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  News > Deno-Herbots
1st National Champion KBDB
Large Middle Distance

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo
  for larger version

Jos Deno


With loft

A racing loft

For old birds

For racing hens

Inside the
widower loft

Leefdaal: The name Deno-Herbots from Leefdaal is a very "big name" in the pigeon sport. Believe it or not, but the number of provincial victories of this loft almost cannot be counted. Also some national victories are noted. Since 2006 Jos Deno (70 years old) and Filip Herbots can also note a national championship and an Olympiad bird in Oostende. The team of Deno-Herbots was simply the best in 2006!

To win the national championship in the large middle distance category, you have to take the five best results (one result per weekend) with your 1st and 2nd nominated old bird on races between 350km and 600km. This must take place in the period between 13 May and 19 August. The total kilometers of the five races has to be a minimum of 2000.

Jos Deno and Filip Herbots won with the following results, thanks to the superb results of two lovely blue hens named "Kim"(B04-2211502) and "Vuilke" (B04-2211945).

# of Birds

The father of "Kim" is "B96-5091961," also known as the "Donkeren Armand." This cock is also father of the "Computer 302" (1st prov. Limoges 1253 b). He comes from the coupling "B91-5318251" (Pros Roosen) X "B95-2498678." The mother of "Kim" is "Het Fretterke" (B94-2484270 - strain Verbruggen) and comes from the coupling of "De Adonis" (B88-2336093) X "Blauw 059" (B84-2210059).

"Kim" won the following top prizes: 1st Toury 157b., 6th Toury 1974b., 16th Toury 1191b., 1st Orleans 1557b., 1st Toury 235b., 14th Toury 1966b., 38th Toury 1274b., 18th Toury 1088b., 110th national Bourges 12,755b., 135th national Argenton against 4804 birds, 1st Momignies 132b., 126th Chateauroux against 11,526b., 3rd Sens 341b., 17th Montlucon 7459b., 27th Toury 1144b.

With these results "Kim" became 3rd Olympiad bird Belgium (category B) Oostende 2007!

"Vuilke" is a 100% Gaby Vandenabeele hen. Her father is B97-3157422 "Kleine Wittenbuik." This cock is a direct son of the world famous "Wittenbuik" (B88-3206112). The mother of "Vuilke" is "Blauw Witpen" (B97-3157430), who comes out of B88-3206176 (son 1st national Bourges) x B92-9238276 "Prima Donna."

"Vuilke" won the following top prizes: 1st Soissons 140b., 30th Toury 2382b., 5th Toury 1088b., 8th Toury 573b., 62nd national Bourges against 12,755b., 561st national Argenton against 4804b., 2nd Momignies 232b., 4th Sens 341b., 105th Montlucon against 7459b., 493rd Argenton 4522b. and 268th national Bourges against 10,759 birds.


It is very nice to interview Jos. You just ask him a simple question and you get always a "more than one sentence" answer. Jos answers my first question: "How I started? Well, through a good friend. One evening my father came home with two youngsters. A little loft was built and I became pigeon fancier. In the following years, I raced on the short distance with pigeons from Filip Van Vlasselaer (St Pieters Woluwe). In 1959 I married Paula and we moved to the Dorpstraat in Leefdaal. Fanatic as I am, I started immediately to search for the better quality pigeons."

"Through the years," Jos says, "I can mention following pigeons which gave me more than just some pleasure. First I obtained, through my uncle, a couple of eggs from the best breeding couple from Theofiel Vandereet (strain Gebroeders Oomens from Breda). One of those youngsters was a red cock, and he won a lot of first prizes."

" A son of that red cock was the 'Oude Blauwen,' a real superb cock," Jos continues. "This last named cock was coupled with a hen from René Swinnen, and I got my first base couple. They became parents of 'De Kleinen,' a cock that won the first prize 11 weekends in a row! But also a lot of other top pigeons were bred out of this couple."


Cocks in front


Entrance and

Youngbird loft

In front of
a breeding box

Separate feed
and water

Inside a
breeding box

A breeding couple

Jos continues, "Another superb breeding couple was without any doubt 'Mijn Dieleman' (bought in the seventies for 1250€) coupled with 'Prinses' (a granddaughter of the 'Benoni' from Pol Bostijn). Also I went to Arendonk and from Karel Meulemans I bought children from his 'Kadet,' 'Tijger,' and 'Witneus.'"

"In 1983 I visited Gommaire Verbruggen the first time," Jos explains, "and nowadays he is one of my best friends. I bought birds for a very good price from his 'Maldini,' 'Kletskop,' 'De 20,' 'De Teen,' etc."

Jos explains, "The birds bred from pigeons from Jef, Luc and Nadia Houben were 'bingo' and in 2000 I made a golden deal with Gaby Vandenabeele (Dentergem). I bought children out of his 'Wittenbuik,' 'Stier,' etc. Also from Gebroeders Herbots and Maurice Vandersmissen I was well served. The last investments were made with the late Roger Florizoone, De Rauw-Sablon and Robert Van Eycken."

"Let's say that 40% of my colony is based on pigeons from Verbruggen, 30% Vandenabeele, 15% Houben and 15% the other named fanciers," Jos says.


We asked Jos the question: "If tomorrow you had to choose between the widowhood system with hens and the widowhood system with cocks, what would you choose?"

