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  News >Schoors-DeWaele
General National Champion

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo
  for larger version

Maurice DeWaele
and Alex Schoors

The widowers' loft

The hallway in
the widowers' loft

Inside the widowers'
loft in winter

The Schoors-DeWaele
youngbird loft


The hens' racing loft

The corridor of
the hens' loft

Electronic clocking

Inside the breeding loft

The aviary for the

Adegem: After a very long time, the KBDB once again organized a general championship. To win this championship, you need to score eight prizes with the 1st nominated pigeon, either on the national or the zonal results. The criteria are three races on the long distance, two races on the very long distance, one race with the yearbirds and two races with the young birds. The gold medal went to Schoors-Dewaele with a very low co-efficient of 22.34% (for those eight races). Second was Marcel Aelbrecht (Lebbeke with 30.61%), and third was Hubert Debaene (Beernem with 37.49%). You see that this was a very hard competition.

Our friends Schoors-Dewaele won the championship with following results with their first nominated bird:
Long distance:
Castres (851 km): 190th national against 4101b.
Montauban (816 km): 435th national against 6901b.
Souillac (718 km): 297th national against 8327b.

Very long distance:
Dax (864 km): 70th national against 5026b.
Beziers (877 km): 123rd national against 6336b.

Perpignan (949 km): 99th national against 3954b.

La Souterraine (572 km): 220th against 13,988b.
Vichy (565km): 17th zonal against 4140b.


The partnership of Schoors-De Waele is formed with father Odiel Schoors (71 years old), son Alex (44 years old), and friend Maurice De Waele (60 years old). Alex says, "Father is from his childhood on a pigeon fancier and has raced since 1965 from this address. In the beginning, he raced only Arras (113km) and Clermont (216km). In 1979, my father decided after a discussion with Staf Theeuwes, to race in combination with Maurice De Waele. Maurice brought his eight best pigeons here. Personally, I was always interested in pigeons, and one year after Maurice, I also joined the partnership. Right away, we changed from short to middle distance, and since 1983 we have basketted every week for the 400 - 500 km races. Sometimes, we have tried some widowers on the 600 -700 km races."

"Our old base was formed from pigeons from everywhere," Alex continues. "We also had birds from our neighbor Firmin Grootaert, who was in 1981 general champion of Belgium. Later, in 1988, we bought some birds from Louis Van Loon (Poppel). In September of 1988, we got 21 eggs from Robert Vanrobaeys (Rekkem) and again in 1992 we got 12 eggs from him. These pigeons strengthened our pigeons a lot. Suddenly, we made better results on the 'harder' races."

Alex goes on to say, "Two hens have played a very important role in our breeding loft. First of all there is 'Ons Anneke' (4368778/94). This hen is a daughter of ''T Angoulemerke' (4497560/92) and the 'Bleke Vanrobaeys' (4406448/98). 'Ons Anneke' became mother of 'Khadaffi' (15th and 41st national Cahors) - 'Dundee' (14th nat. Guerret) - 'Tina' (1st Tours, 2nd Tours, 3rd Blois) and grandmother of 'Black Nose,' 'Mistral,' and 'Terminator." Second, we have the 'Argenton - duivin' (4080931/96). She won the 1st national Argenton yearbirds in 1997. Her father is the 'Bonte Vincke' (4335232/92), and her mother is 'Nestzuster van 'T Angoulemerke' (4497559/92)."

"In the mid-1990s," Alex explains, "we looked for pigeons for the very long distance. The first fancier we visited was the family Ghijsselbrecht (Knesselare). We bought two daughters of the 'Laureaat' (1st international Barcelona 1995) and one daughter of the 'Turbo.' From Frans Waerniers (Knesselare) we bought a son of his 'Marseille' (1st national Marseille). In 2000 we visited Wim Muller (Wilhelminadorp - NL), and we went home with six birds in our basket. We did that again in 2002. The crossing of Muller X Ghijsselbrecht gave especially good results."

"We went twice to see Robert Buysse (Ertvelde)," Alex says. "Two youngsters from his 'Barcelona' (1st national Barcelona) and two brothers of his West-European ace-pigeon. Also from Lievens-Versluys (Maldegem), we bought a daughter of their 1st national Pau."

"But Maurice also likes to race on the 'quicker races,'" Alex continues, "and he likes to race the youngsters. Therefore, in 2000 we went once again to Louis van Loon and Geert Philips (Grembergen)."


Elevated drinkers

Drinkers are dried
every day

"Black Nose"

"Blauwen Van Loon"

"De Argenton Duivin"

"De Marseille"


"Laureaat '94 Duivin"

"Little Porsche"



If you want to basket for every provincial and national race, then you need some birds. In Adegem they have 64 widowers, 27 hens to race on nest position, 36 breeding couples and around 100 young birds-just enough to race the whole program. The widowers are for the races from Limoges (650km) until Barcelona. The season ends with Perpignan. The cocks stay then for 14 days on widowhood, in order to let them recuperate very well from the hard season. After those 14 days they're coupled and may brood twice, each time about eight days. No late-breds. This is not to disturb the moulting. After those two broods the boxes are closed, and during the whole moulting period they only have some shelves to sit on. During that period, they also get a lot of by-products like tea.

