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  News > Marcel Aelbrecht
  Marcel Aelbrecht:
The Fancier with the
Little Basket

by Stefan Mertens

For an in-depth look how Marcel Aelbrecht achieved the 2005 1st General Champion KBDB, click the following link to my report, Marcel Aelbrecht: 1st General Champion KBDB 2005....


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  for larger version

Marcel Aelbrecht

Showing the
breeding boxes

Celine and Marcel
admire one of
their champions

The breeding loft
and aviary

Inside the
breeding loft

Marcel's extra

Inside the young- bird loft are many dark places

Lebbeke: This is pigeon sport on the highest level … a real top fancier … a man who knows how to score with a very little team. These words sounds all very "ready-made" but let me explain everything. In 2003 Marcel, with his wife Celine, had a superb racing season. They had the 1st national ace-pigeon K.B.D.B. on the long distance, 2nd general champion K.B.D.B., 9th national Champion KBDB long distance. With these kinds of results, the very small eyes of the Taiwanese fanciers go a little bit wider open and they lay so many Taiwanese dollars on the kitchen table that even Marcel didn't know what to do. Result: the national ace-pigeon, together with his parents and some other top birds went to the land where they eat rice every day with chopsticks. Three other widowers got a ticket for the breeding loft. All those "deals" are all quickly made, but if I tell you that our friend has only 19 widowers (inclusive of year birds), then I don't need to explain further.

No wonder that by the beginning of the season, Marcel told everybody that he didn't expect a lot of the season 2004. But if there is a superb quality of birds present in the lofts and the fancier himself is super-motivated to do everything for his birds, well then miracles can happen. And so it went. The beginning of the season was not as expected (Marcel was in the hospital for a few weeks), but afterwards everything went like in "the old days" with even a double provincial victory.

Please believe me-this loft is extremely strong. And before I forget, in 1997 Marcel won the 1st national La Souterraine against 9578 youngbirds and in 1998 the first national Perpignan against 5834 old birds also good for the 3rd international against 15944 old birds.


Marcel relates, "the pigeon sport was totally unknown to me, until I had special feelings for my 'girlfriend.' My future father-in-law was a farmer and a pigeon fancier, and we have to tell it like it is. He was the champion here in the area on the short-distance. Pigeons… pigeons and again pigeons… that was the only thing I heard when I visited my girlfriend. On a beautiful morning in the spring my father-in-law gave me a basket full of just-weaned babies. 'Start racing pigeons,' he said, 'that is not so difficult… you will see.' I went home with those birds, built a loft, and within a very short time, I was the only fancier in Lebbeke who couldn't win a single prize."

"That had to change, and the method of my father-in-law (not cleaning and racing with nest birds) was thrown away. Cleaning the lofts every day and widowhood with cocks--that was my game, and suddenly I could win top prizes." Marcel continues, "My girlfriend became my wife, and when we built our house I built above the central heating system a pigeon loft. Still today, I'm still racing on this loft so we must have built it very well in those days."

"Meanwhile," Marcel says, "I also looked for new birds and so I went to Benoni De Rauw. He became my 'pigeon-teacher' and when I didn't win good results, I visited him to ask what I was doing wrong. I was lucky that I got a helping hand from my wife, because when I was out to work she helped a lot in the pigeon loft. Quievrain (short distance - 70 km)) was our game, and I can say that I was in those days 'the man to beat.'"


And as with a lot of other fanciers, when you have won everything on the short distance you're always looking for that little step further. Marcel observes, "To do this I realised very clearly that I needed other birds, and so I contacted Frans Sablon and Etienne De Rauw. The pigeons of the Rauw-Sablon combination are well-known. Due to the fact that Frans Sablon became my neighbor, along with the fact that Frans was taking care of the stockbirds of this partnership, it was very easy to now and then obtain some eggs or youngsters from the best stockbirds. A lot of De Rauw-Sablon pigeons came into my loft, and I can say that even now 80% of my colony is based on those birds. Certainly the youngsters of the 'Asduifkoppel' played a very important role."

Marcel relates, "The base-bird of my loft is 'Vader van de Smallen' (4560548/91). The 'Vader van de Smallen' comes from 'Blauwen Barcelona' (4002911/90 - de Rauw - Sablon) X 'Blauwe Bourges' (4002926/90- The Rauw-Sablon). The 'Blauwen Barcelona' is a grandson of the world-famous 'As' from Jef De Ridder (St Ulriks-Kapelle). 'Blauwe Bourges' is a daughter of a grand-daughter of the 'As' from Jef De Ridder."

" 'Vader van de Smallen,'" Marcel explains, "is father and grand-father of a lot of top birds."

Here we give you some examples:


This hen has two
large youngsters
and is already
sitting another nest


"042/04" had an
entire top shelf
to himself!

There is great
ventilation at the
back of the loft

A widowhood
loft tucked under
the roof


A top breeder -
full brother of
1st Nat'l Perpignan

Father of 1st
Provincial Argenton
in 2002

"De Patron" (4500907/99 - grand-son "548/91"): 1st national ace-pigeon long distance KBDB 2003. Won for example: 1st Chateauroux 1019b. - 1st Chateauroux 1201b. - 3rd Dourdan 474b. - 2nd Dourdan 191b. - 6th Argenton 201b. - 3rd Brive 442b. (7th in the zone and 145th national against 25,352b.) - 4th Tours 2055b. - 35th Castres 1117b. and so on….

"Den Hevigen" 4263019/97 (son "548/91"): Won 29 prizes, among them 8th Souillac 344b. - 3rd Limoges 162b. - 40th Chateauroux 1009d. - 12th Argenton 431b. - 9th Dourdan 242b. - 7th Dourdan 252b. - 58th Souillac 2561b. - 10th Vierzon 1395b.

