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  News > Michel and Didier Desbuquois
  The Desbuquois Brothers:
Every Day We Speak
About Barcelona

by Stefan Mertens


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Marcel and Didier

"Lucas III"







The hens' loft

An inside look
at hens' loft

The hens' aviary

Inside the hens'

Kapelle-Op-Den-Bos: The Desbuquois brothers, Michel and Didier, are guys who can zero in on their target very well. They are young fanciers who know what they want. Not only on a professional level but also in the pigeon sport, they let their name be heard. It's a pity that, due to their very busy profession, they don't have the time to focus on all the national and international races. Therefore, our friends concentrate on only three races, namely Barcelona International (old birds), St. Vincent national (only for yearbirds and raced the same weekend as Barcelona), and one month later Perpignan International (for yearbirds and old birds).

And that they're very successful is something that you don't need to explain to their opponents. For almost more than 20 years, the name Desbuquois is found in the top of the racing result of their favorite races. To give you an idea of the quality of those birds, we take as example the International Barcelona race 2005. Fanciers who came to watch the pigeons come home got a lot of fun for their money. It all started at 9:40 o'clock when "Lucas III" arrived (good for the 21st national against 12,988b.), shortly (at 9:43 o'clock) followed by "Zora" (25th national). Afterwards it "rained" pigeons in the Kuiermanstraat: 10:28 - 10:42 - 10:50 - 10:52 - 11:04 - 11:34 - 11:41 - 11:51 - 11:52 - 12:07 - 12:10 - 12:13 - 12:15 and so on.


Long-distance fanciers are known for their very "soft" method. Young birds are hardly trained, and yearbirds are basketted a few times but no top results are expected. As a two-year-old, the pigeons have to make some top results, and as a three-year or older bird they have to put the real top results on paper. Michel explains, "Before, I also thought this was the method to follow, but when I became a good friend of Eric Limbourg, I totally changed my system. The system of 'slowly to the top' was changed into 'more racing' as a young- and yearbird, with the only purpose to select more quickly."

Michel continues, "It all starts as a youngbird. Every year we breed around 300 youngsters, and from the first day that they're weaned they're by means of speaking selected every day. It is logical that the youngbirds are not forced in their first year, but here they don't have to expect a 'nice-nothing-to-do-life.' No, making kilometres is the task. As a youngbird they do 2 x Quievrain (70km), 2 x Noyon (180km) and 2 x Dourdan (350km). It's good to know that the youngbirds are liberated on all those races among thousands of other birds and always have to watch out to come home. Once the racing season is finished (and then we're around the middle of September) cocks and hens are moved, and this is without being coupled, to their future widower- or hens loft."

"Once the yearbird season starts the 1st of April, cocks and hens are trained," Michel says. "This is with our own car, in five steps, up to 60km, and then the basket of the club takes over. In a nice tempo it goes to 2 x Quievrain, 2 x Noyon, 2 x Dourdan to Vierzon (430km), and 15 days later Tours (450km). After Tours they stay home, and then they're basket for their first important race, namely St. Vincent."

"The old birds are coupled around the 1st of April," he continues. "They do their first training tosses on nest position, and after five days of nesting they're on widowhood. Just like the year birds, they do 2 x Quievrain, 2 x Noyon and 2 x Dourdan. After Dourdan they're basketted for Vierzon. Then they have Brive (600km) and three weeks later Barcelona."


When the racing season is finished, the racing hens stay in the aviary after they have bred a couple of youngsters, until the beginning of March. After this, they're transferred to their racing loft, and a few days later the first training tosses are made. When they arrive from a training toss, their "husband" is always waiting in the box. The purpose is to basket the hens on their first nest of that year on a very long-distance race, and therefore the hens are raced on widowhood on all their "preparation races." About four weeks before their first important race, the hens are coupled and can start a nest. Everything is very well calculated, so that the hens have youngsters from two till four days old in the nest at the moment that they'll be in the basket.

After the Barcelona and St. Vincent weekend, the hens go again for three or four days in the direction of the aviary, and then they're coupled again to start their second nest of the year. When everything goes as planned, they can again be basketted on youngsters of a few days old for Perpignan.


The breeding areas


Large breeding

Special couples
breed in these

A breeding couple
with their young

Hens on the nest don't train around the loft, and therefore the hens are tossed daily for the last 10 days at 30km. "We don't look at the weather," says Michel. "I can assure you that it has happened more than once that hens were still arriving after 10:30 in the evening."


The brothers Desbuquois know very well that without a medical scheme it is almost impossible to put top results on paper. In the beginning of the moulting period, a cure against paratyphus is always done. This treatment is administered through the drinking water. A vaccination against this disease has not yet been developed. During this same period, a visit to specialized vet Dr. Norbert Peeters is made, and if necessary the pigeons are cured against tricho and cocciodiose. When this has all been done, the medication is put away for the whole winter period. During the winter months the pigeons must be relaxed and enjoy the open lofts.

When the pigeons are coupled the 1st of April, vet Peeters is again visited in order to be 100 percent sure that nothing is wrong. After their first race from Noyon (at the end of April), the pigeons are cured for two days against respiratory problems. After arrival from Vierzon (the third weekend of May) a cure for two days against "head-diseases" is made. Always products from vet Peeters are used. After Brive (in fact the last race before Barcelona), the brothers go again with a basket full of birds to the vet, and normally a six-day cure against trichomoniasis and a four-day cure against respiratory problems are advised. This is always followed with a vitamin cure on the mixture. It is important that three weeks before Barcelona and between Barcelona and Perpignan a cure against streptococcus is made. After those treatments, the pigeons have to be ready to "explode" on the race.

