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  News > Boudewijn Jonckheere
  Boudewijn Jonckheere --
You are nowhere without a system

by Stefan Mertens


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Boudewijn Jonckheere
1st national
La Souterraine

The Jonckheere farm

Very nice aviaries for the stock birds

Boudewijn Jonckheere outside his lofts

The "Pomorol"
1st national
La Souterraine 1997

Wing of the "Pomorol"

Father of the "Pomorol"

Wing of the father of
the "Pomorol"
Torhout: Torhout is situated in West-Flanders. A few centuries ago this area was known for its great forest. The forest was so big that people named it "Houtland" (Dutch for "Forest-land"). "Did you know," says Boudewijn, "that our street, named Gentweg, was in those days one of the most important streets of West-Flanders. Now I'm talking about the period that Maria Van BourgondiŽ reigned. Our street went through the forest all the way to Gent. It is hard to believe but history tells that all the way to Gent you didn't come out of the forest. Unbelievable when you compare it with nowadays. Now you have to look very hard to find some trees standing together."

Speaking of trees, Mr. Jonckheere's profession is cultivating trees. "A little correction," says Boudewijn in his typical dialect. "I don't cultivate trees but little bushes, specially cultivated to cover the ground. But that's another story. Can you imagine that my wife and I each had a very good job? I as a teacher and she as a nurse. But from one day to the next we decided to quit our jobs and to cultivate, as self-employment, those bushes. We were young and stupid, said a lot of people because we started something without having one customer. But everything went well and now we have a good business. We export about 80 percent of our products. People from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland Ö they all know the way to Torhout.


But we didn't go to Torhout to talk about trees. No, we were more interested in those beautiful race results of the last few years. And again, we conclude that pigeon sport is one logical thing. Boudewijn didn't act like a lot of fanciers did. "First thinking and then acting," says Boudewijn.

"Let's go back to 1992," suggests our champion. "I was a fancier like a lot of others. I raced pigeons but the results were not so good. One week good and a week later no prize. It couldn't go on like this. To be honest, I was tired of everything and I eliminated, with the exception of one bird, all my pigeons. Even the lofts had to go and I built new ones. To re-start I had to buy new pigeons, but instead of buying some pigeons by different fanciers I decided to go to only two fanciers, namely Georges Lidou (Ichtegem) and NoŽl Lippens (Aarsele). From Georges, I bought pigeons from the line of his 'Provincial,' 'Montauban,' 'Witpenneke,' etc. From Vital Lippens I bought children and grandchildren from his 'Vital' (1st national ace-pigeon), 'Narbonne' (3rd national ace-pigeon), and 'Bourges.' All those pigeons came in one big aviary and stayed there for one year. In 1994 they were coupled for the first time, and the youngsters out of those birds were tested very hard. At the end of the season I had a very good look at the results, and I concluded that the results were very good with the 1st Interprovincial Tours as top result. I made a good investment because the results from year to year were getting better and better."

"The high point was when I won the 1st national La Souterraine against 11,060 young birds. Responsible for this was the 'Pomorol' (3104730/97), a bird named after my favorite French wine. But that was not the only top result from the 'Pomorol.' In 2000 he won the 2nd national Cahors against 11,838 old birds. The difference between the 'Pomorol' and the winner ('Jefke Van Mortier' from the partnership of Van Damme-Bodaert) was only 17 seconds. You can imagine that everybody talked about the 'Pomorol' being 1st national as a young bird and 2nd national as a three-year-old."


Boudewijn has, for the season 2002, 70 widowers ready. Of these, 35 are yearlings. Normally all the widowers do winter breeding (with coupling beginning in December) but his good friend Vital Lippens advised him to change his system. Now he has paired up his widowers by February 2nd and they brood for only one day. This is to avoid a quick moulting of the wing feathers later on in the season. While Boudewijn likes to have youngsters out of his best widowers, he puts the eggs under other pigeons who were coupled at the same time. A second coupling is programmed around April 10th . Again, the widowers can brood for one or a maximum of two days, and then they start widowhood.

When the weather allows it, Boudewijn starts with the first training flights. Once they are around the 300 km races, the pigeons are divided into two groups. One group stays in the Provincial races (between 400 and 650 km), and the other group has the national races on their program.

When the widowers will spend two nights in the basket, then they are able to see a hen before basketting--but only for a few seconds. When they come home, then they stay for a longer time together. When a widower stays home for one or several weeks then he doesn't receive his hen.

