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  News > Van Damme - Boddaert
  Van Damme - Boddaert
2nd National Champion
Long Distance K.B.D.B. 2001

by Stefan Mertens


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Herman Van Damme and Wim Boddaert

"Den 19"

"Den 19"--7th National Ace Pigeon of Belgium

Wing of "Den 19"

"Den 20"

"Perigueux Crack"


"Den As"

The racing lofts--
old birds above,
young birds below

Oostkamp: Do I still have to introduce them? It's a question I ask myself when I start my computer to put the first words of this report on paper. Van Damme-Boddaert is the successful partnership formed by Herman Van Damme (64 years old and better known as reporter Gerry) and veterinarian Wim Boddaert (32 years old). Or, in other words, an experienced fancier coupled with a super-motivated young vet. That formula is destined to do super things, and this has happened. Since 1996 this combination has been really unbeatable. In '96 they were World Champion very long distance. It was their "Black Dream" who won this competition with the following top results: 42nd Montauban (809km) against 2773 birds; 42nd Dax (889 km) against 6491 birds; 316th Perpignan (944km) against 12,551 birds. That same year they were also national champion long distance KBDB. In 2000 they won the national race from Cahors (against more than 11,800 birds) with their blue cock named "Jefke Van Mortier." And then in 2001, this with a very little difference, they became 2nd national champion long distance, and they also had the 7th national ace-pigeon KBDB.


"It all starts with good pigeons" -- golden advice given by Herman. Does the golden breeding couple exist? "I doubt it," answers Herman, "but sometimes a man is so lucky that he breeds more than one good bird out of one couple."
"Personally, we have Aske (3182744/93) X Blauw Blomme (3063220/92) in our breeding loft and that couple already produced the following top birds:

"Den 19"
1st Souillac 158 birds (7th national 7,214 birds)
1st Arras 259 birds
2nd Clermont 153 birds
2nd Chateauroux 445 birds (34th provincial 4,221 birds)
2nd Limoges 485 birds (62e zone 6,245 birds)
8th Brive 465 birds (570th national 22,026 birds)
8th Clermont 212 birds
10th Clermont 160 birds
12th Limoges 753 birds (267th national 23,550 birds)

In 2001, the "19" was 3rd provincial ace-pigeon and 7th national ace-pigeon long distance KBDB.

"Den 20"
1st Clermont 160 birds
2nd Chateauroux 633 birds (79th provincial 6,432 birds)
11th Limoges 753 birds (265th national 23,550 birds)
23rd Brive 465 birds
26th Chateauroux 445 birds
40th Tours 725 birds

"Perigueux Crack"
172nd national Limoges 11,087 birds (1997)
24th provincial Angoulème 2,336 birds (1998)
79th provincial Poitiers 2,922 birds (1998)
121st national Perigueux 6,981 birds (1998)
14th national Limoges 10,737 birds (1999)
202nd national Brive 27,081 birds (2000)
320th national Souillac 7,154 birds (2000)
110th provincial Chateauroux 4,421 birds
939th national Brive 22,026 birds
11th provincial Limoges 3,933 birds

"Kleinen As"
52nd provincial Blois 2,283 birds (1998)
66th provincial Poitiers 3,091 birds (2000)
99th provincial Perigueux 1,119 birds (2000)
256th national Limoges 24,084 birds (1999)
295th provincial Tours 2,593 birds (1999)

And what do you think about the "Blauwe Raket" -- a grandson from "Het Aske" X "Blauw Blomme"?

"Blauwe Raket" (3008252/99) won:
1st Clermont 180 birds
1st Clermont 212 birds
3rd Chateauroux 445 birds (45th provincial 4,221 birds)
2nd Brive (100 national 22,026 birds)

Indeed, if you can breed such top birds out of one couple, then you are certainly on the right road.
Talking about stockbirds, in total there are 45 breeding couples in the loft. The breeders are housed by Marc Boddaert (Wim's father), who also takes care of the stockbirds. Forty-five breeding couples sounds like a lot, but you have to know that there are 20 breeding couples for the long distance races (between 500 km and 900 km) and 25 breeding couples for the very long distance (the international races like Barcelona-Perpignan-Marseille-Dax). For the long distance, they have pigeons from Gaby Vandenabeele (since 1990), Joris Blomme (line 1st provincial ace-pigeon), Van Acker Jozef, Hendrik Mortier (Brugge), Moors/Thoné (through Paul Boddaert), Yvan Delrue (Bovekerke), Georges Bolle (Kortemark), Gaston and Danny Devooght (De Haan), Boudewijn Jonckheere (Torhout).

For the long distance, their breeding stock includes Van Thuyne, Wiel Craemers (Theelen-pigeons), Gebr. Frenken (Weert), Cor De Heijde (Made), Wijnands (Maastricht), Denijs Emiel (Zulte), Henk De Bree (Soest), Jan Hermans (Waalre), Luc Sioen (Moorslede). To be precise, we have to mention that the very long distance birds are housed by Wim Boddaert. The other pigeons (long distance) are housed by Herman.