"4333308/02" (grand-son "548/91"): Won 34th national Argenton 17,010b. - 144th national La Souterraine 13,708d. - 1st provincial Limoges 3494b. - 5th Argenton 884b. Father of this bird is the "Marseille" (4429362/93) and mother is "het Fijn Blauw" (4185270/98).

"De Stielman" 4174021/01 (grand-son "548/91"): 108th national La Souterraine 17,315b. - 56th national Limoges 24,479b. - 1767th national Bourges 42,763b. - 7th Dourdan 451b. - 191st national Souillac 8327b.
"4174049/01" (grand-son "548/91"): Won in 2001, 33rd national Beizers, 5th zonale Beziers 1250b. And in 2004, 2nd provincial Marseille, 21st national and 44th international against 19,605b.

"4333309/02" (grand-daughter "548/01"): 54th national Argenton 17,010b. - 77th zonale La Souterraine 4694b. - 198th national against 13,708b.

"4333311/02": here we find the "548/01" in the 3rd generation. This blue cock won 1st zonale Argenton against 5803b. And this was also good for the 4th national against more than 20,000 birds. But also the 12th Dourdan 1308b., 34th Bourges 506b., and the 34th La Souterraine are standing on his result list.

"4019942/04": Also in the 3rd generation we find the "548/91" is there. The "942/04" won 3rd provincial Bourges against 12,331b. (44th national against 43,451b.) And the 6th provincial La Souterraine against 3938b. (67th national against 16,461birds). His nest-brother "943/02" wins on the same La Souterraine also in the first 100 national.


Although Marcel can be catalogued as a typical "widower-racer,"he can also be counted by the national top-fanciers on the national youngbird races. Also this year, his youngbird team didn't have any mercy on the opponents: Bourges 12,331b.: 3-34 etc… Argenton 6269 birds provincial: 15-19-29-36-64 etc… La Souterraine 3939b.: 6-9-29 etc…

Marcel says, "Every year I breed two rounds for myself, in total around 70 youngsters. They are in two lofts. The first days after weaning they get only big grains like mais and peas. I do this so they learn to eat those grains. About one month after the second round is weaned, the two rounds come together. They stay together until a few weeks before the Bourges national (in August). I like that the youngbirds are well coupled. The more couples that are formed the better they are motivated when they race later in the season on the open-door-system. During the period that they're together they may brood but youngsters are not allowed."

"Whoever wants to be successful in the nationals with youngbirds has to follow the darkness system," Marcel asserts. "The curtains are closed from the moment they're weaned till mid-June. It is good and dark in the lofts. You cannot read the newspaper anymore, but if a youngster wants to drink, he or she can easily find the drinker. During the period that they're darkened, I also start the first learning-tosses. I'm not afraid to turn loose more birds because they're darkened. Talking about the tosses, first I drive around four kilometers, then, together with some friends, in 10 steps we go to 40 kilometers. From this distance, we liberate the birds four times, and then they go with the club to Quievrain (70 km), twice to Noyon (190km), and three times to Dourdan (340km). I find it very important that 14 days before their first national race, they have had a race with two days in the basket. This is a good for them to learn to drink in the basket."

"Once the sexes are separated, I follow the open-door-system, and this is until the end of the racing season," Marcel continues. "To create more atmosphere, I bring a lot of straw into the lofts and create just on basketting day a lot of dark places in the loft."

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Mother of 1st National
Ace Pigeon 2003

Father of the two
best youngbirds
in 2004




"No winter breeding by the widowers," Marcel says. "Dry widowhood is the system here … less work… and no moulting problems at the end of the racing season."

"The season finishes with Perpignan. I don't couple the widowers immediately after the race," Marcel explains. "No, I let the Perpignan birds recuperate, and after a few days all the hens come into the loft. They may breed a couple of youngsters, and afterwards they may brood again for 10 days. After that, everything is cleaned, the boxes are closed, and shelves are installed just in front of the boxes. Those shelves also stay in front of the boxes during the racing season. They're like a kind of 'control-post.' But now it comes. For the 19 boxes, I have only 15 shelves, and certainly during the racing season there is constantly a battle to have such a shelf. Some are afraid to leave their box, and others want more than one shelf. This is an ideal way to keep the widowers awake and motivated."

Marcel continues, "Something special at the boxes is that the widowers can only enter their box through a little opening. Due to the fact that there is little place to enter a box, the other widowers don't have the idea to fly into another box."

"The widowers are coupled on March 25th and after a five-day brooding they're on widowhood for the rest of the season," Marcel explains.

What does Marcel do about giving medications? He says, "I follow the advice of a specialized vet. His advice is law in the loft."


Chateauroux 743 old birds: 9-22-23-32-110 (8)
Marseille international 19,605 old birds: 44 (1/2)
Barcelona 404 old birds : 5-127 (2)
Argenton 755 yearbirds: 21-22-49-71-94-164 (8)
Limoges 286 old birds: 1-2-15-17 (4) - also 1st and 2nd provincial
Brive 285 old birds: 3-26-33 (5)
Bourges 1958 youngbirds: 1-11-40-58-66-67-102-123-134-136-153-163 etc.. (30)
Bourges provincial 12,331 b.: 3-34-154-214-241-247-398-490-551-559-658-695-916 etc.
Argenton 1071 youngsters: 4-5-11-12-22-33-37-39-68-86-95-103-114 etc. (26)
Argenton provincial 6269 b.: 15-19-29-36-64-114-122-129-253-340-373-418-453-620 etc.
La Souterraine 621 youngbirds : 5-6-26-40-45-52-61-80 etc. (27)
La Souterraine provincial 3938 b.: 6-9-59-111-146-175-228-301-384-391-396 etc.

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