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  News > Boddaert-Van Damme
A Specialized Pigeon Vet
with Top Results

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo
  for larger version

Dr. Wim Boddaert

The Boddaert-
Van Damme team

The Barcelona
with his hen

The eye of
The Barcelona

hens' loft

Nestboxes built
for motivation

Oostkamp. Those of you who follow the Belgian pigeon sport very closely have certainly noticed the name Van Damme - Boddaert on the national racing results. That partnership is made up of Herman Van Damme (also known as reporter Gerry) and specialized pigeon vet Dr. Wim Boddaert. As top results we can certainly mention 1st national champion KBDB very long distance in 1996 with the historical low coefficient of 11%, 1st World champion long distance Versele-Laga 1996, 1st national Cahors in 2000 with top bird "Jefke Van Mortier," 2nd National Champion KBDB long distance in 2001, 7th national ace-pigeon long distance KBDB 2001, 1st national Souillac 2002 , 7th national ace-pigeon middle distance KBDB 2002, 2nd national Souillac 2003, etc. Really very impressive!

But those two fanciers wanted more, they were tops on the long distance, but their dream was to be also among the top fanciers on Barcelona and the other international races. Clever as they are, they knew that it is very difficult to be successful in different disciplines from the same loft, and therefore they also built lofts in the garden of Dr. Wim Boddaert, which is only two kilometers away from the lofts of Van Damme-Boddaert. Since you cannot race under the same name from two different addresses, they registered the new long-distance lofts under the name Boddaert-Van Damme with Marc Boddaert (father of Wim) and Hans Van Damme (son of Herman) as owners. But the man who's doing everything in these lofts is Dr. Wim Boddaert, perfectly assisted by his father Marc. This was all done in the year 1999.


If you want to be successful on Barcelona and on the other international races, then you need of course another kind of birds than those which are basketted on the middle- and long-distance races. Of course the strain of birds with which Van Damme-Boddaert became national champion on the very long distance were used as the base for these new lofts. Those pigeons were strengthened with typical Barcelona birds, and they came from Emiel Denijs (Tielt), Desbuquois brothers (Kapelle Op Den Bos), Gaston and Danny Devooght (De Haan) and Van Thuyn (Knesselare).

The different strains were coupled to each other, and we can say that that the first breeding was successful right away. In 2000 the first birds were basketted for Narbonne (850 km) and a very promising result was put on paper. One year later (2001) the same team was basketted for Barcelona, and again a high percentage of prizes were clocked. Again one season later, so in fact the third season that pigeons were raced from this address, the first prize Barcelona, or with other words the victory, on club level was clocked. This was also good for the 3rd provincial, the 18th national against 13,021 birds and the 91st international against 26,928 birds. The cock who was responsible for this result is the "Barcelona I" (B99-3008293).

Due to this success, Wim decided to invest again and in September 2001, he went to the Dutch top fancier on the very long distance, namely Henk De Bree from Soest. Wim was very impressed by the results and the birds, and when he went home he had more than 30 pigeons in his basket. These birds were not saved for the breeding loft. They had to prove themselves on the international races. In 2002 they were trained and in 2003 they were basketted for their first very long-distance race, namely St. Vincent (900 km). This race was a very hard race, and the De Bree pigeons immediately showed their qualities. A lot of prizes were clocked, and the "St Vincent duivin" (NL01-1631383) won the first prize local against 160 birds, the 2nd provincial against 460 birds, and the 8th against 1892 birds.

Now Dr. Wim Boddaert was totally infected with the very long-distance disease, and again he searched out new birds. This time he went to Mathieu De Clippel (Herzele), his uncle Paul Boddaert (Liedekerke) and Van Houtte August (Nieuwpoort - pigeons from the strain Florizoone). Also Henk De Bree received another visit and 20 latebreds were again transferred to Belgium.


