BE a champion and stay a champion

From 1946 I was never a day without pigeons. Also during my period that I was active in cycling I had pigeons and that was also the case when I had to do my military service. I did get help from my father then. During a cycling race I occasionally looked up to see if I saw pigeons pulling and everywhere I rode I looked from the corner of my eye to see if I saw a pigeon loft somewhere. Later when I was older and became a father I looked when we were going for a ride with the children to see if I saw a pigeon loft somewhere. My children grew up with it but only my oldest son Marco started pigeons at a later age. He has been flying with the best for many years now. I was unlucky that in the period with school children I had no pigeons at home and therefore often not at home. I was with the pigeons and that is something children will never forget. From experience I know all too well that in many families the sport of father had too much influence on family life. Dad's pigeon hobby often went for the family. Holidays were a problem in almost every pigeon family. A Sunday to the beach, father came later because he first had to wait for his pigeons. I heard even more lamentations after I had written a book about 100 years of pigeon sport in the Zaan region. Many children and grandchildren bought that book because their father or grandfather appeared in it. I spoke to many of those children personally and by far the majority did not have good memories of the pigeons. When the pigeons had to come home father was usually not approachable. Children were not allowed to play in the yard and he was able to go to the neighbors if they dared to hang out the laundry. He would prefer that everyone stay inside if his pigeons were to come and if one came then everyone would have to remain stiff because oh woe the pigeon could just sit outside. I experienced it when I went to see another fancier. Before the pigeons came home I always had a conversation about the pigeons and most of the time I asked what I should do if a pigeon came unexpectedly. Oh nothing special the pigeon is right in, no that's no problem. Suddenly there was one, pats so unexpectedly at once directly on the fall board. The man was startled and shouted "cover". I didn't know what to do and then I just sat down on the floor. The good man who had kept so calm was now in all states. He went in tiger sneak to his loft and while crawling through the garden as a well-trained soldier, the pigeon flew to the ridge from the loft. He whistled as hard as he could and rattled so hard with his feed van so that grains were scattered everywhere in the grass. When the pigeon remained seated like a statue he started to throw a handful of food on the lid, it didn't help. Then he started throwing food in the loft. Those staying at home were fed up with the large amount of food thrown in through the window. After a while the pigeon came in. The fancier had become so nervous that he had to reach for the pigeon several times. The feathers flew through the loft and after some keeper work the pigeon could be stripped of the rubber ring. When I called him in the evening and asked about the result he said that he did not appear in the results and that he had discarded the pigeon the same evening. You will be married to such a pathetic man. So I know many stories. I can write a book about it and I have been planning that for a long time. Who knows, maybe it will happen because I have enough documentation about all those pigeon fanciers who are never nervous when the pigeons of the race have to come home until you are once "live" with those men. I know stories from fanciers who didn't come home to eat. They continued to stare into the air on the stairs of the pigeon loft while the whole family sat at the table. Then the stories about fanciers who were surprised by the arrival of an early pigeon. They ran to the loft to clock the pigeon and then discovered that the clock was still in the house. Or from fanciers who were not nervous but still had to go to the toilet before the pigeons arrived. Suddenly there was a pigeon and father sat on the toilet with his pants on his heels. The whole family shouted that there was a pigeon and often he did not believe it until it turned out that it was really true. With the pants half up, he came stumbling over to clock the pigeon. That is almost all over now everyone has an electronic clock system. With that a chunk of romance has disappeared because the clocking of the rubber ring was the highlight and for that to reach the pigeon must have entered the loft first. That sometimes did not work because the pigeon was caught a little too wild the week before and so now first had a look at the cat from the tree before it went inside. Beautiful stories that are now almost non-existent. For me 70 years of pigeon sport has been an important part of my life. It was a golden period that I enjoy thinking about almost every day. Too bad that our sport is going downhill so fast.

My passionate young pigeons are now in the molt. Unbelievable so many feathers there are on a pigeon. My first daily job is cleaning up the large amount of feathers and every day I just count the number of tails and flight feathers that are in the loft. In that respect the molt goes as it should. You see the pigeons change, they become adults physically, they grow a little bigger and the cocks manifest themselves as real guys. I removed all the nest material a few weeks ago. Breeders and racing pigeons have been separated for some time and the young pigeons are still together. They no longer need to make another litter. That is different with the breeding hens. These are almost done with the molting and different ladies are making love to each other in a corner. I don't make a point of it. I must not think that the racing hens are going to do that. I definitely do not want that because then they do that even when they are in widowhood and then they ruin your entire season. As soon as I see two hens lying together in a sitting area in the winter period or together on the floor I remove one of the two. She first gets the chance to cool down in another loft. After three weeks she is allowed to be with the other hens again and when they start to caress each other again it is over with the fun and one of the ladies is permanently removed. For now I demand rest in the loft and at the end of November the breeders get the opportunity to reproduce again. I will certainly do everything that they are in good condition when the time comes. First a paratyphoid cure this month. I will continue to feed them twice a day. In the morning at half past nine a little bit and at four o'clock they get twenty minutes full. The lamp stays off, the pigeons have to get used to the fact that the days are very short for now. In mid-November I will extend the days by the breeders by turning on the lamp from half past eight until ten in the morning and the same happens from four to eight. That is a great system for the breeding pigeons because I know from experience that there are youngsters everywhere in the dish around Christmas time.

Today, September 23, the astronomical fall begins. The sun is exactly above the equator and the days will be shorter from tomorrow. Sunday September 22 in my birthplace Zaandam, the Dam to Dam run was held for the 35th time. A running and walking event over 10 English miles from the Amsterdam Dam to the Zaandammer Dam with no less than 60.000 participants of which 4000 were no longer allowed on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm to start. The heat ensured that the ambulances drove on and off to pick up the heat-struck participants what has never happened before! Very unfortunate for the organization. It fitted in well with the news that the average temperature on earth has never been this high in the last 5 years. Scientists reported this on the eve of the New York climate summit. Too little attention would be paid worldwide to this climate change. Probably not everyone is convinced what all this change can bring. Fortunately more and more is spoken and written about. Undoubtedly pigeon sport will increasingly have to deal with this. As an old hand in pigeon sport I am convinced that the ever-increasing losses of in particular insufficiently trained or not well-trained pigeons have to do with it. It is not only sick or pigeons of a lesser quality that stay behind. There is more behind the dark clouds or the clear sky than we think. The pigeon sport will have to respond well to this in the coming years. We can talk for hours every winter about flying programs, release places, national championships or the Olympiad, the most important thing for our sport is still the weather conditions and that is not just about rain, strong winds or tropical temperatures. It is mainly the atmospheric disturbances that we cannot perceive as humans but that cause a great deal of nuisance for the pigeons.

To save the pigeon sport and to retain the members we may have to go back to the past when the pigeon sport was no more than a pleasant village game. Everyone was then satisfied with the game in the club where in some cases more than 100 members participated. At the moment there are less than 50 playing in a district or what kind of name we want to give to an ensemble. These days it all has to be bigger with even more flights and that while the members disappear like snow in the sun and the Dutch newspapers are no longer interested in posting pigeon results. In that respect the pigeon sport is almost dead. That more and bigger has been conceived by the pros among us, for them it is big business. Let us not forget that 95% of the members compete for the sporting honor just like before. When I only started with the pigeon sport I could play in the club, in the CC and in the department (provincial). Everyone participated in the club every week and almost everyone participated in the CC and no more than 10% of the members participated in the provincial game. Why so few? Because back then the fanciers realized that this was not a fair game. It was fairer then than now. There were 1500 fanciers in Noord-Holland at the time and the spread was much larger than today. As a result, an early pigeon could be clocked everywhere. Competitions with more than 20.000 pigeons were the most normal thing in the world. Nowadays our professionals with sometimes more than 100 pigeons in the battle make the necessary publicity with a victory against 1200 pigeons, they should be ashamed! They ruin it for many others. Not because they perform better, in most cases that is not even true, but because they come with baskets full of pigeons. There is a lot of work for the volunteers in the club. It is the large numbers of pigeons that discourage members from participating. In many games the first clocked pigeon counts for the championships. That is entirely in favor of the mega lofts. With us there must be clocked for every 10 pigeons in competition one. With a participation of 63 pigeons the fancier must have 7 clocked. Of these the points earned are added together and divided by 6.3, and those points count for the championship. The mega fanciers do not initially play for a championship. They want to take several pigeons on the first page of the result which impress particularly Asian sports friends. In all those years I have been able to sell pigeons because of my strong game. Who would not want or do that? The people who came to me did not do that because I had become champion in certain areas. They came because of my strong game and the many good results that I made with my champion pigeons. I still remember very well that Mr. Louis Massarella from the English breeding stud Louella Pigeon World came to my house for a loft visit. In my breeding loft I handed him one winner after the other in a big context. Full of surprise he said; I have been to many strong racing lofts but I have never seen so many winners and ace pigeons. You can't get a bigger compliment while at the time I played with no more than 16 to 24 widowers. That were the days!

The season is over and most fanciers have peace with it. Some
have been looking forward to the end of this tropical heat-ridden season for weeks and there are also a number that can't get enough. The men who played strong are ready. They see that their pigeons that have caused so much sporting pleasure are due for their well-earned rest. Rest between brackets because after a much overloaded flight program the pigeons start the big molt and that does not happen automatically. Some pigeons are pretty upset about that, we call that molt sick. That requires good care and that is lacking in many lofts. Season is over, then it is also done with care. Feathers in the drinking trough, feathers in the grit trough, feathers everywhere. The molt calls for the necessary hygiene and that is often forgotten. For those who just can't get enough of it a number of years ago the so-called "pie flights" were created in our country. Primarily intended to play against each other with late youngsters. This game has become increasingly professional due to sponsorship which can be seen in the large numbers of old pigeons that are used. There are (according to say) attractive prizes to be won and it means nothing at all. The original fun game has turned into a commercial event. Of these meaningless flights attention is even paid to the site of our national accounting office, it should not get any crazier. I even saw in the first result a participant with a distance of 31 km and also one with a distance of 136 km. You can't let them play against each other and that while the whole of the Netherlands is concerned about "fair play". Eighty fanciers participated in this kind of fairground attractions, 40 of which do not appear in the results and a man from the organization even dares to give it the name "Autumn Classic". It is even claimed that these manipulated results also count towards participation in the Olympiad that will be held in the Netherlands the next time. I have never experienced greater nonsense before.

For the umpteenth time this year I did not bring any pigeons, something I will probably never get used to. My whole life I play along, very often with success but sometimes with serious setbacks that is part of every sport. Not taking part in the races is not due to the pigeons but the boss, it takes me too much trouble. The will is still there but unfortunately it is all too much for me and without 100% effort it will not work. Taking a step back is not easy especially if you are used to playing with the best. I am busy looking for a different solution and that is not as simple as I thought. I will never be without pigeons, that's for sure. I will keep a small number of breeders and continue to take care them as long as it goes myself. Past Saturday was the last flight and I went to see by son Marco. Beautiful pigeon weather, calm southeast wind and veil clouds. We had assumed that they would make 90 km but that estimate turned out to be a little too high. At half past eleven one of them suddenly appeared directly over the roof of the house on the flap. That had to be an early one because he was in such a hurry. Well that was right because in the club it was the earliest and in the ZCC good for a 4th place. A nice closing of the season with the first signed in front and with 14 of 27 in the list is without doubt a great result. It turned out not to be an easy flight because from a distance of 280 km it took 37 minutes before the prizes were earned. It is clear at this time of the year that the molting plays an important role. As soon as the loft is full of small feathers every morning the aerodynamics are over and with that the winning of early prizes is practically impossible. In a week, when all nest positions have been broken, the pigeons will "fall bare" at a record pace. This has been the case with me for some time. The first thing I start with every morning is to clean up the large amount of feathers in the corridor. I consciously leave the sliding doors ajar so that all springs are blown into the corridor. The breeding pigeons that have been separated since the beginning of July are almost through the molt. That was also the intention because at that time there was no question that I would stop the competitive sport and that is now almost certain. The breeding pigeons that are allowed to stay are coupled at the beginning of December, the youngsters go to son Marco and also the second round is for him. The winter youngsters are adult pigeons when their flights begin so that they can be raced in nest and / or in widowhood. I have always been a huge proponent of flying young pigeons that are at least six months old. To keep the flight feathers in place I kept darkening all the young pigeons until the beginning of July and you will have benefit the last and also most beautiful flights. Young pigeons that manage to win early prizes from the races of more than 400 km will be among the better pigeons as a yearling or at least that has been my experience for years. What did shock me this year is the disappointing national participation in the last young pigeon races with the longer distances. Incredibly so little enthusiasm was there. Is it due to the large losses or would it be due to the large number of flights. In my opinion the young pigeon flights must start mid-June and they have deviated from this because it appears that the losses are greatest in June and July. It will but in the 70 years that I have been playing there have been more beautiful competitions than disastrous ones. Nowadays many Dutch fanciers play their youngsters on the last six speed races of the season, there would be fewer lost. I have never heard greater nonsense. In my opinion the young pigeons have far too little experience. There may well be a few heavy ones where they have to go to the extreme to get home. A little Spartan school can certainly do no harm. Then there are also fanciers who think that the old pigeons will take the youngsters home on those flights. When the weather is difficult you will see that the old pigeons are home in no time and that the youngsters stay away much longer. In that regard the pigeon sport is unpredictable and if you think you know it you suddenly get the lid on your nose. Our sport is simply dependent on the weather and when compiling a flight program you can never know in advance when the weather is good or not. Sometimes the beginning of March is so beautiful that everyone is eager to get started. I have also experienced that heavy snow showers fell during the same period. Just like our sport the Dutch weather is unpredictable and we have to deal with that.

Last winter I once again let myself be tempted to attend a department meeting. Of all associations there are often two delegates present of which only one has voting rights, which has to do with the number of members. The most important point was of course the flight program. For the first time they agreed to the flight program proposed by our national association the NPO. It took a lot of time before all the noses were heading in the same direction. Everyone is happy that the season started and ended on the same date throughout the country. People did not easily agree on the release sites. Dissatisfied sounds came from all corners of the season. The program would be too long and too heavy. So next winter, just like 50 years ago, we are going to come up with a new program. Certainly know that next year, after the end of the season, there will be endless discussions if at least there are enough members left because it is going completely the wrong way. I was shocked by the disappointing participation on various flights and especially the last young pigeon flights made me decide to consider how many members still participated in each club. I opted for the South Holland department. A department with many members some with a mega loft. I almost fell off my seat in surprise. There was no association with more than 10 participants, most of them had five or six. My own club only had two participants and if you don't have seven you have to take your pigeons to another club in the area. I've always been used to playing in a club with 40 - 50 members. Always plenty of fun, something that you will not easily manage in a club with fewer than 10 members. That coziness is something that I miss the most.

Three more weeks of pigeon sport and then the 2019 season in the Netherlands is a thing of the past. A season that could not to tie a rope. For the first time a national flight program. It looked promising but unfortunately little or nothing came of it. Yes, many dissatisfied fanciers and major problems for those who were responsible for the releases. You don't have to be jealous of those men for that matter. They have received buckets with comments, rightly or wrongly…. For many fanciers the program was too much of a good thing and that will set the tongues in motion again during the coming winter at the meetings. Our rapidly declining pigeon sport association is more or less over-organized. We are gradually having more board members than regular members. I am thinking of committee members, boards at departmental level, then all those boards of the many playing together and every association also has its board. Our union is bursting at the seams because of the wide variety of committees, platforms, pilots, it makes you dizzy. How does Maurice van de Kruk want to steer this in the right direction? I think that is impossible and that is why there is a good chance that all those good-looking committees will work alongside each other. Almost all people of good will with unfortunately also several figures who are absolutely not capable of their position but who like to hear themselves talk. In Noord-Holland the department directors have already indicated that they will resign at the end of the year. Too pathetic for words but that's how it goes in an amateur sports association.

This will be the hot topic this winter that will have much to do about it. I still remember that under the leadership of former chairman Jip Pancras all flying areas/departments were adjusted. That did not go without a struggle but it went on. It was necessary because the departments were too large in relation to the number of members. What was then hammered out was that the departments and districts had to be maintained in the longitudinal direction as much as possible. The strong western and also eastern wind would have far too great an influence on the course of the competitions if it became latitude flight areas. And see there ... a group of smarties have now figured out that latitude districts, or whatever you want to call it, is the solution for better and fair competitions. Dear pigeon friends, that will again cost members and so we continue to dig deeper and deeper. Of course we will now again have to deal with supporters and opponents. When there was such a hammer on flight areas in the longitudinal direction we still had 40.000 members who had not all fallen on their heads. Guaranteed there were many more experts than now in that group that still consists of 10.000 members, if they are still there?

Within the strongly aging pigeon sport there are many members who love traditions. These are the old-fashioned fanciers who want to participate with their pigeons every week. The club evenings are sacred to them, they don't want to miss the social contacts for the world. They like it when they occasionally make a nice result in their club and feel honored when they receive a cup in the winter. Those people are not trying to become national or Olympic champions at all costs. If they succeed it is a nice bonus but nothing more. They want to play every week and that is only possible if there is a flight program for traditional fanciers consisting of a flight every week. They are not commercially oriented, they do not belong to the permanent group of professional players who put everything in their power to end up with the champions at national or even international level. Because of all those extra competitions a lot of money goes into the pigeon sport. Fine but that is not important for the majority of the members who are still there. They do not come with cart loads of pigeons to play as many prizes as possible. Those scrapers still do not realize that it is they who are the pigeon sport, and in particular the fanciers hugely victimize. This cannot go on for long.

It burst out of it. Each village had its own club. The larger towns had two or more and the large cities such as Amsterdam had 30 associations with a total of 1200 members. There where I live, the Zaanstreek, were 15 pigeon clubs with almost 500 members. In Amsterdam no more 30 fanciers live in the city itself. They all live in rural areas and there are no more than 200 members total. In the Zaanstreek there are still 4 pigeon clubs with perhaps a little more than 100 members and 36 of them participated last week on the fifth young pigeon flight. Despite that the existing clubs just want to continue. Usually it is because of a single very old member who keeps fighting to keep his club within walking distance. Then he can go to the club every week with his basket, very nice. If that is no longer possible it is also no longer possible for members of that kind to play with pigeons and in this way we lose a good number every year. To maintain the pigeon sport you would say; let the existing clubs merge with each other within a certain area. From an organizational point of view that is by far the best solution. The necessary mergers have taken place in recent years unfortunately that has only cost members.

To keep the pigeon sport interesting it might be a good solution to greatly expand the number of flying areas, also known as playing together. So, for example in departments where there are now 5 circles or playing together there can be made 10 of them so you automatically get more winners. You play against fewer pigeons but that is not the most important thing for most. In the pigeon sport it is important that you defeat your best sport friend and that you at least have a pigeon in the clock sooner than your neighbor. That is pigeon sport and that is what it is all about. I know those who say that everyone can sit in front of them as long as I leave my neighbor behind. That is nice or not?

The pigeon year 2019 goes into the books as the year of failures. For the last four flights with young pigeons I had everything in focus. My young pigeons look like to get through a ring. Tight in the feathers, healthy, nice on weight and they feel like they've been pumped up a bit. In addition, most of them have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Some already have a young in the nest, some only sit on eggs for a few days, others a little longer. An almost ideal situation for an extra flame this season. I have done my best to create this situation and then the following happens. There would be a race of nearly 400 km last Saturday for which the pigeons had to be used on Thursday evening. I was completely satisfied and was ready for the fight. But what is my surprise? Because so many young pigeons were left behind most members in my club no longer wanted to participate. As a result they had to move to another club. I was not happy with that and certainly not when I heard that no association in the region could process my Tipes clock system. That's why there was only one thing to do; I had to take the basketing antenna and the atomic clock from my club. I was not in the mood for that either even when some members offered to take my pigeons and the Tipes supplies away. To make matters worse I soon heard the weather forecast and my decision was final; I would not participate. Very terrible weather was predicted for both Saturday and Sunday. The disappointment was great especially because I thought the pigeons looked so perfect. After I had unsubscribed a message came through that there would be raced Friday instead of Saturday. I have never experienced this as long as I have been playing with pigeons. A flight was planned for that same Saturday in which many inexperienced young pigeons would participate. Despite the predicted "animal weather", it would continue on Saturday. End of the song; a beautiful flight on Friday with a disappointing participation. My chance for the championship is gone. On Saturday the pigeons could not get away and was decided that same afternoon to bring the pigeons back to the premises while on Sunday it was excellent weather for the flight to continue. It looks like I will not be able to basket again in my own room for the coming weekend and that is why I am not participating in the races for youngsters. Everything done for nothing but it is my own choice not to participate. The main cause is that I cannot basket in my own club room and I have never experienced that. For me the fun is completely gone. So now I bet my old and young pigeons four times on the last speed races of this season and that is nice again because then I am certainly waiting for the arrival of some forty pigeons and that is still one of the most beautiful parts of our sport, namely the arrival of the pigeons. It will be 27 degrees with east wind and that is less fun.

That is very different from playing hard. I still remember the time when almost no young pigeons were lost. Of course there were also bad flights at the time of which not all pigeons returned but those were exceptions. Nowadays many fanciers breed twice the amount they would normally grow. They all assume that they will lose at least a quarter of their youngsters. Many fanciers would be happy with a quarter because usually there are many more. Even so much that many stop early because otherwise they are afraid not to be able to select strict enough. There is nothing so annoying to keep pigeons in winter that you don't really like. There is nothing so annoying to be forced to keep a collection pigeons that you can’t trust. Nevertheless I still maintain that we can do a lot ourselves to prevent massive losses. It is certainly not only about quality if young pigeons are left behind. Health is the most important thing but there is more to this globe. Because many pigeons are left behind we breed more. That in itself is a very good system. A lot of breeding and flying with it is very important, the basket will tells you more. The mistake is that from everything that has two wings are bred. Breeding from good pigeons gives more chance of usable pigeons. Two toppers do not automatically give toppers even though all those stories do believe that. There is still a bit of craftsmanship involved. Look at the men who always play well. They own a strain of pigeons that they know through and through. Every year they see characteristics of grandparents who have put down a good performance. They have developed their own model pigeon. They know their pigeons from head to toe, just the external characteristics often tell them enough to determine whether or not they will breed from them. It is not always the most beautiful athletes that perform the best. In the sports world there is also a clear difference between sprinters, medium-distance runners and marathon runners. Sprinters are important in cycling, but also climbers, time trialists and all-rounders. Whoever wants to be one of the great champions in the pigeon sport will have to have a loft of pigeons that possesses a variety of capacities and then you are not there yet. You should not be too scared to let the pigeons participate in the flights. With caution you will not get any further and we are certainly not allowed to turn it into greenhouse plants. The boss himself must be in control of the game. So dealing with his pigeons, a well-thought out training system, the method of feeding and what extras he should administer to his pigeons. The method of selection, the loft and, to a lesser extent, the use of all kinds of medicines are just as important.

A very old saying that is also important for young pigeons. I even want to start with the egg, it must be nice in shape and smooth. Is that not the case, they are also from your best pigeons, away with it. Both eggs have to hatch at the same time, a young that hatches a day later can leave, such a pigeon will always be late. Young pigeons have to be full and full all day long, so feeding three times a day is best, even better than "full body" every day. After every feeding the parents start feeding their young at full capacity they do so irregularly. Youngsters who try to stand on their legs early on can leave. They are wrong and will never be a good one. Squeaky youngsters can also leave quickly, they can only squeak when fed and furthermore they have to sleep a lot during the entire growing up period, then they grow best and the boss will look at it with a good feeling. As soon as they can leave the parents, they have to lie tight. Their feathers must shine, nice solid manure around the dish then they will certainly feel good too. It must be a party to wean such a boy. We will continue this next time.

We are probably working on the most difficult season ever in the Netherlands this year. Everything is upset, the weather, the release committee, the managers, the fanciers and even the pigeons. From the start of the season there is something special going on every week. That way the fun gets a bit off. In addition there are also the losses with the youngsters. The pigeons are having a hard time but this week they had it very easy with the wind in their sails, at least you would say that. Unfortunately that turned out not to be the case. With a speed of more than 130 km per hour they came rushing home. The annoying thing is that it is precisely because of this that again a lot of young pigeons flew past their lofts and ended up in the high north of our country or maybe even further. The program for the young pigeons is now running at full speed and unfortunately fanciers are already stopping because otherwise they will no longer have any young pigeons. Despite the high speed the competition was open for more than half an hour. A day later there was another flight where they again had the wind on their tails. There was a less strong wind and yet the pigeons made speeds of almost 110 km per hour. The strange thing is that this flight was open for 7 minutes and the losses were nihil. The program for the old pigeons is over but they can still participate a number of times in the natour where old and young compete against each other.

Originally those flights were created to train the later youngsters. It has been many years since someone came up with the bright idea to include those flights in the overall (general) championship. That caught on so much that enthusiasm of the fanciers was great and the number of participating pigeons became huge. Even today many fanciers are still playing at the cutting edge. In the early years I only played my hens who had served as a widow hen all year round. So at this time of the year they had another nest and the hens that had been sitting still for a long time without a nest turned out to be extremely motivated. Most of the time I played with 16 hens and experienced it several times that they all won prizes. The trick is to keep a good eye on the hens and by playing them in the nest it works nicely. Yet it is true that especially on the last flights the darkened youngsters beat the old ones. The natour is loved by many fanciers in the Netherlands. At the end of September it is over and that is a good thing because then it is almost impossible to stop the big molt and it is high time to give the pigeons rest.

When the last middle distance flights start, you can see the number of participating pigeons run back quickly. This is because many fanciers who no longer have a chance at a championship will focus on the young pigeon game. A game where previously everyone could come along well or to satisfaction. The game with the young pigeons is no longer fun either. The whole bag of tricks opens to show as well as possible. A lot is being demanded of the young pigeons while they have to work in the toughest period of the season. Often very hot and that is not an easy task for not well-trained youngsters. This year and also last year the juniors have a very difficult time. Despite everything, the losses are not that bad for me. Every now and then pigeons come home again. I am happy with that while I actually have no use anymore. Practice is that as soon as you give them again on a race a number stay away. A few weeks ago I picked up a young cock that looked so great that you could immediately play it again. I didn't do that he was able to train for three weeks around the loft. I think it was enough for him for the time being but I lost him again. His father is my best yearling this year and his mother was my best young bird last year. You see, it doesn't say everything either. Still I look forward with interest to the remaining flights. The young pigeons are increasingly forming a pair, are cuddling somewhere in a corner. Others already have eggs and a couple gave birth to the first youngster two days ago. Nice nest positions for the coming races. Performing well with young pigeons does not have everything to do with good nesting positions. Health in particular is of the utmost importance. Furthermore, two young cocks that hate each other can perform incredibly well and also a young pigeon that sees other pigeons caressing from its seat can rush away in such a way that it thunders home at a record pace. By carefully observing the pigeons you can see these kinds of things and that can be important to put the right pigeons at the top of the list of participants.

In the past winter there has been much to do about this in our country, a committee has even been set up for it. A lot has been discussed about it and a long list of all sorts of ideas and proposals has come out are of no use to us. Fair play is simply not possible in the pigeon sport. Of course it was initially only about the large numbers that are used weekly by certain members. I can imagine that such a thing discourages a lot fanciers in advance. There was talked about pros and amateurs, that would also be unfair. I know enough amateurs who play much better than the pros who owe their name to the performance of one of their pigeons. What to think of all those commercial players who think of everything to get in the picture while they are perform far below par. Older aficionados look up to men like that while practice shows that they themselves play considerably better. Those men with big names sell several times a year and always work with youngsters from only their best breeders. The more you write that, the more fanciers will believe that. Because we never had many pigeons at home we soon realized that you should not breed too much from the same (good) couples. You got too much of the same kind and that was why there was a good chance that you would grow too closely. With long-term too narrow inbreeding you often get the most beautiful pigeons, the annoying thing is that the speed is grown out of it. So we broke all breeding couples every year (we only had six). Every year the two best racing pigeons went to our breeding loft where two older breeders had to make room. That way we only had breeding pigeons that had won a first prize at least once and yet it happened several times that our best young pigeon came from the racing pigeons. All the knowledge that we think we have appears to be more luck than wisdom.

In the Netherlands heat records have been broken with some regularity in recent years. For example the past month of July was extremely hot and also the hottest month ever. Where's that going? Fortunately it receives the necessary attention worldwide. The high temperatures are far from ideal for our pigeon sport. We can gradually ask ourselves what influence that has on our sport. Large losses are partly due to these tropical temperatures and you know as well as I do that it makes no one happy. Unfortunately we cannot influence it at all but we will increasingly take it into account. Fewer pigeons are being used, we are becoming more careful so that our pigeons are less able to resist high temperatures. I myself can also not stand it if I have to hand in a few pigeons every week, I never get used to that. At the moment many fanciers have lost so many young pigeons that at the end of the season there is little to be selected so they have to keep pigeons that would otherwise be selected. I would never use such a system, I would rather have a few empty breeding boxes. I absolutely do not want pigeons in my loft that I have no faith in or do not like as a pigeon. Fortunately the worst heat is now out of our country so that we will hopefully get some nice and exciting flights before the season ends on September 13.

The speed flights for the young pigeons are over. They have met well with regard to the race for the championships. We are now going to start on a series of four flights with two nights in the basket, which means that the distances will be somewhat larger. The point now is that the pigeons know where to drink when they are on their way to the release location. If they do not drink it is fatal, in any case the chance of an early arrival is then gone. So it's about them drinking in the baskets. Fanciers who have made work of it don't have to worry. I myself am a bit too easy to do that. The only thing I did years ago to teach them to drink is to place a 70 cm long drinking trough in the cage where they, just like in the shipping baskets, have to put their heads through the bars to drink. Furthermore I assume that when they are in the basket for two nights they are so excited about drinking that they will soon imitate their fellow drinkers. I have never put young pigeons in the basket overnight to teach them to drink. I cannot judge whether I have lost pigeons as a result. It is true that the last flight I got a young hen home who had been drinking for a long time. The pigeons were released at noon so they had to stay in the basket for quite a long time. She had probably not drunk a drop and when she returned home she had lost a lot of weight. Now it was my third pigeon and two weeks before my first and then she sensed that she had not left. Next weekend they will go to 315 km, a nice distance for young pigeons. The following week 350 km and then 400 km. My experience is that youngsters who win early prizes from such distances as yearlings are often among the better ones. For the coming weeks I am confident. Marco has stopped with the youngsters. He didn't have enough time to prepare them properly which meant he had to surrender far too much on a flight. This was followed by a fourteen-day holiday so he decided to race the young pigeons on the after tour. These are six speed flights that will also start this coming weekend in which the old and young pigeons compete. Perhaps it is also an advantage that old and young are released simultaneously so that the young can use the experience that the old pigeons have already gained this season so that losses among the young pigeons will be kept to a minimum. The plans that we both had with the young pigeons fell apart. We will try again with the natour to jointly make some nice chain results. But those thoughts will live with multiple fanciers. In any case we go "full" against it.

The season is nearing its end and that means that in many lofts the big molt appears. Fanciers who have taken this into account have darkened their old pigeons in the spring so that they have only thrown two and maybe three pens at most. As a result, the widowers can simply be raced in widowhood and the widow hens that are not raced will perform great as a nest pigeon with a full wing. Those who start the after-flight with three days of eggs can play the season 6 weeks in a row on that litter. First week three days of eggs, then 10 days, then 17 days or bald youngsters, then youngsters of one week, then two weeks and the last week it is about who still has a good grip on his pigeons. If that is not the case then the aerodynamics are gone and it is over with winning early prizes. This time of year playing with pigeons in the nest has the advantage that as soon as youngsters come into the dish the molting stagnates. The pigeons can also be paired in two groups so that the first group at the end of the season can be used to reduce the youngsters so that the old pigeons hold their feathers and have a better chance of coming home at full speed. I have been playing that game for many years with great success. The pigeons have to get out twice a day including those who are sitting on the nest at that time. They must train for at least half an hour if necessary with the flag. After 45 minutes they can go inside and 15 minutes later they are fed.

We complain that so many pigeons stay away, indeed it is. Possibly due to the fairly good weather conditions I sometimes get a lost son or daughter back in the last two weeks. It is striking that they look good, they have probably been so wise to enter a different loft and have had food and drink there. I also received several telephone calls which I picked up with my wife. However, the best thing is if they come back on their own, there are pigeons that I have lost for several weeks, I like that. Practice has shown that the returned pigeons, after having flown around the house for a few weeks, are left behind after a short training flight. I am convinced that it is not always the quality that young pigeons do not come home. Weather conditions and health play an important role in this. My team of young pigeons grows bigger every week. In each case I have enough to make a strict selection. Whether they are all useful pigeons that will be in my loft this winter, I hope so. However, I have enough experience to know that they are never all good. I also never know for sure what the bad and the good are. We must all have made many mistakes in that regard.

