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  News > Jean-Claude Debieve
  Jean-Claude Debieve :
2nd National Champion
Middle Distance

by Stefan Mertens


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  for larger version

Jean-Claude Debieve,
a legendary Belgian

Jean-Claude Debieve
(at left) and son
receive championship
of Belgium for middle
distance in 2000

Debieve (second from right) in an award ceremony as champion of Belgium


Debieve, center, and
his son receive the
1992 middle distance
championship of
Belgium award

Debieve and his son
stand before a
collection of trophies
that mark their
racing success

A view of
Debieve's racing
and breeding lofts

Hornu: It was a cold Wednesday morning when I went to Hornu (province Hainaut - in the French speaking part of Belgium) to visit Jean-Claude Debieve. Jean-Claude is a well-known name in the pigeon sport, not only through his very nice results in his own loft but also through his pigeons which are very successful in other lofts. And that makes Jean-Claude very happy, or as they say in French "ça fait chaud dans le Coeur."

In 2002, Jean-Claude, together with his son, again had a very good season. Not only did they win 17 first prizes, but they also had the second provincial ace-pigeon middle distance (races around 500km) with "Sir Georges" and second provincial ace-pigeons middle distance (races around 300km) with "Rocket 148." And they became second national champion K.B.D.B. on the middle distance. "It's a pity that we made a little mistake, but afterwards we saw it as a big mistake," says Jean-Claude. "It is that we chose to use a local result from la Souterraine, and if we had used the provincial result, we would have made a better coëfficient and then we would have won national champion."


When we ask our champion what his base pigeons are, we get a very interesting story. Jean-Claude recalls, "I started racing pigeons in 1973. Before that I played soccer, but due to some injuries I quit. On a certain day there was a pigeon sitting on my doorstep, and I caught it. I wrote to the KBDB and I got the address of the owner. That man didn't want the pigeons anymore, so I was sitting there with a pigeon. I didn't know what to do with it. So I decided to keep it and to keep pigeons for eating. I went to a fancier and asked for three other birds. So I had two pairs of pigeons and I started breeding. Everything went great till the day that the youngsters were big enough to slaughter, I couldn't do it. So from four birds I got eight pigeons and that went on. A few months later, I celebrated my birthday and without my knowing it my father-in-law and a friend bought a loft and built it in my garden. From that day on, the national federation was one fancier richer.

"The first year that I raced pigeons, I couldn't win a single prize. It's unbelievable, but when everybody else had his pigeons home, I hadn't clocked one. That had to change, so I took some money and I went to Monnier Albert (Cuelle des Sarts). Monnier was a very big champion who won several nationals. Now I'm talking about the year 1974. Again a year later, I went to a public auction of Mencke-Haelterman (Voorde). I bought some birds and so I came in contact with Paul Haelterman who gave me a lot of advice. Through a friend, I got a bird from De Smet Gebroeders (Semmerzake) and the crossing of that bird together with a Monnierbird produced my first base-couple. I think with a lot of pleasure back to birds like 'Le Paul', 'La Cherie', and 'Le Doux.'

"Another bird that played a very important role in my base is 'Le Plézant'," Jean-Claude continues. "That cock was a pure Marcel Borghmans (strain Van Loon -Poppel) and won seven times 1st prize. A granddaughter from him coupled to 'Last Hope' gave my 'Last-Hope-line' with which I'm now, seen over the last 10 years, very successful. 'Last Hope' was a pure Grondelaers Jan pigeon. I bought in 1983 a whole round of eggs, and I must say that this was the best buy I ever made. It's unbelievable how strong those birds were. So, my base now is for a big part Grondelaers."


After an auction in 2001 Jean-Claude had only 20 old birds and eight yearbirds for the 2002 season. Like every year, the widowers were coupled between Christmas and New Year's. They could breed a couple of youngsters and before the hen laid again, youngsters and hens were separated. Between this period and the second coupling, there is a kind of winter regime. This means almost no training around the loft, a three-days cure against trichomoniasis, depurative as food and a lot of home-made-soup (three times a week). This soup is a mixture of several herbs and vegetables.
At the end of March the widowers are coupled again and after a five-days of sitting on eggs they 're put on widowhood. During that nesting the widowers receive a five-days cure against ornithosis. Once the widowers are on the system, they're most of the time basketted weekly and the following feeding schedule is used.

Saturday (day of arrival): 1 coffee spoon sneaky mixture + peanuts + glucose in the water
In the evening, Dieet 200 (Versele-Laga)

Sunday: no training
In the morning, a little bit of Dieet 200, and in the evening Debieve-Mixture (Versele-Laga)

Monday till basketting day, every day Debieve-Mixture. The pigeons are always fed with a soup spoon. In the beginning of the week it is a level spoon, and at the end of the week it is a heaping spoon.


Debieve's racing
lofts and a view
of the garden


New widowhood lofts

"Blue Beauty"

"Grand Robert"

"Last Hope 034"



On the medical scene, every two weeks for two or three days they receive Flagyl and against ornithosis when Jean-Claude thinks when it is necessary to treat.


"Individual training is important for every pigeon," emphasizes Jean-Claude. "Believe it or not, but before the racing season for the widowers starts, I train them a lot individually at 50 km. In the way that they leave the basket and fly directly home, I know if my pigeons are in condition or not. Even before a very important race, I train them two times individually at 50 km. Listen well. Every year I have on the national race from Bourges (at the end of July) a very good result. People ask me, 'How do you do that?' Well, several things play a very important role.

