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  News > Eric Brootcoorens
  Eric Brootcoorens:
Unknown…but at the top

by Stefan Mertens


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Eric Brootcoorens

Moma Elvira

IDEGEM: As you probably all know, last summer Ed visited Belgium. As always, he was looking for top pigeons, and he always spoke about "big names," names which are known in the U.S. But at a certain moment I asked Ed: "Do you know that there are fanciers who are not known (because they don't approach the pigeon sport commercially) and they race very well every week. "I know," answered Ed. "Please take me to one of these fanciers." "No problem," I said, and a half hour later we were standing beside Eric Brootcoorens. Never heard of this fancier? I don't blame you. He will be quickly introduced because ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. Last season, in 2001, Eric won more than 30 first prizes, and this from races from 150 km up to 550 km. Since 1994, he was several times classified in the national championships (once 3rd in the Youngbirds category), and he had already four times the provincial ace-pigeon on the middle distance. And before I forget, he already won provincial Bourges several times (last time in 2001). Ed saw the results and saw the pigeons, and for a few moments he was speechless.

Unknown…but tops…. We bring you the story


I remember like it was yesterday. We write 1989. Father Alfons and son Eric were each racing from their own loft. Alfons in the little village of Idegem and Eric a few kilometers further in Onkerzele. Both were racing against each other, and when they were analyzing the results, they saw that they were competing more against each other than the other fanciers. "This has to stop," said Alfons. "Let's go into partnership and try our pigeons at the middle distance." "Good idea," answered Eric, "We can keep the widowers in Idegem and I will look after the breeders." A few minutes later a bottle of champagne was opened to celebrate the new start.

We didn't have to wait too long to see the magnificent results of the "new partnership." Top result after top result was put on paper, and the competitors could only watch and wonder how this was all possible. "The reason is simple…we didn't change a thing about our feeding schedule, but we bought some better pigeons. There was an unknown fancier here in the neighborhood who was really unbeatable in the middle-distance races. His name was Julien Hanon. Mr. Hanon was ill and we bought his last round of late breds. Later, we bought four top birds at the auction of all his birds, namely 'De Korte Blauwen', 'De Platten', 'Zoon Kleine Valen', and 'Dochter Raket.' The breeding results out of those pigeons were really 'unique.' We crossed them with pigeons from Engels, Vindevogel and other fanciers, and we must admit that it all went from good to better. Sometimes a fancier needs some luck."

It is a pity that father Alfons died at the end of December 1993 of a heart attack. It was a hard shock for the family and friends. Certainly for mother Elvire, who lost her husband so early. One thing is certain-Alfons stays forever in her heart.

Because of the sudden death of Alfons, everyone thought the Brootcoorens loft would be finished with top results. But that assumption was made without mother Elvire. Elvire came suddenly into the loft, and like most of the time when a lady becomes a pigeon fancier, the results go up again.

Elvire treats the pigeons as if they are her children. It's unbelievable what a relationship there is between the pigeons and Elvire. Sometimes I wonder if the widowers come home for their hen or for Elvire!


Every year there are about 40 widowers who are responsible for bringing the name Brootcoorens to the top of the results list. For a lot of fanciers, it is hard work to keep such a team, for an entire season, in good condition, but at the Brootcoorens loft, everything goes perfectly.
The first rule is punctuality. When the widowers have to train at 6:00 o'clock, it is at 6:00 o'clock and not five minutes earlier or later.
When asked if feeding is an art, Eric answers, "To keep pigeons eating until the last day of basketing is very important. My mother knows these pigeons so well that she perfectly knows which pigeons like which grains. Unbelievable, but sometimes she selects the favorite grains out of the mixture for one or another widower. To feed 'up' the pigeons, we use mais or Energy-Corn."

Motivation is one of the key words of success. Eric says, "Before basketing, we always show a hen, but always with a certain variation. Sometimes we put 'strange' hens in the loft…or we leave the hens in the basket and put the basket in the loft. Variation brings motivation…of that I can assure you."

"But be careful," Eric emphasizes. "I'm not the man to say that this is the best system. But if we are successful with it, it would be stupid to change it."






"Oh, yes," Eric remembers, "before I forget-on basketing day the widowers may always train. Two big advantages of this method. First is that you can see if the widowers are in a good condition, and second-maybe the most important-after the training the widowers eat very well.