In the Netherlands we are used to strong and sudden weather changes and our sport is often the victim of that. The past weekend was a wise decision to cancel all flights. We fanciers had a free weekend but that was not entirely true. The international flight from Narbonne where 6 cars with a total of 18.094 pigeons were at the start went ahead. Already on Wednesday the pigeons went on a journey and due to the scorching heat with thunderstorms and heavy rain the pigeons could only on Monday morning at 7.15 on their way home. I would like to stand still on the international race from Narbonne. In my eyes no more than a laugher. What the hell suggests such an international competition. The French entered with 5438 pigeons and won all the early prizes. If you see what kind of accommodation the winner lives then I am ashamed to death, what a mess! Fortunately a pigeon does not look at it, it is often satisfied with a cardboard box in which he or she can lie with her buddy. However, you will have a neighbor with a loft that is about to collapse and a garden as if a bomb has been hit. Furthermore the participation was as follows; Netherlands 3835; Belgium 7465; Germany 1160; England 75 and Luxembourg 121. Monday evening at 10 p.m. 1487 of the more than 18.000 pigeons were reported internationally, that is 8%! The newspapers will soon be full of the most beautiful stories about the national and international winners. You will win the first national in England against 75 pigeons. I do not know when it arrived, but I do know that it was not home on the day of release. In the Netherlands, Zeeland fanciers who live in the southwest of our country, came out the best. The fastest Dutch pigeon fell four hours after the first international report at 8.49 pm (963 km) and became 61st internationally which in itself is a top achievement. The first international report took place at 4.52 pm at a distance of 717 km. With the best will in the world I cannot understand what is so great about such an international race. The commercial guys certainly understand that otherwise they would not participate! As far as I am concerned; this type of unfair races soon forgot about the big difference in distances.

Our international board the F.C.I. is busy with the world championship that will be held in Argentina in May 2020. The pigeons that participate in this race are kept in quarantine in Belgium and can/must be delivered in September. There are still 20 places available for interested Dutchmen. The participation fee is 120 euros. Fancy an Argentinian adventure? Jo Vos ?? !! is the man who can show you the way. Whether there are still places available for participants from other countries has not been announced. All in all an unclear report about a World Championship for racing pigeons. By the way, I don't know what to think about a World Championship for racing pigeons. Yes, commerce and nothing more. Well, a festive dinner for the international bobos will no doubt be arranged.

The past week has been tropical in the Netherlands, which is not fun at all for many people. Temperatures of more than 40 degrees do not normally occur in our country. The KNMI weather station has been accurately tracking the highest temperatures since the end of the nineteenth century. 1943 and 1947 had also a number of tropical days, but yes, that is already 70 years ago. It is true that the average temperatures are becoming a little higher and scientist all over the world are working on that. Nature is not doing well and we humans are to blame for that. Nature cannot be regulated, certainly not by humans. For the races with racing pigeons in Europe every year we see that the weather conditions have such an influence that our beautiful and exciting pigeon game is regularly put in danger. Delayed releases, poor visibility in the early morning, heavy showers, tropical temperatures are becoming more frequent. We and certainly our pigeons are not geared to that. Perhaps we are too careful with our pigeons. In the Netherlands we really only have nice weather pigeons. We will certainly have to look for the big losses with young pigeons in that direction. It is not only the high-voltage cables and the birds of prey that cause great losses. I know that many fanciers are very serious about preparing their young pigeons and yet they lose at least a third every year including me!
We already say that a for a few years but whatever we do the losses remain large and that causes disappointed fanciers. Most of us are gray or bald and already quite old and have experienced a few things. It is precisely that aging that makes us more sentimental. We cannot stand to have to surrender too many pigeons a year, plus our national government is pretty busy spoiling our game. There are now so many flights that it is no longer fun. Every week a flight is still the best, everyone will participate. The specialization has certainly not produced any new members in the Netherlands. Worse, it has made many members decide to stop pigeon racing. With a shorter flight program of 5 vitesse flights, 5 middle distance, 5 long distance, 7 young pigeons and 5 natoer sprint races where old and young pigeons compete against each other, everyone will find what they are looking for. That is the game that has been at the base for years. All those marathon flights and too many one-day long distance flights are only interesting for a handful of participants. Today's board members who are retiring too quickly cause unrest in the organization. When existing board members resign, new ones must come and they will usually reinvent the wheel. Well intended but it has not gotten better over the last few years with regard to powerful drivers. We desperately need them, I doubt if they still exist.

You can ask yourself what the purpose of a national competition is. It must be fun to play against each other in a country with all fanciers together. Let us not be mistaken. Playing all of the same release place against each other is not fair anyway so actually not fun either. Yes, for those who achieve good results. Unfortunately the pigeon sport has more losers than winners. The differences in distance are too large even in a small country like the Netherlands. It is generally known that the wind influences the course of short flights. Nationally the wind also has (much) influence on flights of even 750 km or more. On the day of release it is easily predictable in advance on which side of the country the earliest pigeons will arrive. With a northwest wind the first arrivals will be in the southeastern part of our country. With a northeast wind, Zeeland, which lies in the southwest of the Netherlands, will clearly have an advantage. Of course a victory, especially a national victory, is something that many long distance fanciers dream of. You must have luck on your side on that day. This is also the case on all other flights of different distances. The big and most important difference is that we play per department and we have 11 of them in our country. The 11 departments are also divided into different games and the club game comes first. If you are not there early then you can shake it in larger games. Pigeon sport is a very nice game. I have been working on it all my life and I mainly look at the results in my own environment. They are also of the utmost importance to me during the selection period. Pigeons that achieve a victory in their own environment can be completely eliminated in a larger combination and that has almost nothing to do with quality. The wind and therefore the migration of the pigeons determines a good or bad result. If your neighbor picks up well you must pack well. If that is not the case then something is wrong with the health of your pigeons. It is important that you can see for yourself what is not right. If you are not yet that far advanced consult a pigeon friend or visit the vet. Pigeon sport is not that difficult, we make it too difficult ourselves. We look too much behind it, suspect others of secret means or even unfair play. Stay sporty at all times, we can all run fast but not all equally fast. This also applies to the racing performance of our pigeons. If they are healthy they must regularly play a prize. With me the performance of young pigeons does not count. A young pigeon that comes home early every week, even if it has a hump or a crooked breastbone, remains. Fortunately we all have more pigeons in our loft that do not all regularly win prizes. The most important thing for me is the first impression when I take a pigeon in my hands. For yearlings I have set the performance bar at 50%. They must achieve that minimum percentage. If not there will be no room for them in the loft coming winter. If we demand performance we have to take care of the pigeons optimally and also dare to select strictly. Certainly know that you will experience considerably more pleasure with your pigeons. Whether you will also achieve a national victory? Don't count on that, certainly not in the Netherlands where there is only 1 national flight per year.

The Netherlands is divided into 4 sectors, they are usually flights from 500 - 700 km. Here you can clearly see that you cannot all play against each other from the same release location. Sector 1 played from Chateauroux, 1003 fanciers had brought 7494 pigeons. The winner had a distance of 540 km and made a speed of 1350 meters per minute. Sector 2 played from Blois, 688 fanciers had brought 5877 pigeons. The winner had a distance of 549 km and made a speed of 1343 meters per minute. Sector 2 is a combination of South and North Holland. The first North Holland pigeon starts in place 25. Sector 3 and 4 played from Chateaudun. There was a joint participation of 1742 fanciers who had brought 13.568 pigeons. In sector 3 1411 meters (491 km) was enough for the victory. In sector 4, at a distance of 668 km was 1.407 meters enough. That is an "over flight" of 1777 km compared to the shortest distance. The winner of sector 1 would have started in 218th place with his speed in sector 3. Respect for every winner but here we see that pigeon sport is definitely not a fair game. Our national board tries to fool us that we still have 15.000 fanciers in the Netherlands, I think 12.000. Unfortunately, these are NOT 12.000 lofts but members. A total of 3433 members participated in the flights sector. I don't know what you think of that, but assuming 15.000 members, that is just over 20%. With the best will in the world I cannot find that a great participation. You can therefore wonder whether sector flights are worthwhile and the same applies to that one national flight. You can talk about a national or sectoral victory but if only 20% of all members participate, which is a good performance, but let's face it the number of fanciers participating in a national competition unfortunately does not represent that much. I give you to guess what amount Asian fanciers want to pay for such a pigeon.

A lot of tam-tam was made at the start of the new setup for female pigeon fanciers. I understand that there are more attractive prizes to win than the men which is certainly not wrong. What matters to me is the sequel. I hear little or nothing about it and have only once read an article about a flight that was held in Noord-Holland. I couldn't find anything special in it and am already afraid that the women's competition will disappear just as quickly as it came. I hope I am wrong.

I can still remember that in Belgium the national Bourges for young pigeons was really the top of the pigeon sport. Gigantic participation, a competition in which all Belgians really participated. At the then Houben family in Itegem, dozens, perhaps a hundred supporters were waiting for the pigeons. Only when the first pigeons had fallen were the supporters treated to a cold beer, great to see. The pigeon sport was incredibly popular in those years. In the Netherlands too, the villagers in particular took part in the pigeon sport. The newspapers were full of the best stories about the national winners. Also in the Netherlands we have had several years that the fanciers were looking forward to the Derby competition for youngsters from Orleans. There was even talk of the Orleans fever that had burst out. Dozens of gold watches were to win on that flight and you can imagine what it meant if you won a gold watch at that time. If you said that you had won that with the pigeons most people would not believe that. Unfortunately that competition is long gone, it would be too far. Certainly the Dutch pigeon sport owes its good name to this world famous competition for young pigeons with 150.000 youngsters at the start. I had hoped that the race would be restored this year. Unfortunately that will never come back and when it comes back it will never be that spectacular again. There are far too few fanciers and few fanciers also means few pigeons. The fairy tale is over and the once-popular sport has dropped almost to the last step of the sporting ladder. Unfortunately! Perhaps the national race from Bourges on Saturday August 5 brings the pigeon sport in a positive image again.

When I ended up in the pigeon sport, that was a long time ago, the flight program consisted of 6 speed flights. 6 middle distance flights, 5 long distance flights, 6 young pigeon flights and 5 after flights. The old and young pigeons played against each other. The long distance consisted of 4 one-day long distance flights and 1 overnight flight from Bordeaux. With that flight the season for the old pigeons ended. For many fanciers that was a sort of "clean up" flight. Almost all pigeons that had not met were put on Bordeaux and that race was usually won by a speed player, that's how it can go in the pigeon sport. Those who grabbed an early pigeon on that flight were the King too rich. It was of course very special that a pigeon that had performed poorly the entire season now managed to get it off to a successful marathon race. For many fanciers that performance was of great significance, as a result of which the pigeon was usually given a place in the breeding loft. Whether that is a good choice I do not entirely agree or, rather I do not agree at all. Pigeons that conquer a place in the breeding loft must have performed very well or it must be a pigeon purchased (for a lot of money). For me, a breeding loft must consist exclusively of own performance pigeons or what I just said, it must be a purchased pigeon. You expect something from a purchased pigeon so I always put it against my best breeder I had.

What I want to talk about now is the national flying program made by the NPO that, incidentally, came about on the recommendation of the fanciers. I started this column by giving an overview of what the flying program looked like for many years. One flight per weekend and in exceptional cases sometimes 2. I must admit that in my younger years, when I was driven to the bone, I was as fanatical as a young dog. I had to win and would rather have 5 flights in a day than 1. In those years I played with 16 widowers. The hens only competed in the last 5 races of the season. I also had 4 breeding couples that raised 2 rounds and I had 1 young from each of my 16 flying couples so that if everything went well, thirty young pigeons could start. That was pretty much because considerably fewer pigeons were lost from the sixties up to the eighties. A lot has changed in the meantime, not only for me but especially nationwide.

Youth is hardly ever added, they are busy with completely different things. They have so many possibilities that they do not embark on a time-consuming and expensive hobby such as the pigeon sport. The sport is aging, the largest group of fanciers are the pensionados and they are certainly not waiting for all those changes. They want to play their game every week. They have been used to this for many years so we should not change that. Yet that happens. The number of members is declining and that is not only due to the aging population. All kinds of working groups have been formed by the NPO for each type of game. The people who have taken part in it come up with all kinds of novelties for their category, especially more flights. People should have thought that 40 years ago when there were enough members. There were even associations that had a membership stop. Unfortunately the managers at the time did not think of aging, after all it went well and everyone was enthusiastic. Because of the working groups there are far too many flights and after only one year playing the national NPO program there are already many dissatisfied fanciers. I know you don't have to participate in everything, nothing is required. But in the past it was true that everyone participated because it was a racing program that fanciers with a small number of pigeons could play every week. The sport for the common man was affordable, now the prices rise out of the pan. It is no longer fun and that is why more and more fanciers throwing the towel in the ring. The pigeon sport is becoming too professional and commercial. The professionals with their mega lofts taking advantage from all those older fanciers who come to the room every week with their pigeons. They ensure that there are still quite a few pigeons participating in the competitions for the glory of the pros. The same professionals can then compete for the national titles and participation in the Olympiad which is held once every two years. Ridiculous, every Olympiad is once every 4 years. Not in the pigeon sport. There the commercial men can make a lot of money every two years for the pigeons or their youngsters. Fine, but that should not be about the heads of all those old gray males who often achieve a much better prize percentage than all those mass players. Those who can read a result know that. Our national board, the NPO, is contributing to this. They have forgotten what it was like or perhaps they have never experienced how cozy the pigeon sport was. Now a pigeon club consists of an average of ten members. In the golden years there were many associations that had 80 to 100 members and some even more. Then there was a fight within every club. Now it is often the same two or three that make up the service and they dare to advertise with it. They must be ashamed of themselves. No, there is not much fun left. You have to find the pleasure on your own property and that has nothing to do with whether you are a member of a club with 10 or 50 members. Pigeon sport is sport at home and the whole family can enjoy it.

In the Netherlands, the golden years are over. I am very happy that I was able to experience those years. Now we are struggling on a little. The game with the pigeons is still great fun. Every day I enjoy the care to get a good result at the weekend. Just relax in your loft, shake off all worries and be busy with your animals. The time that I wanted to play multiple flights in one day is far behind me. I don't have to think about going to the club several times a week. Friday evening is the nicest evening for me everything else could be done online. Money play is gone, so what does a result say. What matters now are the champion points, there is nothing more. We can forget large numbers of pigeons in competition, that will never come again. It just gets a bit pathetic. This week we had in my club with 22 members 6 participants for the third one-day long distance race and 3 of them did not appear in the results, it really means nothing anymore. In a little while we will no longer know in an affordable way how to take the pigeons to release places of 500 km and beyond. I don't think the NPO board is working on that. They are busy with the organization of the Olympiad to be held in 2021 in the Netherlands. That costs a lot of money while the event is only interesting for the bobos and that can never be the intention of an Olympiad. Still I hope to be there in 2 years, then I have to become 84 years old.

Many wise words have been written over the years. By highly trained fanciers, by strongly playing fanciers by everyone who cares about pigeon sport. There is (fortunately) still no manual for the pigeon sport which describes what you have to do to become and remain a champion. So it comes down to whether an fancier is a type of winner, whether he is very passionate, whether he works systematically and whether he has it in it’s fingers. If you have no aptitude to become a strong playing fancier then it will not work either. Everyone can enjoy the pigeon sport in their own way. However most of us want more. It is a competitive sport and I think everyone wants to participate every week with the intention of achieving good results. 100% effort is needed for this and a good pigeon fancier always has a good loft and good pigeons otherwise it would not be a good fancier. A visit to the loft and a conversation with a crack that has played a leading role for many years can be very enlightening. Good listening and reading makes you a lot wiser. Do not do everything that different players claim, make your own choice about care, type of game, number of pigeons. We can want everything, but it must also be feasible also for the wallet. Certainly within the Dutch and Belgian pigeon sport I know a lot of small fanciers with a simple loft (cozy for the pigeons) and they play price percentages that the mega lofts cannot match. They are all men who make very strict selections. They dare to put away pigeons and only then look at the pedigree. Names are completely unimportant for them. The only thing that counts are the performances and only then does the pedigree play a role. This is not so difficult for men who have been playing in champion style for years. They have been using a fixed care schedule for some time and if they do not do so well it certainly does not depend on that.

My feed supplier stopped. A pity, because I have been coming there for years. There is now a new owner who has drastically changed his range. He has listened (too much) to all stories about food. Our pigeons need food every day and with a very varied mix good results can be achieved on almost all flights. However the fanciers want to have a wide choice. Almost all the same grains are present in all the mixtures. I cannot see whether my pigeons eat all 28 different grains and how much of them they eat. What I mean to say; all the mixes are thought out for commerce and have nothing to do with better performance, breeding or molting. Stick to a versatile mix and the rest is totally unimportant. An old fancier once said to me; write in large letters POISON on your feed bin you oh so soon give too much of it. Then we haven't talked about the prices yet. Look and compare then you soon find out that you often pay way too much. The pigeons need fresh grit every day. No grit, no prizes. To win prizes you definitely do not need all the resources that are used to advertise so much. Keep it simple then you get the furthest. Remember that the pigeon engine runs on fat, linseed, hemp seed and 2 peanuts per pigeon each day ensure a well-filled fuel tank with the necessary reserves. Once I came to a well-known hard-playing fancier. He had 6 or 7 different bags of food. Every day he threw a canister of food out of every bag into a bucket, he shook it well and that was his secret. Laugh or not? With this he threw the expertise of the feed manufacturers overboard, he left the choice to his pigeons and they are expert enough, just like your pigeons.

I often smile when reading reports and advertisements about varieties. They know how to handle this, especially abroad. I read about Hansenne (who died more than 100 years ago). How dare you write about the pure Hansenne breed. Someone asked me what I thought of a pairing Raoul Verstraete x Gaby Vandenabeele, both have no race. They mainly bought the best pigeons in their own environment, bred from them and only keep the best. There is still no one who can tell in advance that cock on that hen will give good results in the assembly line. With lots of breeding and play the basket will tell you which ones are the best. Great breeding couples exist, that is for sure and because of that they also get those beautiful names like Super Couple, Golden breeding couple, Marathon couple and fill it in. Not one of all these couples got their name when they were first put together. Maybe only 2 years later they got such a beautiful name, do you understand what I mean? Afterwards it is always easy to talk. Although breeding couples still have such a nice name and even though they have given a super once, that couple also gives more bad than good pigeons. There come fanciers to me who have ordered young pigeons. There are those who ask me which food I give. If I tell them that I always give the same food to all pigeons throughout the year they also want to take a few bags of food from me. Dear people, that is not the case. I sell pigeons and hope that the buyers have a lot of success with it and that they will return home happy. However, I stay at home and the buyers have to do their best at home to get results. That they are not all good pigeons they buy from me is certain, but who is that the case with? Because you are never sure you have to be a huge optimist to spend many thousands of euros for a young from a couple with a beautiful name. Fortunately we have not all fallen on the back of our heads.

What a horrible spring this year. For the people, but certainly for the pigeons, it was heavy. But then it became June 21 beginning of summer and really true, the Dutch weather changed and how. We don't know where to look because of the tropical heat. At first it was always too cold, too much rain, poor visibility but with a lot of art and racing work the pigeons were released every week. Not always nice competitions but there was not a single reason for grumbling. Finally there is the long-awaited summer weather. However, it can also be too crazy and we knew that last Saturday. The one-day long distance flights were excellent and the same counted for our speed flight of 110 km for the old pigeons. Simultaneously with the old pigeons the youngsters were also released at the same place. It was their first official race and it didn't go so well. East wind with a crystal clear cloudless sky is deadly for inexperienced youngsters. In addition, many young pigeons have actually been too little in the basket for a training flight. Most do not drink and when the pigeons were allowed to go home at 8 o'clock on the way home the temperature also rose quite quickly. Nervous youngsters who are experiencing a massive release for the first time and have not been drinking get stressed. We all certainly know the result of this in the Netherlands and Belgium. That costs feathers we say and this time it came out again. Large numbers of young pigeons are not yet home, where they are is not yet fully known. Two days after the race several pigeons were registered. I myself have lost 10 of the 37 and one I just received a message that he is about 50 km away from me. I'll go get him with Cora tomorrow.

I told everyone who wanted to hear that my young pigeons looked so great. Smooth as an eel, good appetite, trained as it should. Not just laps around the loft, no they are sometimes fifteen minutes completely out of sight. If your young pigeons behave this way too you can sleep peacefully because they are super fine. Unfortunately the coli bacterium came to visit me. I realized it fairly quickly and immediately did coli cure from Dr. Van der Sluijs in the water. I know from experience that the cure is getting on quickly and after a few days I saw them redecorating. A day before the basketing day of the first official competition I was away with it. All back so no problem. Yet I made a huge mistake. Against my custom I gave in young pigeons while I knew that there would be east would with a clear sky. Participated anyway, stupid, stupid and again stupid. So now 10 are gone and I enjoyed my perfect team of youngsters for months. There is nothing sensible to say about pigeons that are gone, I know which breeding couples they come from and nothing more. Though I can tell you that there was not a young pigeon in my loft that you would say; for God's sake what should you do with it. They all got a good enough from me. Don't get me wrong that doesn't mean they were all good. You can read those kind of comments on the internet sales sites. Only youngsters from the best breeders are sold there and it is suggested that they are all good ones. That is why there are still so many fanciers who pay a lot of money for it. It is striking that almost no pigeon is bought on those sites by the Dutch. Would that be the Dutch stinginess or do the Dutch fanciers know all too well that with a sale of 100 young pigeons there is at most a handful of usable and most likely no champion pigeons, it is that difficult to breed good ones.

Last winter there was a lot of talk about fair play in our country. A working group has even been set up by the NPO to find a good solution for unlimited use of large numbers of pigeons. Now that we go to the club room every week with a basket that is no longer discussed. Nothing has changed at all. Because the first young pigeon flight with us went bad to very bad with regard to the many who stayed behind I went to see how the flights in other departments went. Almost exactly the same image. At one point I came across a department in which three big and also good fanciers play. I was shocked because of the mega number of pigeons that these three had used. These men had no fewer than 500 pigeons at the start and that in an association where 13 fanciers participate. In the Netherlands you can give as many pigeons as you want. So there is nothing wrong with the regulations. I have to think of all those small, often older, fanciers who compete with such numbers
to record. I used to say that I didn't care how many pigeons by who is used. I flew with at most 30 youngsters against 15.000 pigeons. I wanted to win and did my very best, you can't do more. Those 15.000 pigeons were used by an average of 1000 fanciers. The spread was much larger than today. In the Zaanse CC where I have been playing all my life were only 46 players last week while 20 years ago just a little 400 participated. If such a small number of participants have a set of those mega lofts then you will be despondent in advance. You can then catch a few pigeons well on time but the big boys run around 20 in front of you. This does not make any mortal happy and I think that something urgently needs to be done about this so that the fun of the game is not taken away in advance. I am convinced that the pigeon sport is digging its own grave in this way and that pit is already quite deep. The atmosphere is lost, the national organization is busy with the Olympiad and with national championships. Do they know that this is only interesting for commerce and not for those 15.000 Dutch fanciers who come faithfully with their pigeons every week. Unfortunately 95% of them play an figurate role so that the other 5% can fill their pockets. Pigeon sport is still a great hobby / sport, no sport can do without commerce. By this I mean sponsors who make it possible for the pigeon sport to continue to exist. That is different from the sale of pigeons, only that select group of commercial fanciers is wiser and not the national organization.

Of course I have experienced all kinds of bad flights in my long career. By bad I do not mean a bad result but bad weather. But I cannot remember that we had such terrible weather in spring. Too bad for our sport because losing too many pigeons makes fanciers drop out. The majority of Dutch pigeon sport consists of older people. But the older you get the more you get attached to your beasts and the harder the losses of pigeons you've been working with all winter and where you have every confidence for a good racing season. We are all working on that. We spend all our free time on it. Costs and effort are spared to optimally take care of our pigeons to bring them into the right condition every week. This year the fanciers are not bothered by the competition but it is mainly the heavy rain showers with poor visibility, thunderstorms and strong winds that are the major spoilers. Almost every week I have to write about it, it even gets annoying to complain about the weather over and over again. We are dealing with it and we will have to take it into account more and more. Unbelievable to read that it has not been so dry in Africa for the last 38 years affecting millions of people are being threatened with famine. If you think about that we have no right to speak.

Fortunately they are there, you don't want to know what kind of misery these men are currently experiencing. The pigeon sport (may we still talk about sport) consists of all individual practitioners who all have an opinion and all want to pull the sheet. There is not one that thinks about the public interest. It is everyone for themselves and that is understandable too. On flights with a disastrous race the club does not lose, it is the members who get the blows. Their hobby is threatened and they don't accept that. As a result, rightly or wrongly, very ugly comments are made to the board and, in particular, to the release committee. I assume that those people are prepared for their task. That is why I always give pigeons (if they are in good condition) because I assume that the baskets are not simply pulled open. It is not like that; weather or no weather out with those pigeons! Sometimes I have the idea that too much risk is being taken. Last weekend National Sint Vincent was held. One of the most famous marathon flights in our country. Minimum distance around a thousand kilometers. Those who have studied the weather maps know that the pigeons have had to deal with heavy rain showers en route. The same was the case in the middle distance so that the flight was open for more than five quarters. You may wonder whether this can all be viewed from the one-day long distance. In the small Netherlands we sometimes have to deal with four different weather types. Marathon or one-day long distance flights almost never have the same weather type on the entire flight line. I don't like those flights and I hardly ever play on them because I think it are risk flights. I have to be able to see what time the pigeons arrive and that is almost impossible to do on those distant flights. In addition I hate to wait a long time for pigeons, I am far too impatient for that.

Setbacks are there to be overcome. But please no setbacks in the racing season. One of the major culprits that many of us are dealing with is an outbreak of young pigeon infection with the e-coli bacteria. There are various methods to prevent an outbreak. In the meantime there is something to be done about it. You often see the outbreak only when it is too late. It starts with sitting outside of some, especially young pigeons. A coli infection with the old pigeons is also possible but fortunately not so often. In any case, I am now one of the victims among the young pigeons who have an outbreak of the e-coli bacteria. Sometimes you have to deal with it if they have been vaccinated against paramixo. I usually put two days in the drinking water a week after the vaccination. It also sometimes happens a few weeks after you stop darkening. I thought I had the leak because I have not had any problems with this nasty contamination for several years. Young pigeons in particular can be very sick of it, have no appetite, drink a lot and it is as if they have lost their wits. Young pigeons that have been infected and have flown in and out the loft many times suddenly find it impossible to find the entrance. I feel sorry for the poor animals and something that is certainly annoying is cleaning the lofts. Dirty green slimy manure that is almost impossible to get rid of your scraper. A sufficient means to prevent further infection is to burn out the loft every day. Do you suffer from this young pigeon problem do not leave the pigeons outside. Feed less than half a diet and cure the coli in the water. You should see them redecorate after three or four days. They are not all sick at the same time and not all at the same time better. My experience is that once they are healed they will not have any adverse effects. It is unbelievable that I am fully in the shit just before the start of the season. Fortunately I see them getting better. They start eating well again, the manure is getting firmer, some are still a bit 'fat' and most of them start training at home. It starts Saturday and the Wednesday before I go away with them again. Friday evening in the basket but not all go yet I think. For both the old and the young there is a flight of 100 km and that suits me very well in this case.

Both for me and for son Marco the start of the season was certainly good. Once a real spectacle and on all further flights always a ranking within the first ten. With Marco the old pigeons are doing very well even though the price percentage could be a little higher. In any case he is among the top three in sprint and middle distance. I myself did not participate last weekend. The pigeons were not in order and then you better give them at least a week's rest. In the standings for the championships I am in 6th place on the short distance and in the middle distance I was even first. Pity! Hopefully the youngsters will be okay in time. This also applies to Marco, because he too was infected with coli a few days after me. He is still young and very passionate for a pigeon man, then you can imagine that he is very sick of it and I am not cheering either. Let's hope for better weather and good results with little or no losses.

The changeable weather in the Netherlands does not make things any easier. The Saturday before Easter I had the feeling that it was autumn. Hard southwest wind with gusts of wind above 120 km per hour. In addition heavy rain showers and hailstones as large as pigeon eggs. It was decided early in the morning to postpone the two flights for a day. Others were more patient. After the afternoon the weather improved and, despite the strong wind, it was still possible to unload. For me postponing the flights on Saturday was a very good decision. But it meant that agreements fell apart because the pigeons had to come home that day. Such decisions do not do the pigeon sport any good. Many women of pigeon fanciers find that terrible and they are right too. The pigeons that were released on Saturday were blown home by the hard wind. It was important to cover the entire route. With such strong gusts of wind a pigeon only has to bump into a branch and the consequences cannot be foreseen. In the Netherlands the speed record was in the name of Coen Kat from Amsterdam until Saturday. His pigeon flew in 1957 from Orleans (550 km) with an average speed of 143.04 km per hour (2384 meters per minute). After 62 years it is broken. A pigeon from the Kamerhuis brothers from Sibculo (NL) flew 2387 meters per minute on Saturday 8 June, or 143.26 Km per hour. To improve a record you must also be lucky. That was the case that day due to the stormy southwest wind. Yet there was only one pigeon faster than that of 1957. For me it also became a record but then a depth record because my pigeons made a bad result. Our flight of 155 km was completed within 4 minutes and I clocked 2 minutes after my son who did very well and then you are halfway through the competition and that is an absolute low point for me. I am a sportsman enough to know that you cannot always win and these kinds of setbacks are also part of it. The point is that you quickly find out why they could not go along with the best on such a fast flight that day.

The disadvantage of amateur sports organizations is that managers do everything on a voluntary basis. They introduce themselves and are elected in writing at a general meeting. I doubt if sufficient information has been obtained in advance about the candidates concerned. Usually they are figures who can stir their mouths nicely as representatives of their association. They are usually well-behaved and that has absolutely nothing to do with expertise. If such people are chosen on the board you are stuck with it. Within the pigeon sport it is more or less a good habit that managers who get a little bit of headache also make their function available again fairly quickly. In that respect very appropriate for our sport, the board is exactly a pigeon loft, they fly in and out. If we look back to the past there were managers who were distinguished for their long-standing commitment to the sport. These days I cannot name one who has been a board member of an umbrella organization for more than 10 years. Our current board has already announced that they will leave at the end of the year. They are still finishing this season and do not make any effort to arrange anything for the 2020 season and there is still so much to do. Their big mistake is that they all work together. Unfortunately, the incompetence also drips off, consultation with other directors is almost impossible for them. It is all too pathetic for words. They are not men with balls and the pigeon organization can use them very well. Especially since the pigeon sport in my eyes is already arranging his own funeral. Decreasing the number of members due to an aging population cannot be helped but your commitment to keeping greyish men up to date as long as possible is a prerequisite. Spending extra time on youth is meaningless to me. The youth no longer plays outside. The youth is inside and I don't know how much time is spent gaming. They don't know how to deal with animals. Scooters, they are interested in and a car can be done as quickly as possible. It is not only the pigeon sport that is on its last legs but many other sports have to do with far too little supply from youth members. A large number of football clubs have now merged in my area. It has not been so long ago that the football clubs had fields too short, now there are far too many. The same is the case with sports halls. There was a huge lack of them, now there are two in each village and most of them are empty. At the moment it is more about gyms. The characterless youth now goes to the gym to build up a little fitness. Is because they are not used to anything. They no longer know what it is to walk or cycle. Father and mother take them everywhere by car. No, it is not going well but luckily that is not entirely true because they still exist the real go-getters who want to achieve something within the sport. I've said it before, real athletes are born, you can't make them. The real fanatic athletes call their leaders several times what time they leave and what they should think about. You have to call the weaklings several times to say that they have to make sure they arrive at the clubhouse on time and they will hear where they have to go. Unfortunately, most have never heard of pigeon sport. The big problem is that especially the national and regional newspapers no longer pay attention to it. In my home environment a weekly door-to-door newspaper appears and they are happy to post a weekly report with a photo of the winner. That way publicity is created. Whether as a result one or two new members are added each year? I think we can forget that. Despite the huge decline in members and therefore also the number of pigeons that participate every week, it remains a nice game that in the Netherlands still some 12.000 fanciers enjoy every week.

It is against all sides. The Dutch weather is not cooperating. We would officially start on Saturday 15 June but luckily the official start was postponed for a week. Many fanciers have not had the opportunity to train their young pigeons themselves. The organization has planned two training flights and they have both been canceled due to bad weather. On Saturday 22 June the young pigeons will start for the first time for a 110 km race to my loft. I hope that I have been away with the youngsters seven times. For the time being the counter is at five. The last time I left was Tuesday June 11. It would be bad weather that day but suddenly he was there, the sun! Waited for an hour and then all the pigeons in the basket and set off for a training flight of 35 km. A large group came together at the same time and then it trickled through all afternoon. In the evening I was lost 4, the next morning another was in the loft and the others are still on their way. It took the pigeons a long time to get home. That was good to see because they were certainly not refreshed that evening. The condition is so important for young pigeons. If something is wrong you will lose them. Their season is often very tough, they have their races in the hottest period of the year. This year not yet but what is not can still come. We can probably use a bit of luck. Good luck!

