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|News > Eddy Anckaert and Jean Meulemans|
Unknown…but at the top
by Stefan Mertens
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Eddy Anckaert and his favorite hen
She really loves him!
Aviary attached to Anckaert's YB Section
Anckaert's YB loft showing curtain used
You know that in the summer of 2001, Ed visited Belgium. In last month's report, you read that he visited very good fanciers which are not so well known in the United States. First, we visited Eric Brootcoorens, and Ed was so impressed that he asked me to take him to other fanciers of that kind. No problem. That same day we visited Eddy Anckaert and Jean Meulemans. Both are fanciers with extremely good results.
Jean Meulemans: "To know my base pigeons, we have to go back to 1985. On a sunny day in springtime, there was a young bird in the sputnik which was not mine. I took the young bird and saw that it has a telephone stamp in his wing. I called the fancier, and the person at the other end of the line was Jan Broeckx, a fancier known world wide from Oud-Turnhout. Jan said that it was too far for him to collect the baby and that I could hold the youngster. " 'If it is too far for you,' " I said, " 'I will bring you the youngster.' " A few days later I was standing at Mr. Broecks's loft with the lost son. Jan Broeckx appreciated this so much that he gave me a 10-year-old cock to put in my breeding loft. One year later, I bought in partnership with my friend Moriau 10 eggs from Broeckx's pigeons. The Broeckx pigeons were crossed with Omer Van Den Balck pigeons, and here we won the lottery. Of course, I bought some other pigeons every year, and at this point, I can say I'm successful with pigeons from the following fanciers: Albert Derwa (Herent), Ludo Claessens (Putte), Walter Van Durme (Borsbeke - Vandenabeele pigeons), Geeeerinckx (Soontjes pigeons), Stefan Mertens (Geraardsbergen), and Gilbert Impanis (Schaarbeek)."
Eddy Anckaert: "My base pigeons? That's very easy to answer. One name-Jozef Wellemans from Zandbergen. I'll explain further. The first four or five years that I was a fancier, I had pigeons from different fanciers. You know how it goes. From that fancier you got two, from another you got five, and so on. I had a lot of very nice pigeons, but they had one fault. Namely, they would not win top prizes. That must be finished, and on a winter day, I eliminated all those pigeons, and I went to Jozef Wellemans. Jozef, or Jef to friends, was a young bird specialist. It was a dream to watch pigeons when they were coming home from a race. When you saw one, the others were not far away. Unbelievable. He was a specialist on the national races with young birds, so we are talking about races from 400 km up to 550 km. I can say that Jef and I became very close friends. We were not living far away from each other, and after a time we trained and basketed our pigeons together. A few years ago, Jef stopped with pigeons, due to some health problems. I must say that in the last years, I'm trying to find a good line to cross with those Wellemans pigeons."
View inside Anckaert's YB Loft
Wintertime view of Anckaert's YB Loft
The eye of one of Anckaert's best breeders
Jean Meulemans' breeding loft
Inside Meulemans' widowhood loft
The eye of one of Meulemans' best
Jean Meulemans: "The stockloft is one of the most important things in the pigeon sport. If it has already gone wrong here, then you're lost. Believe it or not, but personally I enjoy breeding more than racing. Inbreeding, crossing, etc., I try everything, and if I have found a good combination, I'll try to do the same with pigeons from the same line. How do I select my stock birds? Well, I believe 100 percent in the eye-sign theory. I don't believe that somebody can select good racing pigeons by eye-sign, but I agree if it concerns breeding qualities. I have the book from Brian Vickers. One thing I have to make clear-to know the eye-sign very well, you have to practice a lot. I visited a lot of good lofts, and I went to a lot of auctions. Not to buy, no, but to have a very good look at all those stockbirds."
Eddy Anckaert: "I have about 30 stock pairs. That seems like a lot, but I need those because I want to have 120 early youngsters. How do I select my stock birds? Well, to be honest, I don't look at results. If there is a cock or a hen that didn't win one single prize, but in the hand I like it a lot, well I will put it in the stock loft. I select my future stock birds on the eye-sign and the throat. What am I looking at? That's hard to explain. It also has something to do with the first impression. That's my system. There are also others, but I have had very good experience handling decisions like this. Of course, I prefer a pigeon with good eyes and throat and superb racing results. Pigeons like my 'La Souterraintje' (096/99) who won the 72 national La Souterraine and is mother of the 6th provincial Vierzon in 2001."
Jean Meulemans: "I have 24 widowers, not more. Those are paired up at the end of November, and they may breed a couple of youngsters. When the youngsters are separated, there is a kind of winter regime for the widowers. Avoid winter conditions is my advice. At the beginning of April, I couple the widowers again, and then they may brood for a maximum of five days. When the weather is good, I start to train them at 10 km. I'll make sure that the first training flights go very well. If you handle the pigeons this way, he will have the right rhythm.."
"Feeding is nothing special. I feed from light (50 percent depurative plus 50 percent racing mixture) to heavy (100 percent racing mixture). I give one soup spoon per pigeon per day. Twice a week I give Colombine Form-Oil with Colombine Form-Mix, and on the day of arrival, I add Digestal to the mixture."
