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Herent: It is always nice to visit Albert and Francine Derwa. The reason is obvious: You always receive a very nice welcome. A cup of coffee is very quickly made and the box with chocolates and cookies has been put on the table at the same time...
For several years we have been able to classify Albert among the better fanciers of Belgium. In the earlier years Albert was known as a young bird specialist, but during the last 10 years our friend has also been on top with widowers and racing hens. It is a fact that the always laughing Albert has everything under very good control. The nice thing about this fancier is that he knows to relate to the pigeon sport very well. If he had a good or a very bad result, Albert tries to learn from this and draws the necessary conclusions.
Albert’s garden is not that big, and that has its advantages. Albert says, “If you don’t have a lot of space then you have to select very hard. The spaces in the loft are well counted and the birds have to perform very well to receive a place.” Also for the coming season, quality counts high above quantity. For the 2009 season, Albert has three old birds (two hens and one widower) and 22 year birds (10 hens and 12 widowers). Next to those racing birds, there are also 23 breeding couples. Around 100 youngsters are weaned for his own use. The base of the Derwa colony has been formed by pigeons of Gommaire Verbruggen (Scherpenheuvel), Herbots Bros (Halle-Booienhoven), Gaby Vandenabeele (Dentergem), Paul Huls (Zonhoven), Hugo Vlaeminck (Ruppelmonde), late Flor Vervoort (Hallaar) and Van De Pasch Jan (Grubbenvorst).
THE PREPARATION FOR THE NEXT SEASON
Just like the stock birds, the racing pigeons have done winter breeding. After they have bred a couple of youngsters they were separated and a kind of winter regime was followed.
The widowers are housed in two lofts, and the racing hens in one loft. As an experiment Albert left the boxes half open in one widowers’ loft, and in another widowers’ loft the boxes were closed and a perch was put in front of it. Albert explains, “I did this to see if there was a difference between the two methods. Well, I can say that the widowers which had the half of their box the whole winter were much more attached to their box than all the others ones. I’m sure that in future winter periods I will always leave one part of a box open. With the hens, on the other way, they have to be housed in a loft with closed boxes. Otherwise, they would start to pair up with each other and that is of course not the purpose.
The last youngsters of 2009 were weaned around the third weekend of January, and from one day to the other, the menu was adapted from breeding mixture to 100% barley. In the beginning the pigeons ate the barley with long teeth, but after some time they become used to it, and they eat the barley very well also. Once a day the pigeons are fed, not too much but also not too little. Per 12 pigeons around seven soupspoons are fed. During the cold winter months (in Belgium we had winter days with minus 15 to20 degrees) some breeding mixture was mixed with the barley. Albert is sponsored by the firm Röhnfried, and so it is logical that he uses a lot of products from this company. During the winter he gives Avidress Plus every day and twice a week he gives also Usne Gano or RO200. When the weather is good, the birds may train around the loft.
Before the racing season starts, the pigeons have to be 100% healthy. At the beginning of March, an eight-day treatment with Altabactine is part of the program. Afterwards, they receive Avipharma for two days, and then they are vaccinated against paratyphoid with Zoosal T (a product from Germany). After this vaccination, Albert treats against canker (trichomoniose) for seven days, with a product based on ronidazole. Two weeks before the racing season starts, also a seven day treatment with Soludox (based on doxycycline) is given. When this is done, the racing birds are ready to start a new season. With a lot of fanciers, the race birds are coupled again at the beginning of April, but this is not done in Albert’s lofts. Albert says, “For two years I haven’t coupled my race birds in April any more, and when I analyze my racing results, I can say that I find this system better.”
NOTED FOR YOU
1. Hens are weekly basketted for races around 500km, and the cocks as much as possible. Everything depends on the weather conditions but a cock needs some rest now and then.
Hens who have the intention to pair with each other are, in the middle of the week, shortly shown their cock. Albert says, “Sometimes I toss my hens together with my young birds. I even let the hens enter the young bird loft, and they can play without any problem with one or other young cock. Even on a basketting day, I follow this motivation trick. I can assure you that the hens again have full courage to achieve a top result.
3. It is a fixed rule that six weeks into the racing season, Albert performs some motivation tricks. He just acts like a lot of other fanciers, namely open an empty box, put some perches on the loft etc.
Albert gives a lot of supplemental products. On arrival day he gives Avipharma, then Avisal for days and on Wednesday Blitzform. In the second part of the season, he gives vitamin tablets, namely Maxi Kraft.
5. Because Albert is afraid of a mould infection, peanuts are replaced by peeled sunflower seeds.
Inside the widowers'
Glass in roof
Loft in winter
Aviary at the
|6. The heating plate is, even in summertime, switched on day and night. Because of this, Albert creates a better air circulation in his loft.
In winter and in summer, Albert gives every day fresh grit. He puts the grit on the cleaned floor and the pigeons are then just like chickens. They search in their own way for what they need.
The racing hens are darkened just like the young birds. Every day at 5:30 p.m., Albert closes the curtains and at 7:30 a.m., he opens them again. He darkens from March till June 15th. Afterwards he simulates the longest day of the year by putting the lights on.