Nothing really new. We pigeon fanciers have known for a long time that the wind has a great influence on the shorter distances. It is almost always possible to determine in advance in which corner the early pigeons arrive. However, there are exceptions. I am an example myself. Once I won the first prize against many thousands of pigeons with a strong southwest wind. Everyone thought that was logical because I have one of the most easterly lofts in my playing area. Exactly a week later I hit again but now with a strong east wind. This flight was also a super result with 7 pigeons in the first 25 and you can't call that a coincidence. It indicates that our pigeons know better than we do where and at what height they can fly best. Exceptions are also the flight days with beautiful pigeon weather, at least we think so. Still we had to wait very long for the first arriving pigeons, not an easy flight because despite the nice weather and a distance of only 250 km the flight was open for more than half an hour. A few weeks ago it was much too cold for the pigeons and when they arrived it was finished within 7 minutes. The pigeon sport remains a bit unpredictable, therefore very fascinating and often very exciting. The Netherlands is a country with a lot of water, often wind from the westerly direction, no high temperatures and heavy showers regularly. At least it was like that for many years and that is now changing. The environment, the weather and the increasing temperatures are subject to change. Especially last year, many temperature records were broken and a striking amount of wind from the east and when it rained once it really rained. Yesterday, Easter Monday, another heat record was broken, more than 28 degrees. Since measurements have been taken, it has never been so hot during Easter. Our pigeons also have to deal with all these changes. Whether that's a disadvantage, I don't think so. Our pigeons are flying faster and faster. Top speeds of 130 km per hour have still not been broken, although the average speed is considerably higher than 20 years ago. Then we said to each other that with a strong north wind the fastest pigeons would always make 1000 meters per minute (60 km per hour), which we can forget in recent years. With head wind the winning pigeons easily reach 80 km per hour. On the other hand there used to be many more competitions that ended within 5 minutes. The typical thing is that we almost never experience this again.

By reading it well there is much to learn. You can see how Jantje or Pietje has performed, that is nice but you will not get further. Read from which angle the wind blows and see at which angle the fastest pigeons arrived. Read how many pigeons a fancier have brought along and see how many pigeons or rather how much percent prize they play. Also pay attention to which signed people take the lead. The little fanciers are more likely to grab a signed pigeon than the crowd. Grabbing a signed pigeon does not say everything, it must be in the results early. A designated championship used to be very highly regarded. In my eyes it doesn't mean much. A "regular" pigeon is almost always at the top and there are still fanciers who do have a number of regular pigeons and they are hard to beat for a designated championship while it has little or nothing to do with knowledge. As strange as it sounds I am still in favor of the non-designated championship. To achieve that you have to catch an early pigeon every week. In the ZCC where I play it is made a little bit harder. There you must for every ten pigeons clock one. So 13 with it 2 clock. The champion points that the two pigeons have achieved are added and divided by 1.3. If a fancier has 24 with then he must have 3 clocked and those points are divided by 2.4. The person with the most points at the end of the ride may call himself a champion. There are more champions in Belgium than in the Netherlands, but beware of that, it is not in better pigeons but in more game possibilities. We know short distance game, in Belgium they play short distance short and short distance long. They also do this with the middle long distance. The one-day long distance, the young pigeons and then there is also a difference in old pigeons and yearlings plus that previously they also raced separately with hens. From a commercial point of view that is a good system because in Belgium they therefore have many more regional and also national champions. In addition there are considerably more national flights in Belgium than in the Netherlands and it is generally known that a pigeon has added value if the letters NAT (national) can be placed for the performance. By reading the results well you will increasingly find out how relative all those extra terms are. In this way we see that commerce is playing an increasingly important role in our pigeon sport and that is actually a strange matter with a hobby/sport that gets fewer and fewer practitioners and therefore considerably fewer pigeons in the competitions.

It just depends on how you view the pigeon sport. Do you want to enjoy your pigeons or are there dollar signs in your eyes? I am a fan of the old stamp. I can intensely enjoy a beautiful pigeon that also regularly performs well. Others think directly about selling opportunities when achieving good performance. This is not how it works in practice. Only those with 100% commitment, a strict selection and good performance will play a role. That gives a very good feeling. It is a reward for a year to put everything in order to reach the top. Fortunately there are still fanciers who fully enjoy their hobby if they occasionally grab a pigeon at the top of the result. Dealing with pigeons, taking care of them, trying to breed valuable young ones yourself gives satisfaction. Our hobby is dealing with your pigeons for a whole week. At the end of the week the probability calculation for the coming flight and then on the race day the tension can sometimes be cut until the first pigeon arrives. That is often a spectacle that give you goosebumps. Certainly if it concerns a pigeon that you did not suspect he would come home that day first and even very early. Or it is the pigeon that you first expected. That is an experience in itself. From now on we will be working on the flight every week and everything that goes with it. Remember, nothing goes without saying, so if everything goes well the rest will (almost) come naturally. Good luck!

Even though it was just a training flight it is always exciting the first time. The Dutch weather was not satisfactory on Saturday, the visibility remained insufficient and yet they intended to release the pigeons at half past one. Unfortunately, by that time the sky closed completely and the flight was postponed until Sunday. Sunday in the early morning it was foggy especially in the south. As a result people had to wait until half past ten and then the crowd set off. There was a strong cold north-east wind so that the pigeons had to pull it hard this first race. The fastest pigeons were on the west side with winning speeds of well over 80 km per hour. In the Zaanse CC there were 1152 pigeons of which I had 18 of the 24 in the result, son Marco took 20 of the 36. In the club against 374 pigeons we had 20 together in the first 40 starting with a third place . The cock that achieved this was as a youngster 1st pigeon champion and as a yearling he also played a first in a large context. It was a super-fast flight, the 288 prizes were earned in 5 minutes. Despite this easy flight 7 of the 18 fanciers in my club did not win a prize. Fortunately we have an A and a B group in the club which means that a number of members are still in the B-result. After all it is not a good thing that almost half of the members do not play a prize and this time it was certainly not due to the location. The west side was in favor, furthermore early pigeons were clocked throughout the region. So everyone has a chance to get into the results. Next Saturday the first official flight.

This season too, the same names will often take the lead after 5 weeks of play that's how it has been for many years. Fortunately a new star presents itself every year and often it disappears just as quickly as it came. They are also always the same who visit the vet almost weekly, they are always the same who complain. They are always unlucky while trying so hard. You probably know the expression of; I do everything to it and it still doesn't work. I sometimes say; maybe you are doing everything wrong. If you hear what they all give their pigeons for remedies then it cannot go well either. Those who play the worst do a lot more about their pigeons than the men who play strong all the years. The lesser gods make it far too difficult for themselves and think that the champions have secret remedies. No, those men keep it very simple. They dare to throw away pigeons without looking at those complicated pedigrees. I remember the time when it was about the pigeon. Now it has not been important for years, it is now a pedigree that has been printed in 4 colors that is also full of meaningless names and then in the fourth or fifth generation you finally see the pigeon you have heard about before. But what do we do with such a pedigree. There is also someone like that in my club who has pedigrees that go back to Napoleon's days and he knows them all out of his mind too. Maybe that is also a hobby. We also know the fanciers who are always unfavorable. They find fanciers who play with a large number of pigeons unsporting and so on. The most important thing is that you have to be in control of the game with pigeons and that you show 100% commitment. The best is fixed care time which is also nice for your pigeons. Everything at set times brings optimum condition. Don't get too much fuss. Beware of overcrowding especially with the young pigeons. Warm dry lofts are fine, too much sun is dangerous. Close the curtains because too much sun burns oxygen from the loft. The pigeons get nasty noses and breathing problems so that you can no longer play a noteworthy prize. Pigeon sport is really not that difficult, do what is necessary and put your ear to the ears of strong players. The men at the bar often have nothing meaningful to say, but while enjoying a beer they can often tell very strong stories. Remember that they are stories and you don't get along with that or do you still believe in Sinterklaas?

For most of us the breeding season is almost over. The young pigeon lofts are filled and then it is better at this time of the year to add nothing more. I myself have them all of the same age and it is a feast for the eyes to sit there for twenty minutes a day. I enjoy it immensely and I did that even when they were still in the nest. What a beautiful sight all that youngsters was when they were between two and three weeks old. Full heads and they are glistening against you. This year I didn't have a nest with thin or weak manure. The first round a few unfertilized eggs, but not one after that. You can notice that early breeding is certainly not natural. At this time of the year almost everything succeeds and when we have high summer the eggs will even hatch in the pocket of your dust coat.

Also in time when most of us didn't have a car the pigeons were trained several times. We went with a few fanciers on the bike to bring pigeons away. Never far, we went by ferry across the North Sea Canal to Amsterdam West, at most 16 km and that was it. We did that several times and all those times we usually took a cup of coffee on a terrace and soon afterwards another drink followed and then back on the bike, it was a good time. Now we all have our own car and way of training pigeons. I know those who go more than 100 km from home, that is not for me, not now and never been. Now I am not allowed to drive a car anymore, my wife does that and she really does not go further than 35 km, is also more than sufficient. This week I spoke to someone who had bred no less than 25 summer youngsters in the summer of 2018. Why I did not understand and he probably did not. In any case he brought them all with him last week. They had never been in the basket of their short lives and now he also had the misfortune that they had to stay two nights in the basket because of the bad weather. The old pigeons came home everywhere as fighter jets except for the inexperienced pigeons who had a hard time. Probably not drunk in the basket, then they will irrevocably have to deal with stress. The latter is very bad for the orientation ability. They go looking, don't fly in the right direction and you guessed it, twenty out of 25 away. You've been watching that all winter. You have cared for them and in one fell swoop everything is gone. Stupid, stupid, that's all I can say. If you say something about it, they get angry too. There are those who unfortunately never learn!

We are going to start. No apologies such as no time or other excuses, whoever does not have the affairs in order is lagging behind and it is not easy to make up for the delay. Are the pigeons in the right condition? I don't want to talk about an optimal condition yet because the season is still long. Have you been to your pigeon doctor with a few pigeons to have manure tests done? A throat swab and perhaps some contraceptive drugs brought along to intervene immediately if something is not right. I myself always have medication from Dr. Van der Sluis at home against ornithosis and cancer plus condition mix that I do in the drinking water every Wednesday and Thursday. My old pigeons have not been darkened which is why I have already found some flight feathers among the hens. Furthermore, I am not so satisfied with the hens. I should have kept them a little tighter. They fly well but come in too slow. When they see me they fly towards me, walk around as if they want to mate with me. They are too lush if you understand what I mean. So they have been put on ration since otherwise eggs will come in a few weeks and we are not waiting for that. If that happens later in the season I don't mind, I even have good experiences with widow hens that have eggs. I certainly do not encourage it and try to stop it for as long as possible with less fat-rich feed because hens that are going to mate with each other also upset the other hens and that is definitely at the expense of performance.

If you want to be one the first flight immediately then you must have prepared everything to perfection and that is easier said than done. Because I am no longer allowed to drive a car I have to rely on my wife's help. She has been away with the pigeons three times and that is not enough. To bring them farther away, so more than 50 km, is not necessary. The pigeons know much better than we do what the fastest (shortest) way home is. It is about getting used to the basket again and also gaining some flying rhythm. Often in the Netherlands the weather is the big breaker. My plan was to take the pigeons away several times, but rain, fog, low temperatures and cold north wind make sure that we have to adjust the plans many times. Pigeons can do more than we think, but I am in favor of being careful, especially at the start of the season.

No winter youngsters this year. My young pigeons have been outside since a week. I have made a runway for them and it is full of young pigeons every day. I have 35 and they cannot all sit on the sputnik at the same time. Most of them now fly to the roof of the loft. In the morning they get food at ten o'clock, I do because they will soon be allowed to go outside at nine to train for an hour. Now I leave them outside all day and don't look back. Next week Dr. Van der Sluis approached me to vaccinate all youngsters including Marco's against paramixo. A month before the young pigeon season starts (mid-June) I have the manure examined so that I can intervene if something is wrong. I used to panic when some young pigeons flew to the roof of the neighbors. I was able to go up on the roof so scared I was going to lose them. Over the years I have become much easier in that. I now also live freely, few houses in the immediate vicinity, so little can happen. A few years ago I was bothered by the birds of prey that many young pigeons have eaten. Fortunately that was already a few years ago. I no longer see them and it is almost certain that it is because of the many magpies and jackdaws that nest in my immediate surroundings. I am very satisfied with my young pigeons, they are beautifully tight and produce nice dry manure. Today, April 3, I am going to start darkening because I found two pins this morning and that is not the intention, I want to keep my youngsters under good care for as long as possible. At least they can now start molting the small feathers, but they must hold the flight feathers. I darken from a quarter to eight in the evening to a quarter to nine the next morning. Thirteen o'clock twilight/dark and I will keep that up until the end of June. In a week it will be done for them, then they will no longer be allowed outside the whole day. I then switch over to an hour of training twice a day and a few weeks later the flag goes on and they have to train twice an hour in full every day. A few weeks later the flag is no longer needed, they know exactly what is expected of them. In the morning from 9 am to 10 am and in the afternoon from 6 am to 7 pm they go out, then eat after training and 45 minutes later the curtains close.

Then the start of the Dutch season. It is still a training flight, the clocks are being tested and there are some nice prizes to be won in the club. The first clock flight is very important. After all, it is immediately tested whether all basketed pigeons are on the vaccination list and whether the pigeons are in the name of the participant. If that is not the case then the pigeons will not get into the basket and certainly not in the results. Safety is therefore very important. Previously, so-called "in fly pigeons" were allowed. They were then simply put in the basket. The NPO quite rightly put a stop to that. It is now no longer possible to use pigeons that are not registered by name and the organization now also knows that all pigeons used have had the compulsory vaccination against paramixo. Flight pigeons are placed in separate baskets but go into the basket via the antenna so that those pigeons are also checked.

Often we Dutch have to gamble to take the pigeons away in certain weather conditions. Some fanciers dare to take very large risks with all the consequences that that entails. For example, I have already spoken some fanciers who have already suffered some losses. Cause still brought pigeons while the visibility was not good. Others resolved between the showers and then you ask for problems. I even spoke to one who lost 7 in one day, his other pigeons came home throughout the day. I myself had two late comers on the last training flight of 20 km with my best young hen from last year. She flew against something this winter, breaking her breastbone. I always let her go separately so that she could fly around in peace, even if it was only a few minutes. She has been cured for several months but you can clearly see that her breastbone has been broken. She is a beautiful hen who won twice a first prize. I paired her with a young cock who also won a first prize twice in 2018. Of course I have two youngsters. The question now is, will I play her or not. If she can't handle it, it is quite possible that I will already have lost her on Saturday. I certainly give her, I take that risk. If she's home late again I don't know what to do with her. I hate pigeons that fail something. There is actually no place for me for the disabled, not even in the breeding loft.

In my younger years when I was still active in cycling we agreed to make as many kilometers as possible from 1 January. That in preparation for the season that started at the end of March at that time. My club was the organizer of the oldest cycling classic “De Ronde van Noord-Holland” over 225 km and to be able to ride that one-day classic well I wanted to have between two to three thousand kilometers in my legs. This preparation cannot be compared with the current method of care, eating, training, resting and so on. We did our utmost but it didn't really make sense, we just fiddled around. However, the way we train also led to the condition and the Netherlands had many good riders. The same thing happened with the pigeon sport. Everything is more and more scientifically substantiated and pigeons are also the first requirement; make miles. I like to keep the pigeons outside for an hour even in the winter months. Now that we are on the eve of the new season the regularity is used, everything in and around the loft happens at set times. In the meantime I have started bringing the pigeons to a maximum of 40 km. In the coming period the weather forecast looks good so that the pigeons can be taken away several times so they get better and better in their flight rhythm. On Saturday April 6, we have the first and last training flight is in which all members of the club participate. The clocks are then tested and there are some nice prizes to be won. The following week is the official start where especially the speed players live to, to strike on the first the best flight right away.

Because I started breeding later this year the start of the new season looks slightly different. I used to pair my pigeons for a second time. I figured it out that on the last training flight I had eggs for about 6 days. When the pigeons came home that Saturday the nests were empty so that the pigeons knew it was done with breeding. The next morning I brought the hens to their loft. They were less nervous because they knew their eggs were gone. If you don't do that they will hang on the door for the first two days because they want to go back to their breeding loft where the eggs are in the nest. Now they are separated for more than a week and will not meet again. From the first flight they go on widowhood. Because of the training with own car they have been shown several times so that they know how the widowhood game works. What I have noticed is that the pigeons touch down at once on the sputnik of the old pigeon loft. If they come home from a training flight then they touch down on the sputnik of the young pigeon loft. It can be explained somewhat because they are almost all yearlings and so as a youngster they had to enter last year all flights the loft of the youngsters. They have not simply forgotten that. We all know the situation of a pigeon that has sometimes been somewhere else for two years, than being placed in its old loft and flying back into its old breeding loft without any problems. In any case I also leave the sputnik of the young pigeon loft open during the first flights so that they can enter wherever they want. With me they must first enter before they are registered. By most fanciers the antenna is under the flap so that they are registered immediately as soon as they arrive. My own is therefore somewhat disabled. I often tell my friends; then they have to fly a little harder to stay ahead of the competition.

Or is it just a matter of the right amount. There is often something mysterious about food and feed. Both are in any case parts of the pigeon sport that do count. It seems logical to me that every fancier
know that a pigeon that makes many kilometers per race also needs more and heavier feed. Fats are especially important on those flights. On the speed flights of no more than three hours of flying no reserves are called to account for, which means that the pigeons need a less fat-rich feed. The art of feeding lies with the fancier himself. I once gave my pigeons feed of 10 guilders (4.5 euros) per bag of 25 kilos. It was certainly not a nice food. To the surprise of many my pigeons flew every week at the top. I kept them tight until Wednesday morning. In the evening I added a lot of candy seed supplemented with hemp seed. The following morning they received a double portion of food. The same evening they got a full bowl and were allowed to eat what they wanted for half an hour. Friday morning half a ration and in the afternoon a few more hands of candy seed on the floor. They felt like bullets and arrived like rockets on Saturdays. At that time I only played with cocks in widowhood and even had a year in which I played 100% prize for six consecutive weeks. Now I give the most expensive food there is. Nevertheless, I do not make such results as then and that while there are now also far fewer fanciers and therefore fewer pigeons in the race. Everything can change that quickly or is it be because the boss changes? I really can't complain and am certainly satisfied with the results as it has been in recent years. My pigeons look perfect and if I occasionally read the pedigree cards then it should be a good year this year. There is no other way with such pigeons that have several first prize winners in their pedigree! However, there will be more people who feel that way. The most important thing is still good pigeons and a good coach. Everything else is a side issue.

At the KBDB (Belgium) 22.000 transactions have already been processed this year. Why? The renewed sports regulations state that pigeons may only be entered in competitions registered in the name of the participant. In the Netherlands the NPO has decided the same. All pigeons that go into the basket must have over the basket antenna. All pigeons are entered in the clock from the graft list. The proof of ownership has also been checked so that the organization knows that all participating pigeons have received the compulsory vaccination against paramixo. The last three years my son and I have ordered a series of rings for both of us. Because of this I am now obliged to put my pigeons which are now in the name of Marco's in my name which has since happened. According to the new method it is now impossible that a fancier can play with other pigeons.

In that respect not much has changed in the pigeon sport. Everything has to be arranged at the very last moment. For example, there was our club members' meeting last week. The next day the Noord-Holland department met and another day later it was the turn of the members' council with the entire NPO board. If you ask me a little too much of the good especially for directors and delegates. In my club nothing has been arranged yet for the new season, incomprehensible but true. Nevertheless I am convinced that maybe with some improvisation we will start on 13 April. At our department meeting the first hour was only debated about the greatly increased freight rates. No one is really happy with a price increase of 30% especially the elderly among us, and most of them are. At the national meeting it was mainly about the long distance and marathon flights, every year all kinds of changes have to take place there. I can understand that somewhat the annoying thing is that only 15% of Dutch fanciers participate in all those distant flights. I even heard that the province of Limburg did not participate in some flights because they did not get their way. It is true that most votes apply and then it is normal for people to accept that. Organizational problems have arisen between the South and North Holland departments during the winter season, there would no longer be any question of cooperation. Noord-Holland now wants to do a few flights together with the Central Netherlands but North Holland fanciers are not happy about that. The central part of the Netherlands is too eastern and that would give too many advantages for fanciers there because in the Netherlands the wind mainly blows from a south to northwest wind. Here too it is about one-day long distance flights. Another important point was the debate about the minimum number of members that an association should consist of. More than 25 years ago there was even a membership stop at our association with 40 members because our room was not big enough. Now clubs have to be on their knees and pray and beg to get new members. There are currently clubs that only consist of about 6 members and that is not enough for the safety of a competition. Clubs are therefore more or less forced to work together or even to merge, not in itself a bad thing that must be realized by 2021 at the latest. In any case with the new national flight program there are plenty of opportunities for all members to participate in all kinds of flights over a period of six months. At the end of the season, everything can be evaluated so that changes can be made from October to February and not, as it has now largely gone, everything at the last minute. Just talking is not enough, decisions must also be made.

After a few setbacks I have to say that we are extremely satisfied with our breeding results. The youngsters of the first and second round came up nicely. They looked beautiful especially at the age of more than three weeks. Two youngsters in the nest with well-filled heads and nice dry manure next to the dish. They were fed three times a day so that they did not lack food all day and night. My racing hens have been transferred to the young pigeon loft with one of their youngsters and the hens are leaving at the end of next week and will no longer be coupled for a second time. From March 22 the racing pigeons are in widowhood and if the weather permits the cocks are released twice a day and the hens once. From May all pigeons are released twice a day. The hens at 7 o'clock, the widowers at 8 o'clock and the young pigeons at 9 o'clock, the ritual starts from the beginning at 4 o'clock the hens, at 5 o'clock the cocks and at 6 o'clock the young pigeons that will be from mid-April darkened 13 hours a day. The curtains remain open 24 hours a day from the longest day. All pigeons are allowed in the bath every Wednesday. The pigeons are fed every day after training and get fresh water twice a day. There is always something extra in it from Monday to Thursday. Do not imagine too much of that, we do it because we have been doing it for years and have a good feeling about it. Especially if the pigeons perform satisfactorily nothing but nothing is changed.

The young pigeons are currently in the young pigeon loft with their mothers. It is unbelievable how many times some hens feed the young and yet there are always a few hens who no longer look after them or the other young. All the young are lying close together in the straw in a corner. The food and water trough are placed against the layer of straw so that the youngsters quickly understand where they can grab water and food. The first days I keep an eye on them all drinking. Those who do not can be recognized by blinking eyes, that indicate they are thirsty. Youngsters that
not or insufficient food have bad luck because I do not help them. My experience is that young pigeons eat independently much earlier than we think, they really don't die that fast. If the others eat well then those who do not eat will not be that smart and we do not need such pigeons. Everything has to be right and luckily that is currently the case. Soon they will be vaccinated against paramixo what you can do best at the age of four to six weeks, then they will suffer the least. In the not too long time they will use the wings more intensively because pigeons basically hate sitting on the ground. I keep a close eye on which pigeons are first at the top of the seats. They are all of the same age, with a difference of three days at most. I even note the ring numbers of the pigeons that are first at the top and my experience is that they are usually the better ones. So don't think I remember that, write down everything that you think might be important. We forget more than we remember.

The board of the Belgian pigeon sport the KBDB is just like a pigeon loft, they fly in and out. The then elected national government has not survived for a year. A few days ago at the national meeting two more important managers flew out of the KBDB loft. New drivers were already ready so there seems to be intention in the game. In any case not a good thing at the start of the Belgian sports season. Yes, you read that right in Belgium the season has started. At least on paper, the first speed races would be held in the weekend of 10 March. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. Rain and strong winds with even gusts of wind of more than 100 km per hour ensured that the Belgian pigeons were given a week's rest. In administrative terms it is just as bad as the weather. The internationally renowned Dutch fancier Jan Hooymans (known for his sadly deceased top pigeon "Harry") will measure his strength at European level on various on loft races. He also tries to conquer the Netherlands by placing an extra loft under the name "Team Hooymans NL" with Christian van de Wetering in Wijk and Aalburg, who has been making furore with pigeons from his boss Jan Hooymans for many years.

In that respect not much has changed in the pigeon sport. Everything has to be arranged at the very last moment. For example, there was our club members' meeting last week. The next day the Noord-Holland department met and another day later it was the turn of the members' council with the entire NPO board. If you ask me a little too much of the good especially for directors and delegates. In my club nothing has been arranged yet for the new season, incomprehensible but true. Nevertheless I am convinced that maybe with some improvisation we will start on 13 April. At our department meeting the first hour was only debated about the greatly increased freight rates. No one is really happy with a price increase of 30% especially the elderly among us, and most of them are. At the national meeting it was mainly about the long distance and marathon flights, every year all kinds of changes have to take place there. I can understand that somewhat the annoying thing is that only 15% of Dutch fanciers participate in all those distant flights. I even heard that the province of Limburg did not participate in some flights because they did not get their way. It is true that most votes apply and then it is normal for people to accept that. Organizational problems have arisen between the South and North Holland departments during the winter season, there would no longer be any question of cooperation. Noord-Holland now wants to do a few flights together with the Central Netherlands but North Holland fanciers are not happy about that. The central part of the Netherlands is too eastern and that would give too many advantages for fanciers there because in the Netherlands the wind mainly blows from a south to northwest wind. Here too it is about one-day long distance flights. Another important point was the debate about the minimum number of members that an association should consist of. More than 25 years ago there was even a membership stop at our association with 40 members because our room was not big enough. Now clubs have to be on their knees and pray and beg to get new members. There are currently clubs that only consist of about 6 members and that is not enough for the safety of a competition. Clubs are therefore more or less forced to work together or even to merge, not in itself a bad thing that must be realized by 2021 at the latest. In any case with the new national flight program there are plenty of opportunities for all members to participate in all kinds of flights over a period of six months. At the end of the season, everything can be evaluated so that changes can be made from October to February and not, as it has now largely gone, everything at the last minute. Just talking is not enough, decisions must also be made.

After a few setbacks I have to say that we are extremely satisfied with our breeding results. The youngsters of the first and second round came up nicely. They looked beautiful especially at the age of more than three weeks. Two youngsters in the nest with well-filled heads and nice dry manure next to the dish. They were fed three times a day so that they did not lack food all day and night. My racing hens have been transferred to the young pigeon loft with one of their youngsters and the hens are leaving at the end of next week and will no longer be coupled for a second time. From March 22 the racing pigeons are in widowhood and if the weather permits the cocks are released twice a day and the hens once. From May all pigeons are released twice a day. The hens at 7 o'clock, the widowers at 8 o'clock and the young pigeons at 9 o'clock, the ritual starts from the beginning at 4 o'clock the hens, at 5 o'clock the cocks and at 6 o'clock the young pigeons that will be from mid-April darkened 13 hours a day. The curtains remain open 24 hours a day from the longest day. All pigeons are allowed in the bath every Wednesday. The pigeons are fed every day after training and get fresh water twice a day. There is always something extra in it from Monday to Thursday. Do not imagine too much of that, we do it because we have been doing it for years and have a good feeling about it. Especially if the pigeons perform satisfactorily nothing but nothing is changed.

The young pigeons are currently in the young pigeon loft with their mothers. It is unbelievable how many times some hens feed the young and yet there are always a few hens who no longer look after them or the other young. All the young are lying close together in the straw in a corner. The food and water trough are placed against the layer of straw so that the youngsters quickly understand where they can grab water and food. The first days I keep an eye on them all drinking. Those who do not can be recognized by blinking eyes, that indicate they are thirsty. Youngsters that
not or insufficient food have bad luck because I do not help them. My experience is that young pigeons eat independently much earlier than we think, they really don't die that fast. If the others eat well then those who do not eat will not be that smart and we do not need such pigeons. Everything has to be right and luckily that is currently the case. Soon they will be vaccinated against paramixo what you can do best at the age of four to six weeks, then they will suffer the least. In the not too long time they will use the wings more intensively because pigeons basically hate sitting on the ground. I keep a close eye on which pigeons are first at the top of the seats. They are all of the same age, with a difference of three days at most. I even note the ring numbers of the pigeons that are first at the top and my experience is that they are usually the better ones. So don't think I remember that, write down everything that you think might be important. We forget more than we remember.

The board of the Belgian pigeon sport the KBDB is just like a pigeon loft, they fly in and out. The then elected national government has not survived for a year. A few days ago at the national meeting two more important managers flew out of the KBDB loft. New drivers were already ready so there seems to be intention in the game. In any case not a good thing at the start of the Belgian sports season. Yes, you read that right in Belgium the season has started. At least on paper, the first speed races would be held in the weekend of 10 March. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. Rain and strong winds with even gusts of wind of more than 100 km per hour ensured that the Belgian pigeons were given a week's rest. In administrative terms it is just as bad as the weather. The internationally renowned Dutch fancier Jan Hooymans (known for his sadly deceased top pigeon "Harry") will measure his strength at European level on various on loft races. He also tries to conquer the Netherlands by placing an extra loft under the name "Team Hooymans NL" with Christian van de Wetering in Wijk and Aalburg, who has been making furore with pigeons from his boss Jan Hooymans for many years.

Everything is possible but it is certainly not easy. It is just how you want to experience the pigeon sport. The start is usually wrong but moving. Many fanciers have started with a stray pigeon. Nice to feed such a creature so that she keeps coming back again and again. It would be even more fun to grow a few youngsters yourself, so for the stranger a male or female is sought. To breed a few youngsters little knowledge is needed, the pigeons go their own way. They build a litter and after 17 days of breeding the young come out of their egg. After 4 weeks the pigeons are mature and will explore the area. After some time they will keep flying around the loft for half an hour. That's fun and the whole family lives with it. There is usually one in the family who will then go deeper into the pigeon racing event. Most family members have heard that pigeons come back home from afar. This is of course tried with the parents and their young. One of the family members then occasionally takes the pigeons to school or to work and when they return home the pigeons have also been home for a long time. That is fun and the pigeons are getting further and further away and the whole family is amazed that the pigeons come back again and again. It is great that the pigeons always know the way home and they are thinking about the speed at which they will do so. If there is now so much interest, in many cases is thought to become a member of a pigeon club to participate in the competitions and see if their pigeons come home as quickly as those of the other members. It often turns out that their strangers legion speed is too short. If the ambition remains, it must change and people look for other faster pigeons and that is the beginning of a new family hobby. It would be nice if the whole family stays interested. The practice is often different because after some time pigeon racing does not seem so easy.

From a pure hobby it becomes more and more a sport. It usually appears that participating in the races is the best, the most fun and the most exciting. Care is intensifying so that not all family members remain equally enthusiastic. The others will read more about it, within the family there will be a conversation about the pigeons as if it is the most normal thing in the world. Especially against the competition weekend it is about the probability calculations. On the competition day the whole family is on the lookout and waiting for the arrival of the first pigeons. Because each family member has given up the ring number of his or her favourite pigeon they are all waiting for their winning pigeon. That way there is always a race within the family. The tension can then be cut because it is about who his pigeon is first at home. Then comes the moment that a pigeon emerges from the airspace like a comet. Everyone holds their breath because now she has to go inside. Nowadays the pigeon clocks itself because the electronics have also entered the pigeon sport. On the display of the clock the ring number of the pigeon can be read and at that moment it is known who of the family that day is the winner. In this way many sportsmen started. There are those who continue to see the pigeons as a hobby, there are also those who want to win with all their might, they want to perform better and better. Pigeon sport was in the seventies and eighties in the Netherlands even a general national sport with more than 100,000 members, all with their own supporters. The once popular sport has now changed into top class amateurs, specialists and professionals. There are currently worldwide professional fanciers who have considerably enriched their pigeons through the internet. For the layman unbelievable, especially because for many our sport is an unknown sport and we owe that to ourselves. Pigeon sport is that old man with a cap on, slippers and wrapped in a grey dust coat. It is only old men who still keep pigeons. Unfortunately it goes that way and that is why it would be nice that the "old bite" try to interest their grandchildren for the pigeon sport. Unfortunately practice is completely different. The youth has other interests, they have much more possibilities than when we were young.

I think so and we as older fanciers can do much. When I was young and very passionate I kept my children away from my pigeons. A lot of time and attention went to the pigeons and when other children went to the beach with their parents on Saturday or Sunday those of me stayed home because the pigeons had to come. In their eyes pigeons were definitely not fun. I once wrote a book waiter the racing pigeon sport in my region and I mentioned many names of old and deceased pigeon breeders. Because of the advertising that was made for my book children and grandchildren came to buy the it because their father, grandfather or uncle came in for it. When I asked them what they thought of the pigeon sport I did not get a positive answer. Most people found the hobby of dad terrible. Not only me, others also kept their children away from the pigeons. Understandably that there was such a reaction. The strange thing is that my grandchildren were allowed to come into the pigeon loft and then I realized that we fanatical pigeon fanciers have placed the importance of our hobby above that of the family and now that we have found out it is (almost) too late. However, salvation is still possible.