What is Brootcoorens' approach to medication? Eric answers, "We have to tell it like it is. Without medication, it doesn't work anymore. Personally I go to two specialized vets named Dr. Van Den Hautte and Dr. Boddaert. I make a combination of their treatment recommendations. Every two weeks I treat against canker (trichomoniasis), and when the results are not that good I treat against ornithosis."

"Further," Eric relates, "I use a lot of Colombine tea. Believe it or not, but out of 365 days in a year, I give the pigeons Colombine tea on 265 of them. For the rest, two or three times a week, I give Colombine Vitaminized Brewers Yeast, and when they come home, there is always Form Oil with Digestal on the mixture. Digestal is really a top product."

About recuperation, does Brootcoorens do something special? "Recuperation is very important," Eric emphasizes. "When the pigeons are home, we close the gate so nobody can enter and disturb us. Not that we have secrets, but if you have 40 widowers it takes some time to give them a lukewarm bath (with Fabry's Ideal Bathsalts). We give the muscles a light massage, and we clean the legs. All the pigeons get a nose drop and eye drop."


Few of us are chosen. To be successful with old and young birds is not for everybody. When Eric is asked how he races young birds, he answers, "That's not so easy to explain. I have to tell it like it is. We are in the young bird loft a lot. Young birds require a lot of attention. They are just like little children. But let's start from the beginning. Once the youngsters are weaned, we feed Junior Plus a few times a day. By handling the youngsters like this, they know who is boss in the loft. They know you as the man with the food, and they know that they have to listen or they don't get any food."

"After ten days, they get their first canker treatment," Eric explains. Fourteen days later, we treat against salmonella. Every treatment is always followed by vitamins (Aminovital) for three or four days in the drinking water. Once the days begin to get longer, in mid-February, we start the darkening system. We darken our youngsters from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 a.m. until the end of May. I can say that it is not too dark in the lofts. They are able to find the drinking bowl. The last two years I raced my youngsters on the 'door-system' but before that I also had very good results based on nest position. The only difference is that pigeons in the nest don't exercise around the loft. So three or four times a week, I took all of them on a 30 km training toss. I released the pigeons in groups of ten pigeons, and my mother was ready at home to call them in. It is a lot of work, but it is worth doing it."

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Elevated bath helps to keep the cats away

Grit and picking stones are quite important

The Brootcoorens' racing lofts

Slatted ventilation
in the roof

Trophies won in 2001

The widowhood loft



If we have a very close look at the pedigrees of a lot of top birds, we will often see the names of two top breeders, namely "De Superkweker" and "De Goede Valen." Let's give some more details. From these distances: Noyon: 50 km. Pont: 90 km. Dourdan: 300 km. Bourges: 420 km. Chateauroux: 470 km. Vierzon: 400 km. Toury: 320 km.

(1) SUPERKWEKER 4085435/93
This check cock won 3rd Dourdan out of 681 pigeons and 6th Noyon out of 294 pigeons. But most important is his breeding qualities. He is father of two provincial ace pigeons at the middle distance.
"Elvirken" (4226020/94) daughter "Superkweker" and 1st provincial ace pigeon middle distance young birds 1994 (against 15,000 fanciers) won 1st Dourdan 451 birds - 2nd Dourdan 690 birds - 3rd Dourdan 1002 birds - 3rd Dourdan 573 birds - 4th Dourdan 758 birds.

"Playboy" (4176525/96) son "Superkweker" and 1st provincial ace pigeon middle distance youngbirds 1996 (against 15,000 fanciers). He won 9th Dourdan 1111 pigeons - 2nd Dourdan 1123 birds - 2nd Dourdan 741 birds - 2nd Bourges 2588 birds (60th national against 39,114 birds).

"Pippo" (4125135/97 son "Superkweker" won 1st Pont 614 birds - 2nd Pont 669 birds.

"Playgirl"(4080813/95) daughter "Superkweker" won 6th Noyon 299 birds - 8th Bourges 234 birds - 18th Dourdan 466 birds - 30th Chateauroux 374 birds.

"106" (4010106/98) son "Superkweker" won 1st Toury 806 birds - 1st Toury 334 birds - 2nd Bourges 538 birds (78th national against 20,172 birds) - 2nd Toury 352 birds - 4th Dourdan 910 birds - 5th Toury 414 birds - 6th Toury 219 birds - 7th St. Denis 774 birds.

