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  News > Bernard Van Renterghem
  Bernard Van Renterghem:
1st National Champion KBDB
Middle Distance
Old Birds

by Stefan Mertens


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  for larger version

Van Renterghem

An aviary

Best widowers'

Inside a
breeding box

Pipaix: The first thing that was immediately noticed when the results of the national championships were published was the very low coefficient obtained by the national champion middle distance old birds. To be the best in this category, you have to take the five best results with the first and second nominated old birds (one result per weekend), and this is on the middle distance races. To be honest, when we analysed the results of this category, we looked once more and couldn't believe our eyes when we saw the coefficient of 6.3841% (this with 10 prizes). This very low coefficient stood with the name of Van Renterghem-Deblicquy and they beat with "more than one street in front," as we say in Belgium, Reynaerts Jozef (13.4546%) and William Luyten (17.6724%). All the Belgian top fanciers were more than impressed. These are results of an extremely high level.

Curious as we are, we wanted to know more about this partnership and we put the address of this colony into the GPS system. Just about 45 minutes later, we arrived in the rue de Barry, number 8.

We thought that in this region of Belgium there were still a lot of fanciers, but we were wrong. This little village, where agriculture is the most important industry, counts only five fanciers. But among those five fanciers there is a national champion, namely Bernard Van Renterghem and Mathias Deblicquy.


Bernard Van Renterghem (not married and 42 years old) has already been a pigeon fancier for 30 years. Even as a very little boy he was always with his father in the lofts, and when father stopped racing, Bernard formed a partnership with his brother. Everything was well divided. Bernard took care of the widowers, and his brother looked after the breeders and the young birds. They were not the big champions then. The pigeon sport was the ideal hobby after a whole week of hard work. Every week they basketted pigeons on the short distance and when a top result was achieved now and then on paper, they were more than satisfied.

But life can be very hard, and Bernard's brother died too early. Suddenly our national champion was alone and he thought about quitting the pigeon sport. But there came unexpected help. Nephew Mathias (12 years old) and mother Jeanne (82 years old) decided to help Bernard in the lofts. Absolutely, we can say that Bernard is the fancier. He decides what happens and takes care of the widowers. Nephew Mathias and mother Jeanne help in the young bird loft and make sure that on Saturday morning every widower coming home is well clocked by the electronic clocking system. Yes, you read it well. Due to the fact that Bernard has to work on Saturday morning he never, when the pigeons are released in time, sees the pigeons coming home from the race. "No problem," says our sporting friend. "Preparing pigeons is as fun as to watch pigeons coming home."

And now the base of this national champion loft. After making the necessary analyses we can say that on one side there are the pigeons of his late father (40%), and on the other side (60%) there are the birds of the well-known Andre Roodhooft (Halle-Zoersel).

The old base is a mix of birds from Marcel Coudou (Obignies), Collard François (Marbais-la-Tour) and Robert François (Thulin). But in 2003 our friend Bernard made the decision of his life: to buy eggs of the yearbirds from the previously mentioned Andre Roodhooft. The first time he bought 40 eggs. The youngsters were all raced, and Bernard was so satisfied about the racing results of those birds that in April 2006 he again bought 50 eggs from the widowers. With the exception of a few birds, all the birds were raced.


Before we went to interview this national champion, we first researched some information about this loft, and fanciers who know him told me that this fancier is an extremely well motivated guy. Bernard says, "Success in the pigeon sport is based on top-care, and top-care means doing everything for the pigeons 365 days a year. A mistake that a lot of fanciers make is that they do their best only during the racing season. And then they wonder how it is possible that we're just that little bit better."

Bernard continues, "Everything is coupled on the 26th of November. By everything, I mean all the 52 widowers and a few couples without any importance. It may sound strange but here you'll not find any breeding couple. I don't have stock birds. I prefer to take care about an extra widowers team then about a breeding team. Listen, I work as follows. All widowers may breed a couple of youngsters, except the 10 best widowers, because with those guys the eggs are put under another couple. Those 10 widowers are moved from their loft. Their box is closed and they get a ticket to a breeding box. A breeding box is nothing more than a big box (1 meter high and 50 centimeters wide). In that box the widower gets a new hen, and as soon as there are two eggs, the eggs go under another couple and the widower gets another hen. Then the same strategy is followed. This coupling system is followed until the beginning of March. By handling the birds in this way, I get from my best widowers around 10 youngsters in a very short time."




In another
widowers' loft

Two lofts

The bath

A youngbird


below a

"On the 5th of March," Bernard explains, "the boxes in the widowers' loft are opened again and the 10 widowers come again into the loft. Again they're coupled, and after three days of nesting, the eggs go again under another pair, the hens disappear from the loft and the widowhood system is in place. Sometimes fanciers ask me if I don't have moulting problems with my widowers during the racing system. Well, the answer is no! First I tried this with a widower of less importance, and when I didn't see any moulting problems I followed this system with my best birds."