A lot of fun for today's youth but in reality it's a disaster. What is happening in the electronic age is almost impossible to follow for many elderly people. The youth, even the smallest, have no problem with it, we the elderly are even a bit afraid of the computer. The youth does not move anymore or at least far too little. They have insufficient knowledge about keeping and caring for animals. This is partly due to the fact that animals can no longer be kept at and in many homes. In a following article I would like to describe how my son Marco has become enthusiastic about the pigeon sport and how we now practice the pigeon sport together and how I used to do that with my father. It is and remains a nice hobby at home, even now I am almost 82 years old I still have a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I have no grandchildren who are active within the pigeon sport. There are a few who now live on their own and then the time is ripe to give them a few pigeons for their children. Who knows, then they will have the same thing with them as I started this column with. TO BE CONTINUED.

In the weekend of 2 and 3 March the now traditional spring fair will be held in Houten near Utrecht. This will unload the unofficial starting shot for the new flight program established by the NPO which will start in the first weekend of April. This means that a considerable number of folds have to be smoothed out in the month of March. The exhibition itself attracts many foreign visitors every year. The last purchases can be made to get well prepared at the start. A large number of young pigeons will also be offered for sale. The attentive reader has often seen that every year the necessary successes are achieved with a "Dutch pigeon from Houten" purchased at absolute friends prizes. Furthermore, of course, all known suppliers are present in the field of the pigeon sport. A must to visit this fair though it would only be because of the reunion-like character. In Belgium two weeks ago a sort of equal fair was held under the name Fugare and a week later the tribute of the "golden pigeon competition" was organized by the famous Belgian pigeon sport magazine De Duif of Jan and Rik Hermans. To get a podium place there is definitely not a simple task. To score the first three nominations must finish in the top of the results every month and that is not a sinecure, especially for the men who use large numbers of pigeons. As gold winners came on the scene; Sabrina Brugmans, Halen (B) with 7 mentions; B. Martens & Zoon, Elsloo (N) 6 mentions; Comb. Fuchs & Wolf, Hochheim (Ger) and John Crehan (UK)

For a good number of years Dutch and Belgian fanciers have been struggling with great losses during the young pigeon races, and for the same number of years we have written about this life-size problem for us. Yet there are fanciers who know how to get back the big losses in their loft. Losses will always stay there, it's just like falling during a cycling race at the sport but we should not find it "normal". Partly due to the large losses many fanciers have decided to breed from all pigeons. Why not? They have all come through the selection so they are also worth growing from. The only risk we face then is the large number of young pigeons that may have to be accommodated in too small a loft. There must therefore be good ventilation, certainly no draft or moisture because then there will undoubtedly be another problem around the corner and that is overpopulation. For youngsters health is of the utmost importance, in this case more important than quality. With strict control, regular care and training at fixed times, an observant fancier should be able to see daily that the condition is right or wrong. Make sure that the sun does not burn too much oxygen out of the loft so the pigeons do not like to train and there is a chance of an ornithosis outbreak. By observing the pigeons daily you reach more than with shit crabs. I make every year a selection which we will breed because breeding couples who only give good are not that much. Most breeding couples can produce youngsters, but the point is that every year we have enough usable pigeons. Especially in the breeding loft is bred quite regularly from pigeons that have not produced anything special for two years. I absolutely do them away, it's just time and money waste. Of course I like to keep a few couples of youngsters because I have 100% confidence in the parents, even though they are still young or because they have a flat head or a crooked sternum. We must always keep trying, you must dare to take a chance. It is important to breed from pigeons of which we know a lot. Especially from pigeons from a family that have given us useful pigeons for several generations. It is also important to adjust the number of young pigeons to the loft capacity and we will have to learn to live with the fact that there are now considerably more pigeons behind than older fanciers used to be and then also had the advantage that there is also no big population of birds of prey existed.

The breeding is as expected and of course a number of setbacks have been taken into account. This week almost all of the eggs from the second round are coming out. I say almost because unfortunately only two youngsters were born with two major racing couples. A hen had only laid one egg and the other couple had an unfertilized egg. From an old breeding couple already two unfertilized eggs, so we must assume that it is over and out. With another couple a dented egg and when the others come out I'll have already too much to my liking. Marco wants to have something more like his father so that is not a problem. Long ago I wanted to have a lot of youngsters. I had the space and thought it was a beautiful sight when a large couple was training around my loft. I had a friend then, who unfortunately passed away last year, who did fly 300. A beautiful sight, but that was a bit too much for me. Now I have enough in 35 or so. Last year I became champion youngsters. I started with 31 and ended with 28. really a result to be proud of. The annoying thing is that I did have to do some away. So what is more fun, that they stay away from the flight or that you have to do away with a set that is actually worth it to stay, it is always something. Halfway through the week my first youngster can be ringed so that they can get away from the parents in the middle of March. According to our planning everything is ready on time and we can start focusing on the first speed flights that I am a huge fan of.

The first week of March is another deadline to put the last dots on the I. All departments in the loft are completely clean and treated again with the burner. My racing loft consists of six different departments. On the southeast side three for the hens, cocks and youngsters. The other three departments on the northwest side are empty and remain empty. Previously I had the youngsters there. I could pitch three rounds in a separate loft and when they all flew around I opened the sliding doors and usually also left them open during the racing season. Now that I have kept fewer pigeons I have three empty lofts. On the ground floor, underneath the racing loft, the breeders are in a 5 meter loft with 24 breeding boxes. The windows are usually open so that the pigeons can spend the entire day in the indoor aviary that is even 1.50 meters longer than the racing loft. Space enough so and yet I will not keep more pigeons than I have now. At Marco's home there are 18 racing couples and 50 youngsters. With me 12 racing couples, about thirty youngsters and a beautiful collection of breeding pigeons. Many of them are descended from the best Olympiad pigeons from the Netherlands and of course my own old Gebr. Janssen species has now been crossed with the best of the best of Willem de Bruijn that he got by Leo Heremans in 2005.

It is mid-February. In the past my father and I coupled our pigeons on February 18th because then you could release the pigeons when you came home from work. In that respect, a lot has changed. It is now the most normal thing in the world that the pigeons are put together on November 26, not only the breeding pigeons but also the racing pigeons. The phenomenon of darkening and updating did not yet exist. At the start of the racing season we were happy when the pigeons dropped their first pen. It was a general understanding that the form was coming. Everyone was happy when the pigeons started to moult. Now they make every effort to stop the moulting. Logical because a pigeon season runs from the first weekend of April to the third weekend in September. So there is still some demand from the pigeons. Especially the hens now have a hard time. They are played every week in many lofts. They could easily stand there. I really do not know why and have never tried it myself. In the past the cocks were seen as better, now it is exactly the other way around. In Belgium they flew (even now) with cocks, hens and yearlings in separate competitions. That means they all went at the same time, however, separate results were made for those three categories. It was thought that the cocks were stronger than the hens and the yearlings still had to learn a lot so according to the Belgians it was a fair system to make separate results. About honestly, in the Netherlands there is a separate committee that should promote the "fair game" within our national pigeon sport. Whatever happens, fair play never comes. That does not mean that it is all unfair now, certainly not. It will always remain so that none of our pigeons have to cover the same distance. When swimming, running, cycling, each participant completes the same course and they all have the finish as redeeming finish line. Imagine that we are going to cycle and when I am at home you still have 40 km to go, that will be a difficult task. So you should also compare our pigeon game. How we turn it or turn it, it cannot be fairer. Once a few years in the Netherlands a competition was held from the Norwegian Skagen, a long distance flight from the north. This was done to accommodate the northern fanciers. They had the longest distance on every flight from the south and that generated the necessary resistance. Unfortunately, the flight from one of the Scandinavian countries was not successful and therefore has since long since disappeared from the race calendar.

I have my doubts, especially if we continue to hold on to the subject of "fair play". To make it fairer, a separate commission was set up in the Netherlands last year that will work to meet the wishes of the fanciers. Various proposals were submitted throughout the country. These were discussed in the committee and put on paper for the fanciers. I think they better should not have done that. What should fanciers do with the whole jumble of various changes and improvements. Most fanciers really have no interest in that. When I look at myself I think so too; what do I have to do with all those proposals. It would have been better to elucidate some of these well-intentioned proposals and implement them in 2019. In my opinion there is still talk and nothing happens and that while we start the new racing season in six weeks. I occasionally read nice stories from our new enthusiastic chairman Van der Kruk. The man meant it all well but there is little sensible behind the board table. The fanciers want concrete information about the flight program, the collection and sending of the pigeons, the total freight costs and whether in 2019 a maximum number of pigeons can be used per fancier. We want to know that but not everything is published about it. However, I have read that our NPO chairman has been appointed as chairman of the international doping committee within the FCI. What do we have? After all, there is so much right to be set up in our own organization. It would be much nicer that he, in consultation with his committee, told something concrete about "fair play". This count not only for our national administration. In my department is about the racing season, that starts in six weeks, nothing exactly known, how and what will change in 2019 and what the fairer game will look like. As I look at it now there is a lot of talk behind the national board table and that is largely the case. It is high time that there is now clarity, the fanciers want to know where they stand. The compliments about the successes achieved have already been expressed many times. The festivities are as good as over, it is now about further matters. Now we have to hit nails with heads, otherwise I see that the board is under attack. I say the board because unfortunately I do not know one. Only chairman Van der Kruk who is always in the picture, perhaps he is even too much in the picture. There is still a short period to go, time is pressing and to this day we still do not know how it will go. What exactly will change, what will be improved? If you ask me what I expect from it, I can only shrug my shoulders.

No, not with me yet. The first eggs went to Marco and they have all come out except for a few, we have experienced it differently. This breeding season could not be better and also the second round of eggs that lie with me are all but four fertilized. If it continues like this we will have far too many pigeons again and I want so much less. With little pigeons give the competition many times a beating is sporting the best thing that exists. Let's not go too far ahead of things. The youngsters are not big yet, so anything can happen. Fortunately, the days are a bit longer and I feel good about that. I have really seen very much against the winter but that is all improved because we really have not had real winter. I am now motivated to take care of the pigeons optimally. They come off every day, the temperatures rise a little and the coming weekend they even predict 15 degrees. That is already a temperature for us Dutch to sit in the sun for an hour. Also the pigeons feel well, they like to fly and I see every day the necessary down feathers in the loft and that is a sign for me that it is good.

The first month of 2019 is already behind us and still it was not really winter here in the Netherlands. Whether we ever get a real winter the scholars doubt it. The biggest winter event in our country is the world famous eleven cities tour, a skating race over 200 km. Some people think it will never come again. The warming of mother earth is the cause of this. Fortunately a great deal of attention is being paid worldwide to this life-sized problem. Meanwhile, we are in the second week of February, occasionally night frost from -2 to -4 degrees Celsius and that represents very little. However, the past weekend our country was again a world champion richer. During the World Championships in Norway, Matthieu van de Poel became world champion in professional racing and the day before two Dutch ladies finished 2nd and 3rd. In the highest category the Netherlands picked up gold, silver and bronze which does my cycling heart very well. In that same weekend the first youngsters of 2019 was born in my loft. There are not many because most of the eggs have been transferred to the loft of Marco who had to deal with a true baby boom that weekend. The planning to put the second round of eggs from the breeders under my racing pigeons was completely correct so that the eggs of the better breeding pairs, at least that we think, could be placed under my racing pigeons. As far as the weather conditions are concerned, it looks fine for this time of the year. In the coming days the temperature in the Dutch cold frog country will rise to 10 degrees. Actually that is not normal, but for those who do early breeding it is ideal. I have already spoken to several fanciers who are very satisfied with their winter youngsters. I have even seen flocks of youngsters flying around. I do not have to think about having a loft full of young pigeons again. I have been a bit calmer for a couple of months now. However, the loft for the youngsters is already ready to put in forty youngsters and hopefully there will be enough to give the boss a satisfied feeling. For me the first eggs are there from 2 February and on 6 February all 12 flocks were brooding so that my youngsters will be born from 19 February. The coming weekend will see if the eggs are fertilized and then we will determine which eggs come under which flocks. From the third round a number of youngsters are raised, again from the better breeders, who all get a new boss. This week Hans van der Sluis comes to our association to vaccinate the pigeons against paramixo and possibly smallpox and paratyphoid. Both old and young from 2019 can be vaccinated. It is even very good to have youngsters vaccinated at the age of 6 weeks. Our old pigeons are already vaccinated in the second half of December. Our first and second round both at the age of 6 weeks because they have the least problems. What do we pay attention to when the youngsters are away from their parents in the first few days. I always make sure that there is a bed of straw on the bottom for the first two weeks. Usually they crawl close together and are wonderfully lazing in the warm straw. I also experienced that no youngster in the straw were lying while the temperature was around freezing point. I can only guess why they did not. Straw maybe too old, not fresh or too hard, it could be. Maybe too little sun in that spot, but what do you do when the sun stays hidden behind the clouds for a few weeks? A stove or heating plate is not in my loft because I have beautiful bone dry lofts. Of course there is the possibility that the soil is slightly damp, which is because it is rainy weather, or fog or snow. They have to save themselves, I do not want to make greenhouse plants from them under any circumstances. Experience has taught me that even weaned youngsters can easily withstand low temperatures, perhaps better than the enormous tropical heat of the past year.

If all goes well, they look exactly like when they were almost grown up in the nest dish. At that age I can really enjoy the shiny young guys who is lying close to each other with a full head enjoying their first days of life. As soon as they are away from the parents they can retrograde the first few days, they have to get used to the environment that is foreign to them. In addition, they now also have to eat independently without the help of parents and what is so important that they have to find the drinking trough. The first days I place it near the bed of straw and do not put a lid on it. I clean that bin three times a day because they crawl in and sometimes do their needs. I also sprinkle some fresh grit every day in the vicinity of the young stuff. After two weeks the straw is gone, the water and the food bowl are in their usual place and that also applies to the jars with grit and minerals. They are vaccinated around that time. It is then mid-March and hopefully the sun will shine regularly so that they can go outside every day to explore the area. It is therefore time to take all the pigeons in the hand again to view them more critically. Are the plumes well ingrown, feels the pigeon well, you must have a pigeon in your hand and not a starling. We must not forget that they are still babies. If I think they are in good health, they can stay even if they have a small deviation in my eyes. After all it takes a long time before we go out with them and before that time I have already looked at them several times. I only want complete pigeons in my loft and I also happen to have a nice type of pigeon. There are fanciers who do not look at anything. I do so because a pigeon that I do not like to see get no chance to get into the results. With this I certainly do not want to claim that I have the wisdom in lease. Because in all those years that I play pigeons several times I have pigeons in my hands that I would not want in my loft. But when I saw the results of such a pigeon I had to scratch my ears and thought to myself; Bras you also knows the balls.

I have not been there but for years I was a regular visitor and sometimes a participant. The last times I fail, the reason is the age and less and less interest. The latter is because I do not think it is a real sport event anymore. Commerce has also struck this wonderful event. Most visitors are mostly people who want to be seen, the real pigeon fanciers have little to look for. You notice everything that the enthusiasm of joining is sinking to an absolute low point. This is especially the case in the standard class. Internationally, but especially nationally, this sporting event, which is the highly achievable for us, is hardly or not given attention in the press. Is there no one in the NPO who can and wants to take care of the publicity needed for our hobby? As an Olympiad participant you are as proud as a monkey with seven tails but the layman who hardly knows anything about the pigeon sport, let alone from a racing pigeon Olympics, gets no information from the national press. It is also strange that "our" Olympiad is held once every two years while all other Olympiads are once every four years. There are plenty of options for devising game rules so that absolute top pigeons of any age can participate once every four years. Maybe then there is more attention for our Olympiad. Now the pigeons are standing, where everything revolves, just to stand there. The best and most beautiful pigeons in the world can be viewed from very close, actually a pity that the commercial stands still claim the most attention. With which eyes we view the Olympiad it is and remains a great honour to be able to participate.

Fanatic as I am I was curious on Friday morning how the inspection had gone. Would the Netherlands have won? Wherever I looked, there was no result anywhere, not even on foreign sites and not even on Pipa. If you want to know something about pigeon sport Pipa is often the first site to be consulted. Nothing, even now no letter about the Olympiad. Suddenly I discovered the Dutch results that, frankly speaking, were hard for me. The Netherlands, for many years one of the leading pigeon countries, managed to achieve a podium place with 5 of the 44 pigeons. With the yearlings even on the highest step of the honorary pot. Meanwhile the pigeon has been renamed in Olympic Janneke owned by the father / son combination Yong and Jiabin Lin, truly absolute world class. Her mother was previously Olympiad participant in Brussels and so we see that the good still come from the good. By the youngsters, yearlings and the marathon pigeons a 2nd place plus a 3rd place with the youngsters. In a response from NPO chairman Van der Kruk I read that he was extremely satisfied with the excellent result of the Dutch delegation. You can also be too enthusiastic! With the 20 standard pigeons a complete departure and that while we have expert judges and beautiful pigeons in our country. Would it still be true that there is no interest in joining? In the country classification the Netherlands finished in a modest 7th place. I have not been able to read a letter about the international result at the moment. From the Belgians I know that they have no interest in the standard pigeons. I hope that in the short term we will be able to read somewhere about our southern neighbours and also the other participating countries.

It is striking that more (almost) total sales are being held. This week 293 pigeons from the Belgian Team Freddy de Jaeger will be sold via the internet. All pigeons from 2017 and older, that is another number! With a week to go the counter is well above the thousand euros on average. And next year they just join again. There will be more because the sales season will definitely continue until April. In the Netherlands it is currently mainly about the Ladies League. As it looks now there can certainly be talk of a huge success. Now first have to wait and see if the success also continues during the races with the youngsters because then the ladies start. Their pigeons are clearly recognizable by the striking pink chip rings. I wonder how many times a lady is taken on the shoulders after a victory, can pigeon sport still be cosy. The good news comes this time from the FCI. During the congress in Poznan the Netherlands was appointed as the candidate organizer for the Olympiad of 2023. Forty years ago the Netherlands organized the Olympiad in Amsterdam in the halls of the beautiful RAI complex. About 25 years ago the Olympiade was held again in the Netherlands, this time in Utrecht in the halls of the Royal Trade Fair. I can still remember very well that during the gala evening it looked like a complete migration of people. There was not counted on so many public, so chairs and tables had to be brought from all kinds of halls. After all pigeon stories a short article about my favourite cycling sport. In Belgium a young rider is discovered that is predicted to win the Tour de France a number of times. Those kinds of stories are not new to me. In all those years that I have been involved in cycling I have seen several talents come and go. Young boys who managed to win one course after another until they meet the real opponents. Suddenly it was not so easy anymore and the enthusiasm of those guys got considerably less and suddenly they had disappeared from the battlefield. Too bad because there were drivers who won every race with two fingers in the nose. In any case, I continue to follow the predictions of this young talent. Today he was 19 years old and this weekend he makes his debut as a professional at Quickstep. He crushed the competition the previous World Cup for juniors. Despite a fall he drove them in minutes. Remember his name; Remco Evenpoel.

Yesterday a wonderful bike ride, sun but cold. In the evening I felt like I had been on the ice all day. Now it looks completely different, heavy clouds and light snowfall. So the pigeons and I do not come out today. After I had cared the pigeons I armed with my notebook again entered the loft because I had seen yesterday that there were already some hens for the second time laid. Also with my racing pigeons, that have only been together for a week, I already saw an egg. Everything is accurately noted because as soon as they are brooding for a day or five, the necessary eggs have to be laid among other couples. Youngsters are not there yet but that will not last long, the first eggs will come out on February 1st. Our hen who had not laid for two weeks is no longer there. It looked like she was soon to lay, but unfortunately she could not get rid of her egg. We could not help her either and then rescued her from her suffering. Setbacks are part of every hobby but so far we are satisfied. Have seen with one of our older couples that the eggs are not fertilized. It will not have come through the cold because that was not so bad, here the cause is old age and maybe too early in the year paired. Can you imagine that I am not so fond of old stuck breeders? If there are setbacks it is usually with older pigeons.

A little optimist sees that the days are getting longer. This means that in the afternoon there will be a little longer light and that is where we have been waiting as pigeon fancier for quite some time. With the longer of the days more and more life comes in our lofts. Several fanciers have already deposited their first young. Others have not been coupled so long ago and so we are all working on the preparations for 2019. Looking back to 2018 is as good as over. Most champions are honoured and have a few more months to enjoy their achievements. Looking ahead happened already in the first weekend of January when the national days were held in Dortmund. In the meantime Blackpool is once again a thing of the past. For me still the most fun days of the international pigeon sport, what good memories I have of that! My age is causing me to have failed in the last few years. The next weekend is the pigeon Olympiad in Poznan (Poland). In 2011 I was there myself with my Big Leo who was the best young cock in the Netherlands. It was a perfectly organized Olympiad so that everyone can now again confidently look forward to this important international event. The Olympiad the highest achievable in every branch of sport! The best and most beautiful pigeons in the whole world can be admired there. More importantly, you are represented as a pigeon man on behalf of your country because one or perhaps two of your very best pigeons have performed in such a way that they qualify for participation. A great honour and a sincere congratulation worth.

While studying the national flight program 2019and drinking coffee it snows. King winter has turned our polder into a beautiful white landscape. Very nice to see, careful taking some pictures and then quickly back to the warm stove. At half past ten the pigeons have had food and now I go back to the lofts to clean up the stuff for the umpteenth time in my long life. A cold job but you have honour of your work when everything looks neat and tidy again. With these winter temperatures the pigeons look beautiful. A couple does not have any eggs yet. On Saturday the 26th they are together for 14 days and as I watch now they have certainly laid then. We used to say to each other; if you have everything on eggs within 14 days it’s a sign of a very good health, let's just keep it up. On the 17th there really was a true bombardment of eggs. Our plan is now that Thursday 24 January the eggs of the breeders will be transferred to the racing pigeons of Marco. My racing pigeons come together on Wednesday January 23 so that a part of the second round of the breeders can be placed there. In the night still lightly frost but not yet once in the morning the water tanks were frozen. I do not have heating on the loft but I had closed the cranes for certainty which until now was not necessary. Until yesterday I have left the cocks every other day and then the hens are left outside for an hour. Now that everything is white, I keep them in for security until the snow has disappeared and as it looks now it will not take that long. In the night a light frost and during the day more and more chance of a few hours of sun. Before we go put over the eggs we will first hold them piece by piece against the lamp light to see if they are fertilized. Always an exciting activity. If all the eggs are occupied you can sleep on two ears, if that is not the case then you can speak of a problem. The breeding has failed in part and there is no good feeling for the new season. Fortunately there is still time to intervene but ideal it’s not.

Yes, why not? In conversations with other fanciers I sometimes hear contradictions. One does not start because he knows too little of his yearlings. Another says he does because he regularly breeds very useful pigeons from his yearlings. Would it not be the same with yearlings as with breeding pigeons? Maybe with some older breeding pigeons there is more certainty, but with me, who regularly changes the breeding couples, there is no certainty at all. The only certainty we have is that we have breeding pigeons and yearlings that have come through the selection. They are all pigeons that we would like to have in our loft. The yearlings are usually born from the breeders or they are bred from racing pigeons that meet all requirements. Personally, I do not have a problem at all of which couples get the better ones. If it is not that the breeding fails because something is hidden under the pigeons. That can be all kinds of things so that the growth of the youngsters does not go according to wishes. Irregular care, quality of the feed, too little attention to fresh grit, minerals or some extra nutritional supplements, pests, humid lofts or even contamination while the manure looks good. In a good loft with healthy pigeons the breeding is smooth without any problems even though the quality of the pigeons is not quite great. The breeding remains a very important part of our hobby and it is a pleasure to enjoy when the youngsters in the dish are shining at you. Quiet youngsters in the nest, nice dry manure around the dish, well-stocked throats and also the parent pigeons have to look perfect. You can hardly see at the parent that they feed youngsters and hear them beep. An exception is that they can be heard during feeding time because they have appetite for food.

Recently there was something about racing pigeons on TV. If I know that I will definitely look. The pigeon sport has my great interest. It turned out to be a very enthusiastic young fancier, one who calls himself a "pigeon coach" and also aspires a position within the NPO. I immediately have a look at such foreground figures. In the Netherlands and also in Belgium someone who has racing pigeons as a hobby is called a "pigeon fancier", for me still a name to be proud of. Pigeon fancier is a long standing concept and then suddenly figures come to invent the word "pigeon coach". Our image as a pigeon fancier is not too high, but it is a concept. So let's keep it there and just continue to do it. This young fancier also occasionally tries to put something on paper that we have read thousands of times. Fine, but act as nothing performing pigeon fancier as if you have the wisdom in lease. This same mischief, I cannot say anything else, ran like a fool screaming and waving with the Dutch flag in his hands through his garden. It was not really to be seen and many would have wondered; what is this fool doing? We pigeon fanciers know that, he was busy keeping his pigeons in the air. They did not want to train and that is why the flag was needed. That is not so bad if you have no close neighbours. Those neighbours see that behaviour perhaps every day and then you do not immediately build up an intelligent name as a pigeon coach. The nice thing about that movie was that the female reporter asked the wife of this man; how does it feel to be married to such a man?

Of course we are going to 2019 with the best intentions. Fortunately I hear a lot of positive sounds, but we cannot put our head in the sand for the negative sounds in the international pigeon sport. In the first place I was shocked by the news that in a large Belgian ensemble there is a significant decline in participation on their 9 middle long distance flights compared to 2017. Then 25.500 pigeons were still starting, in 2018 there were 9000 less . The decline in the number of participants is alarming. In 2017 another 4500 and in 2018 there were only 3400 which is almost 25% less. Positive or negative, it is just how you look at it, is the message that many rich Chinese, and there are many, little by little Belgium and the Netherlands buy empty when it comes to (good) pigeons from fanciers with a famous name . It is unprecedented how many pigeons move weekly at idiot high prices to the country of the Rising Sun. Technically it is not good for the survival of the high quality pigeons within the two famous pigeon countries which are Belgium and the Netherlands. It is of course very attractive for the commercially minded fanciers who keep each year in the winter period several sales of their, as they say, best breeders or champion pigeons. That candy store is once emptied, appealing fanciers are no longer there. That also applies to the pigeons, because within a few years they will only race in competitions with very few pigeons so that their market value will drop sharply. Our Asian pigeon friends will surely become wise once. Furthermore you read every so often that fanciers with a commercial good name sell totally or almost totally. These are men who can still collect the necessary euros because if the current development continues this way other prominent countries will take over the commercial top positions within the foreseeable future and where we Belgians and Hollanders will have to go on hanging paws to be able to purchase some reasonable pigeons at an affordable price.

Good example does follow well is a well-known saying. Only recently the ladies league in the Netherlands has been accepted. For the ladies 5000 fixed foot rings and the same number of chip rings in the colour pink have been ordered, what a treat. Where is the emancipation and gender neutral in the pigeon sport? However who knows what nice contacts there arise when a pigeon with a pink ring with a male opponent walks into the loft. It is not yet known whether the ladies will receive a separate champion honouring. In any case in the wake of the Netherlands there is now also the opportunity in Belgium to compete against each other as female fanciers. It is to be hoped that the ladies will feel at home in the grey men's world. Certainly know that for the ladies a Netherlands - Belgium title will also be created. In every branch of sport matches between these two countries are always super exciting, so NPO and KBDB think of something nice. Furthermore the KBDB has decided that ALL pigeons participating in competitions are registered in the name of the fanciers. Only the proof of ownership is therefore no longer sufficient. If this is not met the pigeon will be removed from the result and the prize won will be declared forfeited. An exception is made for pigeons that stay in the breeding loft and are NOT played.

Sunday January 13 I once again let myself be tempted to visit a regional pigeon show where there was also the opportunity to wish sports friends still a healthy and successful season. For me it was an old-fashioned friendly pigeon afternoon. We drank a beer and talked to some old people from the trade. As usual the pigeons received little or no attention again. The afternoon was mainly about fun and it was not lacking. In between selling the boards for the rotating wheel I also got a diploma in my hands. A plasticized sheet of paper with an image of a dark pigeon (I do not like that at all) and in large letters the name of the department in which this title was achieved and in very small letters it also stated that I was 2nd champion become with the youngsters. No signature on it from two managers because it is a department without managers. Maybe it is modern or is it still poverty? Among the sportsmen it is known what has to be done in order to achieve a title against more than 150 fanciers. For half a year there is a 100% commitment to this every day and then you get by chance an award in your hands and that’s it. A great example of how it should not be done. It shows how nothing saying the pigeon sport is becoming. Where did the full rooms go during the champion ceremony? The stage was always full of luxury prizes won by the fanciers in the last season and all champions were given their won sports prizes by the chairman. Nowadays a sports prize is a self-assembled piece of paper that one of the well wanted has made on the computer. Poverty trump, I cannot say anything else!

I can say that after a week that the pigeons are paired I am still very satisfied with what happens in the breeding loft. Everything is well connected and also cock and hen know where they live. On Saturday, so 1 week after the pigeons are put together, 2 hens have laid, the day after that 3 hens, another day later 5 and today, 15-1, it is the tenth day and I cannot say how much have laid. However I can say that today the remaining hens will lay because they were all pretty tight on the nest this afternoon. In total we have put 30 couples together including feeding couples. The eggs that we cannot place under the feeding couples go under the racing pigeons of Marco. As it looks now I'm going to assemble my racing pigeons next Monday so that some eggs from the second round of the breeders can be covered. More I cannot say at the moment just that we are both happy and that is enough for the moment.

Pigeon racing is a competitive sport and when it comes to participating in sports the will has to be there to win. Winning does not happen automatically, a lot has to be done. We are currently in the middle of the breeding season which means that we are working to make our colony stronger. All attention has been paid to putting together the breeding couples. This is certainly an interesting activity that requires the necessary professional knowledge. Putting the best pigeons together is in my view the most important thing. Because we can think that we all know about it unfortunately that does not seem to be entirely true. It happens all too often that the better pigeons are born from two pigeons that we did not really expect. It is even more common that out of two pigeons that have performed formidable not a single usable youngster is born. But how often it has already happen that from two yearlings from the racing loft a real whopper I born? We can still select so strict it still gives no assurance for good performance or for a good breeding. Books and newspapers are written with all kinds of methods and ways to perform well. Theories are built up to arrive at a good strain of pigeons. Fortunately, that has succeeded in many lofts. But also more pigeons are born that do not live up to expectations than that real performance pigeons are born. The pigeon sport depends on so many facets that no rope can be tied to it. The happiness factor also plays a very important role in our hobby.

They are there for sale enough, at least they are described but no vendor wants or can guarantee that it is indeed a real good one even though the pigeon comes from such good parents. Another problem is that the pigeons are much too expensive for us Dutch. It is completely irresponsible to spend so much money because there is nothing more to be gained in our country. When I see how many pigeons are sold weekly it appears that only a few of them stay in the Netherlands and that while it is suggested that they are all youngsters from the best breeders. I wonder how many best breeding couples are on such a champion loft. It may well be best breeders but I have nothing to do with that. Everyone wants them from the best breeding couples and that is a completely different story but enough about that. What remains is how do we get pigeons to which we have something, pigeons with which we come forward and then you can select as strict as you want you will have to have quality. When I look at my own loft I think every year that I have a great bunch of breeding couples. The practice is that every year there are only a few and that after 70 years of pigeon sport! One year the breeding results are a bit better than the other and I am happy when in the next three years I will still have 5 out of the 40 pigeons I will breed. If so, I have nothing to grumble because then I have had a good breeding. Is that because I dare to clean up pigeons, is that because I select very strict? But what do I pay attention to? Performance of young pigeons do not tell me everything, others only select on the basis of achievements. I also do not do that with youngsters. I do not want big hens, others choose that. I want to see clearly the difference between a cock and a hen. I already have so many well-performing cocks in my hands that I would not want to have my pigeon as a pigeon. They would be selected by me as a youngster. I sometimes wonder; how much good will I have disposed of in my life? Fortunately I have not always done it wrong. Recently I had two pictures in my hands from two hens with a list of numbers of pigeons that you no longer see. One managed to bring it in 1999 to 3rd National Ace Pigeon sprint with the following performances: 1st - 1757; 2e - 3612; 2e - 4029; 1e - 1208; 2nd - 4439 and 2nd - 3486 pigeons. The other was in that same year 1st Provincial Champion pigeon natour against 2000 fanciers with: 5th - 4572; 1e - 4439; 1st - 3486 and 7th - 4032 pigeons. Those are two pigeons of which we all dream. From the champion pigeon natour I did not breed anything noteworthy and the other gave at least a first prize winner with three different cocks. You have to have that luck! And as far as that strict selection is concerned that does not make sense. It is normal that you do away a deformed egg, it is still normal that you take away young pigeons that only produce watery dung. What do you have to do with youngsters that are all day long are squeaking and so I can continue for a while. Everything has to go naturally during breeding, everything has to be right. Young pigeons have to lie shine in the nest and when they leave the parents they have to feel "full". You have to have a pigeon in your hands that you think "Yes, that's one" is not that way get rid of it.