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Mother of the "Pomorol"

Wing of the mother
of the "Pomorol"

Inside the breeding loft

Special breeding
compartment for
one cock and two hens

Inside the special
breeding compartment


REST: To have the courage to leave a pigeon once at home--that is a golden rule in the pigeon sport. A pigeon can look perfect, but you always need to ask the question if his "engine" is again re-loaded. Three weeks of rest between two very long-distance races is certainly no luxury. I experienced also the following: if you have a widower who has flown with super results in one year and the following year he refuses to fly we, then leave that bird at home the whole season. I guarantee you that one year later he will perform again.

RECUPERATION: When pigeons come home from a race, I think immediately about the recuperation. What do I do? First, I drop all the birds with the famous black drops from Fabry, and at the same time I give each one of them a lukewarm bath. I massage the muscles, and I clean the feet. Pigeons like such a lukewarm bath. The "Pomorol" is a very nervous pigeon but when I give him that bath he's very relaxed. When the pigeons arrive, there are always electrolytes (Recup-Lyt from Colombine or Electro Forte from Herbots) in the water.

MANDATORY TRAINING: When pigeons train very well around the loft, then you know that everything is O.K. with the condition of the birds. But I'm not convinced that pigeons need to train long to make good performances. They way they train is very important. Do I use a flag to force the widowers to train? To be honest I use the flag only in the beginning of the season. After I have put the eggs from the second brood away, I try to keep them in the air for about one hour. Of course for this, I use the flag. After three weeks, I put the flag away till next year.

FEEDING SYSTEM: I always feed the pigeons together, because I'm convinced that when a pigeon sees another pigeon eating he also eats. Personally, I'm very satisfied with the Plus-mixtures from Versele-Laga. Drinking is given individually. This is to avoid infections.

TO START IN GOOD CONDITION: A lot of fanciers make the mistake of starting the season with pigeons which are not in good condition. They first race their birds for a couple of weeks. They see that it doesn't go well and then they visit the vet. The vet advises them to treat for certain things. Then they have to stop racing for a few weeks and the season is halfway over before they can start properly.

I handle this in an other way. After the second race (training race) I visit the vet. I go to Dr. Wim Boddaert in Oostkamp. Ill or not ill--a 5-days treatment against trichomoniasis and ornithosis is always given. Further in the season, I visit Dr. Boddaert on a regular basis and always follow his advice. I always disinfect the birds against trichomoniasis and ornithosis between two races. Against ornithosis I use different antibiotics like Orni-Cure, Linco-Spectin, Suanovil, etc.

MOTIVATION: Motivation is and stays very important, and I can say that I like to motivate pigeons. Before basketing I always try to do some trick or other. To open an empty box or to put some strange hens in the loft-- it all helps. Believe it or not, but once I put the "Pomorol" away from the loft for two days. That same week-end he won a top prize on a national race.

YOUNGBIRDS: The races with young birds don't interest me anymore. Every year I breed around 100 youngsters. In their first year, they fly six times a 200 km race. Experience-- that's the key word for the youngsters.

IF THE RESULTS DON'T COME: My advice in such situation is not to panic. First, be sure that your pigeons are 100 percent healthy. If there is nothing wrong, stay calm and think logically about what the reason can be. If your system has proven that you are successful, don't change it. Never believe all the different talk you hear in the club.

STOCKBIRDS: Here you need to have one strategy. I have pigeons from Lidou and Lippens, and when I buy pigeons I make sure that there is blood from those fanciers in the pedigree. Let's make clear that I'm successful with this system. I don't say that other systems are wrong.

LOFT: Very important--good ventilation combined with almost no temperature difference between day and night. Super pigeons in a bad loft produce bad results.

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The racing lofts

Individual drinking cups
for every widower

Widowers' "toilets"



Here we give you only the top results (results in the first 100 national) for some widowers:

23rd national Souillac, 3,428 birds

53rd national Perigueux, 6,981 birds

1st national La Souterraine, 11,060 birds
2nd national Cahors, 11,838 birds
48th national Souillac, 6,035 birds

29th national Limoges, 11,279 birds
33rd national Limoges, 11,574 birds

62nd national Brive, 5,736 birds
33rd national Brive, 2,589 birds
100th national Dax, 4,240 birds

"Kleine Dax"--3189815/98
3rd national Dax, 4,240 birds
4th international Dax, 11,807 birds

"Espoir 1"--3104704/97
61st national Brive, 27,081 birds
23rd national Castres, 3,800 birds

12th national Montauban, 8,774 birds

89th national Brive, 22,026 birds
53rd national Brive, 25,352 birds

121st national Brive, 16,560 birds
76th national Brive, 2,589 birds
17th national Montauban, 7,352 birds
10th national Dax, 4,751 birds

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