of rest, and then they went in the direction of Bourges for the national race.

Concerning the system, you don’t have to expect something special. Everything happens like at thousands of other lofts. The widowers train 2 times a day. For food they get in the beginning of the week a protein-poor mixture. The last three days before basketing, the widowers get a sport-mixture. For motivation they never get their hen. This season the widowers got in the beginning of May a three-day treatment for trichomonaisis, and the week before Bourges they got ''Linco Spectin'' in the drinking water.


These two widowers wrote pigeon history. On Saturday, only father Michel was waiting for the pigeons. He thought in the beginning that these two Bourges flyers were two late comers out of Orleans. But the way they were fighting to be the first pigeon in the loft made him think that perhaps they were two Bourges racers. Father Michel was right!

“Melito”  B08-9031224
1st national Bourges 22,516d.
5th Creil 467d.
10th Chateauroux 681d.
10th Argenton 689d.

“Messi” B08-9031211
2nd national Bourges 22,516d.
1st Bourges 720d.
1st Chateauroux 993d.
5th Bourges 1,073d.
6th Argenton 689d.

Click here to return to top of page.



1st National

Wing of
1st National

Fastest of all Bourges flyers

Racing hens'

Van De Wouwer's
hens sit here
during the week

Nest boxes for
the racing hens

View of the Van
De Wouwer lofts

Berlaar: The 2010 edition of Bourges will go down in history as a hard but fair race. In all regions of Belgium, there were early pigeons, and with a winner at 1160,68 meters/minute, everyone knows that it was a tough job to win some top prizes.

The national winner this year and also the fastest of all of the Bourges race was “Laura” (B09-6111538) of the well-known Berlaar-champion Gaston Van De Wouwer. With yet another fine victory, we can classify  Gaston now without any further discussion as being one of the big champions of our pigeon sport. Last season Gaston was the winner of the last national race from Gueret. Then it was “Kim” (B09-6111514) who beat 14,261 competitors.

Now, eight months later, “Laura” beats 39,577 Bourges flyers. “Laura,” an average-built hen, was Gaston's favorite pigeon of the 2010 season. “Isn't it logical?” Gaston tells me, “last year she was my second best young pigeon, and since  I sold my best pigeon ‘Kim’, ‘Laura’ had to step up to be my best pigeon and to defend the name Van Der Wouwer Gaston.”  It is a mission that she fulfilled with grace because she won the first national race of the season.

On the new loft

When we visited Gaston last year, somewhere at the beginning of September, they started building a new pigeon loft. We can still hear Gaston say, “During several seasons, I've played some yearling hens between the young pigeons, but if we analyze everything, we have to admit that this system isn't the ideal system. That is why I decided to built a new loft, a loft exclusively for hens, behind my youngsters' loft.”  

The new loft consists of two sections. The first section is a loft with 20 boxes, and the second section is a resting loft. In this resting loft small boxes hang that only one hen can occupy, and above the floor wire is installed so that the hens can't sit on the floor. All together, 20 hens (18 yearlings and 2 old) are housed in this loft.

The hens train one time a day, and this is mostly around 6:30 pm. They can fly between 45 minutes and one hour without problems. Gaston explains, “The training behavior of the hens is unpredictable and can differ from day to day. But I have to admit that last week the hens showed a great lust for training. Especially on Tuesday they flew so high in the sky that it was hard for me to watch them.

When I saw this I knew that everything was all right, and I knew that my hens were in top condition. I had a good feeling about Bourges. 12 yearling hens, 1 old hen and 3 old widowers were basketted. ‘Laura’ was clocked at 14 hours 49 minutes and 23 seconds. The other times of arrival are 14:56 h – 14:58 h – 14:59 h – 15:05 h – 14:07 h – 15:12 – 15:13 h – 15:13 h – 15:25 h – 15:27 h – 15:36 h – 15:37 h – 15:39 h and 16:02 h!”

“I will always be able to remember the arrival of ‘Laura,’” Gaston muses. “The watchers were calculating with the previously known times of other races, and they had just told me that I still had five minutes left to clock the victory when I saw ‘Laura’ coming from a position somewhere from the southeast. But Johan De Belser, who lives 500 metres to the south, claims that ‘Laura came right from the middle.' She flew very low, as if the devil himself was chasing her. Johan joked,‘If I had jumped up I could have caught her and then you would have never won Bourges!’”


Was “Laura” especially motivated? Gaston says, “Not that I know, just like all the other hens, she got her partner 45 minutes at the basketting. During these 45 minutes they can do whatever they want. And honestly, I didn't notice anything special.”