The intention was that this would happen between Christmas and New Year but that was not succeed. On Saturday January 5 we spent almost the entire day there. The lofts are burned out once again, filling the scales, replacing a hinge of the breeding loft doors here and there, repairing a grit bin and cleaning the drinking bowls. The cocks had been in the breeding lofts for some time so they knew where they live. Almost all hens were given another breeding loft. Two hens that were paired on paper were set aside because they were not liftable, they seemed like flopped chickens. Actually strange because the other hens were fine on weight. One of those hens had a place in the breeding loft for the first time but if she still go along with that I have my doubts. The other has been bought for a lot of money (not via internet) and in 2018 and gave a young bird that won 6x prize including a first against 1400 pigeons. It is that I have paid a lot of money and because she has given a good young otherwise she had already gone away. She now first gets a slimming treatment and afterwards we will decide whether she should disappear. It is now Tuesday evening and all pigeons are loose in the loft. No fights yet, but what is not is can still come. To date we are very satisfied. I hope to say that in six weeks.

The same song every year. On the last day of the year we wish each other all the good but what comes of it. World leaders hold beautiful speeches, politics tells us that the economy will move forward, unfortunately I cannot see little or nothing let alone understand because on 2 January everything will become more expensive and there is little added. The Dutch gas prices are slowly rising, the care becomes more expensive, the VAT goes up and I as a pensionado can only give in. While I entrust my letters to the paper I notice that I am working on a real Dutch story that conveys a little dissatisfaction while I recently wrote that everything in our country is as well arranged as it is😉. Together with my son Marco we have arranged everything well for our pigeons for 2019. The question is what will come of our national pigeon sport. At our own loft it will go, we are completely ready for it. Another important question is how will it go nationwide. Dark clouds get together if it goes about game pleasure and the survival of the more than 250 pigeon clubs. Transport has also become a hot issue due the strong decline of members. This week I was traditionally visiting a large pigeon sport center. As always there were the doughnut and apple turnovers. It was the last time because the owners stop, the shop is sold. Many pigeon fanciers from the wide area gathered there weekly shopping which was always very pleasant. With another owner you have to wait for that. I have been there for 40 years because there is no pet store in my area that sells pigeon feed. There used to be six but it's all over. Champion ceremonies, always crowded halls and the whole crowd stood on the dance floor. Now we are old, we dance once in a while and we can not resist that hard music. We only want to talk to each other so that we no longer have a party. We old men enjoy the sport in our own way with a drink and a snack then most of us are already very satisfied. A few days ago in our Country there was a sale of 75 summer youngsters offered by the well-known player Willem de Bruijn. The first of the sale was also the most expensive and went for 26,000 euros to his new boss. Total the sale brought 250.000 euros or 3000 euros on average. A wonderful result.

It is indeed high time that the breeding pigeons are put together. The mild weather for the time of the year makes the hens start to get interested. We have been stopped for a while with light and have the hens in the open aviary all day long. They look perfect but their behavior shows that they need to be paired. The cocks all have their own territory. I can tell by the manure that they are too crowded, they are not quietly in their breeding loft but fly too much in and out, leaving only trampled manure and I do not like that. Fortunately I know what is the cause of this. The next Saturday is reserved to clean the breeding lofts even more, the burner and the vermin syringe will be used again and then the pigeons can go into it. The hatching bowls have been ready for a long time, everywhere a mat and some tobacco stalks. Now we hope that we will be free of the necessary brawls. My experience is that you can prevent a lot of trouble with good guidance. On Sunday evening the first couples are allowed to leave the loft and my experience is that two days later all pigeons know exactly where they live. Because I have enough time I will stay alert the first week and after that they will check it out. Marco also pairs his racing pigeons that day so that a large part of the eggs of the breeders can be placed under those pigeons. When the breeders are brooding for three days my racing pigeons are coupled and after 5 days of breeding the first eggs from the breeders go to Marco. Two days before the eggs go to Marco I couple my racing pigeons so that the second round of the breeders can be placed underneath. In this way I try to get my racing pigeons and the breeders back to eggs at the same time.

If the preparation for the breeding season is good there are two eggs in the nest within 14 days. Maybe there should be a little longer waiting for too young pigeons or too old pigeons. Actually it is not good to let youngsters or very old pigeons do winter breeding. Winter breeding has more advantages than disadvantages. The biggest advantage is that the youngsters of the second round can also participate in the youngsters program. The other advantage is that they quickly start to moult the small feathers and hold the flight feathers. Darkening did and I do from the end of March and end at the end of June. Now first wait and see how good or bad the pigeons come on eggs. Already then begins the selection. Small eggs or deformed eggs I do away immediately. After that remains to see whether most eggs are fertilized and whether both eggs are similar. If that is not the case I keep an eye on that youngsters. After a week the difference is still clearly visible, then the smallest goes away. I think you can not be strict enough in that. After all it is not about quantity but about quality. Besides good breeding I wish you all a good health and a successful 2019.

The holidays are already over so fast it all goes. The whole month of December everyone is busy with Christmas and before we realize it we want to wish each other a Happy New Year. When I look back at the days before Christmas it looked like we were going to have a white Christmas. When I opened the curtains of the bedroom one morning everything was fairytale white, would we still get a white Christmas? Unfortunately that same evening all the snow had disappeared. It is now even 9 degrees and now and then the sun shines. Certainly not a winter image but ideal for the breeding pigeons. In many lofts the early youngsters have crawled out of the egg but there will also be lofts where it does not run as hoped. Too many unfertilized eggs indicate poor health and therefore poor preparation. The fairly mild weather has contributed to the fact that there are already enthusiastic fanciers who tell rubbing hands that their winter breeding is particularly good, at least almost no unfertilized eggs. Their first youngsters are growing so fast that they will have difficulty to ring them January 1. Always very exciting because many fanciers like to ring the youngsters of their better pigeons with the same final marks as their superior father or mother in the hope that they will be just as good or maybe better. Every fancier is of course very curious about the growth of the babies and especially the youngsters of newly purchased pigeons or the with great care compound couples that have performed top in 2018. All in all an important part of our hobby. Someone who is not interested in the new young talent is not doing well with his hobby. In my younger years I was able to watch the first youngster from the breeding scale so curious I was about my new champions. Our breeders have to wait a little longer. The idea was to put them together between Christmas and New Year, but due to the Christmas rush this was postponed for a week. Everything is arranged on paper, all the cocks are on the bins. Because of the mild winter weather it is time that they are coupled because there are already a few hens who love each other and I just do not wait for that. They can ruin the game in the summer months because they start cuddling again. That is why I have always a few hens to use a reserve hen in case of need. Of hens who like each other certainly one of the two has to disappear because they ruin your game, at least there are always a few hens that will perform less well

Is it because I am getting older or does it happen that the modern day managers think and act completely differently than we did before. A quiet season did not exist, there was going on and everything was organized. In my club, it is a pity that I have to say it, is gathered once after the racing season and that is it. Nothing but nothing is done there, nice and easy, a lot of members find it quite so and that way everybody is asleep to wake up in the first weekend of April because then it starts for them. They do not realize that they already have a round behind that they can no longer make up for. That is why I have to laugh when it is written that someone is the champion of 200 members, that sounds nice but it becomes a different story if only 40 of those 200 participate. If I see how many members the NPO has and who regularly participate then that is to cry. The sprint still has the most participants and just to those races is often a bit inferior looked at. No, the one-day long distance that is, it will be, but nationally only 15 to 20% of the members participate. I sometimes wonder why so few of the 17.000 members participate. The pigeon sport is inflated too much while it does not represent much more in terms of participation. The strange thing is that for the attraction flights after the official racing season is more enthusiasm than for the last five speed flights with which the racing season has been closed for many years. It becomes more difficult each year to get sufficient participants in the club so that for each discipline in their own club building can be basketed. There are still more than 250 pigeon clubs in the Netherlands of which at least 200 have to deal with the aforementioned problem. Furthermore I understand that in 2019 will be cut in the collection schedule, this means that in the Netherlands the pigeons are not picked up anymore or because too few members have to join them to another club. Partly because of this the number of participants goes back even more because the older ones among us have problems with this. Not because I am also an old male but the old greybeards may be a bit more cherished because the pigeon sport currently owes much of its existence to the large group of seventies or even older.

We are on the eve of a baby boom youngsters 2019. In my opinion far too much is being bred. I know you can be lucky enough to breed an "extra" out of two moderate pigeons. Actually this also applies to two high-quality pigeons that do not breed well on the conveyor belt. What matters to me is that it is now very normal to breed from all pigeons. There is less attention paid to the quality of the old pigeons, it is more or less necessary for many to breed as many youngsters as possible. Why? The problem is the large number of youngsters who for some reason can not find their way home. That can not only be on the high-voltage wires, not even on transport or birds of prey. It has a lot to do with quality and health. For many money purchased pigeons still has nothing to do with quality. Poor fanciers who have been influenced by well thought-out sales texts. Just this week I once again studied a number of pigeons that were offered for sale with a lot of fuss. By far the most pigeons that are beautifully photographed have done nothing but nothing at all, while there are wonderful results. The attentive reader must be able to see that they are being led around the garden. What tells me the description of the mother who has put 10 first prize winners in the world and that sisters and brothers of the pigeon have achieved great results, of the pigeon that is offered for sale is nothing. Yes there is a long story with super performance but not one that is achieved by the pigeon offered for sale and because she has an appealing name thousands of euros are added to it. Then there are now also the necessary sales of youngsters from the best breeders. Just a meaningless story, what do we do with this? Oh poor pigeon sport, where does that go? A good advice; breed only from the very best you own and dare to select strictly. Do not be afraid that you are clearing up a good one because everyone has no more than a handful or even that.

The preparations for the new breeding season are getting more and more started. Some have already put their breeder together at full moon, others wait a bit because they are afraid that they will no longer get the rings of 2019 on the legs. Still others find January early enough to start breeding and the long distance players have more patience because most of them are not so concerned about the fanatical game with the youngsters, these men go on with their hibernation. What matters now is the composition of the couples. With us in the loft the couples are changed for at least 80% and we do that mainly not to get too much of the same. Also the proven couples are changed after two years together. In addition there is always the possibility to re-link them which seldom happens. As soon as our racing pigeons are three years old (have participated in the races for 4 seasons), we look at the performances and possible breeding results. Based on this it is determined whether they deserve a spot on the breeding loft. Our selection method looks like this; the performance of the youngsters is not decisive. A youngster we should like to see. This is often the first impression when you take the pigeon in your hand, the look is also very important. For me, the color is also important, I like blue and light scratches (that is also a hobby) while my son Marco also accepts other colors in his loft. I still hold on to the Janssen tradition, those guys also had mainly light and blue pigeons. I will often tell other fanciers; do not pay too much attention to the color. An ugly pigeon that arrives with the first every week is getting better and better. A good friend of mine once had an unsightly measly little fat-blue hen, that pigeon would not have had a chance with me in the loft. But he got the change with him and that was also because he possessed many more pigeons than I did. I told him from the beginning; get rid of that thing what do you do with such a bantling? As a youngster she came home on the last two races of over 300 km so she could hibernate. In the following spring I saw her again and made the comment; do you still have her? He had looked better than me. Unbelievable as that animal has performed, just incredible but true. When I returned to him in the summer months he told me about her performance and made the comment; Bert you have to see that pigeon through my glasses then she looks very different. I assume you understand what he meant.

The first thing I do is look at the 5 best breeding couples and with best I mean the couples with the best breeding results. Do not think that these are couples who only fly headers on the world, such exist but not with me. I sometimes read something about such couples and usually on a sales site. The strange thing is that you do not read anything about a youngster of that couple who performed well above average. A very famous fancier from earlier years once said to me that you can speak of luck if you have a breeding pair that has given only 1 good young, but then a real good one. Still I was fortunate that I had breeding couples several times that only gave us useful pigeons, which regularly became a real topper. If you are in those happy circumstances you always belong to the great champions but that was another time. Just look at the famous names of now, they all have their name from a super performance of one of their pigeons while they have a few hundred. I already made a study of the breeding pigeons in my own way, I was working on it all winter. That changed many times even on the day of pairing I changed at the last moment 1 or 2 couples. When everything was together I thought it was all very good couples. It could not have been wrong because one pigeon had performed even better than the other and that's also how it was with their construction. Beautiful in the hand because I love beautiful and especially good pigeons. I have succeeded in my entire pigeon career, it did not matter which couple gave good youngsters the most important was that there were always some couples who did what the boss expected from them. Frankly, most did not do what the boss expected from them. I always thought I had a nice look at pigeons, I thought I would get the best out of whatever loft I came from. I did not completely misunderstand but to get the real topper out of it I usually do not succeed. Top pigeons are always well built, you actually do not see much. There is much more to see on a badly built pigeon and even then it can be a good racer. In my breeding loft is never a badly built pigeon but that does not mean anything about the breeding value. They have performed well to very good in my eyes, they have come through the selection and yet best people the majority of their youngsters are completely unsuited to perform well. What is wisdom?

In the 70 years that I have pigeons I am still looking for even better while I also breed my entire life out of pigeons that meet everything and yet I am never satisfied. I really enjoy my pigeons, I have always been a very fierce rascal with a preference for the speed races and the small middle distance I count on that too. I won many hundreds of first prizes, most of course in the club, but I also often played the first violin. Most probably due to age the intensity has largely disappeared. Because of your age you change a little every year without being aware of it. Suddenly there is a period that you notice, especially the condition and the perseverance are the reason that you become easier every year. The "must" touches a little bit away, I do not want to see that, I cannot believe it. I am definitely motivated because the plans for 2019 are already largely completed. A joint breeding loft with my son, 12 couples to fly and 35 young pigeons have to ensure that I play with along with the best and even a single victory in a big context should certainly be possible. Next week I will continue to review the breeders who may meet between Christmas and New Year. This weekend I will go to the national days of the NPO, next time I will tell you what I thought of it.

Everything is possible but then there must be a will. It is as if the Dutch pigeon sport has completely lost its way. In my opinion that is the case and the reason for this is the strong decline of members. There has never been invested in, the pigeon sport runs for many years as a well-oiled machine. So why should people (the board) worry about something? Plenty of members, lots of pigeons, a national fleet with far too large transport wagons, an increasingly extensive flight program, it could not be done. If everything runs smoothly within a sports organization this often goes hand in hand with too little attention for a future-oriented policy. That is how it also went with different branches within the business community. Very well-known national companies have thus disappeared from the scene. The pigeon sport also goes that way, it is too late to turn the tide. In addition there is also the difficulty that our national board itself cannot take any decision. They are completely dependent on their supporters who make the service. As a result our national administration is the same as a pigeon house, the managers fly in and out. Unfortunately there is no rest in pigeon land and I fear that it will never come back. The national board has created a number of working groups with the best intentions for every discipline within our sport. In itself an ideal image for a perfect organization. The annoying thing is that the short distance players do not speak the same language as marathon players and among the fanciers of competitions with youngsters play different things than within the group long distance players. I think that we can all understand how difficult it is to get everyone in the same direction. There are far too many different interests in the way of sports experience. There are sports friends who experience their sport very professionally, others have their pigeons their club and participate weekly in the game they like. They have never thought about the organization before. That can be seen during the club meetings. There are always the same ones who have immersed themselves in the matter, which are usually the spokespersons and the rest looks in silence.

Because old and grey forms the largest group gives that often a distorted image within the result of a vote. Many elderly people think; it will take my time off and I think it's fine what their club decides. They assume that in 2019 they will be able to use their pigeons once a week and that they will be picked up. That they on their way to the unloading place be cared, that they are released on time, that a weekly result is made and so they live from one week to another. Nice and easy but that's not how it works in practice. To make sure everything runs smoothly a lot of manpower is needed. Despite the automation there is still a lot of manual work to be done and the group that has to do that is getting less and less motivated and unfortunately is getting smaller and smaller. Now that several working groups have been created will also be new life in the brewery, especially by the "fair play" working group. They called on all members to express their wishes in relation to fair play. Of the approximately 15.000 playing lofts (I do not think there are more), just over 200 responses have arrived. Within a sports association where there is so much movement we can speak of a disappointing result. Those who have taken the trouble to read the overview of all those reactions become dizzy. It is true that the large majority of Dutch fanciers want to get rid of the unlimited number of pigeons that can be used on every flight. The majority prefers maximum numbers. The preference is for a maximum of 25 old pigeons and 35 young pigeons. With those numbers there is competition for the championships. It is now the case that a number of internationally known fanciers come to lugged weekly with baskets full of pigeons and that discourages the modal fancier. Certainly know that within the Dutch pigeon sport it will be or will change in 2019. There is certainly the maximum number of pigeons that can be played for the championships. After all we also play football eleven against eleven. We should not lose sight of the fact that all changes are not improvements. The pigeon sport as it was will never come back.

Our annual event will be held on 1 and 2 December in Nieuwegein this year, a different location. Admission is free and that has been made possible thanks to the fact that leading fanciers have donated a pigeon for sale. On Saturday there is also a pigeon day organized for the youth. Furthermore everything is in the sign of the pigeon sport. Hopefully many national and international sports friends can find their way to the NPO days. I hope we will meet each other in large numbers. Here the address: De Beursfabriek, Symfonielaan 5, 3438EX - Nieuwegein near Utrecht.

Pairing at full moon. Many fanciers believe in that, especially if you have been doing that for several years and the breeding results speak for themselves why would you deviate from that. I am also a herd animal because I have tried it. The first year was great as my youngsters performed, the next two years it was three times nothing. One year it was remarkable that I bred several pigeons of which two toes had grown together as it were there was a kind of fleece between them. I really do not know what the cause was in any case not too close inbreeding. I blamed the full moon and then I paired the breeding pigeons between Christmas and New Year and never looked at the moon again. This year on the 23rd of November it is full moon again and I know that there are again a lot of fanciers who will pair the pigeons. Scientifically there is nothing proven but if you have success with something you should certainly not depart from it at least that is my opinion. It will not be the case if you put together two pigeons at full moon that have never won a prize that you then breed prize winners. I still look for it in the quality and still assume that you have a higher chance of breeding a top pigeon from two top pigeons even if you put those summers together at half-moon.

Or maybe it is. In our eyes the pigeon world is completely runaway. What has happened in the past two weeks is almost unbelievable. Daily newspaper De Duif held their annual Golden Ten sales for the umpteenth time. A number of super commercial fanciers were invited to make six young pigeons available for a hall sale with a lot of tam - tam. The organizing newspaper spoke of a great success. In all simplicity we can ask ourselves; For who it was a great success? Does it add anything to the popularity of the pigeon sport? No Belgian or Dutch citizen gets it in his head to start with the pigeon sport after reading all astronomical amounts paid for young pigeons. Pigeons that have never been in the basket and will never come in the basket are immediately destined for breeding. Why? Especially because they are so expensive but that has nothing to do with breeding value. A proceeds of 1.179.000 euros for 168 youngsters (average 7020 euros) are madness at the top. It got even crazier on the internet sales of the famous Belgian Gaby Vandenabeele. This very sympathetic fancier had more or less forced his pigeons away because of a pigeon lung. Gaby has through his appealing achievements built up a very good reputation over the years partly because others are also very successful with his pigeons. We know Gaby from his strong game with a not too large number of pigeons in the race. Great was the surprise when the sale was announced of no less than 815 pigeons. Where does he suddenly get that? Others who are forced to stop can bring half or even more to the poulter. A professional pigeon broker company known as Pipa thought differently. They really got everything out of the closet to prepare a spectacular internet sale. Something that you can leave to this company with a clear conscience. The end of the story is a record yield of an average of 8000 euros per pigeon, or a total revenue of 6.5 million euros. The most expensive of the entire circus went to China for 376.000 euros where more than 60% of the pigeons (482 units) went, the other 40% went to 30 different countries. Of the old pigeons that were sold 2 went to the Netherlands and that says something for a leading pigeon country. It is unfortunate that there is never mentioned anything about the breeding results of all those pigeons that are sold to all kinds of sales sites for breeding. Just look at your own loft how much good, I mean real good, be bred there. Count only the 4 year old and once you know exactly how difficult it is. It must be said that it was fantastic to be able to follow this sale on the Internet for three days especially because I think this will never happen again. But…. Never say never!

It is so sad with the Dutch pigeon sport. At the time that there were still 100.000 fanciers in the Netherlands there was half a page of pigeon news in every self-respecting newspaper at the beginning of the week. That is over. The sharp decline in the number of pigeon fanciers is also the cause of this. Pigeon sport is no longer a national sport. In the past years the pigeon sport also had a large number of supporters who wanted to read weekly in the newspaper who had the best performances. That was talked about at work, in the family and by friends and acquaintances. Now people ask me if I still have pigeons and if there is still pigeon racing because they cannot read a letter in the newspaper anymore. That is something that our national sports administration should discuss with the writing press. Without publicity the pigeon sport sinks further and further into anonymity.

It does not take so long for our pigeons to start a new breeding season. The winter months are ideally suited to purchase (valuable) breeding material. Nowadays certainly not a simple matter especially if you read all those dizzying amounts that are counted for a pigeon. I consciously say a pigeon because many pigeons do not deserve a place in the breeding loft. Nevertheless in our sport all pigeons that enter the breeding loft are called breeding pigeons. With all these pigeons are every year a number of purchased pigeons, received, exchanged, bought for a lot or little money, everyone dreams of a good breeding result. Personally I spent a lot of attention on pigeons that earn a place in the breeding loft. Each pigeon that won first prize in the ZCC entered the breeding loft. That did not mean that they immediately ended up after winning a victory. No, that required more. In any case they had to play the entire season. Sometimes there were pigeons that had won a first prize three or four times or a first plus some real top prizes. I think that is the only good method. Of course I also purchased at least 1 pigeon every year. At that time there always had to be one with at least 50% blood from the world-famous Janssen pigeons. Honestly those pigeons have given me a lot of sports fun. More beautiful and better pigeons did not exist in my eyes. There were also other good and beautiful pigeons but Janssen pigeons made the crown. I have never understood that they were not appreciated in their own country. Jealousy perhaps? The real Janssen pigeons are now eliminate all over the world, there is little or nothing left of it. I still own the kind of the Belgian brothers, they still look the same but they are crossed. However to cross has chosen for another champion loft. I certainly do not get them anywhere. Meanwhile I have together with my son built up a beautiful breeding collection their youngsters performed excellently this year. The breeders are not all first prize winners or champion pigeon yet but this year there are still five added plus 2 new acquisitions. We have, just like all those buyers of the Vandenabeele pigeons, every confidence. But as an old hand in racing pigeons I know very well that most breeding results will not be as good as we hope. I have had years that I thought I only had top breeding couples, unfortunately that turned out not to be the case. Despite that I have played at the top for many years and now that my son Marco has been added I am motivated again on the bone to the bid and that for an 81 year old. That promises something!

How we turn it or turn it we are on our way to the cold winter months. At this moment not to believe because the high temperatures for the time of the year continue. Cause are the hurricanes far away from our country causing a lot of misery and grief while in the Netherlands the beautiful holiday weather continues. Our beaches are full of sun worshipers every day, you hardly dare to watch the news on TV in the evening because there is a lot to see differently than we are used to. The one natural disaster follows the other, the annoying thing is that we humans cannot control nature. The only thing that remains is to help as many fellow sufferers as possible, no matter how difficult that is in many cases. The world is changing, it is the conversation of the day. We ordinary people cannot influence that, war, violence, sadness, disasters, corruption every day we are confronted with it. Unbelievable that there is so much fuss in the Netherlands about the old Sinterklaas feast, without doubt a fantastic children's party that is celebrated on 5 December. Action groups are busy because Sinterklaas has a sooty black servant with large earrings and scarlet lips. It would go back to the slave time. No child knows about it, at the schools all children have been taught that Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet are big children's friends and therefore on 5 December when the Sint celebrates its birthday to all children will bring a gift. I remember the day of yesterday that I was surprised in 1947 on Sinterklaas evening with 2 racing pigeons and despite the fact that we have been taught that Sint and Piet come from Spain the pigeons did have Dutch rings. I thought that was strange at the age of 10. Not so long after that I found out that both did not exist, now I am 81 and still enjoy the party especially when I see all those happy little children's mussels.

When the molting is over pigeons are paired again in many lofts. Preparations for this are already receiving extra attention from many fanciers. Old breeders who have not provided good breeding results for some years have to make way for the younger generation because the youth has the future. We are now in a period that we can only watch how everything goes in the loft. Come the pigeons well through the molt and remain free of diseases, more is actually not to experience. It is the quiet season and then you have to be well motivated to continue to pay full attention to the ups and downs in the pigeon loft and that is not always easy for many older fanciers, I just look at myself. I do not really feel like it anymore, it gets too much for me. The days that I went whistling to the pigeons every time are less, many of my old pigeon friends are no longer there. A few times a week visiting a pigeon friend has not existed for a long time. Club life is getting less because there are almost no members left and worse there are no new members. Yes, sometimes one who does not like it at another club but that does not stand up either. I have to really pick myself up while it used to go automatically. If you hardly speak to anyone who has the same hobby the pleasure will go away especially if the care starts to weigh too heavily. That is why I have decided to make more contacts, yes also in writing, to talk more about pigeons. It is mostly about the past but that does not matter, the sport becomes more lively and makes it a bit more enjoyable. Even now I am still dubbing to do everything away and if someone happens to come along and wants to take over the chance is there that I will do. But what if they are gone and I regret, you fall into a hole. Fortunately that is not quite so because my son has the breeding pigeons so if the need is the man I can always start with a few youngsters. At the moment I am a bit more cheerful because in a short time I have had some nice conversations with old friends, two of whom no longer have any pigeons. One does not miss them, the other can no longer keep them because of relocation but would want to return to the old situation. Keeping pigeons is a great hobby at home, yet it turns out that it is definitely not a hobby to experience at home alone. Keeping in touch with sports friends brings more pleasure to the hobby, exchanging ideas with each other, talking about the past and making plans for the future is something you do just with each other.

The battle to participate in the racing pigeons Olympiad has been fought. The sport pigeons that will be from all over the world have finished their matches. The regulations set by the FCI apply in all participating countries. Of course there are still some beauty flaws attached to it but in general it is now; equal monks, equal hoods. Also in the pigeon sport participation in the Olympiad would be the highest possible. I totally disagree with that but it feels like a great honor to be honored especially in the sporting class. I have also been allowed to experience that once and that gives you a bit of a feeling that you have delivered a sporting performance. In the Netherlands no fancier has to submit the best performance of his best pigeon himself. This is provided through our national accounting agency so that only those entitled are invited. All kinds of champion pigeons will be shortly presented to us. There are all kinds of titles or championships to think of. They are very strong at Pipa. In almost all cases it is not about the performance but about the commercial value. Within the pigeon sport it is teeming with championships and championships that actually do not represent anything at all. There should be only one title and not a 2nd, 3rd, 4, 8th or 10th championship. Get rid of that fooling! If we all together, I better can say with a number of compatriots are in the Polish city of Poznan, because who are going there? you will see that pigeons on an Olympiad get a lot of international interest . At other events these are the exhibitors, at an Olympiad the fanciers will marvel at all those pigeons that are present according to the same sporting conditions. The organization can safely be left to the Poles. In 2011 they were allowed to do that once and that looked great. Poland has become a full-fledged pigeon country which they prove on all sides. It still takes 3 months which seems to be very far away. We are so there and in many lofts there are already big youngsters in the dish and in some lofts the first youngsters are already weaned. All honors are behind us, yet all the greats can enjoy their achievements in 2018 and then we all start with a clean slate again.

That was a number of years ago a new concept within the pigeon sport. It had a bit to do with unfair play back then. It was created by our national organization. The directors at the time realized that our sport was going the wrong way. At that time our country had many fanciers especially small socializing players. The flying programs became more extensive, there were more possibilities for play for everyone. The problems also came with the expansion of the flight programs. Sometimes three flights in a weekend. For a lot of players that was fantastic, I belonged to that group. Rather four flights than one I thought. Wonderful waiting for the pigeons on Saturday. That day was my pigeon day and the whole family plus friends knew that I was occupied on Saturday, then the pigeons went for everything. When I got older I started to notice more and more that due to the amount of competitions the hobby became very expensive. With school-age children and a little more pigeons because there were more flights, that turned out to be no feasible for me. At that time I could not spend 50 guilders per week on my pigeon hobby and with me many others. With great regularity was written in the pigeon magazines about specialization. If you belonged to the category of socializing players it was better to specialize on one or two parts of the pigeon sport. You did not want to measure yourself with the big men who owned many more pigeons. In itself a very good idea, and so it happened. Fanciers enough so no problem.

Due to the specialization came fewer and fewer pigeons after a while. A new phenomenon were the "fly in pigeons". Those were the pigeons that were used to practice or to train but did not participate in the race and therefore were not clocked. Then you got situations of a participation of 400 pigeons of which only 150 entered the race and that was not the intention either. Because of the specialization you got fanciers who only played short distance, others played short and middle distance. Some only youngsters, others only one-day long distance and others preferred the marathon races. There was therefore a possibility for everyone to play until at a given moment it became clear that the number of pigeons per discipline fell sharply and that is how it is still today. In some clubs it is even the case that due to too small participation one has to switch to another inventory room especially on the one-day long distance and the last middle distance races. At first the specialization was to let everyone play their own game. The strong decline of members shows that the specialization at many clubs becomes problematic in connection with the survival of the club. There are no participants enough! What would be a good solution?

For years the flight program consisted of 5 sprint, 4 middle distance, 4 long distance of which an overnight flight, 6 youngsters and 5 natour. 1 flight every week, no specialization and everyone participated weekly. Now it will be clear why the general championship in those years was so important and currently because of the specialization nothing more because almost no one participates in ALL competitions or can participate. Over the years so much has changed we start to wonder why those changes were well thought through. Reducing the current extended flight program to 1 flight per weekend is likely to cause major unrest but we should have to go a bit in that direction. The pigeon sport will become more attractive less time-consuming and perhaps also less expensive. Of course it is also about keeping the existing group of members together. If there is more drop out we will come closer to the end of the pigeon sport as we know it.

For years there was no target at all. Members enough so why worry about the future. With such an ill-considered policy many companies and sports clubs have gone to the buttons. When people realized that the pigeon sport was starting to age important managers awoke from their sleep. Based on the decline of members people started to calculate how long the pigeon sport could continue. The outcome of the calculation did not look rosy so action had to be taken but in what way? Almost all arrows were aimed at youth. That took a lot of energy but not shot is always wrong. They started by placing a free pigeon loft with a number of children who had chosen for the pigeon sport without parental help. The same was done at schools, playgrounds and a single petting zoo. It did not deliver anything, that is money thrown away. Suddenly somebody came up with the luminous idea of a making a promotional film. Everywhere in the Netherlands the film could be screened, every club had access to it so they could go on to promote our sport. 40-50 were thought of. They had finished their own sports and the pigeon sport would be a welcome addition to that. Also for this form of promotion was heavily tapped in the pouch. Final conclusion once again wasted money, goal not achieved or no extra members can note and so muddled through. No real vision, no substantiated proposals, but in a short time several goodwill board members and unfortunately that did not deliver anything either. Still people are fighting to win the youth for our sport. However let us not forget that despite the fact that the youth of today will always exist there is now a youth of today who looks completely different. They have so many opportunities to spend their free time and in that list the pigeon sport does not belong. Just too expensive and too time-consuming. Those who visit the national days in early December will again meet large groups of children at the event on Saturday. Youth members who can also bring their friends. Very well intended but what matters ......... I think no new members are listed. If children come home enthusiastically and tell their story to parents who know nothing about pigeon racing, they start to shatter when they realize what all this will cost and what will the neighbors say about it. No, that is absolutely no simple matter. There is little promotion via newspapers. There are still a huge number of weekly magazines in which the pigeon sport can be promoted in a professional way. Within our pigeon sport the expertise is available to work on it. A nice start is perhaps the attention for the pigeons that participate in the final selection for the racing pigeon Olympics in Poland, also a nice item for a sports program at TV. After all the Netherlands is a world-wide leading pigeon country and we have to show this in a positive way as much as possible.

In the Netherlands, or better said by the Dutch pigeon fanciers, there is more and more talk of the proliferation in the large number of pigeons that is used by more and more fanciers every week. That discourages many fanciers and therefore there is dissatisfaction. The fanciers now finally let their voices heard, they revolt and insist that playing with an unlimited number of pigeons is restricted because as it is now it is absolutely the wrong way. The game for the common man has grown into a gigantic large commercial event. It is no longer a household price or a small amount of money. In many departments money is not even played anymore. The hobby fanciers play for a championship title and the mega lofts play for chain results because that is big business for them. Championships are not interesting for the mega lofts. For them are champion pigeons and especially results where as many of their pigeons as possible occur important. It is a pity that the hobby-moderate is disappearing more and more. The amateurs still want to take up against the professional players but with equal weapons and no more 100 against 10. That is an unequal battle that the little man can never win. So something has to change.

