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  News > Frans and Louis Nijns

Frans and Louis Nijns:
1st National Ace Pigeon Middle Distance
K.B.D.B. 2007

by Stefan Mertens


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  for larger version

Van Geel, Louis,
and Frans Nijns

Father and son



Kenzo's loft

A view into Kenzo's
widowers' loft

Geetbets: It was a very sunny spring day when we went to Geetbets to have a look at the 1st national ace bird middle distance. But we were too late to take this bird in the hand because this top bird was already sold, which didn't surprise us. Such birds are desired like nothing else. The nice part of this whole deal is that this national top bird has not been sold to the Far East but has stayed in the loft of the famous family Herbots. From my perspective as a Belgian fancier, I think it's nice when this happens!

Even though we could not see or handle the Nijnses' national ace pigeon in his home loft, we were curious about the system, strains and so on of this winning loft. The name Nijns didn't ring a bell and that was again the proof that not all good racing performances are known in every corner of Belgium. And I must say if you talk about the Nijnses' loft, then we're talking about a very strong middle-distance loft, because if you win 1st prize 35 times in one season, then you're not an average fancier.

To have the best middle-distance bird of Belgium in your loft, you have to take the best five results of the same pigeon on races between 250km and 400km whereby the total of the five races has to be a minimum of 1.300km. The fact that the bird flew and changing the direction of the races to one from Germany had a very negative influence on the different championships. Also in this ace bird competition, it was extremely hard to classify a bird. With the exception of the 1st national ace, all the other birds had a very high coefficient. The winning bird of Nijns had a coefficient of 1.44%. The second one, Dhanyns Julien and Dirk, had a coefficient of 2.64%. And the third position, which was taken by Steveninck Benny, had even a coefficient of 4.06%!


The national ace bird received the name "Kenzo." "Kenzo" (B04-2116092) looks like a very nice cock, and of course his performance list looks even better. Meanwhile, his ex-boss is convinced that "Kenzo" was always very motivated. This motivation was born out of the fact that another cock always wanted to take his peanuts away! In the Nijnses' loft, after the widowers train, they can enter the loft and a few peanuts are always lying ready for each widower. But a cock who is so crazy about these peanuts always enters the loft very quickly and goes in every box to eat the peanuts. "Kenzo" saw this happen a few times and was became angry about this thief. He didn't trust him any more. Another good influence on the performances of "Kenzo" was that his hen didn't lay any more, and so she was always very "hot" to motivate her lover boy.

Frans explains further, "Another lucky thing was that at the time that we all had to go to Germany, 'Kenzo' had a little pox on his eye and stayed home. This was a good thing because a lot of superb pigeons were lost in these races from Germany. By the time 'Kenzo' was cured, we could go again from the direction of France, and he won directly a 1st prize in the Toury race."

The national title of 1st ace bird middle distance was won with following performances: 1st Toury against 701 birds - 4th Toury against 2,446 birds - 1st Toury against 298 birds - 4th Toury 618 birds. These were not the only top performances of "Kenzo" -judge for yourself.
In 2005 and 2006 he won the 15th Bourges against 4,355 birds and then always from Toury 32/2245 - 74/2265 - 59/1661 - 21/349 - 30-451 - 108/1274 - 122/943 - 64/401 - 46/856 - 57-874 - 27/383 - 156/1446 - and so on…

Father of "Kenzo" is B96-2095557-a blue white-feathered cock--directly from the loft of Vos -Jennes (Diest). The "557/96" comes from the coupling "B93-2479854" (Vos Jenns X Evereaerts Albert) X "Amerikaantje" (B92-2195255 - strain Verbruggen x Geyskens Maurice). "Amerikaantje" won 2nd Tours 1,476b., 32nd Argenton 5,064b. and 78th national La Souterraine 21,495b.


The cage of
Kenzo's parents

The "guard" cock

Breeders' aviary

Youngbird loft

Mother of "Kenzo" is B02-2173333, a chequer hen who has as father "B98-2225709" (strain Goyvaerts) and was local ace bird short distance '01 and as mother "B00-2355442" (Vos Jennes X Petrus).


The man who has everything to say about the pigeon loft is Frans Nijns, but at 85-years-old he leaves most of the work to his son Louis and his son-in-law Albert. Only during the racing season does Frans go several times a week into the lofts to see that everything is OK, and if necessary to give some directions to do better. When Frans was ten years old he started to race pigeons-he was really "pigeon crazy." He went a lot to the neighbours' lofts to watch the pigeons and after long discussions with his parents he also got a little pigeon loft. Believe it or not, but from the first years on, Frans was very successful.
But everything changed when Frans had to work all day and nobody was there to help him in the pigeon loft. It became worse when World War II broke out and all the pigeons had to be killed or given to the Germans. But Frans didn't listen, and he hid two couples. When the war was over, Frans started to breed out of those four birds.

The following anecdote is nice to hear. With the purchase of the first rings after the war, there was no identity card and when Frans won the first prize a few months later he was disqualified from the official results because he didn't have an identity card for the bird any longer. It was good, though, that Frans was able to keep the 1st prize that he had won.

Short distance was then the most important game, but now and then Frans basketted also for a race further than Paris. Little by little, he became one of the top fanciers in his area. This changed more when also son Louis showed a lot of interest in the pigeon sport, and the performances became better and better. But in 1969, Louis was involved in a very serious automobile accident, an accident which still influences his life because he needs crutches to walk. In the year of the accident, no pigeon was basketted.
In 1970 Louis motivated his father to start again, and together they decided to invest in new pigeons. Frans called Achille Leus from Lede to see if it was possible to buy some youngsters. Achile said this was no problem, and Louis and Frans went to Lede, but Frans made a little mistake. He didn't ask the price of the youngsters. When they went there they had heard that a couple of youngsters cost 35,000 old Belgian franks (800€) and that was a little bit more than the budget. They could go back to Geetbets with an empty basket. But Madame Leus felt sorry for the injured Louis and gave him a couple of youngsters. One escaped and the other one, coupled with a hen of Van Sweefelt, became a real top breeder. Out of this line several very good middle-distance birds were born.

