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  News > Stickers-Donckers

1st National Champion KBDB Short Distance Young Birds 2011
1st National Ace KBDB Short Distance Old Birds 2011
3rd National Champion KBDB Short Distance Old Birds 2011
4th National Ace KBDB Short Distance Old Birds 2011
6th National Ace KBDB Short Distance Young Birds 2011
9th National Champion KBDB Year Birds 2011
11th National Ace KBDB Short Distance Young Birds 2011

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo for larger version 

August and Dirk

The lofts

Wire on
the roof

In front of the
breeding loft

Breeding loft



Lille: Did anyone ever do better? This is a question that we asked ourselves when we analysed the results of the national championships KBDB 2011. If we counted well, we found the name Stickers-Donckers seven times back. You read it correctly--seven times.  Important detail:  the fact that this partnership only races on short and middle distance makes this result even more impressive!

Before the start of the 2011 racing season, August Stickers and Dirk Donckers had two targets in mind. First was to become national champion or to win an ace bird title. The second target was to become for the third year in a row general champion of the very famous and strong short-distance club “Tienverbond” on Quievrain.  A good eight months later, both goals were successfully achieved. Congratulations, guys!

When you visit these fanciers, then you immediately see that these fanciers are super motivated. Nothing is too much, and what an average fancier sees as “not necessary to do” these men see as important. This motivation goes over to the birds and the outcome of that is top results. Because actions speak louder than words, we give you some statistics of the 2011 racing season.  These are numbers that don’t lie and of which we can only dream. In the old birds category there were 417 birds basketted, 313 (75%) won prizes. Hereby 170 x 1/10, and 98 x top-10 position. In the year  birds category there were 565 birds basketted, 436 (77%) won prizes and 113 won top 10 positions. Last, we have the young birds category. Here there were 1800 young birds basketted, 1121 won prizes, 504 won 1/10, and 93 x a top-10 position.


The region where these fanciers live is known as a real short-distance region. A good 400 fanciers are pure short-distance fanciers with the result that the weekly battle on Quievrain and Noyon is very hard. Also during the months of June, July and August, extra races are organized during the week and on Saturday. So this is a real paradise for the short-distance fancier.

The combination Stickers-Donckers lives in the Beekstraat in Lille. Between some nice houses we find an open place, and on that open place our friends have built their lofts with a total length of 25 meters. Next to the lofts, they have a little garden house where they have a warm place and everything that they need. Gust lives a few meters further, and Dirk lives even 20 km away from the lofts. But every morning Dirk is at the lofts, and an hour to go home he does not have. Dirk is the man who takes care of the birds. With exception of the cleaning of the lofts, he does everything.


The base here is built on very fast birds, but sometimes a fancier needs a little bit of luck. The base cock, “Oude Zwarte,” came from a sport friend who stopped racing pigeons. All these pigeons came to Stickers-Donckers. August and Dirk made a very severe selection, and only four birds survived, hereby the  “Oude Zwarte” 6408662/99, a real top breeder because he became father of: 6341826/03 (16 x 1/10 – 1x1) – 6107663/05 (32 x 1/10) – 6151512/06 (42 x 1/10 – 3x1) – 6151582/06 (29 x 1/10) – 6272583/07 (19 x 1/10 – 1x1) – 6121292/09 (12 x 1/10) – 6121385/09 (12 x 1/10 – 1x1) – 6121386/09 (9x 1/10 – 1x1). Further, we find birds from the following fanciers in the breeding loft:  Leo Heremans (Heremans-Ceusters) , Luc Van Mechelen, Oud Turnhout; Frans Maris, Itegem; Frans Heylen, Vorselaar; and  Jef Vervoort, Lille .

Dirk explains, “Every year we invest in new birds.  We analyze the results very well and when somebody impresses us with his results, then we are the first to have a look and to buy some birds. We like to buy birds from someone who races every week against us. Two years ago, we sold all our old birds in a complete auction. Before we sold those birds, we bred a round of summer hatches, and these birds are now our stock birds."


“Is it true that the short-distance racers race their birds on hunger? They say that short-distance racers don’t feed their birds with a spoon but with a fork."

