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  News > Lannoo-Ballegeer

Lannoo Ballegeer:
1st National Champion Young Birds K.B.D.B. 2011

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo for larger version 

Lannoo and Ballegeer

The lofts

Inside the
young bird loft

in the lofts

Breeding loft

Inside breeding

The widowers

Moerkerke: In an earlier report we already mentioned that the 2011middle distance season for the young birds was not a very easy season. The weather conditions were not always that good and this resulted in not so fluent races. Also the national young bird races from Bourges, Argenton, La Souterraine and Gueret were “heavier” than expected. During the period that the national races were organized, the wind was most of the time blowing from the west, with the result that the western part of Belgium was not in an ideal position to clock top prizes on a national level...

But in spite of the west wind, it was the partnership of Lannoo-Ballegeer who won this championship.  They live in the little town of Moerkerke, situated in the west part of Belgium. With a coefficient of 42.48% the combination Fangio Lannoo  and Stefan Ballegeer won ahead of De Schepper-De Temmerman (48.07%)  and Verreckt-Ariën (54.07%).

We went to the national champions, and at the end of our interview we concluded that two very motived fanciers won this championship. This was a reward for several years of hard work. They do really everything that it takes to get their name at the top of the results.

Gentlemen, congratulations on your superb racing season.

Thank you, but to be honest, this season was certainly not our best season ever. Since 2002 we have raced in partnership. First we formed a combination in Eeklo, and since 2009 we started here in Moerkerke. Normally we can make very good results with the young birds. In 2010 we won 13 x 1st prize, and this year we won only 6 x 1st prize.

The reason for this? Well, in 2011 we had a lot of losses. Every year we wean around 70 babies. The other years we had almost no losses, but this year we lost twenty-two young birds on two tosses. On the first short distance race, we lost again 10 young birds or in other words on three short races we lost 50% of our young birds. As a fancier, you have to review everything and follow a different strategy than the one which is normally followed.

So we started the middle-distance season for the young birds with only 20 pigeons--10 cocks and 10 hens.

And which strategy did you choose?
We have chosen the nest system. Listen, the young cocks are normally raced weekly from Ablis (320km), but due to the big losses we also basketted these young cocks for the national races. As preparation they flew 2 x Arras (114km), 2 x Clermont (220km), 2 x Ablis (320km), and Blois (432km – which was a bad race). The week after this “hard” race from Blois they were basketted for the Bourges national. Only one cock stayed home. Don’t ask me why, but his hen did not show any interest in him. For this reason he stayed home and was coupled to another hen. Believe it or not, but from that moment on he became our best cock.

When the other cocks came home from Bourges, they were not separated anymore and the hens stayed with the cocks. On “fresh eggs” they went to Argenton. For La Souterraine they were brooding two days over, and when they came home they received a baby. For Gueret (the last national race) they were basketted with 16-day-old babies in their nest. The week before Gueret, I took the hen away and they had to take care of the babies themselves. On basketting day we motivated the cocks extra by giving them their hen.

You chose the nest system, so I suppose you tossed them daily?

Forget it! We both go to work and we work a night shift. When we come home from work, we have a little sleep and at 2 pm we are both awake to do the pigeons.  I’m convinced that you understand that we don’t have that much time to toss the birds a lot. We prefer to let the pigeons train a lot around the loft. If necessary, we use a flag to oblige them to train.

We are very satisfied with the results with this system, so we will follow it again next year.

Did you darken the young birds?

Of course.  We start the darkening system in mid-March and we darken till end of May. Because we work the night shift, we darken the young birds from 5:30 pm till 10:30 pm. So the young birds are awakened with the first sun light. In the second part of the racing season, we lighten the young birds from 5:00 am till 10:00 pm.  

With which strains are you so successful?

You can note that 75% of our birds are based on birds of Schoors-De Waele from Adegem. For those who follow the Belgian pigeon sport very closely, the name Schoors-De Waele will certainly not sound strange. This partnership has already raced for years at a very high level and could classify themselves several times as general national champions KBDB.

To classify yourself as the general champions of the KBDB is not so easy, because every year there are only three fanciers classified. From Schoors-Dewaele we bought birds out of their top birds like: “Derby,” “Argenton Duivin,” “Den Atleet,” “Bonte Vincke,” and so on. These birds are enriched with birds from Luc Bovijn (Bassevelde), August Verstraete (Adegem), Roger Verhoyen (Aalter), Chris Hebberecht (Evergem), Robert Van Landschoot (Adegem) and Kurt De Smet (Adegem). 

Inside the
widowers lofts

Another view in
the widowers

An aviary


How are the young birds 2012 doing?

We have 60 babies weaned. These are bred from two rounds. We did not have any problems with the winter breeding. Almost all of the eggs were fertilized, so we are very satisfied. The babies look and feel very good. When they were six weeks old, they were vaccinated against paramyxovirus. One week later they received a five-day treatment against trichomoniasis with B.S. (Belgica De Weerd). Regarding feeding, we feed 50% young bird mixture and 50% breeding mixture. Young birds still have to grow out. Once they train very well around the loft, we give them 100% young bird mixture.

When the young birds are 10 weeks old, we vaccinate them against pox. For the rest we give a lot of by-products in the drinker, like Avidress Plus (Röhnfried), Naturaline or apple vinegar. On a medical level, we try to keep the medication closet closed till the beginning of the racing season. Of course when we have problems with young bird disease, we treat immediately with a good antibiotic.

What do you do on a medical level during the racing season?

Before the young birds are tossed for the first time, we treat against trichomoniasis and against “head disease.”  After six weeks we treat again against “head disease” and that is it. Of course when the results are not good or when the birds become ill, we contact a specialized vet and do what is necessary. Against trichomoniasis we treat every three weeks. We also drop the eyes of the birds a lot. We use the product Clinagel.

You race also year- and old birds?

First of all, I want to make clear that this is only the second season that we race year- and old birds. For the season 2012 we have 12 widowers (eight year birds and four old birds) and two hens. The target is to be successful on the national races from 500km till 650km. From the 12 year birds, there are three who raced the national races in 2011.  These guys will have enough experience. All the others are not that experienced.

The widowers did not do winter breeding. But before the start of the racing season, they will brood about eight days and then they will be on widowhood for the rest of the season.  

The two hens are housed in the same loft as the young birds. We will see how they perform.

The system of the widowers is the same as that of the young birds?

Yes, because normally we also race our young bird cocks on widowhood. As feeding we work with a “light” and a “heavy” mixture. On arrival they receive 50% Super Diet and 50% Widowhood mixture. Then we go over to a protein poor mixture, and the last five meals we feed up with a widowhood mixture. We feed twice a day. The widowers can eat as much as they want for 15 minutes and then everything is taken away.

If I’m not wrong, the national championship was won with two birds?

Yes, that’s true. These are:


5 Ablis   449b.

6 Clermont 992b.

6 Brionne 286b.

61 Ablis 1,321b.

3 local Argenton 205b.

38 provincial Argenton 2459b.

747 national Argenton 20,383b.

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2 local La Souterraine 158b.

164 provincial La Souterraine 2,248b.

3,769 national La Souterraine 16,665b.

334 provincial Gueret 2,603b.

1349 national Gueret 14,362b.


2 Ablis 304b.

2 local Argenton 205b.

26 provincial Argenton 2,459b.

561 national Argenton 20,383b.

14 local La Souterraine 158b.

345 provincial La Souterraine 2,248b.

22 local Gueret 246b.

284 provincial Gueret 2,603b.

1127 national Gueret 14,362b.

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