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  News >STAF BOECKMANS/ 1st National Ace bird Short Distance KBDB old birds

 

 

 

 

Staf Boeckmans

     

 


by Stefan Mertens

 

 

 

 

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Gustaaf Boeckmans from Grobbendonk triumphs with his "Blauwen Staf"; 1st National Ace bird Short Distance KBDB old birds!


Again someone from the Grobbendonk bicycle- and friends club succeeded with their pigeons! Leo Heremans was maybe the first short distance racer that could enjoy the worldwide attention. Dirk Van den Bulck was the next one that could climb onto the highest stage both national as international (even Olympic). Last year it was Jos Cools his turn with his 'Speedy' and got the title of 4th national ace bird and also with the achievements of this topper he became 1st national champion short distance youngsters. At the start of 2016 Gustaaf, better known as Staf, was full of ambition. He races at an incredible high level since years now, but he also wanted to go for once to Brussels, not just to complete the list or fill the room but to win…A fancier can dream, can't he? But Staf his ambitious dream came true. With the exceptional results of his widow cock "Blauwen Staf", he can go and get the prestigious short distance title of 'Fastest old bird of Belgium'. The question is now, who will be the next one from the group of 'fast friends' that will win?


From father's companion onto a helping hand in the union

I have always liked people who voluntarily help out in a pigeon union. It's thanks to these people that we can practise our hobby care free. Staf Boeckmans is one of them. In the past he took care of the clocks but with the coming of the electronic clocks he became helper in the pigeon union of Grobbendonk.  The now 65-year old Staf is retired since about 10 years now. He first worked in the diamond business to go and for fill his obliged army duty. After this period he went working as a machine operator in a factory nearby.

Staf learned racing the pigeons from his father. He was a very good short distance racer in his time. In 1987 his father passed away.  Until then they always raced together. Staf raced for a short while from the lofts of his father but from 1997 he raced from the current address. In the back of the long garden is Staf his sanctuary but don't expect big luxury lofts. But apparently the pigeons are satisfied with it.


You can count on your friends!

Success and tight friendship don't go by hand very often. This is not the case over here. Everybody allows the other their success and the nicest thing is that they all have each other's strains and that they all succeed with them. This is how the base mother at Dirk van den Bulck 'Jos Cools-hen' is at the base of his international success. The father of 'Speedy', 4th national ace bird 2015 from Jos Cools, comes from the loft of Staf Boeckmans. And the grandfather of the 'Blauwe Staf' is on his turn a son from Dirk Van den Bulck his 'Vale as' (ace bird Noyon in the strong 'Tienverbond').

The breeding loft exist of 13 breeding couples coming from vet and fancier Fernand Mariën (Staf got at the vet a son of a pigeon that Mariën bought at Staf), Van Looy-Dens (strain "Pluimpoot" from Patrick and Guido Claes) and late Theo Janssens-Boen. Theo had different pigeons from Rik Vloemans and when you look at the current top pigeons from Staf Boeckmans you see this name passing by several times. Also a couple eggs can make big changes. Staf got a couple of 'golden' eggs at L.B.J Geerinckx a few years ago.  The offspring of these eggs became 'stars' in the 'Tienverbond'. They possessed the genes to race themselves into the spotlights several times. Even now they still take care of successes for Staf and his friends.

The breeders normally breed four rounds after each other. To get faster some youngsters from the best couples, Staf makes use of three feeding couples. To wake the hormones on time during the cold winter months the breeding couples are being enlightened before the coupling. Staf makes sure that a day starts a bit earlier and lasts a bit longer. During the breeding of the youngsters it doesn't matter that much. Because 4 rounds can be tuff, the breeding hens get a lot of aids from Staf. There is continually vitamineral from vet Fernand Marien. This is being put on a heating during moist periods which makes sure that the pink powders stays dry all the time. They also get every day a portion 'Allerlei' from Van Tilburg and just like his father Staf gives his pigeons on a regular base chalk.

