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 News > Casaert Profile
     
  News from Belgium and Europe
MAURICE AND
GREGORY CASAERT


by Stefan Mertens

1st National Montauban 1992
1st National Souillac 2000
1st National Champion Middle Distance 1998
3rd National Champion Middle Distance 2000
3rd National Champion Middle and Short Distance Youngbirds 1999
4th National Champion Long Distance 1998
6th National Champion Middle Distance 1999


NECHIN: Maurice and son Gregory are without doubt one of the top Belgian lofts ar the middle- and long-distance races. They had another outstanding season this year, winning 1st National Souillac against 7,051 pigeons, with one important detail. For this national race, the Casaerts basketed only one pigeon! This emphasis on quality above quantity is extremely evident at the Casaert loft.

This year they won an additional 20 first prizes, and their race results are such that most fanciers can only dream about. It’s a well known secret that the Casaerts have top pigeons in their loft. How do you otherwise explain that fanciers like Silvere Toye of Otegem and Gaby Vandenabeele of Dentergem visit Casaert regularly to buy pigeons?

A word of advice to those who want to visit Maurice, it is not so easy to find their street, the Rue Des Saules. The easiest way is to drive through Nechin till you enter France. Then turn around and drive back into Belgium, and take the first street on your right. They live directly on the French border.


 


Maurice and Gregory Casaert 
THE INFLUENCE OF MARCEL BORGHMANS

Maurice Casaert’s first steps in the racing pigeon sport were taken in 1947. First, Maurice had a loft in St. Leger, and after a few years he raced in partnership with a Mr. Jean Verpeut. But Maurice’s real start came in 1977. This time Maurice started, without a partner, in Nechin. That winter, he went to a total-loft auction of Marcel Borghmans of St. Niklaas. Most of Borghmans’ pigeons had come from Louis Van Loon of Poppel. Maurice succeeded so well with the Borghmans pigeons that he wanted more of them. There was only one problem—Borghmans had gotten out of pigeons. But Maurice remembered that a fellow by the name of Gillijns from Steenhuffel had bought a lot of pigeons in the Borghmans auction.

When Maurice went to Steenhuffel to visit Gillijns, he was astonished that such quality was sitting in those lofts. There were not only the Borghmans pigeons but also a lot of original Janssen pigeons, direct from the brothers. Maurice went home with 12 youngsters in his basket. "The best investment I ever made in my life," said our friend in the sport. "Of course, I also bought pigeons elsewhere. I succeeded with pigeons from the Frenchman Dedeyn of Halluin. Dedeyn is unbeatable with pigeons from Maurice Verheye of Oeselgem. Also super were the pigeons from Desseyn-Van De Meulebroucke from Vichte and Gust Christiaens from Humbeek. Be careful. I’m not the man who buys pigeons every year, but I do have the luck that fanciers like Toye and Vandenabeele want to exchange pigeons with me."
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LITTLE BUT FINE

The Casaerts know something about pigeons, that is sure. The formula for success exists not only in high quality pigeons, but also in the talents of the fancier himself. And Maurice shares his secrets completely with his two sons. Gregory helps in Nechin, while Sebastian (until last year the loft manager for Silvere Toye) races very well at his own loft in St. Leger.

But let’s go back to the racing team of our champion. He just counted 27 widowers (including the yearlings) that came through the very hard selection process at the end of the season. All are designated to compete in the middle-distance races (up to 600 kilometers). Only four cocks are basketed for the long-distance races.

The widowers and the 20 couples of stockbirds breed early. This means that they are coupled at the beginning of December. When the youngsters are separated, the widowers may have a second round of eggs. This second round is very short. So short that some of the widowers never see the eggs, Maurice is so quick to take them away. By doing this, Maurice sees no disadvantage in the moult (later in the season) but he has four youngsters out of his widowers because the eggs go under other couples or are given away to very good friends where he can follow the results of the youngsters closely.

After the hens lay the second time, the hens are immediately separated and a "resting period" is built into the schedule of the widowers. During this resting period, the widowers receive a "depurative from the house." This depurative contains 20% safflower, 20% cardy, 20% paddy rice, 20% little french maize and 20% depurative mixture.

Beginning in April, the hens are put with the widowers again and may brood for a maximum of four days. When the weather is good, the first training races begin, once to100 kilometers, a few times at 250 kilometers, and then the middle-distance races are on the program.

