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  News > Eric Brootcoorens
  Derweduwen -- Albert - Luc - Dirk: For Years, One of the Best Belgian Long-Distance Lofts

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo
  for larger version

Albert Derweduwen
and his wife, Edith

The youngbird loft
in front, with the
breeding loft in back

Inside the loft
above the house

home-made Sputnik

The loft above
the house

Zingem: To make this report we go to Zingem. The town of Zingem is situated south of Ghent, in the province of East-Flanders. The 2002 season was superb again for this partnership of a father and two sons. Certainly when we look at the championships, we see the name Derweduwen is classified more than once. Not in 10th or 20th position, though. Most of the time, these fanciers are standing in the first three places. We visited this loft for you.


Albert Derweduwen, born in 1932, has spent his whole life with the pigeons. Albert says, "It was my brother who came home with a couple of young birds. He was going to race pigeons and I was immediately promoted as assistant. After a few years, my "contract" was finished, and a few days later I built my own loft. My first steps in the pigeon sport were not always good. I had to learn a lot. One week-end I had very good results, and then my pigeons failed a few weeks in a row. This happened for several years until 1960, when I got in contact with Pieter De Grootte (Zingem). Pieter was the big champion in our area, but due to the loss of his partner, he was searching for somebody to help him. 'Isn't that something for you?' Pieter asked me, when we were drinking some beer in the club. 'Why not?' I answered, and a few drinks later the new combination De Grootte-Derweduwen was born."

"This was a new challenge," Albert continues, "but we were immediately successful. We raced our birds on the middle distance--let's say to 600 km. Believe it or not, but the first year we were immediately champion in our club."

"In 1961 we were looking out for some other birds. The early sixties were the top years of the world famous fanciers Gerard and Michel Van Hee (Wervik). We went to one of his public auctions and bought some cocks. These cocks were crossed with our own base and the breeding results were super. We were so satisfied that every year we bought some Van Hee pigeons. We did that until 1976. We bought brothers, children and grandchildren of all those famous Van Hee pigeons, specifically talking about "Patrick," "Louietje," "Oude Remi," "Ijzeren," etc. By crossing in those Van Hee pigeons," Albert explains, "our pigeons became stronger. Our competitors couldn't laugh anymore."

"In 1980 I built my house. My builder, who was also a pigeon fancier, decided to build new garden lofts at my new house. When I moved, the combination De Grootte-Derweduwen ended, this all in friendship. There has never been any discussion about the pigeons. Pieter took over the racers, and I took the stockbirds with me to the Weistraat."


"You can say what you want," Albert stresses, "but if a fancier has to start again, he is always afraid. Is the new loft good? Will the new breeding be successful? All questions whose answer is 'Wait and see.'"

"But I got lucky," Albert explains, "The results were very good. Of course, I kept the old Van Hee-base, but I needed some fresh blood. I found this in the following fanciers." Albert details that he succeeded very well with a hen from the "Supercrack" from Eddy Leutenez (Semmerzake). Also two hens from Robert Dobbelaere (Marke) were successful. Certainly the "Geschelpte Ivo-duivin" [3080111/93 - from "Ivo" (3082799/88) X "Babette" (3363561/88)) was a golden buy.] But also the "3080117/93" [from "Blauwen As"(3206365/87) X "3206368/97"] was a very good breeder.

Another good investment was made with Emiel Denijs (Tielt). A first hen is the "3306545/96" [from "Schone Zwarten" (4429329/90) X "Dochter Frank Tee"]. A second good breeding hen is the "3282865/99" [from "Goldfinger" (4554926/93) X "Dochter Pau Coutteau" (4516789/92)].

Albert remembers, "The first superb results came in 1992. That year I won the 1st and 2nd national Cahors. It was the 'Royan' (4153207/89) and 'De Bambi' (4581362/89) that made our loft famous. 'De Bambi' was a very good widower because that same year he became also 7th national ace-pigeons Long Distance KBDB. 1994 was super again because we became 2nd national Champion Long Distance KBDB. In 1996 we were again in the newspaper because our widower 'De Vierzon' (4255225/93) won against 7,056 birds from Vierzon. The same year, he also won the 16th national Cahors against 9,043 birds. One year later (1997) we had the 2nd national ace-pigeon Long Distance KBDB. Again one year later (1998) we won national Pau. Our 'Pau' (4081540/94) was the quickest from all of Belgium. In 2001 our 'De Klaren' became 5th national ace-pigeon Long Distance KBDB, and last season, in 2002, we became 3rd national Champion Very Long Distance KBDB and have also won the 3rd national ace-pigeon Long Distance KBDB."

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The widowers' loft
in the garden


A widowhood cock
in his nestbox

Inside the garden loft

With this feature,
Derweduwen can create
an "open" loft


In these handsome lofts there are 120 widowers (including 55 year birds). "This season," Albert explains, "was the first time that after the season the widowers could bring up a couple of youngsters. Normally they only brood a few days. Why did I change my system? Well, I think it is good for the 'morale' of the widowers. What also changed is the fact that I don't move my young cocks immediately after the young bird season to their widower loft anymore. No, this year I will put the old widowers, after they have bred their youngsters, in an aviary. The old widowers stay the whole winter in the aviary and then I'll put the year birds in their new loft. There they will do winter breeding. By handling the birds in this way, the year birds will defend their box better, and a lot of fights will be avoided."