That is what it is all about in the Netherlands. The hobby fanciers certainly does not have to set aside for the mega lofts that have made their hobby their profession. The little man can definitely clock a pigeon for such a professional which fortunately still happens very regularly. The bread players should not think that they only have the right to display top prizes and nice results. Those who can read a result know better. But to organize competitions where 100 against 10 is the most normal thing in the world must be put an end to very quickly. Only then can we speak of fair play. The pigeon sport is far too expensive for many fanciers while the pros can enormously enrich themselves thanks to the participation of the hobby players and with the cooperation of the sales sites. Within such a potty hobby as pigeon sport that is too crazy for words. The day and weeklies are barely interested in the pigeon sport while millions are involved every year. Soon there will be a total sale of star player Gaby Vandenabeele. I have read that there are just over 800 pigeons under the hammer. Certainly know that they will pay a dizzying amount mainly thanks to the victories against Jan with the cap. The frustrating thing is that Jan with the cap is not able to buy a pigeon from such a famous loft. No they can only basket their pigeons so that the ever-growing group of professional players can shine with performances achieved against a respectable number of pigeons. Especially fanciers from other countries kick in there. They absolutely do not know what an unfair game is being played especially in the Netherlands and Belgium. Fortunately more and more fanciers in Belgium are revolting against the absurd situation that the mega lofts or unsportsmanlike pocket fillers bring about.

That's how it was years ago. In the first place years ago not such nonsensical numbers of pigeons were used by a fancier. If someone with 40 pigeons came he was laughed at. Certainly afraid that you go under was soon said. It was during the time that only the first pigeon counted for a championship title. So 40 against 10 were found unfair at that time. At that time there was also clocking with rubber rings and that took much more time compared to electronic detection. I told in that time that I did not set aside for anyone although they came with 200. I would not say that now because the decline of members, the far too large flight areas, the smaller number of participating pigeons, the electronic detection and the mega big fanciers has changed the pigeon game completely. It is said flat finally out of the clutches. The big men make the service and it will not be easy to change that in no time. Yet it will have to!

The season is over and the meeting season is coming again. From my department I have already received the first proposals to change all kinds of things. After reading everything I immediately sat with my hands in my hair. All of those proposals that have been on the agenda for 50 years. Ideas conceived by one or two diligent club officials who think they are going to invent the wheel again. What would it be nice if our national sports association would prescribe it? This is how we will do it and not otherwise. What should be the problem if we all start and end on the same date. What will be the problem if we start at least 100 km and end up at 600 km. An exception can then be made for the handful of marathon players that we have in the Netherlands. What will be the problem if we all play through a homogenous championship system. What could be the objection that we all participate weekly with a maximum of 25 pigeons, the ring numbers of which are specified before the start of the season and still add 5 reserve pigeons in case a few pigeons are lost. Fanciers of many pigeons can keep 500 without problems but to participate 25. Then see if the professionals have such a good look that they weekly play everything on firewood. In Malta they are allowed to use up to 10 pigeons. In Portugal they mostly play with yearlings and in China with youngsters. I assume that in those countries they enjoy the pigeon game as much as we do. What would be the problem if we all basket centrally, as a result of which a large part of the collection costs will be canceled. What could be the objection if more and more will be transported centrally? What could be the objection if we work together more and more (in not too long time) instead of working against. What would be the objection if there were smaller flight areas through which no one is played away and no one has any extra advantage. More and more ideas will be able to be launched especially now that a committee is working in the Netherlands with the main goal FAIR GAME!

At first I thought that this could be of vital importance for the pigeon sport. I soon came back to this because it is impossible to keep large groups of pigeons healthy and also give good training. Large numbers always stay together, do not pull away and remain as stupid as the horse of our dear Lord and that was a donkey. No, one loft races are not in my opinion either. Coincidentally, I recently read a report of the "Derby Costa del Sol" which was held for the 6th time. 1200 pigeons were used of which 827 participated in the final race. According to the report the organization had everything down to the smallest detail that I immediately believe. However, I am always very curious about the end result. The pigeons were released at 7.40 am and the first 6 pigeons registered at 2.22 pm which means they have flown for 402 minutes. The winning speed was 1,112 meters per minute so the distance must have been plus minus 447 km. So far it looks promising, but now it comes. On the day of release 35 pigeons from the 827 were at home, yes you read that correctly. What is so great about such a race? I do not know how it ended in the end but I cannot see such a flight as excellent. For me this is a disastrous course and maybe it ended in disaster, but my information does not go that far. Unfortunately it is not just the case at the Derby Costa de Sol in the southern Spanish city of Malaga. In my opinion one loft races are casinos for gambling pigeon fanciers. The big winnings are very important and the pigeon ......? Unfortunately that does not count. At least that is my opinion.

How we turn it or turn it we are on our way to the cold winter months. At this moment not to believe because the high temperatures for the time of the year continue. Cause are the hurricanes far away from our country causing a lot of misery and grief while in the Netherlands the beautiful holiday weather continues. Our beaches are full of sun worshipers every day, you hardly dare to watch the news on TV in the evening because there is a lot to see differently than we are used to. The one natural disaster follows the other, the annoying thing is that we humans cannot control nature. The only thing that remains is to help as many fellow sufferers as possible, no matter how difficult that is in many cases. The world is changing, it is the conversation of the day. We ordinary people cannot influence that, war, violence, sadness, disasters, corruption every day we are confronted with it. Unbelievable that there is so much fuss in the Netherlands about the old Sinterklaas feast, without doubt a fantastic children's party that is celebrated on 5 December. Action groups are busy because Sinterklaas has a sooty black servant with large earrings and scarlet lips. It would go back to the slave time. No child knows about it, at the schools all children have been taught that Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet are big children's friends and therefore on 5 December when the Sint celebrates its birthday to all children will bring a gift. I remember the day of yesterday that I was surprised in 1947 on Sinterklaas evening with 2 racing pigeons and despite the fact that we have been taught that Sint and Piet come from Spain the pigeons did have Dutch rings. I thought that was strange at the age of 10. Not so long after that I found out that both did not exist, now I am 81 and still enjoy the party especially when I see all those happy little children's mussels.

When the molting is over pigeons are paired again in many lofts. Preparations for this are already receiving extra attention from many fanciers. Old breeders who have not provided good breeding results for some years have to make way for the younger generation because the youth has the future. We are now in a period that we can only watch how everything goes in the loft. Come the pigeons well through the molt and remain free of diseases, more is actually not to experience. It is the quiet season and then you have to be well motivated to continue to pay full attention to the ups and downs in the pigeon loft and that is not always easy for many older fanciers, I just look at myself. I do not really feel like it anymore, it gets too much for me. The days that I went whistling to the pigeons every time are less, many of my old pigeon friends are no longer there. A few times a week visiting a pigeon friend has not existed for a long time. Club life is getting less because there are almost no members left and worse there are no new members. Yes, sometimes one who does not like it at another club but that does not stand up either. I have to really pick myself up while it used to go automatically. If you hardly speak to anyone who has the same hobby the pleasure will go away especially if the care starts to weigh too heavily. That is why I have decided to make more contacts, yes also in writing, to talk more about pigeons. It is mostly about the past but that does not matter, the sport becomes more lively and makes it a bit more enjoyable. Even now I am still dubbing to do everything away and if someone happens to come along and wants to take over the chance is there that I will do. But what if they are gone and I regret, you fall into a hole. Fortunately that is not quite so because my son has the breeding pigeons so if the need is the man I can always start with a few youngsters. At the moment I am a bit more cheerful because in a short time I have had some nice conversations with old friends, two of whom no longer have any pigeons. One does not miss them, the other can no longer keep them because of relocation but would want to return to the old situation. Keeping pigeons is a great hobby at home, yet it turns out that it is definitely not a hobby to experience at home alone. Keeping in touch with sports friends brings more pleasure to the hobby, exchanging ideas with each other, talking about the past and making plans for the future is something you do just with each other.

The battle to participate in the racing pigeons Olympiad has been fought. The sport pigeons that will be from all over the world have finished their matches. The regulations set by the FCI apply in all participating countries. Of course there are still some beauty flaws attached to it but in general it is now; equal monks, equal hoods. Also in the pigeon sport participation in the Olympiad would be the highest possible. I totally disagree with that but it feels like a great honor to be honored especially in the sporting class. I have also been allowed to experience that once and that gives you a bit of a feeling that you have delivered a sporting performance. In the Netherlands no fancier has to submit the best performance of his best pigeon himself. This is provided through our national accounting agency so that only those entitled are invited. All kinds of champion pigeons will be shortly presented to us. There are all kinds of titles or championships to think of. They are very strong at Pipa. In almost all cases it is not about the performance but about the commercial value. Within the pigeon sport it is teeming with championships and championships that actually do not represent anything at all. There should be only one title and not a 2nd, 3rd, 4, 8th or 10th championship. Get rid of that fooling! If we all together, I better can say with a number of compatriots are in the Polish city of Poznan, because who are going there? you will see that pigeons on an Olympiad get a lot of international interest . At other events these are the exhibitors, at an Olympiad the fanciers will marvel at all those pigeons that are present according to the same sporting conditions. The organization can safely be left to the Poles. In 2011 they were allowed to do that once and that looked great. Poland has become a full-fledged pigeon country which they prove on all sides. It still takes 3 months which seems to be very far away. We are so there and in many lofts there are already big youngsters in the dish and in some lofts the first youngsters are already weaned. All honors are behind us, yet all the greats can enjoy their achievements in 2018 and then we all start with a clean slate again.

I just came out of my pigeon loft with the sweat on my forehead. I thought it necessary to clean three departments well today. Because of an inflammation in my arm I neglected that for a while. Now that the suffering was almost done I just wanted to clean the lofts well and halfway through the afternoon I thought it was enough. Tomorrow I will continue because today the weekly column must be written and from tomorrow on I will continue to clean the lofts every day. In a clean loft I enjoy my pigeons much more. They are heavy molting and that is how it belongs in this period of the year yet I will be happy if I am rid of the large amount of feathers. Everything is dry, in that respect we do with the weather. It is likely that Dutch records will be broken again because I cannot remember a year with so many sunny days and such high temperatures at this time of the year. It is autumn and many plants are still in bloom, it is as if the seasons are changing. The racing pigeons from different departments come out every two days but they do not have a lot of sense to fly. They still miss too many feathers and when they fly to their seats in the loft from the floor you hear that they have to make extra effort to rise. Once they are through the molt they float up as it were but it is not that far yet, so be patient. From next week I start all pigeons a two-week paratyphoid cure through the drinking water. From experience I know that it has no wrong influence on the molt. It is now ideal again to refurbish the loft, here and there some needs to be repaired and a lick of paint does not hurt either. A sputnik must be completely renewed and the fence around the balustrade is also in need of renewal. There is also a lot of pruning work in the garden but I do not do that myself. By the way I am no handyman at all, painting, carpentry and all that kind of work is not spent on me.

Another cycling year over. I have been involved in cycling for many years and I still cannot get enough of it. I have not been active in sports for a long time and I also said goodbye to the organization a while ago. The sport itself continues to fascinate me enormously. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that I do not agree with in amateur sport but that problem may be solved by others. Two weeks ago the first team of my club DTS - "strong by training" was second during the National club championships on the road, they had to give 16 seconds to the winning team. In the last six years they finished first three times and twice as second, "we" are the best cycling club in the Netherlands. On the first Saturday of October the Noord-Holland cycling season was concluded with the fairground round of Assendelft. There was fought for the Dutch Championship Criterium, you know them the famous circles around the church. The victory went to one of our promising members, his father has already won that title and his grandfather even has been world champion behind the big motorcycles. Professional cyclist Nikki Terpstra, member of DTS, became second in the autumn classic Paris-Tours on Sunday. A week later, the Tour of Lombardy follows and then the season for the cyclo-cross starts. For now I have again enjoyed the many beautiful and exciting cycling races.

For a long time there is a lot to do about "fair play" within the Dutch pigeon sport. Our national organization the NPO finally sees that the sport is not going in the right direction. What matters most is the unlimited use of pigeons on all flights of the official flight program. The number of fanciers who play with a lot of pigeons is increasing enormously and it is precisely there that the shoe wriggles, the members do not accept it anymore. There are examples of fanciers who use more than 250 pigeons while others participate with a tenth of that number and get a good beating every week. That does not make a person happy, it spoils the mood in the club, the enthusiasm to join goes back and the appreciation for the "big" winners is noticeably less. Commerce within the sport can no longer be ignored, that is where most sports clubs are running, unfortunately the Dutch pigeon sport is not getting better. Within our sport and a number of other countries, it is all about a number of individual fanciers who can enormously enrich themselves by selling their pigeons. On the sales sites it becomes more and more nepotism. Those commercial fanciers sell a lot of pigeons at huge prices, they do not because they have achieved championships, they do so because they play with large numbers of pigeons which gives them a better chance to catch some early pigeons in the results. Here too the law of the big numbers counts or the more tickets the more chance of a prize. That is why it makes no sense. Tha’ts why it does not make any sense at all to let the first 35 pigeons of the basketing list count for the championships. This gives even more advantage to the big men because they come every week with 35 random pigeons so that most titles will go to them and who can play with 35 pigeons every week? With me sports friends have never come to buy pigeons because I won championship titles they only did that because I made remarkably good results in my younger years. After all we all want to improve our pigeon colony and you can only do that by buying good pigeons. You can buy a dog, but not wagging his tail.

That’s how it was but that has been a long time ago. Why do not new / young members join? First of all the reports in the newspapers about idiotic prices paid for pigeons. A new starter or youth member must invest far too much in order to be able to get along fairly quickly, even so much that almost no parents can afford that so that his son cannot keep pigeons. The sport takes too much time and is much too expensive while there is nothing to do with it. All older players and those who have been participating for years and never win anything worth mentioning are encouraged every week to participate but for what? But still there are every week a reasonable number of pigeons in the baskets. But for whom? Only for the ever growing group of commercial fanciers who can show results and do business the rest of the participants are extras. Our national administrators are all volunteers, they spend a large part of their free time on the organization, question is with what purpose?

It makes no sense at all. It is a game but not a fair game. You cannot play against each other under 500 km, there are too few fanciers and therefore too few pigeons. There is not enough dispersion while the flight areas are too large so that weekly large groups of fanciers are played away by weather influences or enormously favored. Middelburg cannot play against Groningen and Den Helder cannot play against Maastricht, or ZW Netherlands cannot play against NO Netherlands and NW Netherlands cannot not play against ZO Nederland which distance differences are far too big. The best thing is to go back to smaller fly areas, we will have to get used to it in the Netherlands and certainly in Belgium that we will play against each other with fewer members and fewer pigeons. It is no different, but fairer!

A fantastic invention in the beginning. Then a fancier who gave 50 pigeons a very big one. Nowadays they come with a variety of lashes. Those men take 30 minutes in a minute and that is also mentioned with large letters in a pigeon magazine. Who are we in the name of God for busy? Not for the little fancier who is allowed to put the mega numbers of the big men in the basket every week. The NPO board will take steps to change the above. I sincerely hope that they will succeed together with the members. I am now 81, if they do not succeed I will experience the demise of the pigeon sport.

Our lofts indicate how many pigeons we can keep. Because of possible losses we determine how many youngsters we are going to breed and because of the space it is already determined during this period how many pigeons we can keep in the winter and how many pigeons will be bred for the next season. That is a given whether we have to decide to build a smaller or larger loft than the numbers change. Most of us are inclined to breed more young than we can store. That is where the first mistake is already made because overcrowding can have serious consequences for health. I always go from; better a couple of seats too many than a few too short. At this way you also achieve that the youngsters will stay healthy more easily, the losses will also be less. Few young pigeons can also cause a luxury problem. I use as much as possible that I start in the spring with about 50% yearlings and as many old racing pigeons. This year the youngsters performed extremely well and then you are usually in the fortunate circumstance that you also lose less, so you have too much to spare. In other words, losing a lot is not fun, but having too much is also not always fun. We all want to keep a lot of pigeons because it is better to select from 30 pigeons than from 4. The commercial lofts will think differently, for them there cannot be enough for the sales. I do not believe that they sell their best and keep the lesser ones, but that is my opinion. Now that my youngsters have performed so formidably we will probably be able to keep more of them this year and that will be at the expense of the old. So one year you can be one of the favorites of the loft and the next year have to make room for another well performing and promising youngster. That is how it will always go because we are always looking for even better ones. Being able to make a wide choice from a well-performing group of youngsters gives a considerably better feeling than having to keep a number of young pigeons. But you do not just have enough of good performing youngsters there is a little more involved.

We all know that it is not self-evident that a well-performing youngster will also be a good yearling. There are plenty of examples that a real top performing youngster is totally failing as a yearling. This preseason I spoke a strong playing fancier who had one of the best youngsters in the entire country a year earlier and until the moment I had spoken to him that same pigeon did not win any prize. Of course there are also plenty of examples of young pigeons that did not win a flat prize and played the stars of heaven as a yearling. That is why I ask the question; is the basket the best selector? On the other hand you can say that if the basket is not what then? I think we are all the best selector in our own loft. We know our pigeons because we are busy with them daily, take enough time to observe them, study their fly and breeding results and what is very important, what is the health and flight condition? Are we also able to determine top condition and recognize diseases in the loft. It is not necessary that we are a pigeon doctor but it is important to be able to quickly see that something is stumbling on the pigeons. That is why I became a judge many years ago. I traveled all over the country to judge pigeons at all kinds of exhibitions. That was a great time but I mainly did a lot to learn about pigeons. In the early years many fanciers with their better and especially beautiful pigeons came to the show so I often got the cream of the crop. Those years are unfortunately over, I am too old and the fanciers have no real interest in what judges think of their pigeons.

Look at other branches of sport, the most beautiful athletes are certainly not the best and look at your own loft, there you discover exactly the same. On a show it is less difficult to point out the best, in your own loft it is almost impossible to appoint only valuable pigeons. Nevertheless we have to work on that in the coming period. If all goes well the first pigeons have been selected in many lofts, you can notice that at the sales that are starting to come again. Those pigeons have already received a cross behind their ring number or name in the past season and that is a good thing because in a few weeks they will be nice again and then it will be a lot harder to get rid of them. Which can we do best? I think the first and the best choice is to only keep pigeons that you like as a fancier. You know those pigeons that you say, yes that is one! You can feel the compactness, the soft plumes, the firm carcass, the tightly closed coccyx and the model of the pigeon. We all have a predilection for a pigeon and that is usually a model or type or even the color where you have achieved the necessary successes. In addition, the descent comes as an important argument in which important pigeons from ourselves must occur. Do not look too much at the extensive descendants of pigeons for sale, which can be made so tempting that you think that the guy who sells the pigeons is not good at his head otherwise he would not do away such top pigeons (?). The practice is very different. Especially keep it with own bred pigeons. Your pigeons that have performed super remain without any doubt and are also worth breeding in every way. The other pigeons that do not have a lot of good to tell about can best be kept or discarded at own intuition. You will always have to make your own choice somewhere or in a few cases you could ask for help of a good sports friend. My advice is; dare to make your own choices because with damage and shame you will quickly become a
lot wiser

The season is (finally) over. We can let the reins be celebrated because the "must" is now over. Fortunately, because I really have the end in the mouth. It was not even that many years ago that I did not want to stop. As far as I am concerned, the pigeon game could continue until Christmas and then start again immediately after New Year. I was so obsessed with the pigeon sport. Fortunately I have come to a different insight over the years. Many times I have written a pigeon year lasts a whole calendar year and not only in spring and summer. For many of us that is the most important period but the best fanciers do not think too easily about the period immediately after the racing season because even then the care requires attention. The big molt has started, the lofts are full of feathers. Large amounts of feathers are found in every nook and cranny, also in the drinks and grit trays. So paying extra attention is more or less a must. To prevent the feathers from blowing through the entire loft I place one or two baffles in each corner at an angle diagonally against the wall so that the springs blow behind and can be taken away in a grip. I have now stepped off from the accurate care and feeding and releasing of the pigeons at fixed times. All pigeons now get almost simultaneously between nine and half ten food and water, in the afternoon that happens around five o'clock.

Today I have by the 10 pairs of racing pigeons, after they have been brooding for 12 days, all the eggs removed and the hens have been transferred to another loft. The breeding pigeons have been separated for a long time so that they are in the right condition at the end of November to be paired again. We are already working hard now at least on paper but from experience I know that these links will change several times. We almost ended up in the same situation as in the late eighties/early nineties when our breeding loft consisted only of first prize winners and champion pigeons with some pigeons purchased. The big difference with that time is the number of pigeons that are played every week. Now that the flights are over I sometimes read the old results, it is shocking how the number of participating pigeons has dropped and with the number of pigeons, of course, the number of fanciers. We will have to learn to live with that, even if it is not easy. For example; I was the prize-winner last Saturday at the prize-giving ceremony of the North Holland Golden Rings race. But it was good that in the days before I inquired where and when the prize-giving ceremony was because the organization had forgotten to invite me and that while I am even the owner of the 1st Ace pigeon of this competition. A beautiful young light blue hen who achieved her performance on a small youngster. When I entered the room at half past six there was about 30 men and that was it. You will understand that you will not immediately achieve a real party mood and despite the good intentions of the one and a half organizer who was there I think we experienced the funeral of the NH Golden ring race. Again another nice event away. You are gradually wondering what the fanciers still like. I am convinced that in the coming winter months we will see more things that we will be shocked about.

The season 2018 enters the books as a year with excessively high temperatures and on most competition days wind from the east. No simple circumstances, especially for youngsters. Nevertheless, the losses in our region generally fell very badly. There was a member in my club who only participated in a few races because he lost too many youngsters from the beginning. Let's just say that I belong to the lucky one because I have lost 3 over the entire season and the old 2. Yet I keep saying that many fanciers do not seriously deal with their youngsters. They have to accompany them every week, which means that they do not pay attention to their condition and health. Of course quality and weather conditions also play an important role and in some areas the birds of prey cause even greater problems. Only we pigeon fanciers know what it means when a promising young bird is caught by a bird of prey. By the old it happens several times that a real top pigeon is caught. People do not know what an emotional value can be attached to that and then I do not even talk about the financial value. It is said so easily that we have to learn to live with that. Perhaps we may ask to keep the ever-increasing population of different species of birds of prey a little more in control. It really runs out of spools now even so much that large numbers of pigeon fanciers have stopped their hobby.
Next time I will go into the selection, unfortunately I will not succeed now. I go to the doctor first, I think I have a nerve infection in my left arm and that is too painful to sit in front of the computer for a long time. Unfortunately!
Till next week

For the older fanciers among us a complete surprise. For years this competition was called "the flight of all flights" and suddenly it was over and out. A committee of wise men ensured that this national competition was banned, it would be too far. A decision made by people who understand little or nothing of the game with youngsters. The Dutch fanciers were extremely disappointed, the biggest young pigeon competition in the whole world no longer existed. A competition that lived enormously, the whole Dutch pigeon sport was working on it, there was even talk about "Orleans fever" so exciting this flight was. In the golden years 180.000 youngsters came to the start, a number that will never be reached due to the enormous decline of members. It is great that the NPO has come up with a national proposal for youngsters. The start and the end of it is the same for all Dutch, the program consists of 12 flights. Of these the first two do not count for the national championship, furthermore the program consists of 5 sprint and 5 middle distance flights. In order to qualify for the national championship the four best results count on each component. The National competition from Orleans will, as the majority of Dutch fanciers agree, take place on August 31 2019. For now it is only a proposal that must be ratified at the general members meeting of November 10th.

I am convinced that not everyone agrees with the above proposal. Whatever one thinks up will always remain for and opponents. In itself that's fine, everyone should be able to express his opinion. When the mood is over the minority will have to stand by the majority, that is democracy, unfortunately easier said than done. Usually then the conversations along the street and in the clubs start again which in my opinion would be very unfortunate. What would it be nice if we as pigeon fanciers once completely agree. Actually it is a pity that a well thought-out proposal must be voted on. In other large sports federations the national administration writes how it is going to be and everyone should stick to it. Within the Dutch pigeon sport the national board has little say, the departments generally make the service. In this case it would be nice if the proposal for 2019 is simply implemented, excluding discussion. Only a blow with the chairman's hammer and with that the case is settled. We'll know more in two months.

The season and a long hot summer are behind us. Almost all pigeons have started the big molt and a large group of fanciers have the end in the mouth so to speak and are happy that it is over. For the great champions, or rather the men who still have a good pace in the hall, it may continue for a while. Most have given up the courage that was evident from the participation in the ZCC (my game area). On the program was the semi national competition from Fontenay, around 500 km. This flight also counted for the young pigeon championship in the ZCC. Last winter that was decided but experience taught me that this flight does not appeal to most fanciers. Why? Probably too late in the season and there is a big difference between semi-national and national. Semi national means that four different sectors are flown, or rather four flights each with a different release point. In the ZCC 17 fanciers participated who brought 238 pigeons to the start and 7 fanciers did not win a prize. That same day there was another flight with 47 participants and 16 of those did not appear in the results.

Because the national competition from Orleans was withdrawn for youngsters from the calendar the four sectoral competitions were replaced. The past weekend it was that far again. In Sector 1 704 fanciers started with 8527 pigeons, sector 2 had 738 participants with 14.516 pigeons, in 3 there were 1044 fanciers with 14.422 pigeons and in sector 4 there were 12.019 pigeons from 999 fanciers. In total 3485 fanciers participated, that's a nice number and the more than 57.000 pigeons is something that appeals to the imagination. Suppose they were in 1 competition that would be even better. A national competition from the same release point will appeal to the participants even more so that the participation will be considerably higher. Despite these nice numbers I have to conclude that only 20% of all Dutch fanciers have participated in these sector competitions. That is very little and says enough.
You would immediately be tempted to say that the birds of prey or perhaps the high voltage wires, the weather, the air pollution, the tropical heat or all sorts of other things, it will all be. Without you realizing it you will discover more and more that our biggest enemy is the age, I am experiencing that more and more. For years I flew through the lofts as it were and at a record pace I had everything clean. I like clean lofts because the pigeons look even more beautiful. Now that I am getting older, or rather old, the enthusiasm drops to clean the lofts every day, even though I have decided to keep fewer pigeons. However, it is the case that within the pigeon sport the law of large numbers counts enormously. I saw that last weekend again on a result of a sectoral flight. As a fancier I usually only look at the first sheet of the result and then I see again and again that the men with many pigeons are the most eye-catching. That is no longer possible for someone with 15 pigeons in the race. The electronic observation also contributes to this. Give a bath every week and at least once a week fresh vegetables, it keeps on increasing. It is all a bit too much and that is absolutely at the expense of the results. The point is therefore that in old age you still have to invent a proper care system so that with a minimal effort you still occasionally have a pigeon in the top of the result. That keeps you going and also ensures that you stay motivated. The aging process continues and without noticing we go back a step backwards every time unfortunately. Most important is to continue to enjoy your hobby. However, if you are used to always playing with the best and that less and less succeed the fun ends. Conclusion; growing old has more disadvantages than benefits, at least that's how I think about it.

Frankly I like surprises but there is an exception and that happened to me during the third natour race. On Thursday it was decided that the pigeons should not be basket on Friday but on Saturday. Throughout the summer we enjoyed or had trouble, it is just how you look at it, of the often tropical temperatures. This time Pluto was bothering us, heavy rains and thunder caused our managers postpone the flight for a day. Saturday night we had to go to the room and that's why the pigeons came home on Sunday. It turned out to be a good decision afterwards despite the fact that several flights were still going on Saturday. On Sunday we had the most beautiful weather in the world but there was a catch. It was indicated that it was windless during the release and also in our garden you could not see a leaf on the trees. This time no influence of the wind so it became a race of which we say "own speed" that comes down to around 80 km per hour. My supporters were not there yet and because the weather was nice and sunny I told my wife that I was already sitting in the garden. I did not count ten times when, according to me, there was a pigeon in the loft. Because I could not see it properly I decided to look up. There were already more on the loft and there were also some in the loft. Early in the morning I had turned on the clock, the valves open and everything else in order. I could not believe my eyes, they were barely one and a half hours away and the distance was 155 km. How is it possible I ran into muttering myself, incredible, cannot and even more of those surprised cries. But they were there and the boss was clearly surprised and at the same time disappointed. There were eight in a minute gone inside. Big question that always will remain unanswered what time would the first have been. I sat almost four minutes after my son who was first and flies 1 km shorter. So I did not care much I thought but that was wrongly thought. It was an incredibly fast flight with speeds of just over 100 km per hour so they must have had the wind on the tail. Against 13.060 pigeons I started with the 697th place, then you still have more than 12.000 behind you. Who thinks so deceives himself, in competitive sports it is about how much you have for you. If you are second you have delivered a great performance but you have lost. The flight that I expected so much was a huge damper for me. Soon forgotten and the natour championship I can also forget now that we have only two flights to go. A disappointing end of the season 2018. Fortunately there are also plenty of nice memories so I can look back with satisfaction on a super sunny year with and a number of absolute highlights. You must remember that and forget the rest soon.

For a large part of the racing season I have been busy braking the molt which keeps the aerodynamics intact. That has succeeded for a large part. My youngsters are now still on 7 pens, the old birds on 4 and the breeders on 2. The racing pigeons have only dropped some cover feathers when they were only paired for the last five races. After 10 days of breeding that is stopped and now they have bald young in the nest the molt is as good as quiet. If the youngsters is away in two weeks they will start the tail molt immediately. The middle feathers let them fall first and when the one outer is fully grown they are also ready with the big molt. With the youngsters that will take some time, I assume that in December that job will be done. Maybe there are some who have an old flights, my experience is that it goes out as soon as they have been brooding or even during breeding. The person who observes his pigeons well can see whether the molt is going well or not. Young pigeons become adults and usually become somewhat stronger. Unfortunately it sometimes happens that youngsters have problems with the molting. I see that as a kind of weakness, perhaps too reckless or too much played. Pigeons that struggle to get through the molting I absolutely do away. Last winter I decided to keep fewer racing pigeons. I started with 12 couples and there are 11 of them, in that respect a nice result. However those 11 couples have not all met the demands of the boss. There must be 5 couples away and that while I am so glad that I only lost two pigeons. It is never really good, you lose a lot of it, you are disappointed, you do not lose a lot then you are faced with the problem that you still have to clean up some. It is my intention that in 2019 I will start again with 12 couples, divided into 12 yearlings and 12 years old.

My youngsters took the champion title just like last year and pigeons that perform well and are therefore in a good condition are not easily lost. I still have 30 but only 12 can stay. Maybe 14 but that means that only 10 old can stay. I absolutely do not deviate from my point of view, breeding boxes add certainly does not happen. With the youngsters there are about six or so which I can say goodbye quite easily, but then. Then a number of sleepless nights will follow, because who else needs to get out. Maybe there are still a few who can get a place in the breeding loft. Breeders who have not given anything for years is not that difficult the problem is that I have been working on it for years. This means that Marco and I have breeding pigeons that we are keen on, despite that some older ones will have to leave the younger breeders often have our preference. So there is an end to a season with very few losses, in other words we have (a lot) too many pigeons but certainly not all good, I wish I could say that. Selecting is always based on intuition with help from the result list. In our breeding loft are pigeons that have performed in such a way that they are well worth breeding and if that is not possible this year we will have to change some couples. When I had only a few breeding couples I changed them every year. I was never a fan of many pigeons and if you do not give the breeding pigeons a different partner you get too much of the same strain in your loft which makes it very likely that it will be too closely inbreed. You can breed the most beautiful pigeons in this way I think the quality will deteriorate in the long run and I have always been careful. Just a little longer and we do not have to worry about performance anymore, the period that will soon come is even more difficult. Who may and may not stay on. I wish you a lot of wisdom.

Wembley treated us again to top tennis, even a game of 6.5 hours just stans up. The Tour de France with two days in a row the Hollander Dylan Groenewegen as winner. The World Cup football with the highlight of the match France - Croatia. The gold heads have rightly won but Croatia was a revelation to many. The battle for the third place was won by neighboring Belgium who sent our English friends home empty-handed. And now it's a few days in a row enjoying the tough mountain stages in the Tour that finishes on the Champs Elysees in Paris on Sunday. In addition the competition program for our pigeons is running at full speed, several races in a weekend and that each time with tropical temperatures and wind from the east so that the western resident fanciers are already in the advantage from the beginning of April. Fortunately, but we cannot control the wind and the weather conditions what would it become a chaos in the pigeon sport, you are most likely agree with that.

I think I have never experienced such a long period with so many summer days in my life. It is unprecedented and then you go on thinking at a given moment. We hear and read almost daily about global warming. The North Pole ice melts faster than ever before it really gets serious now. Even in the watery Netherlands the prolonged drought causes a lack of water. Something we Dutch can only imagine and because the Arctic ice melts the dikes in the Netherlands have to be raised because we live well below sea level. The Netherlands has always fought against the water, we have expertise enough. It is now a world problem and then we pigeon fanciers are busy when there is a dulled egg in the nest. How crazy do you have to be? Despite the tropical temperatures there are weekly flights for the youngsters until mid-September. The organization is gradually don’t know what to do with it. A flight has already been canceled and I wonder how we should proceed. Perhaps the only solution is to organize flights of up to 150 km. On the other hand we cannot be too careful either. There are countries where at temperatures of 30 degrees it’s normal to play and there are also countries where they only start play with pigeons when we are skating. It is as if the seasons are moving up and the pigeon sport will have to respond to that. Maybe there should be a summer break if the temperatures remain so high in the middle of the year. In any case there are planned for 2018 young pigeon flights until mid-September, we will see where the ship is stranded but with all these losses we cannot continue this way.

