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|News > Marcel Aelbrecht 2006|
1st General Champion
by Stefan Mertens
A lot of times people ask us who is now really the best pigeon fancier
in Belgium. This question is hard to answer. Even more, it's almost impossible
to answer. When people ask me this question, then I always ask back: "In
which discipline do you want to know the champion?" As you may know, there
are several disciplines in the Belgian pigeon sport, and in each discipline
you have the specialists. You have the sprint-specialists, the small middle-
distance specialists, the big middle- distance specialists, the long-distance
specialists and the very long-distance specialists. Typically, Belgian
fanciers stay in their category. You understand what I mean, a fancier
who is basketting every week for a short-distance race will not basket
for a long-distance race. Only fanciers who are specialized on the races
longer than 500km also basket for races longer than 700km. The reason
is simple. Each category demands another kind of birds.
But the above-mentioned question became easier to answer three years ago when the KBDB created a new national championship-namely, the championship of General National Champion. Thanks to that, you can see who was, in that season, really the best fancier with old, year and young birds on the national and international races. Well, if we consider the criteria of this championship, then you can say that Marcel Aelbrecht from Lebbeke is without any doubt the best fancier of Belgium.
Why? Well, this important championship has only been organised three times, and it's very important to know is that only three fanciers are classified each year. Marcel Aelbrecht could classify himself in those three years twice-3rd in 2003 and 1st in 2005. An amazing record.
To make myself clear, I'll explain once more how to become general champion of Belgium. To win the general championship, you have to take the eight best results with the 1st nominated pigeon.
You have to take the results from two very long distance races (out of the six nationals which are organised); three long-distance (out of the seven nationals which are organised); one with the year birds (this out of Limoges - St. Vincent - Narbonne or Perpignan); and two with the young birds (out of the four nationals).
Marcel won this championship in 2005 with a big lead, with following results with his 1st nominated bird:
Very long distance:
Barcelona: 382nd national
Perpignan: 68th national
Brive: 31st national
Cahors: 1st Zonale
Orange: 51st national
Limoges: 15th national
Bourges: 999th Zonale
La Souterraine: 1058 national
But this was not the only championship that Aelbrecht won. Also in 2005 Marcel became 3rd national champion on the very long-distance and 4th national champion on the long-distance.
To show that it's not so easy to be classified in a national championship, I'll also give the criteria for winning the national championship long- and very long-distance.
To win the national championship very long-distance, you have to take the three best results with the 1st and 2nd nominated old bird. The three best results can be chosen out of the following national races: Pau, Barcelona, Dax, Marseille, Narbonne and Perpignan. Marcel became 3rd with following results:
Race: Barcelona--1st nominated: 382nd national
2nd nominated: 933rd national
Race: Dax--1st nominated: 581st national
2nd nominated: 98th national
Race: Perpignan--1st nominated: 68th national
2nd nominated: 598th national
The widowhood loft
The little shelf just
in front of the box
To win the national championship long-distance, you have to take the three
best results with the 1st and 2nd nominated bird. The three best results
can be chosen out of the following national races: Brive, Montélimar,
Cahors, Montauban, Orange, Limoges (old birds) and Souillac.
For this championship, only the national or zone results can be taken.
Marcel became 4th, with the following results:
Race: Montélimar--1st nominated: 101st zonal
2nd nominated: 27th zonal
Race: Cahors--1st nominated: 1st zonal
2nd nominated: 10th zonal
Race: Orange--1st nominated: 51st national
2nd nominated: 1047th national
But those were not the only top results achieved by Marcel. In recent years, he also won: 1st National La Souterraine 1997 against 9578 young birds - 1st National Perpignan 1998 against 5834 old birds - 1st National Ace-Pigeon KBDB Long Distance 2003 - 9th National Champion Long Distance 2003.
And here is the most amazing part. All these top results were put on paper with a team of only nineteen (19) widowers, including the year birds and around 60 young birds.
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THE 2005 RACING SEASON
The season for the old birds ends after Perpignan at the beginning of August. A few days after arrival, they can start building a nest. Youngsters are bred and after this they may nest again for 10 days. After that period the boxes are closed and shelves are installed in the loft. These shelves are also installed during the racing season, and the widowers see these shelves as a kind of terrace from their box.
