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  News > Jos Van den Brande
  Jos Van den Brande --
Belgian National Champion Short-Middle Distance
Young Birds

by Stefan Mertens


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Jos Van den Brande--Proud to be 1st National Champion Short-Middle Distance of Belgium in Young Birds

The Van den Brande breeding loft

The racing loft of Jos Van den Brande

The entrance for the three young bird lofts

A unique trapping method for young birds
Zoerle-Parwijs is a little village, part of Westerlo. The villagers are amused that Zoerle-Parwijs is so little. They say that the front of your car can be already out of the village while the back isn't yet in it. Speaking of laughing, one person can certainly laugh-namely, Jos Van den Brande. Last season he was the best pigeon fancier in Belgium with young birds on the short and middle distance. He had never before sent in his results for the national championship, but his friend Henri Menten (who was national champion a few years before) insisted he submit them to Brussels. Luckily he did … and now he is national champion.


Jos was born into a pigeon family. His father was a fancier-- a real champion on the short distance. When he died in 1981, Jos became completely involved with the pigeons. There was only one problem-Jos's wife didn't like pigeons. But that problem was quickly solved. On a Saturday morning she went to the hairdresser, and while she was away Jos moved, with the help of a lot of friends, the loft from his father's home to his own garden. When Jos's wife came back, she was angry for a few days but now she is happy that there are pigeons. Five pairs of pigeons were also moved with the loft, but Jos was not so successful with these. The problem was that when they came home from a race, they first went to their "old" home, so that when they came then to Jos's place the top prizes were already clocked.

"With which pigeons did I begin again?" Jos asks. "Well, as I already said, my father was a superb fancier. Once he stopped because of medical reasons, but when his "Zwarte" (5x 1st and 7 x 2nd) came back after five years, he started again (we are speaking of the year 1978). He went to Van den Branden Brothers from Berlaar, and immediately he had good birds. Well, I did just the same. As soon as the new loft was here in my garden, I also went to Van den Branden and bought a lot of birds. These birds were crossed with pigeons from August Verbraecken (my father-in-law). In 1983 I went to combination Hapers-Van Schil (Heultje). I must say that everything went very well because in 1985 I was already champion in my local club. In 1990 I became friends with Henri Menten (Herselt), and we were both good with each other's pigeons. Last name is Denis Dillen from Itegem."


Jos keeps 15 widowers--60 young birds and 15 pairs of stockbirds. In other words, he's a "little fancier." "To be honest I'm a short distance racer," says Jos, "but Henri Menten always insisted to go to the middle distance with some birds…and so it happened."

Jos continues, "The season for the five old and 10 yearbirds starts with winter breeding. One month before coupling, I visit the vet. When necessary I cure… otherwise there nothing goes into the water. The widowers breed two youngsters. When the youngsters are 22 days old, they are weaned and then the hens go to their aviary. Till the second coupling (20 February), the widowers receive 100% depuratif." This is a small-seed mixture that's low in protein and easy to digest, so that it cleanses the body of toxins from the race. "When they are coupled the second time, they may brood for only five days. From the moment they are coupled, I also start teaching them. In three steps, I go to 50 km and then they are ready for Quievrain."

"Normally I send four widowers to the Quievrain race," Jos explains. "The others are always basketed for Noyon. The hen is always showed at basketing. In the beginning, just a few minutes, and the farther the season goes, the longer the hen is shown. At the end of the season, even a half hour. When the widowers come home they don't get the hen that long. The widowers train twice a day--in the morning 1 hour and in the evening 1 hour--always with closed windows."

Describing the race team's diet, Jos says, "Until Wednesday they receive depurative. Afterwards, they get 100 percent racing mixture. The day before basketing, they get as much as they want. I don't feed peanuts or 'sneaky mixture' but when they come home there is always honey in the water. I give vitamins once a month, but always for five days. Before the racing season starts, I visit the vet. And most of the time I have to cure against canker. I treat for a minimum of five days with Tricho Plus (Oropharma). The old birds are not treated against ornithosis if everything goes well. I have to say that the old bird season is not so important for me. I prefer to race with youngsters. The old birds are basketted for Quievrain only for seven weeks and about ten times for Noyon."

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Perch boxes for the young birds


The young birds enjoy their freedom

The wing of champion young bird "6210157/01"

The eye of "6210157/01"--whose results contributed to Van den Brande's championship


Widowers and stockbirds are coupled on November 25, and the 60 youngsters of that first round are the only youngsters kept for Jos's own use. The youngsters are weaned when they are 22 days old and all go in one loft. After weaning, Liege mixture is fed for a few weeks. After that, they get breeding mixture until the first races, when a racingmixture is the daily menu. During the racing season, Jos feeds "by feel." In the beginning of the week, there is a big percentage of depuratif in the mixture, and when basketing day comes closer, the percentage of depuratif disappears.

On the medical scene, there is a five-day canker treatment as soon as the youngsters start to drink very well. The second cure against canker is given just before the first training flights. Jos explains, "Before the first races, I visit the vet and most of the time I cure for five days against trichomoniasis and five days against respiratory problems. Further in the season, I cure every three weeks for days against trichomoniasis and, of course, every month five vitamins for five days."