"During the resting period (from October until March) nothing special is done," Albert says. "On the menu they find a moulting mixture and more than once a week Sedochol is put in the water. Tea and brewer's yeast is given regularly, but when I give those products, I always give it for a whole week."


"At the end of March the old widowers come back into the loft and then the racing season starts for us," Albert continues. "First, we want to know if, on the medical scene, everything is OK. To be sure about that, we visit a specialized vet. The diagnosis is in nine cases out of ten a little trichomoniasis, and therefore a five-day cure with a product based on ronidazole is given. Against ornithosis nothing is given, and if something goes in the drinker then it will be Suanovil. A good system to see that everything is OK is to drop all the pigeons with the black Super Forma drops (Fabry). When the black drop disappears immediately then we don't doubt about the health of the widower. We give those drops before basketting and after the race."

"We measure the feed for the widowers with a spoon," Albert explains. "The mixture comes from three companies (Versele-Laga, Beyers and Mariman/Cerafin). In the beginning of the week, I feed a 'little' soupspoon per widower, and the closer we get to basketing day, the more corn there is in the soupspoon. All widowers get fed and watered individually. We have this system so that we know exactly which bird has received what. And we use the placement of the feed-pot as a sort of 'code.' If the feed-pot is standing to the right in the box, then that widower stays a minimum of one week at home. If the feed-pot stays in the middle, then that widower has just arrived from a race. If it is standing at the left of the box, then that widower has to be basketed."


Albert goes on to share some insights into his methods:

TRAINING: In the beginning of the season I let the widowers train with a flag. I like to see the widowers train for a minimum of one hour. Once the loft is in condition, then I put the flag away.

MOTIVATION: Very important, but when a widower makes good results then I never motivate him extra.

WIDOWHOOD HENS: I don't race with hens, but we care extremely well for the widowhood hens. The hens are housed in an aviary and get a light mixture (barley and depurative) as food. Three days before they must be shown to the widowers, the hen are moved to a special widowers box. Here the hen gets a heavier mixture. Of course, they are treated against canker. The hens are always showed before basketing--before an important race even for as long as 45 minutes.

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Albert can change
the ventilation in the
roof with these
sliding panels

In this way, the hens
in the aviary can be
fed from outside


BREEDERS: In total the Derweduwens have 45 breeding couples. Every year they breed different rounds because a "summer-round" is very important for the future. In every loft there are good breeders, but you must be lucky to couple them together. Breeding a "Good" bird with a "Good" bird still produces the best result.

YOUNG BIRDS: Every year there are about 150 youngsters weaned. They are darkened from the beginning of March until the end of May, from 5:45 p.m. until 8.45 a.m. The young birds are raced on the open-door-system.

VENTILATION: A good loft is the first step to success. Our lofts can be changed in a few seconds from totally closed to totally open. Everything is built into the loft to do that.

Of course, I have some heating plates but they are not on the loft. Those things are good for fanciers who want super condition in the beginning of the season, and that is something that a long distance fancier has to avoid.

MISTAKES: Mistakes are meant to learn from. Every year I learn a lot, so you can conclude….


Local 676 old birds.: 10-39-55-56-60-69-80-94-100-103-107-111-114-127-130-147-158-165- 170-207 (52)
Provincial 5,966 old birds: 38-175-248-250-256-315-405-565-621-668-703-718-728-794-806-953-1023-1089-1121-1411

Local 441 old birds: 1-2-3-11-13-14-16-30-41-42-45-48-52-53-60 enz… (28/47)
National 25,352 old birds: 24-29-30-238-373-302-358-772-1183-1185-1222-1346-1450-1477-1637-1744-1757-2141 enz… (31/47)

Provincial 1,804 old birds: 2-28-48-115-234-269-351-383 (30)
National 11,211 old birds: 11-277-367-696-1398-1668-2227-2440

Provincial 492 old birds: 5-45-110 (5)
Interprovincial 3,222 old birds: 42-269-628

National 6,711 old birds: 42-157-261-443-519-573-611-1411-1509-1517 (14)

National 13,021 old birds: 550-780-822-1651-1818-1866-2826 (9)

National 16,945 old birds: 81-310-642-1670-2311-2417-2530-2750-3246-3558 (32)

National 7,358 old birds: 57-136-152-234-249-392-674-810-974-1602 (30)

National 3,539 year birds: 12 (3)
National 5,886 old birds: 35-216-413-510-518-629-1339-1376 (8)

National 7,189 old birds: 94-333-826-930 (15)

National 17,010 young birds: 9-73-487-988-1020-1175-1623-1766-2312-2427-2429-2787-3041-3432-3629 (47)

La Souterraine
National 13,708 young birds: 24-75-107-194-320-526-683-698-715-915-1064-1408 enz.. (24/42)


"De Klaren" 98/4271011
17th national Cahors 9,989 birds
43rd national Montauban 8,027 birds
138th national Limoges 11,279 birds
575th national Brive 22,026 birds

"De Provinciaal" 98/4271021
42nd national Montauban 6,711 birds
35th national Beziers 5,886 birds
80th national Montauban 7,220 birds
82nd national Narbonne 6,423 birds
265th national Cahors 9,989 birds
302nd national Brive 25,352 birds
789th national Brive 22,026 birds

"De Narbonne" 98/4505752
15th national Narbonne 6,423 birds
31st national Brive 22,026 birds
277thnational Cahors 11,211 birds

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