Click on any
for larger version
Eye of "Ike"
Head of "Ike"
Evergem: We meet a more than happy Chris Hebberecht when we take a seat at the kitchen table of Chris Hebberecht. Chris made the season of his life or what you would otherwise call a season in which you put the following top results on paper: 1st national and 1st provincial ace with “Ike” and 1st national champion KBDB very long distance. There are a lot of fanciers who will never make such a season ever in their whole life.
The nice thing about this story is that we’re not visiting full professional pigeon fanciers. No, Chris and his wife Kathy go daily out to work and because the pigeon sport demands a lot of time and a lot of energy, Chris and his wife discuss each day who does what in the pigeon loft. Most of the work is done by Chris, only when he has really no time his wife Kathy gives a hand. Therefore, I personally find these performances so impressive.
Chris, what is the base of your colony?
That is something that I can easily answer. Do you know that I can go back to the beginning of 1950. Everybody knows that I started under the wings of my father in the pigeon sport. We raced together, but when he died in 1999 I raced on my own name, with the same pigeons. The real old base goes back to pigeons of Valère D’Hoker (strain: De Smet Hector from Geraardsbergen). In 1980 we bought the “Zwarte Vereecke” (Vereecke Roger). He became father of 12 several first prize winners with different hens. In 1996 we bought a late bred by Jef Vandenberghe (Landegem). This late cock, named “Jef” was coupled with a hen of Frans Herman (Guigoven), and they became the parents of “Axel” and “Panda.”
Meanwhile, I bred successfully together with Noël Peiren (Zedelgem), Raoul and Xavier Verstraete (Oostakker), Jos Joosen (Brecht) and Norman Filip (Westkapelle). I prefer to cross with strange blood, but meanwhile I always keep my old base pure. Concerning breeding, a fancier must be lucky that he has a breeding line that gives in several generations good birds. I’m lucky to have such a breeding line.
We’re now in the first part of the month of December. What do you do now in the loft?
My widowers bred after the racing season a couple of youngsters and could brood once more this without having youngsters. When they left their eggs, everything was separated and they could easily finish their moult. During the winter period I let them train two times a week around the loft. The windows of the lofts are open for three hours, and the widowers can do what they want without any stress.
As a feeding they receive a mix of 2/3 Petit France Mariman and 1/3 Super Dieet Versele-Laga. I feed once a day. They can eat as much as they want. As feed supplements I feed daily fresh Grit with Redstone (Colombine), Optimal Mutine and “Rui Promotor.” In the drinker I mix “Engeldendrank Moulting” from the firm Blubke.
Once the moulting period is finished, I treat for 10 days against Parathyfus, with Parastop from Belgica-De Weerdt.
Chris, with all your experience, what do you think is the best preparation for the season? Let the widowers breed a couple of youngsters or just let them brood?
To be honest…I don’t know. There are a lot of good systems. I must say that it was the first time that I didn’t let my widowers breed before the season, but just let them brood twice. Why did I change my system? Well, I had a lot of work to do, and we had a hard winter, so I didn’t have the courage to couple the widowers team.
Experience taught me that it doesn’t play a role on the condition level if you let your widowers breed before the season one way or the other. Also I didn’t see an effect on the moulting process. It is always the same widower that starts to moult quickly.
Next year I will handle things just the same as in 2010. This means that I will couple my widowers in mid-January and let them brood till they leave their eggs. In the third weekend of March they are coupled for the second time, and then they may only brood for maximum of four days.
Is it true that you start already in March to train your widowers? For a long-distance racer is this very early in the season, or am I wrong?
Well, I will certainly tell you the truth, but I know now already that you will not believe me. I like that my widowers are in top condition the first weekend of June. Therefore I always treat my widowers the last week of May. During four days I mix Soludox in the drinker. In 2009 I made a very bad result the last weekend of May. I cured and a week later I made a top result.
Indeed, my widowers are trained early every year. If the temperature is more than 10 degrees and the wind is in the tail, then I put my widowers in the basket. The first three trainings they are liberated at a short distance. But the fourth time they’re already at 50km.
Listen, do you know what I find important? Well, it is that my widowers start their new season very well. Look, here is my racing result of my first middle distance race (334km). Against 733 participating birds, my widowers scored with the 2nd, 3rd, 8th and 10th place and 34 prizes of 47 basketted widowers.
If you can start in such way a new racing season, then you know that everything is ok. A week later I basketted 38 widowers for Vierzon (450km) and won 33 prizes. Against 922 birds I won: 3rd, 6th, 7th, 12th, 16th, 16th, 19th and so on.
Chris, be honest. When I see such results then I would say that you treat your widowers before the season starts.
This year I made a top result the last weekend of May, I cured with Soludox and made a very bad result a week later. Other fanciers would be in panic, but I didn’t panic and knew that I made a bad result due to the weather. My birds don’t like a heavy tailwind and rain and those were the weather conditions for this race.