Also concerning feeding, everything is well planned. From the first day that the season is finished until January 1st, a moulting mixture is given. After that, the moulting mixture is changed to a protein poor mixture. This mixture is given until the first 300km race. Afterwards, the pigeons get a very rich racing mixture (a mixture of three well known brands). It is very important to feed the pigeons in the right way, and therefore the birds who will be basketted for a very long-distance race receive in the last days before basketting a supplement of corn and the mixture Energy Plus I.C. For the rest, nothing special is done, only every day a portion of fresh grit with redstone.

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A section of
breeding boxes

Inside a breeding

Aviaries for the

Aviaries in front
of the racing lofts

Lofts are not cleaned
in the winter

The racing lofts

The business truck






The base of this very strong Barcelona loft is of course not built up in a few years' time. No, to know the real base of this colony we have to go all the way back to the 1960s. In that period, it was uncle Valère who formed a partnership with father Fernand Desbuquois. Middle distance was their thing, and they were more than just successful. In those time the family Desbuquois lived in Brugge, and with pigeons from Huyskens-Van Riel and a certain Beullens they were the guys to beat. Their "Crack Valère" was a very well-known top widower, and later this top cock became the first base bird in the Desbuquois loft. Certainly, when those birds were crossed with pigeons from Gorin, it made them again a little bit stronger.

In 1971 the family Desbuquois moved from Brugge to Kapelle-Op-Den-Bos, and in the years that followed they raced further on middle distance, specifically in Strombeek (a neighborhood near Brussels). Two years later, the family moved again and went to Bornem. There the two brothers Valère and Fernand met Dieter Debusschere (Mariekerke). Pieter was a very good very long-distance racer, and his Gorin pigeons knew the secret to put top results on paper. Pieter, Fernand and Valère became very good friends, and on a certain day in the winter, they decided to form a partnership. Debusschere-Desbuquois was now the combination to beat. Valère and Pieter looked after the racing birds, and Pieter was the man to take care of the stock birds. Those were very nice times.

But the pigeon fancier in Fernand wanted more than just breeding pigeons. To guide pigeons to top results was his dream, and in good friendship they decided to break with the partnership. Fernand made a new start in a new location. Again they moved, and they went back to Kapelle-Op-Den-Bos. A very nice, big house seemed to be the best location to start in the first place a firm specializing in windows and doors, and in the second place, to make a new start in the pigeon sport. We are now talking about 1985. All the widowers were moved, among them "De Wolle," a cock who three times won top on Barcelona and the 16th national in this race when he was seven years old.

A few years before (around 1981), Fernand had found a real goldmine, meaning the superb pigeons of Emiel Matterne. We're talking about topbirds like "De St. Vincent," "De Sebastiaan" (this out of top hen "Gebroken Vleugel"), "De Barcelona," and "De K10." When we analyse the colony Desbuquois very well, then we see that a daughter of the "K10" was coupled to a brother of the earlier mentioned "Wolle." A son out of this coupling is the "Sultan," and this cock coupled to a daughter of the 1st international Barcelona from Peersman Brothers (also Matterne pigeons) formed the very strong base of the Desbuquois birds. Nowadays, we can certainly say that 60 percent of this very long-distance loft is formed with pigeons from Emiel Matterne.

Of course our friends looked out for "fresh blood" and they found the perfect crossing material from Eric Limbourg (Brussegam), Marc De Cock (Temse, a daughter from the first national Barcelona from Jean-Pierre Bogaerts was bought), and Luc Sioen (Moorslede - Brüggeman pigeons).


In 2004:

St. Vincent 10,624 yearbirds: 93- 175 - 242 - 281 - 328 - 344 - 373 - 382 - 402 - 478 - 479 - 574 - 602 - 655 - 692 - 716 - 749 - 763 - 1021 - 1040, etc.

Barcelona 12,245 old birds: 58 - 70 - 121 - 339 - 404 - 430 - 573 - 788 - 907, etc.

Perpignan 6489 old birds: 197 - 202 - 220 - 222 - 259 - 327 - 467 - 469 - 484 - 553, etc.
4086 yearbirds: 14-24-26-49-84-95-117-132-138-149-176-184-190-192- 203-250-264-284-309-323, etc.

In 2005:

St. Vincent 10,020 yearbirds: 11 - 48 - 62 - 97 - 133 - 147 - 190 - 200 - 234 - 254 - 331 - 349 - 467 - 703 - 713 - 815 - 816 - 854 - 919, etc.

Barcelona 12,998 old birds (71 mee): 21-25-88-122-146-150-193-298-321-359-367-433-443-453-467-601- 661-757-874-1043, etc.

Perpignan 7611 old birds: 13-19-27-55-65-75-87- 147-185-186-305-308-322-342, etc.
3808 yearbirds: 5-6-38-121-144-193-229-246-247-258-259-270-382,etc.


"Lucas III" B03-2010126

21st national Barcelona 12,998 old birds
75th national Perpignan 7,611 old birds
328th national St. Vincent 10,624 yearbirds
674th national Perpignan 4,086 yearbirds
1653rd national Brive 20,310 old birds

"Dina" B03-2010085

150th national Barcelona 12,988 old birds
55th national Perpignan 7,611 old birds

"Roger" B03-2010062

146th national Barcelona 12,988 old birds
65th national Perpignan 7,611 old birds

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