Hold image Have room for more birds? You might get lucky in Siegel's Pigeon Giveaway!
Search for products or helpful info:
View my Cart How to Shop Online
Home News Catalog Ask Ed Our Loft Timers Contact Us
  News > Van Hove-Uytterhoeven

Van Hove-Uytterhoeven
National Champion
KBDB 2007

by Stefan Mertens


Click on any photo
  for larger version

The Van Hove-
Uytterhoeven team


Drinking pots

Good ventilation


Heaters in all lofts

Balls in the racing
hens' loft


Total widowhood

A loft for
widowhood hens

Putte: The national championship year birds has been a very popular item for years in the Belgian pigeon sport. Fanciers who can classify themselves very high in this competition know that they have very good year birds under their roofs, and fanciers who have very good year birds also have in most cases very good old birds. So the future for those fanciers looks very good! To win this national championship, you have to take your six best results with your 1st and 2nd nominated year bird, these on races with a minimum distance of 50km. But the total of the six races has to be a minimum of 1500km. Only one race per weekend can be taken, and this is with a minimum of 100 participating birds and 10 fanciers. Well, following these criteria the world renown combination of Van Hove-Uytterhoeven was the best in all of Belgium in 2007.

At the end of the season, they had a coefficient of 23.3493% and beat Deno-Herbots (33.5885%) and Vervloesem René and Patrick (34.6271%).
The nice thing about winning this championship is that Gust, his wife Mit and their son Geert never thought about winning. Gust explains: "Beginning in 2007 we started the racing season with an extremely good race team. That team was made up of 36 widowers cocks, 24 year birds and 12 old birds which were raced on total widowhood, and 15 hens which were raced following the traditional widowhood rules. Everything went as we wished. The month of April had very good weather and that beautiful weather enabled us to toss the pigeons a lot. And with a lot I mean really a lot. They saw certainly the inside of a basket 20 times, and they were only 60km from home."

"Never before had we tossed our old and year birds so much as in 2007," Gust continues. "The conclusion is that we will try to do the same in 2008. Only the weather can stop us from tossing the birds. After that the whole team went to the short- and middle- distance races. And then it comes. Together we decided to basket all year- and old birds for the interprovincial race from Vierzon. That was the mistake of our season. My mother always said 'Never put all your eggs in one basket,' but we did it, and the basket fell on the ground. Vierzon was a big disaster. Only a few pigeons came home on the day of release. Also in our own loft we had a lot of empty boxes at the end of release day. After such a race you can do two things. Or you go to bed and cry a whole day or you say, 'We go further and make the best of it.'"

"We have chosen the second option," Gust emphasizes. "The damage was noted and a new strategy was put on paper to make the best situation out of it. Certainly the team which was raced on total widowhood was heavily damaged. From that couple the cock was missing, from another couple the hen… unbelievable. To motivate all those birds again, we re-coupled them. They stayed together five days, and during three weekends they stayed home."

"During that period we tossed them again a lot," Gust explains. "That was the best thing we could do, because on their first middle-distance race they made a very good result. Even more important, on Blois, Toury and Montucon they collected the necessary points for the national championship. But then the bird flu closed the borders with France, and with the exception of some hens, we stopped the racing season for year- and old birds. We refused to go in the direction of Germany, and therefore those hens were basketted every week for a short-distance race. Once the borders were open again, they were basketted for the last national races. They were still in top condition because they won national Gueret. That national victory was after Limoges old birds (1994), Limoges two-years (1994), Bourges year birds (2002) and La Souterraine young birds (2003)-our 5th national victory !"


Breeding loft
with aviaries

Inside the
breeding loft

Breeding box

Love is in the air


All big champions have a strong breeding loft. That is one of the unwritten rules in the pigeon sport. Also with Van Hove-Uytterhoeven, we were amazed at the quality which was present in the breeding loft. The base of this colony has been described several times, but we like to give a little background. During the World War II, it was forbidden to keep racing pigeons, and fanciers who didn't want to kill their birds could bring them into big aviaries in the neighbourhood of Brussels. Evrard Havenith, in those days the best middle-distance racer of Antwerp and maybe all of Belgium, was afraid that afterwards he didn't get back his birds and therefore he gave 60 eggs to his friend Jos Uytterhoeven. Jos was not afraid to keep pigeons at home, and he accepted all the 60 eggs with a big smile. The deal was that if Evrard didn't receive his pigeons back, he wanted the youngsters born out of those eggs back. But Evrard did receive his birds back, meaning that Jos could keep all the youngsters! What a blessing for the colony Jos Uytterhoeven. The base bird became, without any doubt, the "Oude Flippe," a pure Havenith. Together with the "Kennedy," the "Old Flippe" actually won a car in 1972!

In 1973 Gust Hove and Mit Janssen built a new house and a row of pigeon lofts, very close to Jos Uytterhoeven. Our "new" fanciers were super motivated, and it was no wonder that all the pigeons came from Jos Uytterhoeven. For this reason the name Uytterhoeven was picked up in the partnership name. A new top colony was born!
But let's go back to 2007 and more specifically to the breeding loft. The stock birds breed four rounds in a year. The real top couples go to 10 rounds in a year. Of course, then the cock receives different hens. Sometimes one cock gets during one breeding season five different hens. You see, just as with a lot of other fanciers, these fanciers are also searching for the right combination.

