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  News >1st National Ace Pigeon Long Middle Distance & Champion Long Middle Distance Old Pigeons_2015-Andre Roodhooft





Andre Roodhooft

by Stefan Mertens






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Andre Roodhooft (Pulderbos, BE) is a 2015 a double national champion; 1st National Ace Pigeon Long Middle Distance and 1st National Champion Long Middle Distance old pigeons!


Every time Andre Roodhooft from Pulderbos in Antwerp realizes something amazing, he doubles it. Remember 2014 with 2 national victories on one day from La Souterraine?  And again now in 2015 you can find him twice on the first place in the national championships. He is the glorious winner of the 'Longer Middle Distance Championship' with the old pigeons. And he has the best old bird of Belgium on the longer middle distance with the superb hen 'Sandra' as well. We call it standing out in excellence. Andre keeps on performing on a high level. That he wins every year again the desired title of 'Emperor' in the Union of Antwerp is 'normal' to everyone over here. My reaction to that, try it yourself! But that he has started to have the national flights and the national championships in his hands is another thing. I got the feeling that the former strong man from the breeding station 'Natural' has got the game even more in his fingers than ever before, where will this end?


His wealthy breeding source!

To perform better and better you need a cast-iron base. Well, that might be the strongest point of the colony of Roodhooft. The breeding loft exists of 20 fixed breeding couples and 20 'renewed' couples, these couples together give him about 150 youngsters. For more than 30 years he feeds the breeding loft on the unique genes of the world famous 'Hofkens' pigeons and this through Nelles van de Pol. He tries to keep this strain as pure as possible. Every year Andre will search for reinforcement of his breeding line. The new breeders will be put against proven breeders and at the end of the year at least one of the offspring of the new couple has to perform as well as his own pigeons. He got the most successes with pigeons from Flor Engels (grson "den 32"), family Houben (strain "Rico"), Dirk Van Dyck (son of the famous "Dicaprio"), Rudie Diels and Marcel Aelbrecht. And also pigeons from Bernard Van Renterghem are a hit. This success story is in fact a beautiful example of a friendship between two pigeon champions. Bernard got some eggs and pigeons from Andre a few years ago. The youngsters and their descendants performed marvelous on the short distance and small ½ fond. As service on return and also the growing friendship between them, Andre could get some pigeons from Bernard as well. One of these pigeons became a true breeding hen with exponent 'Belgium's best'. This one owns the title of 4th National Ace pigeon longer middle distance 2014. When this top breeding mother was found death in the aviaries a few months ago Bernard's reaction was, 'Andre, don't bother, come and get some new ones, I've got a lot of sisters of her'. Being a champion at all stages, that's what I call it.


The team of widowers exists of 14 old birds and 26 year birds. The old ones are maximum 3 years old and then these racers move to the breeding loft (meanwhile they have a palmares to bow for). This way Andre is able to enjoy the breeding capacity of a relative young breeding cock for several years. After the racing season, middle of August, the cocks can breed 2 youngsters. From October on they go into the aviaries for five months. These are a copy of aviaries of the breeding station, this means only the front size is open and an over passing roof on top. Middle of March they return to their loft. After the second day training starts again slowly and a flag will be used to keep them in the air after a few days. After one week they train about half an hour. On the first of April they are being coupled and may only breed for five days. During this period the training flights will start. Andre drives about 5 times 10 km and the last trip is 50km.

The better youngsters (future year birds) won't fly until the end of the season. Together with the old widowers they are being coupled mid August to an old hen. This way they are accustomed most quickly. The other year birds go to the aviaries directly after the season and will be coupled at spring time together with the others. They do have to stand out to get to own a box.
The cocks train twice a day. During the morning training they go out for one hour where they have to fly 40 minutes compulsory. In the evening it is half an hour compulsory and 15 minutes relaxation. This schedule will be adjusted slightly with hot weather. They train one hour compulsory during the morning and have an hour 'free play' in the evening.

Motivation between birds with 2 or more nights in the basket or just one, are different. The ones with one night basket get to see their hen shortly (the fast ones dare to mate sometimes); the other ones only get to see their nest. This nest is of no added value according Andre but they are more easily to fetch. As a special motivation trick an extra box can be opened.

To keep them from moulting as long as possible they are being darkened from the 15th of March until the last week of April, this is between 18u00 and 07u30. The birds for the shorter middle distance race every week, the longer middle distance in principal every two weeks. The widow cocks won't have any training flights in between 2 races.