We now have three competition flights. In the weeks before my wife took them six times and between the flights they were taken away every Wednesday which I have never done before. As soon as the matches started it was done with bringing them away I then have absolute rest on the loft. For many years I have been darken young pigeons until the first week of June, this time to the first week of July. Last year I did that too and then and now (yet) I did not suffer from the coli contamination and that is a nice feeling. I find it terrible when the youngsters get coli they are really sick of it. My experience is that once they are better they can come with the best. So they do not suffer from it only in the period that they are ill they are really sick, vomit, dirty bad green oil like thin manure, poor appetite and drink far too much. Loft cleaning is then a very dirty job but I do it twice a day and then I go over there with the burner. I put the sick pigeons apart and give them only very little food and of course the coli cure from doctor van der Sluis in the drinking water. After a few days the suffering has been suffered again. The third flight on July 14 I had 30 with which 22 price to start with 6-7-8. If I manage to keep them as they are now it could be a very nice season. The losses are not too bad, only 2 old pigeons have not come back and to date I only lost 1 young pigeon. Let me beat that because we have just started the season is still long.

A very good acquaintance of mine from my time that I was a cyclist did running with a preference for the marathon. You do not want to know what a training job involves. I would not be able to do that maybe because I really dislike running/walking. Riding a bike for 6 hours is not as bad as running for 1 hour. Despite the heavy training of a marathon runner they only do two or three matches more is almost impossible to make. That is why I watched with great amazement at the flying program with which the marathon player can participate with his pigeons. In my opinion just absurd and if you want to participate in all these flights you have to own lofts full of pigeons. Most of these men also have lofts full, the big question is how many pigeons are involved that can handle such long distances. Coincidentally last week I saw two results of two marathon races that were held in the same weekend. Then the first thing I do is look at the names you read a lot in advertisements or on sales sites. It is sporadic that you encounter those greats in the head of the result. I did see one who had more than 80 pigeons on both races and did not play 15% prize. There was one very early and we will soon read a comprehensive report about y because of the top performance of that one pigeon the other loft mates have to raise a huge amount in the coming winter. I do not want you to withhold the marathon program, here they are; 15/6 St. Vincent; 22/6 Bordeaux; 23/6 Pau; 29/6 Agen; 6/7 Barcelona; 7/6 Dax; 14/7 St, Vincent and Agen; 20/7 Marseille; 27/7 Cahors and Perpignan. A number of flights are unloaded in the morning and the other in the afternoon. I assume that marathon pigeons can finish a maximum of 2 and at most 3 of these races. No one is obliged to take part in all flights, there are those who do. Perhaps there will be more participants if the number of flights is drastically reduced. When I view the results the number of participants is shockingly low. A good friend once said to me; do you know why some of those men have such a good name on those flights? I would not know, I said. That is because we program players do not participate, he said. Maybe he spoke the truth.

What a great spring we have had and also summer spoils us with radiant weather. High temperatures, plenty of sun and occasionally a strong east to north east wind. Great to sit back in a comfortable chair in a shady spot in the garden. That is enjoyment and we do not experience that often in the Netherlands. Rain is often a game breaker of various fun events. The world is changing, we have never had such long periods with beautiful summer weather. However this also has disadvantages because it has never been so dry. From above it is even asked to no longer spray the garden and to use water sparingly. Normally everything is in bloom and now the grass is as dry as hay, plants dry out and the fresh green is slowly disappearing. For the major sporting events it is especially for the spectators sublime again unfortunately for those who have to perform in different sports not so ideal. But unfortunately for the athlete that is also part of it.

The World Cup is the tournament of the surprises. Favorite countries are home now it is still between England, France, Belgium and Croatia. If you see this article it is known who will play the final. Frankly I award them all four titles but it does not work like that. We will fight until the last game. If I can make a forecast is the final between France-England. But who am I, because I have never won the football pool so to say that I have some view certainly not. If it is a nice final a lot of neutral supporters are satisfied and that's what’s is about.

There is still little to say about this. What struck us was the unfair behavior of the French by expanding Chris Froome. Unfortunately we know that the behavior of the French certainly when it comes to a foreign rider who has a chance to win the final victory. In the first stage it only became interesting in the last 10 km. Due to a crash, a number of favorites were already running a little behind. World champion Sagan showed in the final of the second stage that he behaves like a kamikaze pilot and does not move aside. After the team time trial the Belgian Greg Van Avermaet came in the yellow leader's jersey and that classification will certainly look very different now. Last Tuesday they went into the mountains after the first rest day and then the entire classification is turned upside down. Those are the stages in which you watch at the tip of your chair without you noticing it yourself.

Friday was not released. On Saturday morning at 9 o'clock the 15.000 Barcelona racers were allowed on their way home. Under ideal circumstances for the real long distance pigeons it became a murderous flight. For most pigeons it was not a simple task. The distance, the heat and the north-easterly wind prevented any pigeon from reaching the loft on the day of unloading. It became a race for the real go-getters. None of the participating pigeons could realize a speed of 1000 mpm. The international victory went to Belgium. Team Freddy de Jaeger from Knesselare clocked their winning pigeon LLOYD, a 3-year-old cock who arrived on Sunday morning at 10.14 and made a winning speed of 952 meters per minute (57 km per hour). In England it was again a national victory for Mark Gilbert, Windsor. In the Netherlands it was Bruin from Nieuwerkerk who had the fastest and in Germany the national victory went to Peter Nitsch from Boppard. At the moment it is not yet known what the outcome is of the world's most appealing multi-day long distance race. Very deep hats for all pigeons who have accomplished this heavy task.

The first official flight took place on 23 June. An early release was necessary to give the inexperienced pigeons the opportunity to be home for the worst heat. That only partially succeeded. The flight was not bad, but it was true that many pigeons came home over a large part of the day. A week later people did not dare to continue the flight. Again too hot for the youngsters who have already suffered much from the trip to the release point. The specially equipped pigeon trolleys are equipped with all modern gadgets. It is the inexperience of the youngsters who play tricks on them. The biggest handicap is drinking in the basket. Most of them have not realized yet. Added to this is the necessary stress because if you suddenly have to go home between thousands of pigeons some things have happened. On the first Saturday of July, just like the first flight, it was discharged at a distance of 110 km. Again early so that the pigeons were already home about nine. Very well done, for the beautiful it is for the fanciers something too early at least that is my opinion. I like to have the loft extra clean on Saturday morning, read newspaper, drink coffee and then take a seat in the garden and wait for the arrival of the first pigeons. There was no opportunity for these first flights. Too bad for me but good for the pigeons.

Marco was full of fire at the start of the season. He had it in his head that he would fly the whole competition during the speed races. It was not what he had counted on. Wait, he said as soon as the middle distance races begin. That too was not what he expected. For me it was about the same song. More than the 2nd championship on the speed was not there, also some nice results in the middle distance but I did not get the pigeons in the condition they need to get into the spotlight. Both we were going to shift our focus to the game with the youngsters. Unfortunately it was so warm that it was irresponsible to drive with the pigeons. Only a few days before the first flight it was, in my view, justified. Marco had no opportunity to do so because of busy work and skipped the first flight. We both participated in the past weekend. I played the first flight the 2nd and on the second flight even 1 and 2 while Marco claimed the 3rd place. Tropical temperatures are also expected for the coming flight. I have already proclaimed it several times; young pigeons have a harder time than the old ones. In any case, it is the case that they have to race in the hottest period of the year. Yet I participate because everything they learn in their birth year will benefit them later.

On Saturday 7 July the Tour de France started. The world's largest cycling spectacle for the 105th time and that same day were the arrivals of the Barcelona racers. For most of the 15.707 international pigeons (in 2009 there were still 27.669) this very difficult course is over while the 178 riders (22 teams of 8) still have three weeks of top sport which is certainly no fun at all but much to abandon. The World Cup is also nearing its peak. Surprises were enough, known football countries have long been home. As things stand at present probably Brazil is the biggest favorite and we Dutch are of course very curious what our southern neighbors the Belgians are going to bring and let us also our English friends do not forget because they are still in the race for the world title . France, Uruguay, Brazil, Belgium, England, Sweden, Croatia and the organizing Russia have qualified for the quarter finals that started last Friday.

You cannot open the paper or turn on the TV the press only pays incredible attention to the major international sporting events. Other sports hardly come into play. Regardless of which station or newspaper they write all the same, one tries to outdo the other with even larger letters which is actually a pathetic spectacle. Why in regional newspapers do not pay extra attention to regional sports. Here too football gets the most attention and other sports are a bit more involved. Does the editorial staff of the regional newspaper not realize that their subscribers are very interested in the regional region and sports news? Every sports association and of course other associations can certainly use some extra attention. As a pigeon fancier I get annoyed green and yellow in the attitude of my regional newspaper. Previously there were two and there was competition, now that they have merged the newspaper has the display right. For years there was a half-page every Tuesday in the newspaper with pigeon results. Everyone read it because everyone had a neighbor, family member, colleague or friend who was a pigeon fancier. So those results were read by a lot of people and they were talked about. The pigeon sport lived and knew many supporters. The newspaper no longer considers it important to report on this increasingly smaller group of pigeon fanciers. The youth has other possibilities, they are not interested in pigeon sport partly because there is no publicity anymore. The youth is inside the computer every day. The youth no longer moves, they become more and more robots become totally dulled. No, it goes completely wrong with many sports. In my environment one after the other merges. Clubs are becoming too small due to aging and insufficient accretion. For many clubs break even more difficult times. The flourishing club life unfortunately does not exist anymore and what have we elderly people enjoyed a lot of fun. That will never come back and what comes in its place I would not know. Probably everything will play out on the internet soon. Shops are closed, club buildings are being demolished and there is a new generation coming that do their shopping and all sorts of other things via the internet. I must not think that it will come this far and hope never to experience that situation.

The law of large numbers also applies in pigeon racing. It is still the case that the person who buys the most lottery tickets is also theoretically most likely to win a prize. It is no guarantee that the person who bets the most pigeons also wins the match or has the most pigeons in the result. What matters is that we fight each other with equal weapons in every branch of sport. I think more attention should be paid to that. Participants who use a lot of pigeons do nothing wrong in the Netherlands. The regulations do not provide that a maximum is bound. For many fanciers it is and remains an unfair feeling when you have to play 10 against 50 or 20 against 100. There are countries where this is arranged. Is not there a clean task for the FCI? Coincidentally I saw this week the club results of the Snelvlucht from Bodegraven. That is the club where Gerard and Bas Verkerk and Willem de Bruijn are members. Father and son Verkerk and also Willem de Bruijn are good acquaintances of mine, plus I have great admiration for them because they have played a leading role in the Dutch pigeon sport for many years. While looking at that result I had to think of the fanciers who play against these greats and get a beating every week. It was about the middle distance flight Melun. 12 members of this club had jointly deployed 336 pigeons and only 4 members managed to win a place in the result. Verkerk had 135 with it and had 46 in the results, the Bruijn played 35 prizes of the 87 pigeons, a member with 14 pigeons became 52nd and another member with 11 pigeons was 64th and 66th. The other 8 participants did not play a prize and that is often the case week after week. How will those 8 feel? What kind of fun do these people still enjoy in the pigeon sport? Something like that does not keep a person full. I then continued my search and came to a startling discovery that nearly 50% of the participating members won no prize in almost all clubs. Why do you think the membership is declining so fast. That is certainly not just the bird of prey.

In the early years when we still had several pigeon weeklies in the Netherlands there was a regular section every week "Where are our pigeons?". In that respect not much has changed. At that time there were many more fanciers and also many more pigeons. That has changed considerably. Our group is getting smaller and with that the number of pigeons. Flights with a disastrous course have always existed and that will remain so despite the modern equipment. Nature cannot be arranged so that this always remains an uncertain factor. Everyone is doing his best to stop the big losses of now only we do not know exactly how, it remains a big mystery. We cannot say that all the pigeons that were lost were not healthy. We cannot say anything about the quality or the transport, who knows it has something to do with the food or with the stay in the metal boxes or with the wrong ventilation in the cars. Air pollution is probably one of the biggest causes and we don’t now know what we can do about it. Pigeon sport, it does not get any easier.

For the club of long await this week the multi-day classic Barcelona is on the program. The cycling fanatics get their money as the Tour de France starts and football fans now get the most important and hopefully also the most exciting matches of the World Championship held in Russia. In addition the races for the youngsters started in the Netherlands plus the competition program for the old pigeons is in full swing. All sporting events that interest me enormously. I do not participate in Barcelona but I follow this appealing race from the beginning to the end. I have a lot of appreciation for the pigeons that are in the basket for almost a whole week before they can start their homeward journey. For days on end in the car eating and drinking and also for almost a week to do their needs in the basket, not just stretch their wings, maybe here and there a fight and then comes the day that they all have to cover more than a thousand kilometers for several glory of their boss. Let's not forget that somewhere on the way home you have to stay overnight and where do they do that. Not in a four star hotel, perhaps somewhere on a roof of a house on the silent heathland where life starts only late or they take place on a high church where every hour the clock strikes so that long sleep does not end up. Those pigeons are chased away so they can take an important advantage over many competitors. The weather plays an important role at this time of the year, it is never completely dark at night. With that clear weather and the wind from behind it is possible that many pigeons fly a large part of the night. Mist and rain are also possible because once they have been unloaded little more can be done. All elements that can make Barcelona so exciting. For me this kind of flight is far too far, I will sleep well that night, for sure that most Barcelona participants do not close their eyes that night. Am very curious who will write this marathon on his name.

I am already looking forward to that, three weeks of cycling at the highest level. Without other big rounds shortage remains the Tour de France the world's largest and most appealing cycling event. Cycling has become a real TV sport, something has to be done and it is immediately visualized. Niki Terpstra (NED) starts as one of the leaders. Once he started as an 8-year-old at the cycling club DTS where I was then chairman, you will understand that I am proud of him. He was already three times Dutch champion on the road with the professional cyclists, he is not a Tour winner but is capable of very much. However there are so many other toppers and, like other years, the battle to bring the yellow jersey to Paris will at most go between 5 participants. I can predict who that is, but there is no point in that. I am convinced that there will be several stages were the viewers sit on the edge of their seat.

Now that the first and second place are known in every group it really becomes serious. The chaff is so to say separated from the corn which means that the lesser football countries are home. Surprises were enough. The Moroccans have disappointed me the most and the Belgians have ended up in the list of contenders because of their two big victories. Argentina, England and Germany are still in the race and Croatia is doing extremely well up to now. I've seen most of the matches and in between there was time to take care of the pigeons. They behave as they should and I consider them great things in the coming weeks.
Last week, Chateauroux was on the program for me 668 km and I think that's too far. When I looked at the results I noticed that many fanciers who made their name on the overnight races had a lot of pigeons on this one-day classic. It was a fairly easy flight because within an hour all prize pigeons were at home. What stood out was the performance of the overnight players. Large numbers of pigeons and the big crowd did not qualify until the second half of the result. Some of those men clocked their first pigeon only 45 minutes after the winner and then I wonder how that is possible. Can these pigeons do not make high speeds at these distances, do they orient themselves so badly or do they really get going after they have 500 km behind them. The difference between these men and the program players is that they never ask each other what time they have clocked, they usually ask how much they have at home. Program players have nothing to do with homecoming, in principle every pigeon comes home. You have to have those who know how to class themselves several times on the first sheet of the result. But yes, tastes differ, let's keep it there.

There is so much talk about good pigeons, if you do not have them you do not count. I think there are a number of good pigeons in each loft. Pigeons that occasionally race in the list or even regularly do so are good pigeons or do I see that wrong? Most fanciers among us entertained weekly because some of their pigeons play a prize. For many the arrival of their pigeons is something to get goose bumps. However pigeon sport is a competitive sport and among the practitioners there are a lot that want to win at any cost. They even have a lot of money to achieve that. Too bad for them, but results and championships are not for sale, they are not in a box or bottle. To a large extent it is still the mental doping and that is the interplay between boss and pigeon. If that is good the results will come almost automatically. In addition you must have "excellent" in your loft. These are pigeons that can win at least three victories and the necessary top prizes in a season. Unfortunately there are few of them and you are a lucky if you have one or two of these supers in your loft. For many of us a dream but there are those who have a few of those clappers almost every year. I've had them too, but having had is an ugly word you have to have them now. I have enough good pigeons frankly I have been waiting for two years for one or two extras and I do not have much time anymore but it remains a fantastic hobby for me.

The season is running at full speed and like previous years there are more losers then winners. Fortunately there are also who play the tiles from the roof but I hear from different sides they also have to deal with setbacks. This means that there are already several fanciers who have given up the courage to play with old pigeons. They have already focused their arrows on the game with the youngsters. Even there, unfortunately, it does not succeed with the right preparation cause the high temperatures and the easterly wind. I write that for several weeks, believe me for our untrained youngsters that is far from ideal. Those who have driven the pigeons themselves have all had to deal with a huge setback at least once. Four, five times it goes well and then there is just one day that they come home all day plus a number is not coming back at all. I also hear those comments about the old pigeons and it is very striking that so many proven pigeons stay behind. Today I happen to speak to two fanciers who both lost their pigeons last Saturday that won the first prize against more than 2000 pigeons the previous week. Last week was the first training flight with the club for the youngsters. The weather was of that kind that only in the afternoon could be released. The course was abominably bad, many pigeons on the same day not at home. Today, Tuesday the second training flight and again it is so bad weather that the pigeons are being released close to home this afternoon. I did not give pigeons myself because I did not trust it again. My pigeons are ready in the basket so that I can immediately leave when the air breaks open. I will not drive as long as that is not the case. I say that I'm not going to drive but that is a bit of a big speech because I still cannot drive so as soon as the weather improved my wife Cora goes with the pigeons away. It is the first time and she does not go further than 8 km. Hopefully tomorrow again and also the following days I hope we can ride with them. Saturday the 23rd of June is the first race and I hope they are gone once or 7. After the first official flight there is no more driving. Then it is every Saturday race and through the week rest, but they go out twice a day for an hour. With me the youngsters look perfect while I hear from all sides that there is a lot of problems. Especially ornithosis and that is because every day the sun shines brightly and then especially the lofts with a lot of glass get problems. The sun burns all the oxygen from the lofts so I leave the roller blind on the south-west side. I shut out the sun just like in the southern countries. Sun is fine for humans and animals but can also be crazy. People should not lie too long in the sun and the pigeon loft better be a little darkened when the sun shines so brightly.

I am absolutely not a fan of the long distance flights. I follow them and have respect for the fanciers and their pigeons who perform well at great distances. My experience is that if something goes wrong it is mostly on the long distance races. In my opinion these flights get too much appreciation from the writing pigeon press. Is that because those pigeons know how to bridge large distances or because participation is so big or does commerce play an important role. The fact that these pigeons are able to bridge large distances is in my view not at all sensational. They are bred for it, at the short distance races they always come home much too late. They have a better endurance than the speed pigeons. Speed pigeons orient themselves faster and cause an explosion on the shorter distances and are soon return home. In my view the flights up to 450 km are undervalued in the press. There is always a bit of inferior talk about it, while those flights have the most participants. Last weekend the long distance players had the bad luck that on Saturday and also on Sunday they could not be discharged at the planned release point. Low-hanging clouds and mist were the cause. What to do? The board decided to go back Sunday to a distance of (for me) 335 km. There it was such weather that it was safe to unload the pigeons. It was also decided that the flight would count towards the long distance championship and that was against the agreements made. The agreement was that if it was not a good weather at the unloading place one would drive back to minimal (for me 387 km). Now I saw a fancier in the result that played 298 km, such distances you cannot count for the long distance. Long distance officially starts at 500 km. Anyway it is also not nice to let the pigeons fly for nothing.
Here we see again that in the winter months good thought has to be given to making arrangements because it has already happened several times that one regrets it in the summer months

A little while and then the game starts. Many fanciers look forward to it because they assume that everyone can play with young pigeons. So it was many years ago but also the game with the youngsters has become a specialized game. Look at the results later, then very different names come forward as we could read weekly in the snout of the results with the old pigeons. With me I see the youngsters becoming more and more mature. The young cocks try to court the ladies, nice to see how they dig out. The disadvantage is that the length of flying around the loft is less. The young stuff wants to enter the loft where they can lie down in a seat or on the ground to court. Only when the flights have started for them I will encourage them by creating some dark spots, the small breeding boxes will remain closed until then. Throughout the season, cocks and hens stay together and they can nest as much as they want. Nevertheless there are always a few unpaired youngsters that can achieve prefect results. Often they jostle themselves by being jealous of a couple that is somewhere to cuddle. As the weather looks now the youngsters will be basket again this afternoon for a short training flight.

This was preceded by the superhuman achievement of Chris Froome (UK). He, the big Froome went off on Saturday 26th May as a hare to wear after 80 km solo the rosť leader's jersey. After two weeks of tough races only one could win and that was Simon Yates (UK). Almost two weeks the rosť around his slender shoulders who could do something about it. After the individual time trial of 34.5 km Yates came completely deserted across the line. I told everyone who wanted to hear that the candle by Yates was burned out. Very sorry for him the fit was out of his body and two days later he was a big disadvantage and it became clear that there was nothing more to win for him. From that moment Froome became the biggest contender for the overall victory after Tom Dumoulin. Sure enough he performed it and nobody but no one could do anything against him either. Now he is one of the greatest people who managed to write all three big rounds on their behalf. Last year's winner had to settle for the second place. Let's see who is the best in the Tour de France. First the World Cup in Russia where the Netherlands is the big absent. In another big sporting event the decision was made that same weekend. Real Madrid and Liverpool had to decide who would win the Champions League. Real Madrid succeeded for the third consecutive time. Tasteful moments in that match were the blunders of the German Liverpool goalkeeper and the formidable nick of the Englishman Gareth Bale. An incredibly nice kick was a goal that the whole world has passed.

It is now June and that means that the fans of the long distance races are wide awake. Last weekend the first long distance races were on the program in the Netherlands. In Belgium a national long distance flight was started immediately from the famous relocation center Bourges. For me the distance is 620 km and that is a nice average distance for a national flight. The Belgians like to play nationally and do not take it so closely with the distances. On this first national Bourges the victory went to the Family 3D, a combination of three different fanciers. It was their hen Beatrix who was too quick to finish all 20.280 other competitors. They covered the distance of 390 km (in my view much too short for a national flight) with an average speed of 1275 meters per minute. As second came the famous champion formation Kurt and Raf Platteeuw, they had put 103 in. What did not work last year did succeed this time. The national results could be read on the internet two days after the race and that was fun for our Belgian sports friends because last year we had to wait for the right results for weeks. Hopefully the National Board members of the KBDB have gained some more friends because of this quick result.

The neutralization time has been a hot topic in the multi-day long distance races in recent years. I can still remember the time when people told us that pigeons cannot see anything in the dark. Then came the time that a pigeon arrived in the night hours. That could and did not exist, it was an incredible achievement. Those nocturnal arrivals occurred more and more. Was it cultivated or were the pigeons trained in the dark? it will certainly have something to do with it. An arrangement was made that was called "neutralization time". This wanted to prevent groups of fanciers from being completely eliminated. The world changed, small villages where a lamppost used to illuminate the village center are now much more and what to think of all the brightly illuminated advertisements. That is not only the case with the small villages, the big cities are a sea of light and it is therefore never dark in the summer. The quality of the pigeons is also getting better and in the summer months when most long distance races are being held, more and more pigeons continue to fly at night. Try to come up with an arrangement that everyone agrees with. It has gone (reasonably) well for a while until more opposition came. Another arrangement had to be devised. Many proposals have been submitted and the end of the song is that despite all good intentions the fans of the multi-day long distance are not next to each other. It will be quite a job to get the noses of the ZLU and KBDB managers in the same direction. This mouse certainly has a tail, so ... .. will be continued.

For Dutch standards we have beautiful weather every week. It is full enjoyment of the fresh green, everything is in bloom and the temperatures are sometimes not to last. Around our house is water and every day mother ducks with their children pass by. There are those who have started with 12 youngsters and now there are only 2 left. The herons and pike eat a good number of them every day, those little ducks are a real treat for them. Nature is hard on that matter. There are also many fanciers in the Netherlands who have lost the necessary young pigeons to the birds of prey. In our country there are absolutely too many birds of prey, beautiful animals that many people don’t get bored. As far as pigeon fanciers are concerned more urgent measures must be taken to keep the bird of prey population under control. As long as there is allowed to place nesting boxes for these killers in all kinds of places we are not at that problem for now. Why are pigeons not as protected as all birds of prey? Today finally a heavy rain shower and that was badly needed for our garden.

The old pigeons do it as desired but to be honest I expected more from them. In the club they are doing fine because every week at least two in the first ten is a dream for many. In the ZCC I still participate with the best, the long distance I skip. I now focus more on the game with the youngsters that starts on 24 June. Today I have them by Dr. Van der Sluis all vaccinated against paratyphus. They got a little bit of it. I did not release them that day and also the next day they stay inside. Next week the last speed flight and two weeks later the youngsters start. I currently have 35 to play with, that must be enough to resist at the highest level. The old pigeons get a few middle distance races to finish and now it is already known which pigeons get their last chance on the last five natour races. They are no longer on the old pigeon program. I do not leave them because they provide atmosphere in the loft and maybe the poorly performing pigeons are good enough to keep their neighbor sharp so they continue quietly with good performance.

I cannot speak for all Dutch pigeon fanciers but I can say how things are going on the west side so far. The weather will not let us down until last Saturday. However, this year every week east wind and you know everything about it because I've already written so many times so that it is annoying at the end. I have already written that we can arrange a lot in our sport except the weather, the wind and the location. Unfortunately the majority of the Dutch pigeons could not be released on Saturday May 19th. Especially in Belgium and the south of the Netherlands it was outright bad, with such weather you would not even leave your dog outside. The annoyance of all that was that all pigeon fanciers families who had made an appointment to do something fun on whit Sunday that had to blow off. However there was enough time on Saturday to follow the tough mountain stage of the Giro d'Italia. It was a magisterial victory for the great English champion Chris Froome who showed that he certainly is not without a chance and that he is most likely going to make a throw at a podium place. Today 22-5 in the 34.5 km long time trial he clearly showed that he was still among the contenders. It is going to be an exciting last week with three more mountain arrivals. Biggest contender is Simon Yates, although I thought he was over the mark today after the time trial. However he is in super shape and therefore still the big contender for the final victory although we certainly cannot write off Tom Dumoulin, Pozzovivo and Froome. On Sunday it was again for the cycling fans to enjoy Simon Yates who drove the entire peloton on his own. On Monday there was a day off and that was also a great opportunity for the fanciers to lick the wounds. There were quite a few stayed behind and from different sides I heard that the pigeons were very thirsty. Here and there even pigeons were fished out of the water, thirsty and then no more power to fly up again from the water. My son Marco missed 7 hens in the evening and I still 3. Typically that it was predominantly hens. From a good friend I heard that his best pigeon was not back on Tuesday. A pigeon that already won two victories against a few thousand pigeons this year, you do not want to lose such a pigeon. In my opinion the pigeons were unloaded too late. At 10.30 am for a race of almost 400 km with a hot north wind turns out to be too heavy task for many pigeons. To the pigeons that were on time at home you could clearly see that they should have put on a lot. Even on Tuesday morning I had to drive two cocks out of the loft and that says something.

The middle distance races that can be so beautiful have many participants but among them there are already some that will throw the towel in the ring. In that respect we fanciers must have a very strong character to participate in the next race after such a bad race. I had secretly thought to participate in the one day long distance but still look away from it. In the first place because I only participate with very few pigeons, secondly because I lost three hens and thirdly I find 520 km with again north wind and very high temperatures not a flight that I look forward to. This weekend the one-day long distance races start and we also have the last speed flight of about 220 km. That should be good, especially if the pigeons can get out early. It is not that warm yet and usually the wind is not that strong either. I do in any case participate to keep my second place for the speed championship. How Marco thinks about is to guess if you have handed in 6 hens on a flight. It is not an excuse but he is currently too busy. Fortunately his own home furnishing business requires a lot of time, then he has been in the middle of a renovation of his own house for a long time plus that he has a family and is also crazy about his grandchildren. I used to be so fanatical that the pigeons almost always came first. It was a nice time but if I have done it all just right that you should ask my wife.

I currently enjoy a lot of fun with my youngsters. They are as healthy as a fish and therefore they do things that every pigeon fancier likes to see. They eat like madmen, they train like idiots, when I call them they call in as kamikaze pilots, the manure is to eat so nice, they are still darkened 13 hours a day. If that remains the case the competition will find people at home. For the moment I am very enthusiastic. We all know that something can happen from one day to the next. I am already hesitant to cancel the eclipse because a few weeks later you can have a chance of a coli outbreak or even worse. Those who read other pigeon magazines know that they have a lot of problems with the adeno virus in some countries and unfortunately that is often fatal for youngsters. When I release my youngsters in the morning and I go out of the loft to see where they are I do not see one anymore. This morning they returned in small groups. On the one hand I like that but on the other hand you have a problem with feeding. It did no harm to them because tonight they flew again that it was a sweet delight. What is pigeon sport than a wonderful hobby, unfortunately our sport also has to deal with many setbacks. You know those situations, fully enjoy the pigeons and then suddenly a sickness outbreak or a heavy flight so that a number of pigeons have become totally out of shape. This week my youngsters get their chip ring and on June 4 we start in the club with the first training flight. Before that time I have been away with them for at least three times. I certainly do not go further than 30 km. All very successful but you know nothing goes spontaneous

Both have my interest and I like to compare them. Currently we are with the pigeons at the 8th stage and in the Giro d'Italia they have today the 10th stage. The Englishman Yates rides in the rosť leader's jersey, the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin who defends his title is in the general classification in second place and the great English favorite Chris Froome is still looking for his right form. As for the pigeons we cannot grumble about the weather. So far fine weather to wait for the pigeons and that is also an important part of our hobby. Cozy with all in the garden enjoying the beautiful spring weather with the tension of the arrival of the pigeons. Every afternoon I watch the Giro match report if possible. As far as cycling is concerned I leave no possibility untouched to follow the many races that are present today. Cycling has become a real television sport. If anything happens it is broadcast immediately, which can be a demurrage, a crash or great nature shots of the beautiful Italian landscape. Especially the mountain stages are fascinating and attract a lot of public. Do you know that the possibility exists to follow the pigeons during their home trip. I doubt the pigeon sport become more interesting by that the surprise element is completely gone. However, it is important that you continue to research the behavior of the pigeons during short and very long flights. The pigeons and cycling have a lot in common. We pigeon fanciers are the team leaders of our pigeons, but also the mechanic and the doctor. Just like in cycling we have to ensure that some of our team's athletes are among the first. The different distances in the pigeon sport are comparable with the stages in important cycling races. For example in both sports winners can arrive solo or in a leading group and it can also be the case that the winner has to come out of the bunch sprint. In both branches of sport weather conditions can play a very important role on the game element.

These races with distances of 300 to 500 km are seen by many fanciers as the most beautiful distances and have the largest participation. Last Saturday we had the first race in a series of six. For me the distance was 334 km, the pigeons were released at half past eight and there was a calm southeast wind that usually produces a surprising race. This was also the case this time. On the North Sea coast the pigeons made a speed that was 100 meters per minute higher than on the eastern IJselmeer coast. The speed that the first pigeons made was higher than we expected because in the garden the weather seemed very calm. There we noticed nothing of the wind and therefore wet had the speed wrongly estimated. We expected that the fastest pigeons would arrive at about a quarter past eleven at my distance. None of these, at 10.53 am the first ones were there and made a speed of 100 km per hour and within 20 minutes all prize pigeons (that is 25% of the participating pigeons) were at home. I got a hen in front who was my second pigeon the week before. I do not play with her cock, that is a summer youngster of 2017 who has never been in the basket. Perhaps here a proof that it is important that the pigeon knows that the partner is waiting when he comes home. I have the idea that hens are better off that the partner is not there when they come home from the race. With cocks it is as if they are disappointed when the wife is not there. Fortunately there are plenty cocks that perform well on widowhood and set several times a good performance.

In the winter months the flight schedules for the next season are determined. I have the feeling that they throw the cap in North Holland. Last year relocation was changed with great regularity. Now that is the case again, of the seven flights we have already been unloaded four times at another location. The last time it was really laughable. This time the unloading place was not changed because there was an annual fair or fun fair at the unloading place, no one changed because on Saturday sometimes an east wind could blow and then there is the possibility that there are pigeons above the sea with all the consequences. In the UK and Ireland the pigeons fly weekly over the English Channel and the Irish Sea and then I do not even talk about the Canaries islands where many fanciers live and the pigeons are discharged at sea each week. This is also often the case with the pigeons that live on the island of Malta. They have a really hard time because there are no other options. My experience is that in the Netherlands pigeon races with east or southeast wind always have a strange course and in young pigeons races it is even the case that the losses are gigantic. But to change flights for old pigeons because of predicted easterly wind that is going too far. Despite that change it turned out to be a strange flight. We can arrange a lot inside the pigeon sport except for the weather conditions and the pigeons' traits that they do themselves. This Saturday is the second middle distance race and next week we have the last speed flight and also the first one day long distance race.