"First of all, I basket only hard-selected birds. Widowers who made already very good results. Second, I make sure that they're medically 100 percent in order. Normally the week before basketting they're always cured against tricho and ornithosis. With which products? Well, tricho is with Flagyl and ornithosis with different products.
"Third factor: The week before Bourges, I don't let them rest. I prefer to let them fly Orleans (320km).

"Fourth factor: Between Orleans and basketting day for Bourges, I train them twice at 50 km individually. Normally the birds -- and certainly the birds which are in very good condition -- are always home before me. If the hen is shown? No, except the last time. Then she is sitting ready in the box.
"The fifth factor is motivation. Motivation is very important and makes the difference between a good prize and a top prize. But motivation is different from pigeon to pigeon. Here, it is up to the fancier to know his birds and to motivate them at the right moment."


Every year our friends breed about 100 youngsters for their own use. "I like to race more with widowers than with youngsters," Jean-Claude explains. "I'm not a youngbird specialist, but in certain weeks I can compete with them very well. In our loft the youngsters are very free. First of all they are not darkened. You know as well as I do that if you race youngsters that are not darkened, then you can compete every body till the beginning of August. From that moment, the moult starts and then you can forget it. How do I race them? Well, first they're together. They have several lofts and they can go and sit where they want. If they start a nest, no problem. Personally, I love to see as many couples as possible. To motivate them in several ways I separate them just before the first middle-distance race. I race them four or a maximum of five weeks on the 'open-door-system.' After those weeks I put them together again and I race them on the nest."


"The 100" (9090100/99)
This cock is a son of the "Magic". The "Magic" (9234575/95) won 1st provincial Orleans 1214p. - 1st Toury 576p. - 1st Orleans 614p. - 2nd Toury 989p. - 3rd provincial Orleans 1737p. - 3rd St Witz 749p. - 3rd Toury 731p. - 3rd Toury 349p.
"The 100" won: 1st La Ferte 1894p. - 1st Orleans 158p. - 2nd Provincial Orleans 1250p. - 2nd Briare 299p. - 2nd Argenton 158p. - 3rd Pithiviers 1016p. - 4th Pithiviers 255p. - 5th Lorris 427p. - 7th Sens 123p. - 8th Orleans 610p. - 8th Argenton 208p. - 10th provincial Argenton 609p. and so on.

"Superman" (9200559/98)
The "Superman" is a son of the "Jos" (direct Jos Thoné) X "La Perle Last Hope" (a full sister to "Rocket From Bourges" 1st national Bourges 15,171p.)

"Superman" won 1st National Bourges 9091p. - 1st Orleans 566p. - 1st St Aubin 378p. - 2nd provincial Orleans 1034p. - 4th Pithiviers 764p. - 5th Pithiviers 795p. - 10th provincial Orleans 1788p. and so on.

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"010 Last Hope"

"Last Hope"

"Rocket from Bourges"

"Super Blue"


"Last Hope 010" (9080010/98)
This cock is a full brother of "Rocket From Bourges"

"Last Hope 010" became 1st provincial ace-pigeon middle distance 2000. He has the following results: 1st Bourges 203p. - 2nd Toury 875p. - 2nd Lorris 427p. - 2nd Toury 336p. - 2nd Orleans 158p. - 3rd La Ferte 2308p. - 3rd La Ferte 1019p. - 3rd La Ferte 378p. - 5th provincial Orleans 1788p. - 5th Pithiviers 815p. - 5th Orleans 1250p. - 14th Provincial Bourges 1963p. - 19th Provincial Bourges 2705p. and so on.

"209 Last Hope" (9090209/99)
1st Bourges 4774p. (3rd national Bourges 12161p.) - 1st La Souterraine 177p. - 2nd Chateauroux 112p. - 3rd Argenton 158p. - 5th La Souterraine 321p. - 17th provincial Bourges 2408p. and so on.

"Sir Georges" (9090297/99)
This cock is an original Georges Bolle and won the following top results: 1st La Souterraine 368p. - 2nd provincial Argenton 2636p. - 6th provincial Bourges 1234p. - 12th semi-national La Souterraine 5217p. - 35th semi-national Bourges 2408p. - 101st semi-national Chateauroux 3514p.

"185 Last Hope" (9000185/97)
Again a full brother of "Rocket From Bourges."
1st Provincial Bourges 1370p. - 2nd Chateauroux 484p. - 3rd Bourges 148p. - 10th provincial Chateauroux 671p.


5/11 Lorris 427 old birds: 2-3-4-5-7-8-9-10-14-17-20-71- 91-95-99-133-137 (17/20)

5/25 Bourges 376 Old Birds: 1-4-13-20-51 (5/6)

6/01 Toury 336 old birds: 2-6-20-31-33-51-54-56-71-81-102 (11/15)

6/01 Bourges 1234 old birds: 6-13-26-136-169-281-391 (7/10)

6/08 Chateauroux 152 old birds: 1-3-6-13-14-16-18 (7/8)

6/15 Chateauroux 138 old birds: 1-2-14-18-19-25-30-40-41-47-48 (11/14)

6/22 Argenton 409 old birds: 1-10-11-14-17-19 (6/9)

7/27 Bourges 142 old birds: 1-5-8-15-28-32-34-40-42-43 (13/20)

8/10 Orleans 158 old birds: 1-2-10-19-20-50 (6/8)

7/06 Pithiviers 480 youngsters: 1-2-13-14-15-17-18-19-20-21-22-32-33-34-43-45-48 (36/42)

7/27 Bourges 192 youngsters: 1-3-5-6-8-15-16-20-21-26-27-30-31-32 (17/23)

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