Jos didn't think but a second and answered immediately: "The widowhood system with hens." But he went on to explain. "But like a lot of fanciers, I like to gamble on more than one horse, and therefore I race birds following several different systems. I have 36 cocks raced on the normal widowhood system, and then I have 160 birds raced on the total widowhood system (in other words 80 couples). This all is combined with approximately 250 youngsters and 45 breeding couples. A lot of birds which result in a lot of work!"

Jos describes the way he works with these birds this way: "The preparation for the racing season of both groups (widowhood and total widowhood) is the same. The season ends in the middle of August. All the pigeons can have a nest, but as soon as the youngsters are a few days old, the hens and the youngsters are taken from the loft and all pigeons are on widowhood till their following coupling. This is the 5th of December."

Once that date comes up on Dono's calendar, the hens come again into his loft and then they can breed a couple of youngsters without any problems. Once the youngsters are weaned, the hens are taken from the loft and the widowhood ship is a fact. During this period Jos is not afraid to let the pigeons train twice or more a week. He says, "I like that they train well in wintertime, because then I know that they're very healthy."

At the beginning of April, when the weather conditions are good, Jos makes the first training tosses. Jos says, "I'm very careful and in little steps it goes from 5 to 80km. Once they have flown the short distance several times, they are basketted for a few middle-distance races, and then they go weekly to races around the 600km distance."

Jos explains, "On basketting day we have a lot of work to do here. First we have the widowers. When these guys are basketted, they only get their nest bowl, with no hen. The motivation is served by the fact that the cocks cannot enter their nest box during the week. They're allowed to enter their box only on basketting day and the day of arrival. During the week all the boxes are closed, and they're obliged to sit on perches which are installed just in front of their nest box. The widowers know this system so well that on basketting day, when the first nest box is opened, almost 10 cocks try to get in the box and the real owner has to do more than his best to keep all these opponents outside his box. As a fancier, you have to be careful that there are not too many fights, and that the right pigeon gets well motivated."

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Couples in boxes

Jos Deno's mix

"De Chateauroux"

"De Le Mans"

Jos' birds which are raced following the total widowhood system come on baskettingday approximately one hour together. All the cocks and hens from the same loft are always basketted for the same race. In that way it never takes long before Jos has some cocks and hens at home on arrival day and if the partner of one or other bird is missing he or she gets another partner until the real partner is home. Then the couple is closed up in their box. This is to avoid fights.


Jos says, "In total we have six lofts for the young birds. Through a first and a second round, we get around 250 youngsters every year. Till now we have only followed the 'open-door system.' The young birds stay together till most of them have formed couples and then they get separated. The youngsters are on this system till their last race and then we're speaking about the second weekend of September."

"Of course they're darkened," Jos explains, "from the beginning of March until the middle of June from 4 o'clock in the afternoon till 11 p.m. So the young birds always wake up with the morning sun. After the longest day of the year, on June21st, the days are made artificially longer. This means that a light is put on from 5:30 a.m. until 7:30 a.m. and from 9 p.m.until 11 p.m. This is until the end of the season. The combination of darkening and lighting means that in the middle of September the youngsters have only thrown one or two wing feathers. So the last wing feather will come out at the end of the year. This is no problem because the year birds are only coupled around the 23rd of February, so they have all the time to moult very well."

"To motivate the youngsters, we create on a lot of dark places on basketingday. The party may only last one hour because we find that the longer the youngsters stay together the worse the results are!" Jos says.

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"De Prins"



"Den Argenton"

Al Gore"



On the medical scene, Jos places his full trust in veterinarian Raf Herbots. Jos explains, "Every month I'm consulting him and on his advice I treat according to his suggestions. After the racing season, all birds are treated for eight days against trichomoniasis. At the beginning of November a seven-day cure against paratyphus is made. This is followed with a vaccination of all the pigeons, including the breeders. For the rest, the medication closet stays closed. I give the Herbots special breeding vitamins almost daily during the breeding season. Before the racing season starts, I always treat against ornithosis, with the product Soludox (which is a doxycycline product). During the racing season, I never treat for ornithosis. I only treat against trichomoniasis every three weeks."

Jos continues, "I'm never against trying new methods and when I hear or read something is working especially well, I'm always the first to try it. When Michel Vanlint came back to Belgium and put several top results on paper, he made every fancier in Belgium wake up. His method (a lot of tosses, feeding several times a day, etc.) were new for a lot of fanciers. A few years ago I was in China with Marcel Sangers (a top fancier and a very good friend of Gerard Koopman). We discussed everything, and he convinced me to adapt my method. What changed is simply explained: more tosses during the racing season and when pigeons have to work a lot of course they need the necessary energy, which means more fat in their diet."

"Before," Jos says, "I never tossed the widowers during the racing season, but since a few years ago, I toss the widowers (and hens) every Tuesday and Thursday at 80 km. The cocks and hens are liberated together and when they have entered the loft they're immediately separated. Every day (also on the days of the tosses) the pigeons have to train a minimum of twice a day for a full hour around the loft."

"By following this method," Jos explains, "the pigeons use a lot of energy, so I adapted the mixture. This mixture became very heavy, and I feed for 10 minutes as much as they want. Another important feeding supplement is without any doubt the mix of sheep fat, cheese and peanuts. Winter and summer I feed this mix four times a week one teaspoon per pigeon. The formula is 60 percent peanuts plus 30 percent cheese (ordinary cheese) plus 10 percent sheep fat. This is all blended up in a mixer, and I give one teaspoon per pigeon. I can assure you that the birds are crazy about this mixture!"

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