During the breeding periods, especially when they have youngsters, they are being fed three times a day. They get enough but spilling isn't allowed. They eat a breeding mixture of the firm Ceusters of Van Tilburg complemented with a portion of his own grown corn, Liege mixture and purification. I noticed that breeding pigeons don't like eating purification but they still have to eat it; it was already like this with my father, was his answer.


The widowers loft, where time stood still

As I already mentioned, the lofts aren't modern castles. On the small loft that is foreseen for the widow cocks truly every free spot is being taken. In every corner there is one of the 14 widow cocks (6 old ones and 8 year birds). At the moment of my visit, end of December, they were all 'picking out'. They can raise two youngsters. If one of the hens lays another time, Staf just let it be. He doesn't like it but it isn't a disaster either. Once the youngsters and the hens are gone from the widowers loft the cocks are on the game. There isn't a spring coupling done anymore. I asked him why and Staf gave me a remarkable answer; when you couple the widow cocks again in spring you make nest pigeons out of them instead of widow cocks. He got this tip years ago from vet Fernand Marien. After the racing season, half of August, the cocks can relax by breeding a round late youngsters.

The widow cocks remain inside during the moulting and breeding period, saying, they don't fly out. During this period there is a huge galvanised aviary in front of the loft. This has two reasons, a 'strange' hen can be couple to a widow cock and they can enjoy the outside air and a bath once in a while. Also the prey bird danger is always there. From mid-January, once they are on widowhood, they come out once in a while. He doesn't look at cold temperatures; he looks at rain and humidity. Along the new racing season is getting closer the cocks train twice a day. The remarkable thing is that when Staf is busy doing other things (family/walks/bicycle ride…) and comes home later so the pigeons can't train at their regular time, the training is being skipped. According to Staf they don't train that well then and get more anxious as they are confused.

For the window of the widowcocks there is an old white curtain, not directly to darken them but to give rest. The cocks are being fed in a common cratch. For most of the short distance racers the motivation moment before a race is very important. Staf is 'easy-going', the cocks get to see their partner upfront, the best moment to take the cock away is when they are in the nest dish together.


The young birds system; from sliding doors to nesting game.

In the past, the young pigeons were being darkened and enlightened but he doesn't do this anymore the last few years. Until the time the young cocks and hens start to 'love' each other, they stay together. After that, a short divorce period follows; they are being raced on sliding doors. As mentioned, this doesn't last very long, a few weeks, as Staf likes to race them on the nest. Young pigeons can have had two nest by the end of the season. To give the nest pigeons enough training they are being taken away in the middle of the week.


Feeding of the racing pigeons

In the chapter of the breeding pigeons you could read how Staf feeds his pigeons. For the racing pigeons he uses the same mixtures providing a slight change. After the breeding the widow cocks will come onto a regime of barley (80%) and purification (20%). It stays like this until the start of the new season. The feeding system during the season is as follows; at home coming they get 'good' food. This exists of sport from Ceusters and Van Tilburg, off course complemented with his own corn, Liege mixture and purification. Then they get three days purification and super diet. The last days this 'light' mixture is being 'strengthened' to 100% sport with corn. The pigeons are never being raced on hunger. After the training they find a bit of candy, on their own mixture they have to wait for about 15 minutes.  According to Staf the cocks are full of adrenaline after their training and that's why he lets them come to rest before feeding them, then they eat well.

The youngsters get at weaning only corn and peas. They learn to eat immediately 'big cereal' and you don't have any difficult ones later on. As soon as they eat everything fluently they get a sports mixture. During the season they follow the same schedule as the widow cocks. Staf gave me another interesting tip; when youngsters get adeno, the best medication is 'hunger'. A day or two without food often is very constructive. Staf also checks in the morning which young birds have undigested food in their crop, they are being taken away from the loft so the rest can eat 'normal'.