Dirk: “No! Certainly not! Someone who races his birds on hunger will never race well for the whole season. If you race on hunger, you will have good results for a maximum of four weeks, and then it will be over. Listen, we race our birds more times in a week--some birds are basketed 35 or 40 times in one racing season. It is wrong to race pigeons with such a busy schedule on hunger. Talking about feeding, we buy only one kind of pigeon mixture, and that is a racing mixture. Here we work with quantity of mixture, not with a variation of mixtures. On Sunday, when they arrive from a race, I feed one coffee spoon of racing mixture. When I come back from the club, I feed again one coffee spoon of mixture.  Two hours later, again one coffee spoon of mixture.  You can say that on arrival day I feed the birds five or six times. On Monday they receive a shaken soupspoon of racing mixture. In the evening they receive a well-filled soupspoon of mixture.  On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the same amount of mixture is fed. On Friday morning I don’t feed, and Friday evening they receive as much as they want. Till Saturday morning (basketing day) they have the opportunity to eat. I don’t think this is a system of hunger."  

Inside the
breeding lofts


Racing hens'

Inside the
young bird loft

Inside the
widowers' loft

"Yes but…If you don’t race your birds on hunger why do they enter the loft on arrival so very well?"

Dirk says, ”The fact that the pigeons do this has nothing to do with racing the birds on hunger but with the training of the birds. Entering the loft very efficiently is not only necessary on Sunday but also on the other days of the week.  When the widowers are outside to train, and when I want them to enter the loft, I make one loud whistle noise. The widowers then have exactly a maximum of 10 seconds to enter the loft. All those who were not inside are closed up outside and don’t get anything to eat. Once they are punished a few times, they learn their lesson very well. Don’t think that all the widowers enter the loft like a bullet when they come home from a race. My 6th national ace young birds always did one round before he was clocked."

“To race well on the short distance has everything to do with motivation. Unmotivated birds will never perform well?”

Dirk:  “Sorry, but again I don’t agree. Motivation is important to put a top result on paper, but as already mentioned I basket my birds around 30 times a year, so I cannot motivate them every time. My widowers are housed in different lofts, and on basketting day I put my widowers by loft in the basket. On basketting day the widowers receive only their nest bowl, and the hen is not shown. In two minutes’ time, all widowers are in the basket to go to the club. Motivation like opening empty boxes or creating dark places is not done. We like to win championships, and to win championships you need to clock your 1st and 2nd nominated bird early. Well,  95% of the time, the 1st and 2nd nominated birds are selected by the computer.

"The relationship between pigeon and fancier--that is very important. Too many fanciers do not make efforts to create a good relationship between the pigeons and themselves, and that is wrong. My son Seppe is the man to make the birds tame.  He can do that like no other.”

“When you race short distance you need to toss the birds a lot!”

Dirk:   “That is true. We toss our birds a lot. Not so much with the widowers, but our young birds are tossed a lot from 25km. We don’t look at the weather. The fact that we toss our birds a lot also depends on the number of races which are organized during the week. When there are a lot of races during the week, then we don’t toss a lot.”

“You are national champion young birds. Which system did you follow?”

Dirk:   “All our birds are coupled at the end of November with the result that we always very quickly have a big group of young birds. In 2011 we had 140 young birds.  These were weaned in three aviaries . In the aviaries there are boxes, but those are closed and the young birds have to sit on perches. Their boxes stay closed till the end of May. Then we open the boxes, and they can start a nest. You must know that we start the young bird season in the middle of May. Young birds don’t come all at the same time in nest position, so for a long time we have birds that are sitting in the ideal nest position.”

"What about the medical guidance?"

Dirk: "From mid-October until the end of November (just before coupling), all the birds stay in an open aviary. There they can moult in optimal conditions and enjoy an oxygen cure. Concerning medical guidance we can say that we visit the vet a lot. But that does not mean that we treat a lot. We visit the vet a lot and don’t need to treat anything. On arrival we give electrolytes, and our young birds enjoy a lot of apple vinegar. The drinkers are cleaned daily, and can always dry out during a day and a night. We give also a lot of garlic. If nothing else is in the water, then we put fresh garlic in the drinker."

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Wing of

Dirk:   “To be honest, as a young bird he was not my favorite bird. During the daily training, he always went to the roof of the neighbors’ house  and refused to train like all his other loft mates.  Only for the last ten minutes would he train with the other birds. The result was that after two or three tosses, we lost him. Just ten days later, we were able to collect him from another fancier who lived only three km away! We collected him, put him between the other birds, and from then on he trained just like all the other birds. Even more, he started to win top prizes on the races.

"We will not race “Wonderboy” anymore in 2012. He received a box in the breeding loft."

With these results “Wonderboy” (B10-6110932) became national ace short distance KBDB.

1              Quievrain            1,544b.
1              Quievrain            493b.
1              Quievrain            265b.
1              Quievrain            241b.
3              Quievrain            1,027b.
10           Quievrain            1,852b.

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