The feeding system during the racing system is kept as simple as possible. With the exception of the last three days before basketing, the "depurative of the house" is served. The last three days, there is a "Super Widowhood Mixture" on the menu, with 10% safflower and 10% cardy mixed in. Maurice gives the pigeons as much feed as they want for a 15-minute period, and then he takes everything away.

Also, on the medical scene, there are no secrets to discover. About a month before the racing season, Maurice visits a specialized vet named Dr. Lemahieu. When the vet says that everything is o.k., then no medication is given. During the racing season, the widowers are treated against trichomoniasis (canker) every 14 days for one day. Against ornithosis, there is a three-day cure beginning in June, and they treat for ornithosis only when it is necessary, always with a product from the vet.

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Casaert
breeding
loft
 
THE YOUNGBIRDS

Every year, Gregory and Maurice breed about 60 "early" youngsters. And these youngsters have to work during their first year. The first selection takes place after six weeks. At that time, Maurice handles all the youngsters, and those who don’t fulfill the "first impression" are immediately culled. The other youngsters are then vaccinated against paramyxo with Colombovac, and for pox with Ovo-Peresterin. As with many fanciers, the youngsters are put on a darkness system. As of the end of February or the beginning of March, the curtains on the youngbird loft are closed from 5:00 o’clock in the evening until 8:00 o’clock in the morning. We must add that it is not too dark in the loft, and the youngsters can find the drinking pot very easily.

On the medical scene, the youngsters are treated every month, for three days with Gambazine (Rohnfried). About a month before the racing season starts, Maurice visits the vet and follows his advice.

When asked if he motivates his youngsters, Maurice answers, "Of course, but I don’t exaggerate it. Look, the youngsters are raced on the ‘door system.’ One hour before basketing, the door goes open and the party can start. During the week, the boxes are closed and the pigeons are sitting on little perches placed before the boxes. The day of basketing, the boxes are opened, and this motivates the youngsters very well."

The young cocks are removed from racing after the national race from Bourges (400 km at the beginning of August), while the hens are basketed until the end of the racing season.

Of great importance to Casaert are the training flights. A minimum of twice a week Gregory goes to Douai (30 km from Nechin). First, the cocks are liberated, and about 15 minutes later the hens go up. The departure of the pigeons is very important, and those training flights are the best way to teach them the system. "When the youngsters are in top condition, they spurt home like the devil is behind them," Maurice says. "When we see that, we know everything is o.k."

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Casaert lofts   
CASAERT’S TOP 50 NATIONAL PRIZES,
1991 TO 2000:

1st NATIONAL SOUILLAC 2000 – 7051 PIGEONS
1st NATIONAL MONTAUAN 1992 – 5335 PIGEONS
3rd NATIONAL LIMOGES 1995 – 9222 PIGEONS
3rd NATIONAL LIMOGES 1995 – 8883 PIGEONS
4th NATIONAL BRIVE 1991 – 18,416 PIGEONS
6th NATIONAL ARGENTON 1995 – 14,105 PIGEONS
6th NATIONAL BRIVE 1993 – 5132 PIGEONS
6th NATIONAL LIMOGES 1993 – 10,291 PIGEONS
7th NATIONAL LIMOGES 1993 – 10,675 PIGEONS
11th NATIONAL BOURGES 1997 – 19,396 PIGEONS
11th NATIONAL TULLE 1992 – 4,744 PIGEONS
15th NATIONAL TULLE 1992 – 5484 PIGEONS
18th NATIONAL ARGENTON 1995 – 14,105 PIGEONS
18th NATIONAL LA SOUTERRAINE 1992 – 14,405 PIGEONS
24th NATIONAL BRIVE 1995 – 3970 PIGEONS
25th NATIONAL BOURGES 1998 – 14,883 PIGEONS
27th NATIONAL BOURGES 1997 – 38,169 PIGEONS
28th NATIONAL BOURGES 1994 – 17,751 PIGEONS
36th NATIONAL LIMOGES 1994 – 8362 PIGEONS
37th NATIONAL BRIVE 1995 – 4719 PIGEONS
38th NATIONAL CAHORS 1999 – 13,093 PIGEONS
40th NATIONAL LIMOGES 1999 – 10,737 PIGEONS
41st NATIONAL LIMOGES 1994 – 8855 PIGEONS
41st NATIONAL LA SOUTERRAINE 1998 – 13,488 PIGEONS
43rd NATIONAL BRIVE 1991 – 12,761 PIGEONS
49th NATIONAL BOURGES 1998 – 21,170 PIGEONS
50th NATIONAL BOURGES 1999 – 10,520 PIGEONS
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