Fanciers who are racing hens at the very long distance are in most cases racing them on nest position. Wim followed the following system. The hens didn't breed early. No, the racing birds breed a couple of youngsters after their last race, and therefore Wim doesn't see the advantage to couple them again in the months of December or January. So the hens stayed in the aviary until the middle of March. Then they came into their racing loft, and without seeing a cock the first training tosses were made. It's important that the hens cannot come into their box during the week. They have to sit on shelves. Of course, there are always some hens who pair with each other, but that doesn't matter. When they arrived from their tosses they could stay half a day with their cock. Once they were basketted for their first short- and middle-distance races, they could stay for the whole day with their cock. So they were not paired up, but were motivated in this way.

Wim says, "It is very important that the hens make a lot of kilometres before they are basketted for their first very long-distance race. Therefore, my hens flew 2 x 103 km, 2 x 210 km, and 1 x 310 km. The yearbird hens were then basketted for Orleans (375 km) and the old birds for Chateauroux (499 km). The week after Orleans the yearling hens flew Bourges (458 km) and the old hens stayed home and were coupled on the 4th day after arriving from Chateauroux. The yearling hens were coupled after arriving from Bourges. This is all made in preparation of St. Vincent yearlings and Barcelona old birds. For those races, the hens are basketted with youngsters of a few days old in the nest."


The boxes of
the nestbirds


Special breeding

The widowers' lofts

Widowers' aviary

Wim continues, "Once the hens were nesting, I started again to train them very hard. This means that the last two weeks for basketting day they were liberated five times at 40 km. This was flock training, not individual. Before their second important race-the international race from Perpignan-they were even liberated every day at 40 km, and this also the last two weeks before basketting day. These tosses took place late in the evening, and I didn't look at the weather condition. Good or better weather, they had to make the training toss. These tosses were combined with a 300 km race, and that race was flown 10 days before basketting day."

"Between Barcelona and Perpignan we have four weeks, so not much time to prepare the hens again. Therefore, when the hens came home from Barcelona they could stay one day with their youngsters and then the youngsters were taken away. The hens stayed with their cocks and they could lay again. In fact, we can say that the hens got one week of rest after Barcelona, and then they were again trained, this as preparation for Perpignan."

And what about the feeding? "Well," Wim continues, "once the hens were coupled they are fed as much as they wanted. Just the composition of the mixtures changed. We can talk about two periods. The first period is un 10 days before basketting. In this period, the nestbirds receive Gerry Plus I.C. (a protein poor mixture) + Super Force (a very heavy mixture) + Racing mixture (with a yellow French cribs mais). The last 10 days before basketting, they were fed with a mixture from Gerry Plus I.C. + Super Force + Superstart Plus I.C. + Super Diet. And if necessary, the last few days a supplement of mas [corn]."


The widowers are not coupled for an early breeding either. No, they have to wait until the middle of March to see their lovely lady. The cocks may brood then for six days and then they're on widowhood. Once on widowhood, the first training races begin, and together with the club they are basketted for 2 x 103 km; 2 x 210 km; 1 x 310 km; 1 x 499 km; 1 x 450 km, and then rest till basketting day for Barcelona for the old birds and St. Vincent for the yearbirds.

With the widowers, there is nothing special to notice. It is the same system as with a lot of fanciers. The difference with the hens is that the widowers are not fed without any limit but they have to eat till basketting day. Wim works with the same mixtures as those which are set up for the menu of the hens.

Maybe important to notice is that the training tosses (40 km) were not on the program of the widowers. No, they trained twice a day and they had flown already more kilometers than the hens (the widowers were basketted for more races). Also important is to stimulate the condition of the widowers, and therefore the heating plate was staying on day and night during the last 14 days before basketting. Also a supplementary heating system was installed in the corridor, and this system was also doing its job the last 14 days before basketting.

As motivation, the cocks were liberated one week before basketting day at 50 km and upon arrival they saw their hen for half a day. The second received their hen for the whole day the day before basketting.