A lot of top birds already passed the "review", but during the last years the lines of the "Golden Boy" (B96-6081753) and the "Jonge Zanzibar" (B96-6086298) have been very important. As proof of their breeding qualities, we offer the results of their grandchildren, only those born in 2007, on paper.

Click here to return to top of page.

Converting boxes 

Second step 

Third step

Box is now
a perch

Grandchildren "Golden Boy":

6206202/07 (from "Oude Tornado" 6086097/96): 38th national Bourges 31,824b.
6206224/07 (from "Donkere Tornado" 6098410/00): 357th national Bourges 31,824b.
6206237/07 (from "Miss Gobotor" 6485980/03): 236th national La Souterraine 18,973b.
6206283/07 (from "Sunny Boy" 6485987/03): 34th national Argenton 20,844b. and 106th nat. Bourges 31,824b.
6206216/07: (from "Pluto," son "Donkere Tornado") 33th national Bourges 31,824b. and 59th national. Argenton 20,844b.
6206327/07 (from "Jonge Tornado III 6041350/01): 1st Noyon 729b.
6206213/07 (from "Jonge Tornado I" 6084023/98): 289th nationaal Argenton 20,844b.
6206321/07 (from "Queen Gueret - daughter "Oude Tornado") 106th national La Souterraine 18,973b.
6206362/07 (from "Oude Tornado 6086097/96): 182nd national Argenton 20,844b.

Grandchildren "Jonge Zanzibar" X "Princes Bange" B01-6041056:

6206203/07 (from "Zanzibar Junior II" 6037168/05): 12th Gueret 3,656b. and 390th national La Souterraine 18,73b.
6206204/07: same parents 181st nationaal Argenton 20,844b.
6206220/07 (from "Zanzibar Junior I" 6035161/04) 2nd Dourdan 629b., 6th Salbris 1337d., 50th national La Souterraine 18,973b.
6206246/07 (from "Zanzibar Junior III" 6037279/05): 150th national Argenton 20,844b.
6206259/07 (from "Zanzibar Junior IV" 6037385/07): 117th national Bourges 31,824b. and 88th national La Souterraine 18,973b.
6206343/07 (from "Queen Orleans " 6052007/06): 12th Gueret 3,656b.
6206342/07 (from "Zanzibar Junior VII" 6052165/07) 252nd national Bourges 31,824b. and 174th national La Souterraine 18,973b.
6206258/07 (from "Zanzibar Junior VI 6052165/06): 357th national Bourges 31,824b.
6206281/07 (from "Miss Alfa" 6086086/03) 285th national Argenton 20,844b.

A youngbird loft

A loft entrance

Another entrance

The 2008

If these pigeons are not top breeders, then I don't know how to pick them. Personally, we discussed some breeding theories with Gust, and when I asked him if he believed in the eye-theory he answered, "Instead of using a loupe to look in the eyes of the pigeons, fanciers would better off using a loupe to look at the racing results so that they can better analyze the results and know if he races well or not!


Gust says, "Our year birds won the national championship, but with our young birds we had one of our best seasons ever! We like to race with a lot of youngsters and therefore we have 120 youngsters of the first and 80 youngsters of the second round in our lofts. From the moment they're weaned, cocks and hens are immediately separated. Why do we do this? Well, we're convinced that young birds which are separated train much better than when cocks and hens are still together. Before I forget to mention it, our young birds train only once a day."

"For years we have raced our young birds following the pure widowhood system," Gust reminds me. "This means that the young cocks are coupled with old hens, and that young hens are coupled with old cocks. All that coupling is not an easy job to do, and luckily my wife Mit has a lot of patience to do this job. At the end of May, the young cocks receive their old hen. They stay together for about five days but may not have eggs. All pigeons get a nest bowl but no nest materials. The same system is carried out with the young hens, but they're coupled around the middle of June to their old cock. If you want to make top results on the national races for young birds, you have to darken the young birds, and this is done from the 20th of March till the 1st of July, this from 5:00 p.m. till 8:00 a.m. Be careful that it is not too dark in the lofts. The pigeons need to be able to find the drinker without any problems."

"When darkening is finished," Gust explains, "we start to light the youngsters, this from 6:00 a.m. till 11:00 p.m. The big advantage of giving extra light is that the moult of the little body feathers is stopped, and when this moult is stopped the youngsters stay better and longer in top condition. The lighting system is only done with the hens, not with the cocks. The young cocks are only darkened. They have to perform till the middle of August, the young hens till the third weekend of September, so that's one month longer!"

Click here to return to top of page.

Better look into
youngbird loft

Looking nice

Gust says, "We like to toss our young birds a lot. A minimum of twice a week, we toss them at 60km. This is my job. When the weather is good, I'm leaving and the pigeons are released in different groups. Of course I let enough time elapse between two groups so that Mit has enough time to call the pigeons in when they arrive."


Participating Birds
1st nominated
2nd nominated

 Entire site contents © 2000 through 2007, 2008
Charles Siegel and Son Inc.

Click here to return to top of page.