Additionally, there are 15 other shelves hanging in different positions on the widowers' loft, and of course the widowers see those places as a second place to sit, which they defend just like their box. But if you are very attentive, then you'll notice that there are only 15 shelves for 19 widowers. So four widowers have only one shelf, and these are of course always ready to take a second shelf from another widower. You see, also during the winter period there is always a kind of envy created between the widowers.
By the way, here in Lebbeke the boxes are never half open or half closed. No, they are always closed, and the pigeons have to enter their box through a little opening. Thanks to this, the pigeons have the impression that their territory is better protected.
During this winter period and until the first coupling the pigeons are fed light, or in other words, ¾ depurative and ¼ moulting mixture. If it becomes cold, then they receive a little bit more corn or the mixture is made heavier. During this period, the widowers may train three or four times a week. In this way, the birds don't become too fat and they have the opportunity to take a bath.
The widowers are coupled for the first time on the 25th of March. They nest for five days, and are then immediately on widowhood. So Marcel follows the system of dry widowhood. It's less work, and it's better to stop a quick wing feather moult, which is very important for the last international race from Perpignan at the beginning of August.
When the weather is good, the first training tosses are set up on the program. Marcel finds these tosses very important because the widowers have to come again into their "racing rhythm."
Normally, the widowers are raced every two weeks, and a fancier with a little team like Marcel has to make an individual scheme for every widower that has to participate in a national race. This is adapted from week to week. On Tuesday, birds are basketted for the very long distance, on Wednesday for the long distance, and on Thursday for the big middle distance. This is not easy when all those widowers are sitting in the same loft!
When the pigeons come home on Saturday, they always receive a racing mixture. Marcel explains, "I mix the mixtures from two brands, namely Mariman and Versele-Laga. At the same time, I put Fortalyt (electrolytes) in the water. On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, there is a 50% racing mixture and 50% Super Diet on the menu. On Friday and Saturday, all the widowers (even those who stay home) are fed 100% racing mixture. The reason that all the birds are fed heavier is that all the pigeons receive their hen for a few hours, and then they've got to be strong, of course. When the widower receives his hen during the weekend, then the hen is not shown anymore on basketting day. No, he will be basketted in a very calm state, but he will know that he will see his girlfriend upon his arrival. On Sunday and Monday, they will again be fed lighter. On the last two days, I give a 100% racing mixture enriched with my home-grown maize [corn]."
For the rest, Marcel supplements with products like Omniform, Orovital and Dextrotonic every week on a regular basis.
On the medical scene, Marcel continues, "I consult on very regular basis with a specialized vet and his advice is law. In normal situations, between two races the birds are treated against canker and respiratory problems. I do this with different products.
TWO TOP BIRDS
1. 4316077/03 "Den 77"
He is a full brother of the 1st national ace-pigeon KBDB in 2003. His father is "4391970/96," and this is a son out of the top couple "Vader van de Smallen" (4560548/91 - strain De Rauw-Sablon) X "Moeder van de Smallen" (4429368/93 - received as egg from De Rauw-Sablon). On the mother's side we have the "4263060/97." She is a daughter of that other top breeder "De Marseille" (4429362/93).
"Den 77" won: 51st national Orange against 6751 old birds, 91st national Montélimar against 10,195 old birds - 141st national La Souterraine against 13,988 youngsters, 11th Dourdan against 1268 youngsters, 9th Chateauroux against 743 yearbirds.
2. 4333308/02 "Crack 308"
Son of top breeder "De Marseille," this coupled with "Fijn Blauw" (4185270/98 - daughter "Vader van de Smallen").
"Crack 308" won: 34th national Argenton 17,010b. - 144th national La Souterraine 13,708b. - 5th Argenton 884b. - 1st provincial Limoges 3494b. (98th national against 13,502b.) - 62nd national Brive 7446b. - 31st national Brive 13,502b. - 1st zone Cahors 2863b. (16th national against 9275b.)
Meanwhile the "Crack 308" has already been sold to a Mr. Wang from Taiwan.
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For an in-depth look at the history of Marcel Aelbrecht's loft, please click the following link to my 2003 report, Marcel Aelbrecht: The Fancier With the Little Basket....
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