Young pigeons are tossed as much as possible. It has even happened that the young birds were tossed quicker than the old birds. By the middle of May, the youngsters have been tossed 25 times. Albert keeps on tossing the youngsters at a certain place till they leave the releasing place very well. Once they fly directly in the right direction Albert goes a little bit further.
Young birds are raced following the open door system, but if Albert had more time, then he would race them on pure widowhood--young cocks coupled with old hens and young hens coupled with old cocks. Some years ago when he just raced the young birds, he followed this system. He’s convinced that it is even a better system than the open door system.
PAULIEN AND HER FAMILY
In Belgium there were already millions of hens who have flown, but there are only a few hens which can be classified as real top hens. I am thinking now of “Paula 5000” from the late Remi De Mey, “Fieneke 5000” from the late Flor Vervoort and so on, but from this list we can certainly note the name of “Paulien” from our friend Albert Derwa. “Paulien” B06-2090139 was classified as 8th national ace in 2007 and on her impressive racing result list we find performances like: 1st semi-national Chateauroux 8,218b. – 1st Guerret 1,298b. – 1st Interprovincial Chateauroux 3,969b. – 1st provincial Chateauroux 1,909b. – 1st provincial Guerret 1,194b. – 1st Blois 540b. – 1st Argenton 432b. – 1st Chateauroux 322b. – 1st Guerret 311b. – 1st Sens 195b. – 2nd provincial Blois 2,836b. – 3rd provincial Argenton 1,854b. – 4th Momignies 458b. – 7th Sens 427b. – 8th Sens 192b. – 10th semi-national Argenton 7,353b.
Father of “Paulien” is the “Dikkop” (B99-2005027) who won 46 prizes whereby 25 times in the first 10%. He is a crossing of pigeons of Vervoort Flor x Hennes Christiaan (strain Vandenabeele Gaby).
Mother is “Valeska” (B04-2180106), who is a daughter of the famous “Dreamteam” of Albert Derwa. “Valeska” won o.a.: 6th Bourges 168b. – 8th Bourges 555b. – 10th Blois 275b. – 10th Bourges 344b. – 12th Argenton 303b. – 16th Bourges 1,082b. and so on.
Out of the coupling „Dikkop“ x „Valeska“ came also the following top birds:
“Paulo” B06-2090034 – brother of “Paulien” won: 2nd Soissons 247b. – 48th interprovincial Issoudun 4,627b. – 9th Chateauroux 8,218b. – 38th national La Souterraine 13,965b. – 17th Blois 2,836b. – 18th Salbris 722b. – 62nd interprovincial Argenton 7,353b. – 36th Salbris 2,527b.
“Paulette” B07-2061133 – sister of “Paulien” won 1st Nanteuil 183b. – 1st semi-national Montlucon 8,619b. – 265th national La Souterraine 18,973b. – 15th interprovincial Issoudun 5,815b. – 3rd Momignies 129b. – 99th national Bourges 16,771b.
“Portia“ B06-2090133 – sister Paulien“ won 17th interprovincial Issoudun 4,627b. – 15th national Argenton 5,927b. – 11th Blois 2,836b. – 6th Sens 427b. – 9th Sens 3,89b. – 42nd Argenton 4,640b. – 74th Montlucon 7,776b. – 273rd nationaal La Souterraine 13,965b.
“Paulien” has not only the talent to put top results on paper, but also in the breeding loft she is more than just an average stock bird. Together with her partner “Valentino”(B03-2182096),she forms the new top breeding couple of the Derwa loft. For those who like to know everything, “Valentino” won 1st Sens 346b. – 43rd La Souterraine 7,682b. – 4th Pithiviers 215b. – 5th Soissons 2,168b. – 6th Soissons 291b. – 6th Soisons 235b. – 6th Pithiviers 307b. – 9th Momignies 814b. – 11th Blois 1,202b. and two of their children are:
“Paolini“ B07-2061098 won : 15th interprovincial Argenton 5,871b. – 4th Momignies 108b. – 61st interprovincial Argenton 5,883b. – 14th Pithiviers 261b. – 14th Laon 286b. – 24th Salbris 1,234b. – 82nd Montlucon 5052b.
“Pellina“ B07-2061097 won: 11th national Argenton 20,844b. – 1st Pithiviers 261b. – 1st Momignies 108b. – 14th national Argenton 6,177b. – 3rd Pithiviers 467b. – 101st national Bourges 13,354b. – 13th interprovincial Montlucon 8,619b. – 136th Bourges 5,178b. Became, just like her mother “Paulien,” 8th national ace on the great middle distance.
You can see in Albert’s eyes that he’s very proud to have such a top hen under the roof. Albert explains, “Normally this hen would have been in the loft of Paul Huls. I rang ‘Paulien’ as a young of the third round and I had promised her already to my friend Paul. When she was ready to wean, I called Paul to collect her but I had never seen Paul. I spoke to Paul several times a week on the phone, and each time I told him to collect the hen. After some time, Paul answered, ‘Albert, I don’t have much time. Keep this youngster, and put her among your youngsters and race with her.’ I did as he said, and you see the result. Sometimes you need to be lucky!”
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