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One compartment
of the widowers

The widowers' entry

The heating system

Special breeding box
for top couples


The eye of "Truss"

The eye of the
St. Vincent hen

Aviary of the second
national win


It is more than normal that we ask this question of Wim. He as a specialized vet, not only on behalf of his own loft but also for the lofts of a lot of great champions he is responsible for the health condition of these birds.

Wim explains, "Before the racing season starts, I always make sure that the pigeons are free from trichomoniasis and paratyphus. In the month of February a ten-day cure is administered against paratyphus, this with Amoxicure (Oropharma). At the end of March, I treat against tricho with Tricho Plus by putting this on the food with the recommended dosage."

"During the period that the pigeons did their short- and middle distance races they were never cured," Wim continues. "I didn't even examine them. Of course, I kept my eyes open to be sure that they became not too ill, but I didn't have to treat for anything. The only products that went into the drinker were Colombine Recup-Lyt on arrival and Oropharma Dextrotonic before basketting."

"As I've already mentioned, the cocks and the hens are always prepared in a different way, and their medical scheme is also not the same,"Wim details. "Let's start with the widowers. After their last 450 km, I examined all the cocks, and they were infected with trichomoniasis. I cured with Tricho Cure. Two tablets on day 1 and 1 tablet on day 3. After this, I treated against ornithosis with the combination Orni-Cure + Tylan. After this cure, they get two days Colombine Form-Mix In One (vitamins in powder) on the mixture. Then for a few days they are given pure water. Basketting day was Sunday, and on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday before basketting they received Erythromycine with vitamins in the water. During that period I examined the birds on very regular base. On baskettingday the widowers received one Tricho Cure and terramycin drops in the eyes."

"After flying Barcelona they were treated for five days with Tricho Plus together with Dextrotonic and Catosal. Before Perpignan they were treated for four days with Amoxicure."

"The hens were treated in a different way. After Bourges (for the yearbirds) and Chateauroux (for the old hens) they were treated against tricho just like the widowers. Once they started nesting, they were treated for eight days with Doxycycline and Tylan. After this they got days Colombine Form Mix In One for two days. The last week before Barcelona they were not treated but received Dextrotonic every day."

Wim concludes, "After Barcelona they received Dextrotonic for five days together with Tricho Plus and Catosal. Before their second important race they received-after their five days of Tricho-Cure-four days of Amoxicure and four days of Erythromycine enriched with vitamins."

Why giving a combination of several antibiotics? This is an important question, and Wim replies, "This is always better but it is very important that you first consult a specialized vet because it is very important to give the right combination of antibiotics. Fanciers don't give too much antibiotics but not always the right antibiotic, not long enough and not the right dosage."


The "golden lady" of this loft. Bought as a late bred 2001 by Henk De Bree in Soest (Netherlands). Her father is the "2452467/92" and is also father of the 1st Olympiad bird long distance Netherlands in Blackpool 1999 and 1st Worldchampion Very Long Distance in 1998. On the mother's side we come to a daughter (99-2050939) of "Zoon Miguel" (96-9693979) from Theo Ernest who won 14th national from Dax. "De Miguel" (91-9123557) or her grandfather won the 2nd national Barcelona in 1985 and the 58th national Perpignan. "Zoon Miguel" was coupled with "Leontine" (92-9244873) or a daughter out of a coupling 1st national Tarbes X 1st national Perpignan.

In 2002 the "St. Vincent Duivin" was only trained to Dourdan (320km). In 2003 she won a top result from St. Vincent with the 1st Local against 160b. and 5th international against 1892b.

In 2004 she flew Barcelona (9th local against 395b. - 298th national against 12275b.) and Perpignan (369th against 6.489b.)

And this last season, she was again prepared for Barcelona and Perpignan. For Barcelona, she won 988th national against 12,998 birds. For Perpignan, she won the top result of her life, namely 2nd national against 7646 birds and 11th international against 17,834 birds.

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