One race later, it was again bingo on Cahors. I won local the first four prizes and on provincial level I clocked the fastest bird. For the rest of the season I didn’t treat anymore against ornithosis. The results stayed very good, the condition was super, so why treat? The medication closet stayed closed. The only thing that I gave was a lot of “Engeldrank Luchtwegen” from Blubke. I must say that if the results are not good then I would certainly visit a specialized vet.
For feeding, I mix myself two kind of mixes. I mix a “racing mix” and a “resting mix.” My racing mix is a mix of Champion Plus, Superstar Plus and Petit France Special. My resting mix is a mix of depurative and Super Diet. All these mixtures come from Versele-Laga and Mariman. The first two to three days after arrival all the birds get one-half racing mix and one-half resting mix. Then I go over to one-third racing mix and two-thirds resting mix.
The last 10 meals I give 100% racing mix, whereby the last two meals I enrich my racing mix with Energy Plus I.C. and some sneaky mix. I feed all the widowers separately and all the drinking is done separately. I feed my widowers twice a day. For one hour they can eat as much as they want, and after one hour I take all the food away.
What do you do on arrival day?
Pigeons who have flown for a day must have the time to recuperate. I do the following. In each loft I have 16 widowers. Suggest that six of the 16 widowers were basketted for a long-distance race. Well on basketting day, I let the 10 who will not go to the race out and while they train the other cocks get their hen. I show in all the lofts always the same four hens. Those are four hens which are always staying “ready” and that’s very important to motivate a widower. I just leave the four hens in the loft while the cocks are closed up half box.
At the moment of arrival I close the 10 other cocks up and the boxes of the widowers which are on the race are open. In their box there’s only a little bit sneaky mixture and water. No hen! When the widower arrives home, he flies in his box, drinks and eats and the I take him from the loft and put him in another loft which is standing empty. There he gets his hen and he can stay with her till the day after. The day after I is putted again back on his widowers loft.
And the young birds?
To be honest, I don’t have enough time for them. In several rounds I breed 200 youngsters for my own use. As young birds, they do some short-distance races, and if I have the time and courage they fly also a provincial race. The young bird season is for me an obliged game.
Can you tell something more about “Ike,” the national ace?
“Ike” is a very calm bird. I bred him out of a hen of Jos Joosen’s and a cock of my best line. “Ike” was my first bird on Brive. I thought it was a lucky shot but on Cahors, 14 days later, he won again a top result on national level. “Ike” made my dream come true, to have the best long-distance bird of Belgium!
The national championship very long distance KBDB has been won with six different widowers, which are those?
Click here to return to top of page.
Some results of the season 2010.
5 x Top 10 national in 2010
2nd national Cahors 8,651 b
3rd national Narbonne 6,330 b
5th national Tulle 6,695 b
6th national Souillac 7,045 b
8th national Limoges 5,607 b
Provincial victories 2010
1st provinciaal Cahors 1,703b
1st provinciaal Limoges 1,750b
1st provinciaal Souillac 1,738b
Angerville 08/05/010(334km) 733 birds: 2, 3, 8, 10, 17, 25, 29, 38, 68, 75, 78, 95, 101, 113, 116, 133, 134, 135, 136, 141, 157, 164, 172, 174, 189, ... (34/47)
922 birds: 3, 6, 7, 12, 16, 16, 19, 21, 24, 26, 33, 35, 37, 39, 44, 55, 57, 73, 84, 85, 94, 116, 117, 127, 159, 178, 184, 193, ... (33/38)
177 birds: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 11, 30, 43, 57 (9/12)
Provincial 1703 birds: 1, 13, 20, 25, 44, 56, 223, 358
National 8 651 birds: 2, 26, 37, 46, 93, 134, 699, 1 169, 1 566, 1 722 (10/12)
134 birds: 2, 5, 10, 12, 32 (5/6)
Nationaal tegen 6 654 birds: 28, 174, 471,563,1480
278 birds: 1, 2, 5, 16, 17, 18, 23, 33, 44, 55, 70, 71, 93 (13/22))
Nationaal 10 448 birds: 11, 58, 82, 289, 290, 291, 440, ...
137birds: 1,2,3,5,6,10,12,14,24,27, (16d)
Nationaal 7,045 birds: 6,31,32,79,131,423,465,705,1229,1342
Tulle 31/07/010(635 km)
106b.: 1,2,12,24,33,35 (6 d)
Nationaal 6,695 b.: 5,46,239,746,1096,1186
Tarbes 11/07/2010 (920 km)
91 birds: 1, 2, 7, 13, 14, 21, 24 (6/7)
National 4 576 birds: 100, 106, 309, ...
Orange 26/06/010 (781 km)
88 birds: 1, 6, 13, 17, 18 (5/7)
National 4,491 birds: 24 ,197,576,705,734
Barcelona 02/07/010 (1091 km)
290 birds: 2, 10, 19 (3/6)
Nationaal 12,641 b.: 260, 482, 859