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National Winner Montelimar 5,948 Old Birds
by Stefan Mertens
The first race of the “Rhone” of the season had a surprising turn.
While everybody expected the first pigeons in the centre of the
country, we had to look for the winner in the South East of the
country: François Michaux from Mariembourg. François is a famous
Walloon fancier. Not only because of his results but also as a pigeon
agent, in cooperation with the Herbots family and La Colombophilie
François also forms a duo with Andre Charles (Lobbes) and in 2011, this colony became 1 National Champion middle Distance KBDB old birds. Nothing but good references !
François: “I must tell you that this national victory too me 10 years of my life. My pigeons started the season very well. On the first race, I won the first 6 prizes and the second race I won the 4 first prizes. Everybody noticed that I had a good condition on my loft. I had a lot of hope for the first national races from Bourges and Chateauroux. We must tell as it is; when you live in a corner of the country, the wind must be in your favour otherwise it’s not possible to score at the top of the national result and with Bourges and Chateauroux, the wind had the perfect direction. My pigeons scored well on these two national races but I hoped for better results on national level. I was a bit disappointed and I thought that all my chances for an early national score this season, were over.
It seems that I didn’t count on my three birds that went to Montelimar. These guys still had the condition but with the North Eastern wind they announced, couldn’t be in my advantage to score at the top of the national result. It seems that all fanciers in our region had thought wrong and the pigeons from Montelimar must have had other wind than those from Poitiers. Hereby they didn’t only clock early here but the birds had a higher speed as expected. But, then it happened! The day of arrival, I thought I still had enough time to spend with the children, do some little jobs and some shopping. I thought that when I would be back home around 15.00 hours, I still had enough time to watch my Montelimar racers arrive. But then things happen that would never happen like no more fuel in the car and normally I always pay by cart but I could only pay cash here and I had to wait some time before I could pay. The law of Murphy applied. I arrived home a few minutes after 3 o’clock. It’s typical for a fancier that he always watches the electronic system and I was very surprised when I saw that one of my Montelimar racers already was clocked. The clock announced 15h00min01sec. I panicked because I knew I almost didn’t have time left to clock the control rubber. It was a game of seconds but luckily it all turned out alright and now I just had to recover of all this trouble!
A NEW START IN 2010
In 2010, François and Corinne bought a house in the Rue de Mathysoy in Mariembourg. The intension was to build several lofts in the garden but they didn’t get the approval of the local authorities. François : “There I was with all my plans but I should play the pigeons and after a discussion with his lady friend, they decided to build the loft at the attic. Afterwards, this seems to be the best decision ever because these are very good lofts. In 2011, I got the permission to build a loft of 8 metres in the garden and in 2012, again a permission to build 8 metres.
The colony is mostly based on pigeons of Andre Charles (50 pigeons), Jean-Marc Thibaut, Thierry Defrene, Leon Crowet, Dujardin, Brulez, Casaert Maurice and Gregory, Casaert-Sénéchal and some good breeding pairs, which he bought on several public auctions, organised by La Colombophilie Belge.
François: “I started the season with 60 widowers: 35 old and 25 yearlings. At the end of November, only the old birds were paired. The eggs of the best breeders were put under the racers and so the breeders immediately could start with their second round. Once the youngsters of the second round were weaned, the group of yearlings were paired and again the eggs of the breeders were moved to the yearlings. Then the breeders could start for the 4th time and by this way, you have 4 rounds of the breeders in no time and you can select better.
I think it’s very important that a widower feels well on the loft. That’s the reason why I opened all boxes before the 1st pairing and so the future yearling widowers could chose their favourite box.
Because of the problem with the birds of prey, it takes some time before I can let my pigeons train. This season, the widowers got out for the first time on March 20th. Despite all precautions, still 9 birds were killed by the bird of prey. On April 1st, they got paired for the second time and after 3 days of breeding, the widowhood started.
THE CARE TAKING
To feed the pigeons, I always use 3 different kinds of food. At their arrival: 50% sport and 50% Vandenabeele with which I mix Topfit (Herbots). On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, it’s 100% Vandenabeele + Probac + Sedochol. On Wednesday: 100% sport (3 different sorts) + Zell-Oxygen + Optimix + CMK. The widowers are fed 2 x a day and they can eat what they want for about 30 minutes. They always eat together because I think that they eat more all together.
On medical level, I follow the advice of Raf Herbots. Before the season, all pigeons (racers – breeders – youngsters) received ¼ Flagyl. At the beginning of March, I visited Raf and he said everything was OK so I didn’t have to cure them.
If my national winner was motivated? Yes…in fact it all started in winter. Every year again, I sacrifice one pigeon to send to the laboratory where they do a full research. Well, this year it was the neighbour of my national winner. When I brought the bird to the vet, I forgot to close his box and when I came on the loft the next day, I saw my future national winner was in his neighbours box with his neighbours hen. The strange fact of it all was that when he wanted to go to his first hen, she chased him away. It was a strange situation but I let him and so my national winner had two boxes and two hens all season long. Only the week before the basketing of Montelimar, I closed 1 of the 2 boxes. I didn’t even open the box before basketing and I think that this was his motivation to hurry home.
As I already mentioned, I put in 3 pigeons for Montelimar. My second bird arrived about 17 minutes later and he wins 12 National against 5.952 old birds.
François, congratulations! It’s a victory with an exciting story and a “happy end” !
Charles Siegel and Son, Inc.
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