Gaston continues, “About half an hour before the hens go to their cocks, they get fed normally. I like it when the hens get in the basket after a meal. As for the medical aspect, I consult two veterinarians. At one side there is Dr. Marien and on the other side Dr. De Weerd. I follow their advice unquestioningly. As for supplementary products, each week I use Belgasol (at homecoming), Sedochol, 4-oils (Herbots) and Apple vinegar (Herbots).

Prize list - Laura

7th Bourges 2,215 p. - 74th national Bourges 37,357 p.
5th Angerville 1,268 p.
16th Salbris 361 p.
25th Salbris 1,080 p.
63rd Gueret 1933 p. – 273th national Gueret 14,245 p.
422nd nationaal La Souterraine 17,814 p.
87th Angerville 934 p.
132nd Angerville 804 p.

25.04 23rd Noyon 1,371 p.
01.05 192nd Melun 1,372 p.
08.05 71st Dourdan 1,275 p.
15.05 281st Vierzon 1,756 p.



Johan Van Damme
1st National Brive 16,813 old pigeons

Click here to return to top of page.

Johan and the 1st National Brive


Head of "Locco"
the 1st National Brive winner

Wing of "Locco"


Locco's results


Van Damme's

Brive is the opening of the long-distance season.  Brive is always good for a lot of participating birds, because a pigeon who has flown Brive has enough distance in the wings to be basketted for a subsequent long-distance race. The weather forecast was very good, only the very tight south-east wind made the long-distance fanciers not so happy...

The 2009 edition, with the tight north-east wind was more perfect. Although--south-east wind or not--when we analyze the result list of the winner from this race, we have to conclude that one of the best long-distance pigeons of our country has won this race. “Locco” ( B05-433360 ) is the name of this beautiful blue cock.  He flew more than an impressive result list. Take your time, take a seat and enjoy reading his race record.  By the way, if you also have at home a crack like this one, you may give us a call!


The name of Johan Van Damme stands for very good performances in our sport because the last four seasons, this East-Flemish fancier won 104 pure first prices and in 2009 he was 1st  general champion East-Flandres (the greatest pigeon province of Belgium). Most of the pigeons from Johan are from his good friend and advisor Frans Sablon (ex tandem member of The Rauw Sablon).

You can easily say that 50% of the colony of Van Damme is from pigeons from Frans Sablon. The other 50% are pigeons from his brother Jozef Van Damme (St Gillis , Patrick Claes (Vorselaar), Van Hautte Marc (Smetlede) and Hufkens Karel (Geel).

Every year, Johan starts with 36 widowers, 15 hens on widowhood, and some 100 youngsters. They’re all paired in the beginning of December, and when the youngsters are 18 days old, all the hens and the youngsters are removed from the loft. At the end of March, there is a second coupling and they may brood for a maximum of five days. The training basket will be taken out of the basement, and in five steps it goes in the direction of Quievrain (60km). After that, some speed- and middle-distance races, and then direction long distance.

Medically, by the end of last season, the veterinarian has been visited, and the birds have been treated against trichomonaisis. Before the first pairing up, there was no medication given, but before the start of the season, there has been a treatment for a couple of days against trichomonaisis.
There was no treatment against ornithosis in 2010. This will only be necessary when the results are bad. Last season, only one was treated for ornithosis.


And now the story of the victory of Brive. As I mentioned earlier, “Locco” is a super crack, and to the question of whether “Locco” was always motivated before basketing, Johan gives us the following answer.  “Locco” is a special guy, and he has in the widowers’ loft up to four boxes. These boxes are above each other and are numbered from one to four. “Locco” also has three hens.

On basketing day only box three (his fixed living box) is open. Boxes two and four are half open, and box one stays closed. “Locco” may do anything he wants, and may visit all his boxes. When he comes home from a race, there are hens in box two, box three and box four. “Locco” has bred with all these three hens, so he knows these ladies very well. He can go to all three hens, and when he wants he can do a “number” with all three of them. When at the end, he goes into the nest with one of the three hens, the other two hens are removed from the loft.

Yes, “Locco” is a special guy with special habits, but you can easily say that a national winner from Brive is entitled to a “Very Important Pigeon” treatment .




Jozef Devriendt
and his winner

1st National Chateauroux Old Birds

Devriendt's lofts

Wing of

Aartrijke: Before knowing the exact national winner old pigeons, we had to wait for a while.

We all know the regrettable story of the late clocking of the control ring by Raoul and Xavier...