"Very important with the widowers is that they keep eating until the day of basketing. If I have this problem, then I do the following. Instead of giving one soup spoon, I give one coffee spoon. I do this for one or two days, and then I give a little more. When you do this, the problem will be solved immediately."
Eddy Anckaert: "Normally, I'm a young bird specialist. Until two years ago, I didn't race old birds. Last year I started the first time with some hens on widowhood, and I must say it went well in the beginning of the season, but afterwards, I went quickly down. I made some mistakes. Then hens were pairing with each other too quickly. For the 2002 season, I will change my system. I saw how Jos Thone' works, and I'm going to try his method. So the hens will be in an aviary, and I will try a total widowhood system. We'll speak again at the end of 2002."
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Jean Meulemans: "80…that is the number of youngsters which I breed. Young birds are like little children. This means that they ask a lot of time from the fancier. From the moment that the youngsters are weaned, the fancier must have four eyes to see everything. If there is one with too little vitality, sorry, but he has to make a place for the others. I darken the youngsters from the beginning of March until the end of May, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 a.m. I must admit that it is not too dark in the loft. The youngsters can easily find the drinking bowl. Oh, yeah. I also made some mistakes. One of my big mistakes was that I let the youngsters out immediately after ending the darkening. I must say I lost a lot of pigeons. Now I wait a minimum of a half hour, and I have no losses in the youngsters."
"On the medical scene, I have a three-week routine. Week 1 I cure against canker, week 2 against ornithosis, and week 3 I don't cure. Motivation is very important, and therefore I race my youngsters in two different ways. In the beginning, they are raced on the open-door system, and after five or six weeks I race further only the hens on the nest. If the nest position is finished around the beginning of September, then the season is also finished for me."
Eddy Anckaert: "Every year, I breed about 120 youngsters for my own use. These are from the 1st and 2nd rounds of my stock birds. I race my youngsters on an open-door system. This means hens and cocks are separated the whole week, and a few hours before basketing, they come together and the party can begin. Once they know the system (after two or three weeks) I stop this. Then they only come together after the race. Why? I think it is logical. The reward comes after the performance."
"Of course I darken my youngsters. I darken at least 12 hours a day, and I do this until the end of May. If you don't darken, then it is impossible to be successful on the last two national races. It's very important in darkening pigeons that everything happens very punctually. This means that if you darken at 5:00 p.m., it is 5:00 p.m. and not 4:45 p.m. today and 5:15 p.m. tomorrow. I solved this by using an automatic darkening system."
"For medical matters, I follow the schedule of a specialized vet. This means that I cure on a regular basis agains canker and ornithosis. For young bird disease, I try to handle it very quickly from the moment that something goes wrong. I always have tablets in my pocket to treat one or other youngster individually. You have to be quicker than the disease, and then you can avoid a lot of troubles."
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Noyon 301 yearlings: 1-2-7-10-17-18-19-23-32 etc. (19/22)
Toury 137 yearbirds: 1-2-3-4-5-6-8-13-14-21-23 etc. (16/22)
Toury 513 yearbirds: 1-4-15-26-29-39-41-47-49-52 etc. (20/21)
Toury 244 yearbirds: 1-4-6-7-11-14-15-17-19-20 etc. (17/20)
Toury 246 yearbirds: 1-2-3-5-6-11-12-17-19-21 etc. (14/20)
Noyon 721 youngsters: 10-11-13-18-29-37-43-51-52-73-74 etc. (27/37)
Noyon 539 youngsters: 1-7-15-17-21-32-47-48-50-52-63 etc. (29/42)
Noyon 562 youngsters: 2-4-14-16-18-19-26-33-49-59-62-63 etc. (28/39)
Noyon 505 youngsters: 2-7-13-16-17-18-23-24 etc. (16/19)
From Noyon (151 km)
386 y.b.: 1-7-11-13-16-25-29 etc. (23/31)
223 y.b.: 1-2-4-6-7-8-11-12-22-25-26-32-33 (18/28)
From Toury (323 km)
556 y.b.: 2-4-6-7-8-9-10-11-13-20-26-27-34-38-44-48-51-59 etc. (48/63)
626 y.b.: 1-5-6-17-18-22-23-26-36-37-40-41-45-51-56 etc. (49/85)
386 y.b.: 2-3-4-6-7-8-9-10-11-13-14-15-21-23-25-26-27-28-29-37-41 etc. (29/37)
321 y.b.: 1-2-4-6-7-8-11-14-16-18-19-20-22-23-26-31-32-34-35-37-38-39-40-41 etc. (41/55)
192 y.b.: 3-4-5-9-11-12-13-15-17-18-21-26-28-29-31 etc. (22/26)
From Vierzon (420 km) 2274 y.b.: 6-15-18-47-69-116-195-455-523 (9/17)
From Argenton (500 km) 346 y.b.: 4-5-7-11-18-19-23-31-49-95-109-114 (12/34)
From Guerret (535 km) 177 y.b.: 2-3-4-8-9-10-16-19-20-21-25-26 etc, (18/30)
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