The System for Young Cocks

When the youngsters are weaned from the nest and graduate to boxes they are placed into two lofts. One loft is for 10 young cocks that will be raced on widowhood. The rest of the team stays in the other loft. The youngsters are not darkened.
At the beginning of May, Jos starts teaching the youngsters. He tosses them the first four times himself and then they go into the "big" basket with pigeons from other lofts. They are tossed three times from Quievrain, 105 km away. Once the youngsters are in Quievrain, there are no extra training flights.
A few days before the first Quievrain race, the young cocks are paired with an old hen. They may start a nest, and when most of the hens have laid for about 10 days everything is taken away and the young cocks are placed on widowhood. Before basketing the old hens come into the loft for about one hour and the party can start. From the time of arrival, they can stay together till the evening. This young team of cocks is raced till mid-August.

The System for Young Hens on Widowhood

For the first time Jos also raced with some young hens on widowhood. The reason for starting with this system is simple--Jos didn't have enough young cocks and therefore he put nine hens on this system. For those nine hens there were only four old cocks but that didn't spoil the fun. The day of basketing they could stay together the whole day. You can imagine that those jealous hens were super motivated! In the first races, the young hens didn't make good results, but once they knew that there were cocks waiting at home they put super results on paper. "I'm very satisfied with this system and I will keep on doing this," Jos emphasizes.

The System for Youngsters on the Nest

In this third system, to stimulate the coupling Jos separates the hens and the cocks for about three weeks. After that period, they come together and can start a nest. Here only the pigeons in good nest position are basketed. For a hen, a good nest position is from the moment they have eggs until their youngsters are eight days old. From that moment the ideal position for the cock starts. The hens are separated and the cock is alone with his youngsters. During the two week-ends that follow, the cock must fly at the top of the results at least once.

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Wing of one of the young birds responsible for winning the national championship--"6210151/01"

The wing of a top widower in Van den Brande's loft

A top widower in the loft of Jos Van den Brande



Some top birds:
1st Noyon 817 p.
1st Noyon 469 p.
3rd Noyon 837 p.
15th Quievrain 1905 p.
36th Noyon 1548 p.
41st Noyon 331 p.
62nd Quievrain 2552 p.
75th Noyon 737 p.
154th Noyon 983 p.
323rd Quievrain 1745 p.


2nd Quievrain 1745 p.
2nd Quievrain 1784 p.
5th Quievrain 1994 p.
5th Quievrain 995 p.
7th Quievrain 1421 p.
22nd Quievrain 2088 p.
144th Quievrain 1387 p.
251st Quievrain 1305 p.
271st Quievrain 974 p.
312th Quievrain 1146 p.


1st Quievrain 1205 p.
2nd Quievrain 1146 p.
40th Quievrain 1387 p.
41st Quievrain 2552 p.
55th Quievrain 1305 p.
77th Quievrain 974 p.
120th Quievrain 1986 p.
190th Quievrain 1446 p.
366th Quievrain 1745 p.


1st Pithiviers 480 p.
3rd Pithiviers 1054 p.
10th Noyon 817 p.
11th Noyon 1670 p.
26th Quievrain 1986 p.
26th Orleans 1986 p.
37th Pithiviers 2348 p.
80th Noyon 824 p.
291st Sens 1166 p.
355th Orleans 10,034 p.


2nd Noyon 737 p.
2nd Noyon 80 p.
31st Noyon 331 p.
47th Noyon 469 p.
58th Noyon 817 p.
70th Quievrain 1986 p.
99th Noyon 1702 p.
108th Noyon 1670 p.
246th Noyon 1124 p.


Distances: Noyon -- 212 km; Quievrain -- 105km; Pithiviers -- 340 km; Orleans -- 410 km

Quievrain 892 yearbirds: 1-51-60-107-120-272 (6/7)
Noyon 513 old birds: 5-8-74-92 (4/4)
Noyon 413 old birds: 4-12-19-20-23-54-97 (7/7)
Noyon 775 yearbirds: 3-13-31-40-43-85-163 (7/8)
Noyon 361 old birds: 4-5-12-13-32-34-36-41-70-76-117 (11/12)
Noyon 266 old birds: 1-36-66 (3/8)
Noyon 472 yearbirds: 5-9-91 (3/3)
Noyon 824 youngbirds: 2-4-6-9-56-80-83-85-113 (9/17)
Noyon 1670 youngbirds: 1-4-5-7-11-15-20-108-319-461-470 (11/17)
Pithiviers 2348 youngbirds: 33-37-71-84-122-148 (6/8)
Quievrain 2088 youngbirds: 2-4-5-6-13-22-36-146-195-218-319-500 (12/12)
Quievrain 1146 youngbirds: 2-5-10-15-84-91-113-178-224-312 (10/12)
Quievrain 1305 youngbirds: 5-6-24-30-35-45-55-132-194-251-260-389 (12/15)
Noyon 817 youngbirds: 1-3-4-10-17-53-58-104-264 (9/10)
Quievrain 1387 youngbirds: 3-4-6-10-40-47-55-144-440 (9/10)
Noyon 837 youngbirds: 1-3-7-14-20-42-87-114 (8/10)
Pithiviers 1054 youngbirds: 3-9-14 (3/4)
Noyon 469 youngbirds: 1-2-3-12-47-131 (6/6)


On 06/03 from Noyon, 824 birds. 1st nominated: 6
2nd nominated: 9

On 06/10 from Noyon, 1670 birds. 1st nominated:1
2nd nominated: 7

On 06/30 from Pithiviers, 2348 birds. 1st nominated: 37. 2nd nominated 148

On 07/29 from Noyon, 817 birds. 1st nominated: 1 2nd nominated: 10

On 08/05 from Noyon, 837 birds. 1st nominated: 3 2nd nominated: 20

On 08/11 from Pithiviers, 1050 birds. 1st nominated: 3. 2nd nominated: 9

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