Alex explains, "The early coupling for widowers and breeders is normally on November 25th. The stockbirds are always pre-coupled. Pre-coupling means that they stay together for three days. This happens about 10 days before the actual coupling date. This is very important for us, because from the 36 breeding couples there are only a few that stay together. The rest are all re-coupled. A breeding couple never stays longer than three years together. We don't believe in the 'golden breeding couple' but in a cock or a hen who, together with several partners, can give very good birds. I don't like 'family bred' but I like pedigrees with a lot of half-brothers and half-sisters in it. Such birds breed easier."

"The eggs of the stockbirds go under the widowers," Alex continues, "and within 14 days' time we again have eggs from the breeders. Why are we not breeding from a widower? Well, I believe in the breeding qualities of a widower but not in those of the hen. Hens coupled against widowers are not the breeding hens we're all looking for. This is also the reason why we don't breed late breds out of the widowers. Our best breeding hens are in the breeding loft. So we need the youngsters from those lofts."

"The youngsters are weaned when they're 21 days old," Alex says. "The boxes are closed again and the shelves are placed in the widower loft once more. The reason we do that is to avoid having the widowers fight. Certainly yearbirds can lose their box to an old widower in this period of time. Now we feed depurative and give a lot of supplements again."


At the beginning of April, the widowers are coupled again, and from the first second that they're together with their hen, they're trained. Widowers come home quicker from a little toss when they're chasing their hen than when they're nesting. The eggs are thrown away when the last hen has laid her second egg. After five tosses, they are basketted for Moeskroen (50 km), then it goes to Arras (170km), twice to Clermont (216km) and Chartres (350km), and then the team is split to perform in the national program.

Before basketting, a hen is always shown. Alex explains, "If not showing a hen works well, then showing a hen works twice as well. Motivation is very important in a widowers loft, and is especially so when the season is coming to its end. Opening some closed boxes or opening the door between adjoining racing lofts that are built identical to one another always brings extra motivation. In those cases, a fancier must be in the loft to make sure that the motivation doesn't become 'counter-motivation.'"

On the medical scene, we try to keep everything as simple as possible," Alex reveals. "After Perpignan, the medication closet is closed. On November 1st a paramyxo vaccination is given and droppings are examined. A five-day treatment for trichomoniasis is given when they brood for the first time and is repeated before the second coupling. During the racing season every two to three weeks a five-day treatment is given."

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Alex continues, "We didn't treat in 2003 against ornithosis." Maybe you're not going to believe it, but it's true. We worked a lot on the ventilation system of the lofts, and we must say that it worked. Before, we had a lot of ventilation with a lot of air above the birds. Now, we closed almost everything and the results were suddenly better."

"Widowers are normally basketted every three weeks. The first week after arrival we feed them Super Diet with a lot of Sedochol in the drinkers. The second week we give 50% Super Diet and 50% racing mixture. The week of basketting we give 100% racing mixture. Of course, we give vitamins, but never the same. We change things up a lot," Alex says.


"From the moment that the early youngsters are weaned, 25 young cocks are put in a separate loft," Alex continues. "In the middle of June they are paired with an old hen. It takes around 14 days to make them pair, and if there are some couples who couple quickly and have eggs, we don't consider that a problem." "On basketting day hens and cocks come together for about one hour," Alex explains. "This happens the whole season. Ten years of experience taught us that young cocks grow in the widowhood system. The first national is not always good but the other races are tops."

"The other young birds are raced on nest position," Alex continues. "Maurits likes to race youngsters on nests. Twice a day the nest youngsters train, and we must say that we don't have any training problems. What is the ideal nest position? That's hard to say. It varies from bird to bird. The results on the second nest are normally better than on the first nest. It is always noted when a youngster won top prizes on a certain nest position because on the second nest it will fly very well again in the same position. Then he or she will be loaded with more money."
"When youngbirds don't race well on their first nest, we don't let them bring up their youngsters," Alex says. "Now when their youngsters are about seven days old we take them away, and they can start immediately with their second nest."

"The youngsters are darkened from the end of March until the end of May for the youngsters on nests, and until the end of June for those on widowhood," Alex clarifies. "The curtains are closed from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. When you darken is not important as long as it is dark in the loft for 14 hours."

"With medication concerns, you have to treat youngsters very carefully," Alex cautions. "After weaning, they receive a five-day treatment against trichomoniasis, and during the season we treat against this disease every week for day, the day after arrival. We don't treat against ornithosis."

"In the early days," Alex concludes, "We didn't put a lot of work into training the youngsters, but now we train them also five times before they go to 50km with the club. Once they learn this well, they are basketted every week."

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