Racing hens

Andre has been a perfervid hen player for years now and this with big success (see national Ace Pigeon '15 'Sandra'). The ladies team for 2016 exists of 20 birds, one from '13, eight forms '15 and the others are year birds. After a long season on widowhood they will be raced on nest for the last national flights. They make sure they are on eggs on Bourges II. After the last race they stay on the loft until the 1st of October, after that they will be put, just as the widowers, in the aviaries for five months. And also they can breed for a few days just before the beginning of the season. They train twice a day for half an hour compulsory. They're not being locked up in pigeonholes or something like that. And also they are being darkened from mid March until the 3rd week of May between 17u00 and 08u00. After that they get extra light. Normally they fly every week a '500km' flight. If the last race was too heavy they can take a break and only fly a small middle distance race. The period that they're raced on widowhood they don't get any extra training flights. But when played on the nest they have to fly from 25km once or twice a week.


Young Pigeons

From the moment all the different rounds fly around good enough, they go onto on loft (the doors will be opened). After the first race from Noyon de sexes are being split up. From then on, they train together with the old cocks and hens. This way the intensity of training is even better and longer. From the moment they've raced 2 national races they get flights from 25km once a week. Before basketing they can stay together for a few hours.


Nutrition and side products

It is evidence that Andre gives the Natural mixes. After the racing season, the moulting period, they get 100% moulting mixture. This until the 1st of January, from then on it is pure purification mixture. This will be on the menu almost until the start of the next season. So even when they're coupled in springtime they eat purification mixture. When the training flights start they get the sports regime.
Supper after the race (as well for the old as for the youngsters) exist out of 2 parts 'Sport', 4 parts 'Diet' and 1/3 'Nutri-Power'. This will be humidified with garlic or oregano oil. Also the first meal of the second day is built up this way. As from then, the nutrition is the same until basketing. This exist of six parts 'Sport', 1/3 'Nutri-Power', 1/6 part peanuts and 1/8 part small seeds. Only the last day peanuts and small seeds are being fed supplementary. Andre's theory about feeding is simple: 'the circle of feeding has to be round, he emphasizes'. Who eats well, trains well and who trains well get good results. So always 'enough' food will be given and surely no purification during the racing season.
You won't find a lot of products at the house of Roodhooft. He used to give a lot of different products in the past but as they weren't of real added value they're not being used anymore in the system. From one side nature is central, this with fresh garlic, garlic oil, Apple vinegar, brewer's yeast, Naturaline, lecithine and oregano oil. To support the pigeons during the long and heavy racing season Andre uses a probiotics (first days after home coming) and Blitzform (better metabolism = better condition).


Everything starts at the breeding loft, especially they have to be healthy and in top condition to breed 'good' youngster. This is how all pigeons in Pulderbos get a 10-day cure with Baytril at the beginning of October. They're being inoculated against paratyfus and paramyxo. Breeders get a cure once a year against trichomonas. Put in the drinking water for 10 days. This is with the rear of the first youngsters; this is how both breeders and youngsters will be 'trichomonas-free'.

Before the start of the racing season all racers (young and old) will be cured blindly for 8 days against trichomonas. To keep them clear from this disease they will be cured every two or three weeks during one day and a half. When coccidiosis is found in the droppings something will be given against this, no blind cure. Even the champions of Andre suffer once in a while from head/airways disease. But his 'secret' is simple, from the moment he notices something that can point out a decrease of their condition, the pigeons get a two day cure with an antibiotic. And if there's a pigeon with a 'wet eye', he uses Linco Spectin.


Selecting strictly

How many thousand pigeons my host has ever looked into and couldn't tell? But during his period in the breeding station of Natural a lot of them passed his hands anyway. Also on his own loft he is a severe Judge. This is how 20% of the young pigeons are taken out already during weaning. Also the year birds and old pigeons are being selected very strictly. After five races, including Noyon, the ones with one race out of five are being 'disqualified'. And then the season still has to start.

Results for the National Championship


Amount pigeons


2nd given

Bourges I zone

5,691 p.



Chateauroux zone

5,070 p.



Gueret zone

3,693 p.



Montlucon nat.

11,056 p.



Argenton zone

3,383 p.




The winner of the national championship longer middle distance has a total coefficient of 14, 43. On the second spot we find Roger Buvens from Loksbergen with 25, 61. Third is Paul Walraevens from Sint-Maria-Oudenhove (25, 98).

Not only a crack with pigeons

During the interview Andre interrupted me briefly; don't you see my friend, he asked me. I didn't notice anything. When he pointed out to the doorknob, an adult magpie shined. He opened the door and magpie 'Jan' immediately flew onto his arm. He follows me everywhere; he even is a bit jealous on the pigeons as he scares them away. According Andre this remarkable guest has been lost from his true owners. But now he feels himself at home with Andre and Annette and decided to stay there.

Again it was a very instructive conversation with the 'Emperor' from Pulderbos. I already hope now he will have a marvelous season next year, so I can visit him again.

































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