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Inside youngbird

Second widowers'

Inside the
second widowers'

Loft for late breds

In that period, pigeons from Huyskens-Van Riel (through Louis Schodts) also came into the loft. In the beginning of the eighties, Louis and Frans invested again. Now they went to Petrus and son from Anderlecht. The loft of Petrus is known for his direct Janssen Brothers pigeons. Another investment was made the same year with Louis Goyvaerts (Berlaar). The new investments paid off, and the results again became much better. In 1990 our future national champions went to Lambrechts-Lismont and some late breds were put into the basket. At the end of 1995 some eggs were bought from De Vos - Jennes and at the same time they bought a young cock. Luckily, that cock became the father of "Kenzo," 1st national ace bird 2007. It is a pity that this cock isn't fertile anymore. In 2007 he bred only one youngster. Other investments were made with Frans Igo (Langdorp), Albert Everaerts (Halen), Roger Lismont (Geetbets), Leo Anthonissen (Kalmthout), Boni Wijns (Langdorp) and Vanstraelen Werner (Grazen). Recently, investments were made with Filip Norman (Westkapelle) and Fauche Frere.


As we have already said, Frans's age is not an advantage and it is lucky that he can depend on the help of his son and son-in-law. Son-in-law Albert cleans all the lofts every day and makes sure that the pigeons receive a bath from time to time. He also helps to prepare the pigeons for basketting and together with Louis he goes to the club to basket the pigeons.

Louis himself is the man who feeds the widowers. He has a strict feeding schedule that looks as follows. On Saturday, day of arrival, Louis feeds 50% Super Diet and 50% racing mixture. On Sunday and Monday the same two mixtures are fed but the percentage of Super Diet will be higher than on the other two days. From Tuesday on only a racing mixture is fed because on Thursday evening the widowers are already basketted. Twice a week vitamins are given and at the same time brewers yeast goes into the mixture. On arrival they get Recup-Lyt (electrolytes) or honey in the drinker. With honey you have to be careful because when it is very hot weather the honey can start to ferment and that is very dangerous. For the rest there is not much special to mention unless that almost daily some garlic goes into the drinker and on Tuesday everybody gets freshly made Colombine tea. This Colombine tea is sometimes enriched with herbs which are specially grown in the garden.

Hens' aviary

Just trained

Good appetite


On the medical scene, the specialized pigeon vet is only consulted when necessary. Before the breeding season and before the racing season the vet is certainly visited. Widowers need to train very well, and this happens twice a day at 8 a.m. and at 6 p.m. The widowers train with closed windows, and after about one hour they can enter the loft. When the widowers don't train as wished the flag is used and then they're obliged to train well. Only when it is cold weather do the widowers stay inside. Also, after a very difficult race the widowers receive extra rest and may train only the first time on Tuesday.


Till last season the widowers and the breeders were coupled around Christmas, but due to the big demand for pigeons they coupled this year already at the beginning of December. When we have a look in all the lofts we count 14 breeding couples, 45 widowers and 100 youngsters. In the two widowers lofts there are 45 boxes, and they're all filled up. For the season 2008 this is 25 old birds and 20 year birds. It's nice to see is that the love for the short- distance races is still there, and from the 45 widowers, 18 are basketted weekly for this discipline. The short-distance pigeons are not coupled for a second time in April. After their early breeding they are placed immediately on widowhood. The widowers for the middle distance are coupled in April a second time, and after three days of brooding they are also on widowhood.

It's a general rule that every widower produces at least one good race bird, in other words, that good birds can also be bred from widowers. Every sensible loft will take at least one bird from each of their widowers to test. The game with the young birds is less important. During their year of birth they are only basketted for some short-distance races. Only a few youngsters go further than Paris. The youngsters are not separated. If they want to start a nest they can do it.

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Nice looking

Ace pigeon trophy

Many trophies
already won


B05-2194588 won in 2007 from Momignies: 1/520 - 2/636 - 4/232 - 39/391 - 12/86 and from Soissons: 5/797 - 3/430 - 4/565 - 7/412 - 9/99 - 57/436 - 25/156

B04-2116046 won in 2007 from Momignies: 3/520 - 6/636 - 6/86 - 19/198 and from Soisons: 1/430 - 3/320 - 44/797 - 14/173 - 60/565 - 88/706 - 26/109 - 69/250

B05-2194501 (halfbrother "Kenzo") won in 2007: 3th Montlucon 4135d., 5th Chateauroux 279d., 1st Gien 33d., 33rd Toury 217d., was lost from a race from Germany and later collected in North Germany

Momignies 520b: 1-3-7-20 (7/12)
Momignies 152b: 1-2-11 (11/33)
Melun 128b.: 1-4-12 (4/7)
Toury 230b.: 1-4 (5/7)
Toury 189b.: 1-8-9 (7/8)
Soissons 412b.: 1-3 (6/12)
Toury 1,576b.: 1 (3/4)
Toury 701b.: 1-39-59-79 (7/12)
Montlucon 297b.: 1 (4/6)
Toury 298b.: 1-12-22 (3/9)
Toury 624b.: 1 (1/2)
Momignies 231b.: 1-14-25 (3/6)

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