Bernard goes on: "Concerning this second coupling in the month of March, I must say that I don't look at a fixed date, but that I focus on the weather conditions of that moment. Let me explain my system. The widowers are only a half hour coupled or I already start the first training toss. The widowers are liberated at 10 kilometres. As long as there are no eggs in the nest, this training toss is made daily. The year birds and the old birds are liberated together, and in this way the year birds have the best teachers for learning the widowhood system. They rush home together."


"When a widower comes home from a race," Bernard explains, "his hen is always waiting in the box. In the beginning of the racing season they stay together about 10 minutes, and the farther into the season, the longer they stay together. Pure water goes into the drinker. Only in warm weather do I add some electrolytes (Recup-Lyt from Colombine) in the water. As for feeding, they get my own mixed protein-poor mixture. This mixture is composed out of 20% wheat, 20% barley, 20% dari white, 15% little French cribs maize, 10% Cardy, 10% Paddy rice and 5% buckwheat."

Bernard continues, "I feed all the birds individually, and they get 30g of this mixture twice. When there are still some grains left, I put those away and they get a new portion. On Sunday morning all the birds get a mandatory lukewarm bath. They become very calm because of this and they recuperate very well. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the menu is still the protein poor mixture. On Thursday the widowers are fed more heavily; therefore, Superstar Plus I.C. is the ideal mixture. On the last day, I also feed a portion of Energy Plus I.C. This is a mixture very rich in fat and I think it is the ideal mixture to let the pigeons eat till the last minute before basketting."

"As supplements," Bernard says, "I use only on Thursday Optimix (from Herbots) on the feed mixture and Aminovit (from Herbots) in the drinkers."

"It is very important that the widowers train twice a day," Bernard emphasizes. "This is to optimize top condition. When they have trained about one hour, they can enter the loft, and in their box they always find a little bit of sneaky mixture and a coffee spoon of Success-Corn I.C. This is a very digestible pellet rich in vegetables, vitamins, trace-elements, etc."

Bernard explains, "On the medical scene, I'm very careful. Before the start of the racing season, I have them checked by a specialized vet. When they nest for three days in March, I always treat against canker. I treat against ornithosis as little as possible. Of course I treat if it is necessary, but to be honest last season I treated only once against ornithosis."


# of birds
1st nom. 2nd nom.

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The parents of
the topbirds


06-03 Pithiviers 335 old birds: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-10-12-18-19-27-50-73-86 (23)
258 year birds.: 1-2-3-7-16-27 (8)

06-10 Toury 330 old birds: 1-2-3-4-5-9-14-17-18-19-20-21-26-33-47-56-58-61-67-68-86-89-90-103 (330)
390 year birds.: 1-2-3-4-14-23-82 (11)

06-17 Toury 250 old birds: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-11-12-14-17-19-24-27-28-33-38-44-47-74-83 (31)
348 year birds.: 1-2-3-6-7-28-39-59 (11)

06-24 Pithiviers 190 old birds: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-10-11-12-15-16-22-29-33-34-47-54-62-63 (27)
274 year birds.: 1-2-4-5-8-11-26-49 (9)

07-01 Toury 417 old birds: 1-2-3-4-7-9-17-20-31-36-37-50-59-73-74-77-84-91-107-128 (24)
654 year birds.: 2-3-4-8-21-24-80 (8)

07-08 Pithiviers 331 old birds: 16-38-54-60-72-89-90-110 (23)
447 year birds.: 30-97-140 (7)

07-15 Toury 207 old birds: 1-3-5-7-13-15-32-43 (10)
249 year birds.: 1-4-8-12-43-60 (6)


The national championship has been won by two brothers.

Father: 9012163-03 (bought as egg fromAndre Roodhooft)
Grandfather: B02-6303066 (out of B00-6101141 (Nelles VD Pol) X 6681610-93 (dochter Super Koppel)

Grandmother: B01-6326421 - sister of "036" who was 1st ace-pigeon Union in 2001 and 2002

Mother: 9012165-03 (bought as egg fromAndre Roodhooft)
Grandfather: B02-6303032 (Hofkens X Lou Wouters)

Grandmother: B01-6326782 (daughter ace-pigeon small long distance 1992)

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The wing of

B04-9107393: 6th National ace-pigeon KBDB middle distance 2006 3e Olympiadbird Oostende 2007

2004: 2nd Chantilly 784
2nd Chantilly 508
2nd Orleans 511
10th Toury 795

2005: 2nd Chantilly 283
9th Toury 750
4th Pithiviers 336
10th Orleans 505
6th Toury 315
1st Pithiviers 214
1st Bourges 672

2006: 1st Bouillon 464
1st Ecouen 297
7th Creil 175
1st Pithiviers 353
1st Toury 330
1st Toury 250
1st Pithiviers 190
2nd Toury 417
60th Pithiviers 331
1st Toury 207

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The wing of

2004: Did not race

2005: 3rd Chantilly 283
5th Toury 750
2nd Toury 336
20th Orleans 505
82nd Toury 315
3rd Pithiviers 214

2006: 42nd Bouillon 389
3rd Ecouen 297
3rd Creil 175
3rd Pithiviers 335
3rd Toury 330
2nd Toury 250
2nd Pithiviers 190
3rd Toury 417
3rd Toury 207

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