But rules must be observed, and therefore the pigeon of Verstraete has been shifted to the time that it was registered (seven minutes later).  And so Jozef Devriendt from Aartrijke became the national winner...

Jozef explains, “I know exactly how Raoul and Xavier feel. In 2004 I lost the national victory of Barcelona, because I was still in bed and more than two hours later, I could only confirm the ring."

"My 'Barca' was electronically registered at 5h09, and the controlling was just at 7h40."

"In spite of that, he still won the 10th national prize and the bronze wing from the Barcelona club of Brugge. I swear, when something like this happens, you could pull out all your hair."

"You are lying awake for more than one night, because you don't win a national victory every week! It is a pity for Raoul and Xavier!”

“Now, the beauty of the story,” Jozef continues. “My “Barca” stayed in the lofts in Aartrijke, and got a place in the breeding loft. His breeding record is very good, because many of his children and grandchildren have won many top prizes, even on a national and international level."

"And now it comes," Jozef explains. "This 'Barca'  is also the father of my national winner from Chateauroux. Brilliant anyway.  Father loses a national victory because of a late control issue that is my fault, and his son wins a national victory because of a late control issue of someone else.”


Jozef says, “ Through my father, I came in contact with the pigeon sport. My father and I had our own transport company, with 40 trailers and 25 trucks, and from the pigeons sport on high level there was at that moment no speaking. You can say that my father was much more fanatic in the pigeon sport then me. When my father got ill, I did everything in the pigeon loft. Little by little, the pigeon “bug” bit me, and just like my father I became a fanatic pigeon fancier."

"During the day, I had a stressful desk job and in the evening I deessed in the pigeon loft." Jozef continues. "Everything was perfect, only my wife thought that I spent too much time in the pigeon loft. She told me, ‘Why do you have to play with pigeons at your parents’ home? Can't you put a pigeon loft in our backyard, then you can be more at home. There is only one condition: that the pigeon loft must be a beautiful pigeon loft.’”
“So,” Jozef continues, “a few weeks later, the pigeon loft builders were here to erect a loft."

"The foundation of my colony is really a foreign legion," Jozef begins. "The reason is that I’m a man who goes to many champion days, and there I often buy a voucher. I am also president of the local pigeon society, and therefore I often buy a voucher on our champion day. I am not going to mention all the names, but I have been successful with pigeons from Peeters Alfons ( Vlimmeren – supplier of my “Barca”), Lanslots-Dockx (Merksplasain Olympiade), Broeckx-Van Hees (Oud -Turnhou), fondly remembered Robert Buysse (Ertveldeain Nightflyer), Charles Raes (Lichtaart – where the first national Barcelona has been bought), Norman Filip (Knokke), Van Oeckel Bart (Turnhout), fondly remembered Van Hove Antoine (Loppem – mostly Carteus pigeons), Bungeneers Frans (Ranst), Lippens Noël (Aarsele), Loft Malfait (together breeding , Callebert Ivan (Zarren- from “ Trees", Interpares hen ), Jimmy Brands (Berendrecht), Meiriaen Etienne (Deurle), Poliin Marc (Snellegem), De Keyzer Frans, Deno Frans and Van Wildermeersch Frans. I know that these are a lot of names, but so it is.”


“In total I have a team of 35 old and 16 yearling widowers,” Jozef explains. “Every week, I basket as well speed, middle distance, heavy middle distance as national flights. The difficulty about the way that I play is that I don't play the pigeons by loft, but all mixed together. All the pigeons get individual food and drink, and because of a good management program and colored food- and drinking boxes, I can separate everything the way it needs to be.”

“This way,” Jozef explains, “I know exactly which pigeon has to go to which race. For an outsider this is difficult to understand, but in fact to me it is quite simple.”

“In caring for the birds, I use the food of Beyers (Vandenabeele mix ) and also from Van Robaeys ( widower mix and energy mix ),” Jozef details. “For byproducts, I believe in the products from the firm Herbots. Optimix, Zell Oxygen, Bronchofit, Aminovit, Vita pigeon, Bio pigeon.  These are very good. Medically, I work with Dr. Pascal Lanneau (Moen). He comes to visit the loft, every 14 days, and he tells me what to do. The start of the new season was not so good. Because of the cold, wet weather, the condition was not optimal. Dr. Lanneau advised me to do a treatment, and for five days, I put Amoxycure (Oropharma) and Soludox in the water.  Immediately you could see that the condition of the pigeons got better."

"I have to express thanks to Dr. Lanneau for this assistance, and also thanks to Silvere Toye, for his very good advice," Jozef concludes.