Jefke Van Mortier--National Winner
Cahors, 2000


Wing of
Jefke Van Mortier

Jefke Van Mortier
with his hen


Sixty -- 32 old and 28 yearlings-- that's the number of widowers that are ready to make it very difficult for the competition. The widowers are sitting in eight different lofts and were all coupled December 10th. The yearlings with their "widowhood hen" and the old birds with a breeding hen. And now it comes: when the pigeons are sitting eggs for about 5 days the eggs from the old birds are placed under the yearlings as foster parents. The old birds are taken from the lofts and put into the aviary, this while their youngsters are bred by the yearlings. There are three big advantages in handling like this: (1) from the best old birds you can test two youngsters, so that after two years you know perfectly the breeding qualities of each old widower; (2) the yearlings get more attached to their box because they might breed a couple of youngsters; and (3) the old birds know two hens very well (a breeding- and a widowhood hen) -- ideal to motivate the old widowers during the season.

Once the old widowers are removed from the loft the yearlings get a five-day treatment against canker with Tricho Plus (Oropharma). The old birds don't get any medication but a treatment with Biochol (Oropharma), the ideal product to promote a very good fall of the down. Because everybody knows, without a good fall of the down, there are no prizes.

After February 1st and the youngsters bred by the yearlings are weaned, the old widowers come back into the lofts. Now the real preparation for the new season can start. First, the pigeons get a "resting period." This means that they may not train and that they receive a protein-poor mixture (Gerry Plus), plus on regular basis Biochol in the drinking water. On March 15th, the "pure drinking water" is changed with an eight-day treatment with Theraprim (Oropharma), to avoid a paratyphus infection. It is important that the widowhood hens receive the same cure. On March 20th a second coupling is made and they may nest again for five days. During this nesting they are treated against canker for five days. If the weather is good, the first training flights are done. In three or four steps, they are up to 50 km, and then they go twice with the club to Arras (103km), once to Clermont (208km), and once to Chartres (330 km). The widowers are then divided into two groups. One team stays one week at home and then goes to Chateauroux (499 km). The other team goes to Chartres once more, then stays home for one week and is then basketed for Bourges. During the week that they stay home, they get an eight-day treatment with Ornicure plus Suanovil. On the mixture, they get Form-Oil plus Form-Mix from Colombine.

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Inside the
widowers' loft

The widowers' nests



The booster effect, explained in other words, is the precise use of medication (antibiotics) to let pigeons "explode" at the right moment for important races. If correctly used, there is no problem-- only be sure that there is no risk of resistance. To avoid this last problem, our friends always use different antibiotics: Ornicure - Suanovil - Linco Spectin - Baytril, etc.
Now here's a specific schedule for pigeons that are basketed every two weeks.
Upon arrival (Saturday): Electrolytes (Fortalyt or Recup-Lyt)
Sunday and Monday: Tricho Plus (1 teaspoon or 1 sachet in 1 litre of water)
Tuesday: pure water
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: treat against ornithosis (with different products)
Saturday and Sunday: pure water and on Sunday evening the pigeons are examined by Wim.
Monday: pure water
Tuesday and Wednesday: Dextrotonic
Thursday: basketing day


The magic word when we talk about feeding. A lot of fanciers get better results when they start feeding their pigeons a protein poor mixture as base mixture. A mixture made with this idea is Gerry Plus, which has following composition:
25 percent Little French maize, 19 percent dari and cardy, 12 percent paddy rice, five percent popcorn maize, conquantino maize and extruded fat pellets, two percent peeled oats and milo, one and a half percent rice, one percent wheat, brewer's barley, and katjang idjoe, and one-half percent buckwheat, linseed and toasted soy beans.

The feedings schedule of our champions looks as follows. They feed the pigeons twice a day. When the pigeons are home they get two "feeding turns" 50 percent Gerry Plus and 50 percent Super Widowhood Plus. Then there is only Gerry Plus on the menu. Only the last six "feeding turns" they feed 100 percent Super Widowhood Plus. Of course, they give some supplements the last days before basketing, and then we are talking about peanuts and sneaky mixture. The week-end before basketing they are given an extra fat supplement and vitamins. For these purposes, Van Damme and Boddaert use Form-Oil and Form-Mix from Colombine.

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"Something you do a lot, you like doing it" -- a saying from the old Romans and used by Herman and Wim. Fourteen days before the racing season starts, the "training flag" is dusted off and a "mandatory training" for one hour is in the evening a fact. From June there is also an obligatory training in the morning. Pigeons who train well eat well, and those who eat well train well. This is all good for the condition.

Manipulating a pigeon loft with light and warmth can bring pigeons to their top condition, but the opposite effect can also result. Be careful and act at the right moment is the message here. The widowers are lightly darkened (curtains over the windows) from 7 o'clock in the evening until 7 o'clock in the morning.
The same game is played with the heating system. The chilly nights must certainly be avoided before an important race and the heating is turned on during those nights. If is it too warm during some summer days, then our champions sprinkle some water in the lofts to increase the humidity in the lofts.

Pigeons must feel at home in the lofts. Every widower must have a place were he is "the king." Before a special race, Van Damme and Boddaert open an empty box or put some perches in the loft. Motivation. It is and remains the best "doping" product in the racing pigeon sport.

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