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The Van Hove-
Heaters in all lofts
Balls in the racing
A loft for
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
"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 !"
Love is in
A STRONG BREEDING
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
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,
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Box is now
6206202/07 (from "Oude Tornado" 6086097/96): 38th national Bourges 31,824b.
6206224/07 (from "Donkere Tornado" 6098410/00): 357th national Bourges
6206237/07 (from "Miss Gobotor" 6485980/03): 236th national La Souterraine
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
6206321/07 (from "Queen Gueret - daughter "Oude Tornado") 106th national
La Souterraine 18,973b.
6206362/07 (from "Oude Tornado 6086097/96): 182nd national Argenton
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
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
6206281/07 (from "Miss Alfa" 6086086/03) 285th national Argenton 20,844b.
A youngbird loft
A loft entrance
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!
SUPERB YOUNGBIRD SEASON
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!"
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Better look into
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."
SO THEY BECAME NATIONAL CHAMPION
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