"Son Barca" is the national winner from Chateauroux.  Jozef recounts, “I didn't see him coming, only a flash that dived through the sputnik. I thought to myself ...this late pigeon from Ablis is more than hurried, and when I wanted to check on the electronic clock, I saw that it was a pigeon from Chateauroux. What... now Chateauroux... that is only in half an hour! I was shaking like a leaf.
Was “Son Barca” motivated? Jozef replies, "Not that I know, but what happens in the pigeon loft, behind my back, nobody will tell me!"

Jozef... enjoy this success and many more in the future!

Click here to return to top of page.

Click here to return to top of page.



Sonia, Danny
& family

1st National Chateauroux year birds

The Grey Fighter


The Grey

The Grey Fighter's pedigree

Danny and
Sonia's lofts

Inside the lofts

Total view of
the lofts

Aspelare : “ I've been waiting 25 years for this!”   These were the words of Sonia Van der Maelen who, together with her husband Danny, clocked the fastest pigeon in the national race from Chateauroux.

The Chateauroux flyers made high speeds and many pigeon fanciers were surprised that suddenly they saw a Chateauroux flyer on their landing board. This was also the case with Sonia and Danny, when they saw a pigeon diving directly toward the board. Danny says, “I was still busy with the birds that had just arrived from Angerville, when suddenly I saw a flash. I looked in the air, and I saw a grey pigeon making half a tour. A grey one... that's Chateauroux, I thought, and before I realized it, his time was already registered by the electronic clocking system. I quickly clocked the control ring and phoned the pigeon club. They were very surprised, and they even had to search for the papers.”

Danny continues, “For Bourges, we had 38 yearlings in the basket. The ‘Grey Fighter’ has been clocked for a distance of 476 km 268m at 11h46sec, the other arrival times are: 12h03.45-12h05.37-12h07.09-


For the 2010 season, Sonia and Danny have 24 couples on total widowhood and six hens on pure widowhood.  It was a cock that was raced on total widowhood that showed the rest of the participants his tail.

Danny explains, “The loft where the 24 couples raced on total widowhood are staying, is a big loft with three areas. A central area stays empty during the week, and on the left side and on the right side of the empty area,  there is a loft for cocks. During the week, the hens stay in a specially constructed hens’ loft. This small, separated loft has got small boxes and a floor which the hens cannot sit on. From this small loft, the hens are released, and after their training they go back to the central loft. Here they get food and drink, and then they move to their hens’ loft. The hens train in the morning before the widowers and in the evening, after the training of the widowers. I have to be honest...the central loft is not truly an empty loft. No--six hens that are raced on pure widowhood are staying there. As you can see, we can't leave any loft empty, or we have to put some pigeons in it, to race with.”

Sonia and Danny started in 1987 with the pigeon sport. Danny is the son of the famous speed-champion Hoebeke-Van den Bossche (Woubrechtegem), and so it was logical that the first pigeons came from this loft. Of course, over the years they searched for better pigeons, and these were found at the lofts of Haelterman Paul and Roger (Onkerzele), De Vuyst Alfons and Johan (St Lievens Esse), De Schrijver Eric (Denterhoutem), Desmet A en P (Semmerzake), D'Hondt (Semmerzake), Vandenabeele Gaby (through Gerard Latruwe), Limbourg Eric (Brussegem), two sons from the "Barcelona" from Willockx (Asse), two hens from Daniel Van Ceulebroeck (Balegem), and one cock from Louis Van Der Wielen (Boortmeerbeek).


Or in other words, the 1st  National Chateauroux. The grey yearling cock was super motivated, because when we wanted to make his picture, he walked up and down very nervous. Danny also saw this and knew that my next question would be, “Has the winner has been specially motivated?”

"Not that I know," Danny answers, "but I have seen him arriving  home, and a pigeon that comes home like that, was in some way or another way motivated. What happened during the week behind our back, I don't know, but I know that we did nothing special to motivate them. Last week, 'The Grey Fighter' has raced from Angerville, and upon his arrival he could stay with his hen until the next day. Before basketing for Chateauroux, the couples came together for half an hour, and then they all went in the direction of the pigeon club."

One small detail: It was the first time that “The Grey Fighter“ was basketed for two nights.  Maybe this was an extra motivation. Who can tell?

Sonia and Danny... again our congratulations!

Click here to return to top of page.

Click here to return to top of page.
 Entire site contents © 2000 through 2009, 2010
Charles Siegel and Son Inc.

Click here to return to top of page.