"4245482/00" grandson of the "Playboy" won 1st Vierzon 380 birds (6th provincial 1984 birds - 18th interprovincial 5047 birds) - 4th Chateauroux 306 birds - 1st La Souterraine 736 birds (2nd interprovincial against 5520 birds) - 1st La Souteerraine 618 birds (6th interprovincial 5466 birds)

(2) DE GOEDEN VALEN 4908919/89 won first prize six times and was in the first ten prizes 18 times.
"Den Bourges" 4878111/91 son of the "De Goeden valen". Won 1st Bourges 458 birds (20th national against 9759 birds) - 1st Dourdan 737 birds - 1st Dourdan 169 birds - 1st Bourges 437 birds (1st provincial against 1066 birds - 7th national against 8565 birds) - 1st Dourdan 204 birds - 1st Dourdan 579 birds - 2nd Dourdan 249 birds - 5th Pont 405 birds - 5th Dourdan 206 bird - 5th Vierzon 602 birds.

"De Fieren" 4215476/92 son of "Den Bourges" won 1st provincial Bourges 2932 birds (3rd national against 19,396 birds) - 2nd Dourdan 329 birds - 2nd St. Denis 620 birds - 3rd Dourdan 579 birds - 4th Chateauroux 334 birds - 4th Tours 213 birds.

"4245489/00"son "Den Bourges" won from Noyon in the 2001 season these prizes: 1st against 220 birds - 1st against 99 birds - 2nd against 84 birds - 5th against 196 birds - 5th against 146 birds - 5th against 71 birds - 6th against 172 birds - 8th against 168 birds.

"4002232/99" grandson of "Den Bourges" won 1st Toury 175 birds - 1st Bourges 597 birds - 2nd Toury 195 birds - 3rd Toury 219 birds - 3rd Toury 232 birds - 3rd Noyon 185 birds.


April 16 Noyon 69 old birds: 1-11-14 (3/4)
April 16 Noyon 77 yearlings: 1-2-20 (3/3)
April 22 Noyon 242 yearlings: 1-3-81-98 (4/11)
May 6 Noyon 190 old birds: 1-9-14-40-55-84 (6/7)
May 13 Toury 414 old birds: 1-5-7-15-17-36-39-41-43 etc. (13/16)
May 13 Toury 3887 yearlings: 3-7-9-15-26-35-43-63 etc. (18/19)
May 13 Noyon 214 yearlings: 1-81 (2/4)
May 19 Toury 334 old birds: 1-7-10-19-25-60-66-97-113-136-156 (11/16)
May 19 Vierzon local 243 old birds: 1-50-76-77 (4/7)
May 19 Vierzon local 95 yearlings: 1-7-10-11-32 (5/8)
May 19 Vierzon FCD 380 yearlings: 1-51-57-62
May 26 Bourges local 193 old birds: 1-5-6-28-46 (5/5)
May 26 Bourges FCD 758 old birds: 1-14-16-96-177
May 26 Bourges national 21,593 birds: 16-285-342-2181-3946
May 27 Noyon 105 yearlings: 1-3-46-48 (4/4)
June 10 Toury 231 old birds: 1-9-13-22-30-43-44-56-59-63-67-70 (12/16)
June 10 Chateauroux local 215 old birds: 1-2-7-33 (4/8)
June 10 Chateauroux local 306 yearlings: 1-4-84 (3/4)
June 10 Chateauroux FCD 931 yearlings: 1-17-307
June 16 Toury 230 yearlings: 1-3-19-21-25-73-79 (7/9)
June 23 Toury 232 old birds: 1-3-4-8-10-19-31-47-51-53-82-87 (13/15)
June 23 La Souterraine (540 km) local 225 old birds: 1-2-32-37 (4/5)
June 23 La Souterraine 233 yearlings: 1-20-38-64 (4/4)
June 23 La Souterraine FCD 618 old birds: 1-7-105-118
June 23 La Souterraine 736 yearlings: 1-117-183
June 23 La Souterraine interprovincial 5446 old birds: 6-126-597-1015
June 23 La Souterraine 5520 yearlings: 2-871
July 1 Noyon 99 yearlings: 1-2 (2/3)
July 27 Blois 22 old birds: 1 (1/2)
July 27 Blois 47 yearlings: 1 (1/2)
July 28 Bourges local 140 old birds: 1-12-16-27-34-45 (6/8)
July 28 Bourges FCD 394 old birds: 1-44-53-88-108
July 28 Bourges provincial 1877 old birds: 1-160-194-308-394
July 28 Bourges national 12,161 old birds: 10-1359-1618-2320-2890
July 28 Bourges 15,581 yearlings: 88

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