Medically, when there isn't a problem, nothing will be done either

This is off course the medical advice since years given by vet Marien. Before the breeding and racing season there is a check-up. The last few years these are mostly at all sides negative and no blind curing is being done. If the form does go back a bit Staf will go for advice. If there's nothing wrong with the pigeons the advice is to extend the training, what is good for the form as well. Eye drops or other antibiotics against coccidiosis, trichomonas, worms and head diseases aren't given. He dares to give a quarter Flagil when a pigeon comes home with a dirty nose. He does have the habit of giving a cure against paratyfus in autumn since a few years now. A few years ago he had a bad winter breeding and he didn't want to experience that again. Vaccinating against this feared disease isn't done.
Also in a matter of side products Staf relies on the knowledge of Fernand Marien. He uses his condition syrup once a month during the racing season and they get the condition powder the day after each race. And just as his father, Staf is a fervent user of garlic. Daily fresh grit, chalk and vitamineral are the usual habits.


The "Blauwen Staf"; 1st National Ace bird Short Distance K.B.D.B old birds

The star of the Kempen, what an athlete! If you are lucky enough to have the "Blauwen Staf" in your hands, you just feel you have something special in your hands. This marvellous blue cock is full of muscles but especially his smart head and bright eyes are amazing. In his heritage nothing else than the good ones; the father of "Blauwen Staf" is a son of "Vale As" (ace bird Tienverbond Noyon) from super star Dirk Van den Bulck. He was coupled to a super hen "503/11", a wonder hen with wonder results; 1/265, 6/1626, 7/651, 22/964…..class! The mother (966/10) from the "Blauwen Staf" comes from the loft of Theo Janssen-Boen. She is born out of the famous "Boursman" (strain Janssen/Engels) with the "844/08" from Rik Vloemans (remember this hen!).


His faboulous palmaris in 2016

  • 1st National ace bird short distance K.B.D.B old birds with a coefficient of 2.680%.
  • 1st/302b. Noyon (*)
  • 1st/262b. Noyon (*)
  • 2nd/398b. Quiévrain (*)
  • 2nd/256b. Noyon (*)
  • 3nd/1.472b. Noyon (*)
  • 4nd/834b. Quiévrain (*)
  • 8st/506b. Noyon
  • 8st/1.312b. Noyon
  • 11th/373b. Quiévrain
  • 13th/575b. Noyon

(*) these races count for the national championship


The "Blauwen Staf' made a dream transfer

There were many candidates to get this topper on their loft. Both national as foreign top lofts were interested to get the genes "Blauwen Staf" into their own strain. Even long before the national ace birds were known people were knocking on his door. And yes, he moved out, but not to one or the other foreign country but to the neighbour city Zandhoven. And this to our national pride Dirk Van Dyck. The "Blauwen Staf" can set foot like his predecessors; de "Kannibaal", de "Rambo" and den "Bourges"!


Not only the "Blauwen Staf" on a high level

There was another pigeon that was remarkable at the Boeckmans loft. The blue hen, you can say HEN as she is a real block, with the ring number 6246712/16


Her palmaris, always from Quiévrain

  • 1st/2.057b.
  • 2nd/2.252b.
  • 2nd/1.512b.
  • 10th/1.899b.
  • 13th/441b.
  • 16th/1.283b.
  • 19th/1.780b.
  • 41st/1.160b.
  • 45th/2.721b.

She became 1st Provincial Ace bird Short Distance KBDB Antwerp and 11th national!
In her pedigree we find Rik Vloemans-pigeons, trough Theo Janssens-Boen. Remarkable is that also the top hen "844/08" can be found back in her pedigree, just as with the "Blauwen Staf".

Behind the success of this hen there's a nice story. Her first love was a young cock that stayed behind rather quickly so she had to go look for another partner. But Staf didn't have a lot of young cocks and left her pair up with a yearling cock. After being put on a separate loft for a while, they moved to the youngster's loft. They weren't paired up really but she did lay an egg anyway, although in the nest of another couple. She was chased away all the time but when she had the chance, while the others were training or eating, she jumped quickly onto the nest. Staf noticed this off course and 'played' this game along. The real owner moved to another place once in a while so the "712/16" could breed onto the eggs. She raced a truly marvellous palmaris in this way.


Staf, thank you for your hospitality and again congratulations


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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