Because of the beautiful weather and the calm south-easterly wind the pigeons were earlier in the lofts than their bosses. Many fanciers had gone wrong by the speed. I started extra early cleaning the lofts in short I had everything ready in time for the pigeons to come. From a sun-drenched garden I called my son Marco to talk about what we could expect from this game. Frankly my expectations were not so high because I found that the pigeons from mid-week did not pick up the food quickly enough. Pigeons have to be able to eat quickly and at the end of the week that may be slightly less because they are well prepared for the upcoming race. Their behavior was fine, the manure was nice there was down in the loft but eat they did very badly. I imagine that I have pigeons long enough to know how to feed them and I was not satisfied. While on Saturday morning I had my son Marco on the phone there arrived a pigeon in his loft. He had not seen her come and when the clocks were emptied he turned out to be justly beaten for the first prize. I then had to wait two minutes before I got a pigeon. For me it was not so bad because both of us got two in the top ten and that's all weeks. I do my best to get an old-fashioned beautiful series, I'll keep you informed.

During the competition season there is every week a lively discussion about location and wind it is a hot item. In the case of westerly winds the east side has the advantage and the west side in the east wind. If the wind comes from the north there is benefit for the for flight (shortest distance) and in the south wind there is benefit for the most northern (longest distance) living fanciers. In most cases that is true but we never have security. On the 5th of May we had a flight where all theories fell apart. There was nothing to be said about the weather. In Belgium the wind was blowing from the south-east and in the Netherlands he was right east and certainly not the fanciers from my playing area are happy with that. Our pigeons that often come home on the western side of the Netherlands have a beautiful orientation line on the Dutch coast. It has to blow very hard the pigeons want to blow inland so that our western participants so to speak often lie on the first teat. Last Saturday nothing of that theory was correct. While we and some fans were waiting for the pigeons there was of course a lot of philosophizing about how the flight would take place and where the fastest pigeons would arrive. Speed was also discussed extensively. If it was correct that the pigeons in Belgium were discharged with southeast wind then speeds of 120 km per hour were possible. We were informed that the wind in the south of the Netherlands was east and that is pushing the speed. Because of the beautiful weather with a cloudless sky, I think that is not ideal for pigeons and certainly not for youngsters, our pigeons were already released at 8.15 am and the distance for me was 243 km. I took into account 90 km per hour which was estimated too high. The temperature rose very quickly and the humidity was very low. The boss got soon a need for a soda during the wait, it was still too early for a beer. The pigeons were facing the same problem. In short, in our opinion it was an ideal situation for the western living fanciers. Soon the place name Zandvoort fell a beautiful seaside resort on the North Sea where at one of the shortest distances live strong fanciers. We soon agreed that the fastest pigeons would arrive there, I do not think so! It became a race in which many fanciers had the opportunity to clock an early pigeon. How that is possible is still a mystery to me. Relatively speaking in my playing area most early pigeons fell while we live in the middle of the province. Even the eastern fanciers achieved excellent results. The story that with the east wind the western fanciers the whole competition pulling towards itself went this time not on. We see once again that theory and practice can sometimes be very far apart.

The speed flights are almost over. There will be one on the program for 26 May, the same day the first one day long distance race will take place. This weekend the middle distance flights will start of which we also have 6. My son Marco has his mind set on the middle distance but also on the short distance, he knows how to play his game well. He beat his father last weekend. Marco started with 1 and 3 and Dad had to settle for the 4th place against 333 pigeons. Pa takes second place in the intermediate classification. In place 1 is a fancier who has three absolute top pigeons. Every week the pigeons are there and very early too. It must be an experience to have a few of such toppers in your loft. Honestly I do not have such pigeons the last two years but ...... the season is long and who knows which pigeons are still in the spotlight. I have seen it more times that in the middle distance only pigeons emerge that at the speed only a few mediocre prices flap together. The miracles are not yet out of this world and I have the idea that two hens are still going to surprise me. I am not dissatisfied with the results of my pigeons. Every week Marco and I catch two or even more at the top 10, the series should in my eyes be much better. The pigeons look good so I think they should follow each other faster. Unfortunately I do not succeed with that but also with most fanciers, the price percentages are too low. There are also a couple that rattling quickly behind each other in a row but that has to come with me. Also because I play with much less pigeons now and the law of the big numbers always plays an important role, also in the pigeon sport.

On 26 April a conversation took place between the Province of Antwerp and the NPO at the KBDB office in Halle (B). Point of discussion was the unloading of pigeons within the Province of Antwerp for which no permission was granted. That agreement has been running for a long time but in practice it appears that the Dutch fanciers, playing together and things like that do not adhere to it. There is an agreement that only on Wednesday Saturday and Sunday may be released. There must be a permit issued and there may only be released in the presence of a mandatary (director) of the Belgian Federation. So-called wild discharges (without a license) have caused losses of Belgian youngsters many times within the Province of Antwerp. Belgian fanciers are asked as soon as they see a truck unloading pigeons somewhere to take a picture of it including the license plate. Appointment is appointment so do not do it anymore.

Through Pipa we heard that at the end of the year a total sale will take place of the well-known Belgian champion Gaby Vandenabeele due to health problems (pigeon lung). The season 2018 is finished and then the canvas falls. Very sad because we cannot miss such champions.

I cannot say that it was a gamble to unload the pigeons last Saturday. At the release place excellent weather but the closer the pigeons came to the house the worse it became. Heavy low-hanging clouds and heavy downpours caused the competition remain open for too long despite the strong southwest wind. Races of 180 km must be completed within a few minutes. Now it took 25 minutes before all prize pigeons were at home and that is far too long. The fastest pigeons went 108 km per hour or 1790 meters per minute. It was all in all a typical flight. Most fanciers got the wrong pigeons in front and their signed pigeons failed in many cases. Some fanciers clocked more than 50% of their pigeons in the results but most did not. Fortunately there were few to no stragglers. Because the flight has a strange course you start thinking about what it can be. Could it be the loading of the cars? The agreement is that our entire department resolves all the pigeons at once. No problem but it can become a problem if all pigeons are distributed over the available space so that it is possible that the pigeons living on the east side come in the car where most of the pigeons are from the west side. It is precisely on the short speed flights that this can adversely affect the competition. Another possibility is the weather. For Sunday was very bad weather predicted with great chance of heavy gusts of wind, rain showers that could cause a lot of flooding, hail and thunder. That all came true because in Belgium and southern Netherlands the police and fire brigade fell short because of the enormous flooding and burning houses that had been struck by lightning. I am not saying that as a result the flight from Saturday was a strange course. However, I have already experienced several times that we were waiting for the pigeons with good weather and that it was a flight with a disastrous course. There are then situations in the atmosphere that we as humans cannot observe while our pigeons have major problems to orient themselves. Who knows that the predicted weather for the Sunday already on Saturday the pigeons confused.

On Saturday morning our pigeons were already on their way to the Zaanstreek at 9.15 am. The release point was the same as the week before. The release message indicated that the pigeons had a quick departure and there was a moderate southwest wind. In my area it was completely windless so I assumed 90 km per hour which meant that the pigeons could arrive at 11.15 hours. It was a good thing that my regular fans were on time to watch the arrival of the pigeons because at 10.57 o'clock a yearling cock was diving at a huge speed inside. It had to be an early one, you can just see that in the enormous haste that a pigeon has. I was completely surprised but then it took 8 minutes for my second and third pigeon to burst into the loft at the same time. Then it was a long wait again. The winning pigeon was no fluke he had already registered twice this season and now he took the victory against 1569 pigeons. As a youngster he was also the best and became a champion pigeon. Let's hope he can continue his good series. His sire is a grandson of my famous Sprint Pair who won 12 first prize winners and his mother is a granddaughter of the European Cup couple who won 16 first prize winners.

In the early years of the pigeon sport the pigeons were transported in wicker baskets. That tradition is still being continued in pigeon country Belgium. They are baskets that are still being pulled open by hand. But also in Belgium they do not sit still and go along with modern developments. Because the pigeons are no longer shipped by horse and wagon but with modern trucks they have also switched. Especially for pigeon transport developed cars equipped with the latest gadgets become from now on only on plastic boxes allowed. In the Netherlands these are still the aluminum boxes where about 25 pigeons can be sent. Belgium opts for the unit of transport so that the fancier cannot feel disadvantaged when their pigeons are not placed in plastic boxes. Hopefully a problem less.

The pigeon market in Lier is probably known about the entire pigeon world. For years thousands of pigeon friends went to the market in Lier during the first winter months of the new year. In the freezing cold thousands of youngsters were offered and from many countries fanciers traveled by bus to the biggest pigeon market in the world. Bird flu and the declining number of fanciers sometimes caused panic situations. It sometimes looked as if the Lier market no longer had a right to exist. Fortunately there is an initiative to place a bronze pigeon in the middle of the big market in Lier. The Municipality agrees but does not guarantee that it will pay the 20,000 euros that the bronze statue has to cost. As a result, "de Heren van Lier" founded in 1973 started with a nice initiative. They place in one of the most famous pigeon cafes a large glass bottle in which the pigeon friends can lose their loose euro cents so they hope to be able to finance the statue. The last market day of 2018 took place on April 29 and the slogan for the bronze statue is: "Give your copper money, you will get a bronze statue".

To perform well in any sport an unbridled effort is required. Those who cannot deliver that are as good as hopeless. Real toppers have no problem to use the full 100%, with that deviation they are born. Nothing is too much for them to achieve their stated goal and that is also within the pigeon sport. Here the condition of the fancier may be a tad less bad he must be in the right form to take care of his pigeons perfectly. For those who do not want to win at all costs it is not so precise and unfortunately most of them. Not bad at all, maybe they still enjoy more of their pigeons than the ones who go every week for the victory. They have to, others are already happy when they occasionally catch an early pigeon. I have always been enormously driven, actually still but a bit different. In order to perform well you must be able to tell yourself that you have done everything to put the pigeons in an optimal condition so that you cannot blame yourself for a disappointing result. As soon as I made a result that was not to my liking I went harder against it. Yet you always remain dependent on a number of factors. Especially on the speed races everything has to be in order to finish in the snout of the result. We all know how important this is on flights with a short distance, location and wind direction play a very important role. But also the place in the car and with whom. In my game area we drive with fairly large cars in which up to 250 boxes with 26 pigeons can be loaded. They must be equipped with a perfect ventilation system. It is a huge difference whether your pigeons are in the top of the car or at the bottom. If you have ever been in such a large pigeon container you know how warm it can be there especially at the top. The +/- 5000 pigeons that are transported produce a huge amount of heat. They already have a body temperature of 42 degrees and since the warm air rises upwards the pigeons can sit better at the bottom. Unfortunately that is not possible, but it is advisable that this is taken into account when loading the transport trolleys so that the same associations are not always above or below the car. It even makes a difference whether you are in front or behind the car because the baskets do not all open at once and since every second is one, in the short races it counts. However let us not make that problem bigger then it is. What is very bad what happened to my association. In the Zaanstreek, that is the area where I live, we have a beautiful ensemble. This year it appears that on the first three flights the baskets of our association are loaded in another car than the other ZCC associations. Something like this makes you almost without chance on flights up to 200 km.
Obviously there was a lot of commotion about this unfortunately a correct solution has not yet been found

Whether the baskets of our club may or may not at the other ZCC cargos are in the car makes fortunately for the club result no difference. This time there were 310 and father and son take the two fastest of them. A nice result for which we are working all week. You see, commitment is rewarded. It was a nice flight, unfortunately my first signed failed. In the evening I saw that he missed his half tail. Cause? Probably a bit faster than the bird of prey. Within 8 minutes the prices on this 180 km flight were earned, despite the northeast head wind the fastest pigeons still made 77 km per hour. The next weekend we will go 50 km further. It is to be hoped that not too many fanciers keep it up. Once we had 450 in the ZCC, this year only 74 participated on the first flight, a week later 70 and this time 68. Too bad, it is a pity that in this way the once beautiful pigeon sport dies a slow death. Who knows, this year the fairly new national board will come up with a good plan to interest several people for the pigeon sport, I heartily give it to them.
Some time ago our national board (NPO) started its own newsletter. A great initiative to pass on the (important) federation notifications to as many as possible members digitally. The members are given the opportunity to subscribe to this newsletter by just passing on their email address. It is a shame that at the head office they are screaming for a copy. Volunteers are asked to pass all kinds of news from the associations. With this I think they have missed their goal. A newsletter from the national central administration should not be filled with data from all kinds of exhibitions or reports from youth members who have visited lofts. With this the effect has disappeared and the national newsletter has been written with club activities and that is not why he was created for. The name of the newsletter is UP TO DATE, which means that the NPO board keeps its members informed of new developments at national and international level. What they are doing now I do not like, but who am I? I wanted to drop this anyway because in my opinion were the gentlemen started very well and now with the changed newsletter slip just like the number of members into the abyss.

This year the ZLU exists for 60 years. This Dutch organization has been successfully working for the extreme long distance game all these years. Partly because of this jubilee and because the international race from Agen / Bordeaux is held for the 40th time, this race gets a festive character. The pigeons are released on June 29. The release point is now 17 km to the south and will take place at the Hippodrome Beaumont de Lomagne.

The manager of the high-voltage wires in Belgium is going to make a big change in marking these dangerous wires. The bulbs applied for air traffic do not serve as a warning mark for birds. Every year 170.000 to 500.000 birds fly against the high voltage wires including many racing pigeons. The new marking is a kind of large spiral that can be mounted on the wires at a short distance from each other. This will take some time. An attempt is made to first provide the wires on the important flight paths with this new marking.

In our ensemble the mighty ZCC played plus minus 450 fanciers against each other. This was for the Zaanse fanciers a very important game. A few thousand pigeons flew each week in a fairly small area. The short and middle distance game, not to mention the youngsters, had the most participants. Because all those fanciers lived close together it was about seconds. Three laps around the loft cost at least 50 places in the result. Playing 1-2-3 was almost an impossible task, I'm talking now about the time we clocked with the rubber rings. Before you had stripped three pigeons off their rings just thirty seconds had been tagged away. Now there are mega lofts that tackle 20 or more in half a minute, tackle is not the right word because we do not need to do anything about it. Every week we had 15 winners within the ZCC because we had 15 clubs at the time and there was an extensive report in the regional daily newspaper every week. Now we only have 4 winners every week because the number of clubs has dropped to four which is not interesting anymore for the newspaper and that is a shame. In the time that we had 14 winners there were also the same number of second and third prize winners and all that was read by family members, neighbors, colleagues, friends and acquaintances. There was a lot of talk about the pigeon sport. It was a popular sport that had many admirers. It is all over, it is as if the pigeon sport is being ignored by the press. There is only 1 pigeon magazine in our country and those people are doing their best to make something of it. Unfortunately the news coverage does not go beyond its own members. The layman will not know anything about pigeon racing in the future. The youth is not interested, they have many more possibilities that are not so expensive and time-consuming. With astonishment I watched the results of the first flight of this season. Only 74 participants in the entire ZCC. I could not believe my eyes, I read it three times but it stayed 74 and not one more. The second flight there were that still 70 and how will it look in six weeks. Will we still get the 50?

In the whole of our country is probably golf the only sport which is increasing. Several other clubs have to forced merge with as result renowned clubs disappear from the stage. You wonder what all those members do who have said goodbye to their sport. I read in the newspaper today that only 15% of youth regularly play outside. In the time that I belonged to the youth that was over 70%. In today's youth, also called back seat generation, there is not that much spirit. They are taken everywhere and picked up again, walking or cycling is no longer possible. They are massively at home behind the computer and are upset with all kinds of lugubrious game games that make them far too little physical exercise. This is becoming a big problem worldwide. Far too many children eat wrong become way too heavy, have no sense, become lazy and lose their condition. If we do the same with our pigeons not much will end up. Healthy eating, a regular life and sufficient exercise every day ensures a good physical condition. Then you do not need a pill for anything, that will come later when you really get very old.

A known pigeon doctor in the Netherlands is Dr. Hans van der Sluis from Kockengen near Utrecht. As long as I have pigeons he is my vet. He has his own medicine line and because I have every confidence in him I use his medication. Do not ask me what those medicines are made of, I know nothing about it and do not want to know it either. If my pigeons have coli I use his medication, against paratyphus he vaccinate my pigeons, against ornithosis I give his cure. In short he has developed medicines against all pigeon diseases and if necessary I use them. Fortunately there are some specialized pigeon doctors who can protect our pigeons against various diseases and they have medication against almost all diseases that can occur in our lofts. This week I noticed the wonderful result that Hans van der Sluijs and his assistant Stefan Gobel have achieved on the first speed flight. From the Belgian Minderhout with a participation of 2007 pigeons, whereat 56 of both white jackets, the result was as follows: 1-2-3-4-5-7-14-16-22-23-24 total 34 prizes. What is more beautiful to have a pigeon doctor who also plays fantastic.

All members and affiliated associations of the National Belgian pigeon organization (KBDB) have been informed that Article 56 of the national sports regulations is strictly applied so that everyone must meet the set requirements. Fanciers who own several clocks must offer them all during basketting. The clocks must be provided with the stamp recognized by the KBDB. Pigeons that are clocked on clocks that are not provided with that seal are not included in the results. Clocks whose seal cannot be identified must be presented again for inspection.

In the Netherlands is last year pigeon sport recognized as a national heritage. This means that our sport is protected for posterity. In Brugge (B) a national heritage day was organized on 21/22 April which the pigeon sport also received the necessary attention. Furthermore there was a continuous exhibition about everything that has to do with the pigeon sport. Interesting lectures were also held on the pigeon sport now and in the past. Good idea to organize something like that in other countries. The pigeon sport can use some extra publicity.

Saturday April 14 had to wait until half past one before the pigeons were allowed on their way home. Heavy clouds and mist at the unloading place. The wind was blowing from different directions. Yet, just like last week, it was the most westerly lofts that made the top rankings. In the big interplay of the ZCC with almost 2000 pigeons it went reasonably well. In our club son Marco had the fastest, I had to settle for a 7th and 11th place against 340 pigeons.

The first speed flight of this season showed huge differences. This winter it was assumed by majority vote that the pigeons from Noord-Holland (section 6 of the NPO) all flights would be discharged together. The first flight was hardly over or the disappointed fanciers let their voices immediately hear. It was not a style to unload 20,000 pigeons at once. You should not nag afterwards. This decision has been passed by a majority and if that has to be changed it will be possible to vote on it again in the coming winter. I am convinced that if the wind direction had been north west or north east this would be better for this first speed flight. Now the pigeons were blown massively to the North Sea coast on this short distance and that means that the western fanciers, and there are quite a few, almost all early prizes picked up and a large number of pigeons in the result knew. This means that the eastern fanciers have got a huge turn around their ears. Question is; what can we do about it? It has been known for a lifetime that the wind acts on this kind of flights. In addition, it was certainly not a normal flight. The competition duration was almost 30 minutes in many places and that for my distance of approx. 110 km. In the vast majority of cases it is viewed within 10 minutes. The speeds between west and east were also considerable. The west side made 1876 mpm at the shortest distance, the longest distance made 1863 mpm. This indicates that the western fanciers all had a chance to win early pigeons. On the east side it was a lot more difficult, the fastest pigeons went 100 mpm slower. The last prize pigeons made 1350 mpm more than 500 mpm slower than the fastest. What is the cause of the much too long concours duration is in the first instance the southeast wind. On such a short flight the still inexperienced pigeons are flying after each other and have all by no means the idea to leave the peloton in time so that they will cross the finish line too late. The coming weeks there will be some more regular income but if the weather is east or southeast wind this will not go well for the eastern fanciers again and the chance of a provincial championship has already become very small. Perhaps something was released too early with a view to inversion at a height of 70 m. Also there appeared to be quite dense fog in some places. However we will not let ourselves be discouraged. The season is still long and there are still plenty of opportunities to make a long nose to the competition. Who knows it’s already the case this weekend.

With an 8th and 9th place against 350 pigeons you cannot be dissatisfied and 11 of the 20 pigeons in the result is not bad either. Due to the strong southeast wind my expectations were certainly not high and at the arrival of my first two pigeons I could already see that they came all the way from the wrong corner it could not be a super result. I too belonged to the group that had to deal with a big bang. It could not be the condition of my pigeons. They are in a good condition, that I can see in the morning when I come to the lofts, all neat little dung balls. The hens and especially the cocks gleam at you. They also like to train, so if we move on for a week or six we'll see how the fork is in the handle. I have a lot of confidence in it despite having only a small number of pigeons. However last Saturday I lost a promising yearling hen. I understand that there are considerable losses here and there and that is always a shame at the start of the racing season but that is also part of the sport. I am very satisfied with the youngsters, that is fine, although I have more than the intention. The counter is now at 38 and that's it, it can be less, but certainly not more. The youngsters look good, they are darkened from 1 April and are already beginning to molt. Some start to fly around the loft longer and longer, others stay in the loft with the younger ones. In two weeks the ball will go on regularly and they will have to stay in the air for a bit longer. Tomorrow the last youngsters picked up by their new boss and then it is over with the breeding.

We are increasingly heading in the right direction with the spring weather. May also because it is already 3 weeks spring. Nature is coming to life more and more. The birds are busy with nests and because in my area there are many chew and magpies I have absolutely no problems with birds of prey. That is a wonderful feeling and just by writing this I know that a lot of fanciers are very jealous of that. I have experienced too for a couple of years that the birds of prey flew on and off. I lost some old pigeons but especially young ones to those animals. There are too many of them and they are still protected from above. We pigeon fanciers would like something to be done and that is now also true. The NPO has good contacts about that, so ...... who knows.

Did you also enjoyed this tough cycling classic? Almost 300 km of splattering over the cobblestones, the audience is enjoying it. The riders love this race very much even though it is a torture for many. Kilometers long the bicycle lurches away from you in some areas. Blisters on the hands of the vibrating steering wheel. The luck was the riders at their side because in the early morning it had rained and then the cobblestones were very slippery with a chance of falling. The big men in the race soon realized that quickly made sure they were in the front of the group because then the chance of falling is the smallest. In Paris-Roubaix you cannot escape the necessary falls. That makes this very heavy classic so special. This year a blemish on the course because of a serious fall that a Belgian rider of 23 years made. Later it turned out that he had a cardiac arrest and everything that was done could not help, in a word horrible. The race was won magisterially by world champion Sagan. My big favorite Niki Terpstra had to do the heavy work for a large part on his own. Yet he managed to demolish so hard in the last 2 kilometers that none of his fellow pilots could keep the wheel so that Niki came solo as 3rd on the track of the beautiful cycling track in Roubaix. Now see what he is doing next weekend in the only Dutch classic the Amstel Gold race.

Football I like to watch, unfortunately more and more footballers no longer behave nicely, not in or outside the field. They are over the horse lifted "losers" who earn far too much money for their age. No this has nothing to do with jealousy. Unfortunately they forget that hard-working people have to pay a lot of money to watch an entire season to their home club. Respect and appreciation unfortunately our football boys understand not. My heart is more in cycling because I know what you have to do in order to become a professional cyclist. Those who are not able to ride up quite easily today are hopeless. Only a real sprinter would like to be included in a team. But there are also riders of "out of category" and Niki Terpstra is one of them. The year 2017 was dramatic for him. Three heavy falls made 2017 a disaster year. Among the pigeon fanciers are many supporters of cycling. I know that many of my pigeon friends watch as much as possible the spring classics and the big rounds. Certainly know that internationally many cycling supporters have been watching "our" Niki Terpstra with great respect. Two years ago he won the cobblestone classic better known as Paris-Roubaix and this year he came solo about the meet in the E3 prize Harelbeke (B) and two weeks later the same stunt in the most important classic of Belgium the Tour of Flanders about 300 km. Niki just drove the competition out of the wheel, what an engine should be in that body. I still see him coming as an 8 year old boy at our Zaanse cycling club DTS where I was then chairman. Now at the age of 33 it is one of the biggest riders we have in the Netherlands and beyond. Already three times National Champion at the professional cyclists on the road and then a beautiful honors list in the one-day races. You will understand that I am very proud of him.

The season is about to begin and the nice weather is coming. In recent weeks it was always too cold for the time of year unsuitable to learn the pigeons yourself. Saturday was the first and last training flight for the entire club. The weather forecast was not optimal and so I thought it would be better to keep the pigeons at home. Well I had misjudged that and that I have already once. The older I get the more careful I become. The pigeons were released on time and the wind ensured that they were home in record time. That day it was once again clear to see what influence the wind has on a speed competition. This does not only apply to the wind and the location, the time of unloading can also cause major differences in speed which was also the case on Saturday. The organizations that dared to unload in the early hours had the best concours and especially in the back flight the altitude speeds were achieved. The ZCC where I and Marco play in flew 20 km per hour less fast than those who live at the farthest distances and the eastern fanciers of mine were there for another 10 km short. On the 7th of April the real start of the season and then all pigeons from the province of Noord-Holland will be released at the same time. In the past it was always group unloading’s that were mainly done to prevent losses from young pigeons. Practice has shown that this does not matter. So the total release is still the best of all unloading’s. The wind will again play an important role now. As it looks now the wind blows from the south-west on Saturday so the fanciers on the east side of their playing area have the biggest chance to clock one or more early pigeons. However, it is not Saturday yet!

That means that he is up-date. The pigeons that are no longer in the loft are also removed from the clock. Only the racing pigeons that will participate in the 2018 season are in it and there are only a few. With 11 cocks and 11 hens I will fight against all fanciers from North Holland. There are men who play with a lot of pigeons but there are also many who, like me, only participate with a small number of pigeons. However it does not mean that you cannot win an early prize, certainly. The advantage is that you cannot get rid of that much but a disadvantage is that you cannot get too much in the list and that is a lot to look at. Especially the fanciers from the Far East want to see many pigeons in the results because they are used to playing a lot of pigeons. With 22 pigeons in the battle it will not be easy to catch a couple of pigeons in the top 100 against a few thousand pigeons. I keep it that it should be possible to regularly play with 1 or 2 pigeons at the top, just look at how many small lofts have a number of champion pigeons. That is why I have always bought a few pigeons mainly from this kind of fanciers. But I also deviated from that. Marco and I have also been to Willem de Bruijn and with the pigeons that come from this very big fancier we have also succeeded very well.

We are basically done with the breeding for ourselves. Now it's time to deliver the youngsters for whom Marco donated a number of tickets for various charities in the winter months. The first round went almost entirely to Marco, the second round was for me. Now there are only youngsters for people whom have been placed orders. It is our intention to stop breeding this year in time with the intention of doing winter breeding at the end of November. We skipped this winter. The youngsters did a great job with me in 2017 so you could say; why grow early? My opinion is that you can do more with early youngsters. They are usually brought up in a cold period which does not seem wrong to me. They are mature when the important races start and you can play them in widowhood, it is just what you like. On the basis of the performance we will see if we will breed another half round (with each breeding couple 1 young), during the season there will always be requests for young pigeons. Only if that is the case some will be bred. If not then our breeding pigeons are separated from the end of May and all attention can go to the game with the old and also the youngsters. Next week I hope to tell you with some pride how the results from Marco and me were on the first flight, but if there is no good result I will tell you that too.

The weather forecast for our pigeons does not look good. When I went on vacation it was 14 degrees and you think when I come back the temperature will still be slightly increased, but not. During our holiday the Netherlands was cold, wet and foggy. Unbelievable when you are at 30 degrees with no cloud in the air at the edge of the pool in Egypt. The intention was that after returning from vacation I would drive daily with the pigeons. To date, nothing has come of it. Every day mist and far too low temperatures. In addition I have a disability that I still do not dare to drive my car due to my poor visibility so I mainly depend on my wife to go out with the pigeons. If I look at the weather forecast daily, which pigeon fancier does not, there is no improvement for the time being and next Saturday (March 31) is our only joint training flight. I hope that the board will not allow this flight to continue. If they do not participation will probably be minimal and the shipping committee will have to pay a lot of money. In Belgium several flights have not been continued during several weekends. Very annoying but better than that the pigeons come home totally in a state of disrepair and probably there will also be those who are not at home anymore. In that respect pigeon sport is certainly not a simple game. We are dependent on the weather every week and that can be very changeable with us. Because the weather predictions for the rest of the week are totally unsuitable for pigeon sport I have already decided to skip the training flight. Should the weather still improve then I do not participate. I prefer to drive myself so that I can view it per day. How it all developed I have no idea but I do know that Saturday April 7 the launch will be released for the official start of the season 2018. It will be the 72nd season that I play with pigeons. In all those years quit a lot have changed.

It was in the time that old and young pigeons were together in a loft. Nobody had breeding pigeons and in most of the cases were played on nest. Most fanciers had at most 24 old pigeons and 15 youngsters. Pigeons lost and the bird of prey problem did not exist yet. I can remember it as the day of yesterday that we (my father and I) started with 16 youngsters and that we certainly had 14 left. It was also in the time of the rubber rings, that was much more exciting than now with the electronic clocks. If you used to have 3 pigeons at the same time you need almost a minute before the rings were in the clock. Now the mega lofts get 40 in half a minute. Then it can be said that those big fanciers do nothing wrong, certainly not. You can use as many pigeons in the Netherlands as you want. However it is becoming more and more an unequal struggle. I have never had trouble with it and still not to take it with my 36 racing pigeons against anyone. From the moment the electronic clock was introduced in 2000 the big fanciers are able to clock up striking mega series. Despite this every fancier regardless of the number of pigeons he gives has the possibility to win a first prize or to qualify at least at the top. But oh woe if such a mega player that day has a favorable location and get about twenty in a few seconds at home than he runs at a record tempo so that you as a small player becomes nauseous and dizzy. That’s just the way it is this film cannot be turned back. Whether it has improved in the interests of the pigeon sport is not so sure. The little fancier here is the child of the bill. So it will become a lot clearer why so many older fanciers stop and we still have the most of them. Just assume that this will not take that long. What then remains are the big ones and they can only play against each other and the fun will soon be over.

In the Netherlands summer time started. This weekend I will start by darken the youngsters. The last 7 youngsters are still added and they are immediately darkened it is no different. My other 27 youngsters were away from the parents before my holiday. I have no real early winter youngsters this year. The first round went to son Marco and only after that it was Dad's turn. Not bad at all maybe even better because I've experienced so often that youngsters of the 2nd or even 3rd round at the end of the young pigeon races perform better than the very early ones. Maybe it is a bit of coffee because in the pigeon sport it is often await you never have certainty. I have never darkened my old pigeons. I may only play the first two or three one-day long distance races and then it is not really necessary to darken the pigeons. At least that is my experience but I must also say that I have never been a fanatic long distance player and not yet. My preference is still for flights up to 400 km and we have enough of that. I am going to darken the youngsters in the months of April and May that is more than enough. From the first weekend of June, the curtains stay open day and night.

How often we read that its all about good pigeons. But the point is that you as a fancier can go well with pigeons. A strong remark statement is extremely important. You should be able to see at a glance what is going on in and around the loft. What matters is that you can see that pigeons behave differently. You must immediately see that they show an extra condition but also that something is wrong. Pigeons that behave very well you have to keep an eye on they are the ones that can surprise you. Fortunately there are very good pigeons which we can see during the season at the intermediate positions of the various competitions. We also all know that there are only a few real good pigeons. You would not say that to the prices paid for pigeons. On sale sites it looks like there are only good while most birds are not good enough for the boss and therefore are sold. There are plenty of examples of pigeons that just make a super performance because they just have a boyfriend or girlfriend. There are performances put down because some males cannot stand their neighbor so they are motivated and come very rapidly home. So let's not only talk about good pigeons there's a lot more to it.

With my health it did not go very well from the beginning of this year. Finally my wife and I decided to go to the sun for a week and that really did me a lot of good. Our choice had fallen on Egypt. Nice days in the sun on the edge of one of the beautiful pools, close to the bar and lazing on the lounger which was prepared every day by our regular lifeguard. Every day at least 30 degrees and in the evening it is great to have a nice dinner outside and then a drink. In our opinion a must for those who want to be assured of super sunny weather and do nothing but laze in the sun. The wind ensured that it was also fine in this sun. With a tanned head we are now back home and I immediately started to take care of everything according to the summer time. The day after our homecoming was the first walk to the pigeons. What would the youngsters look like? The old cocks and hens had not been outside during the holidays as I understand it could not be. It was very cold in the Netherlands with lots of wind and rain. You cannot imagine that it only rains 5 to 6 minutes per year in Egypt. I think Egypt is becoming a new popular holiday country but to live in that immense sandbox seems to me nothing at all. In two weeks the new season will start while the pigeons are not really ready. They look really good and that is a compliment to my sons Marco and Michel who have provided the pigeons during the holidays and also during my illness period. This morning it was a cloudless sky but it looked white outside because it had frozen again tonight and at this moment it is half cloudy. The coming weekend I hope to be able to start with bringing the old pigeons away. From experience I know that they become very fast in their flying rhythm and also the punctual care at fixed times contributes to a good condition. They have to take care of the flight condition themselves and they get it when they have to do their training work twice a day at set times.

That is a well-known saying in every branch of sport in the Netherlands. Many fanciers quietly build up the performance curve on what does not apply to the speed players, at least not to the Dutch speed players. In Belgium that is another story. There they can play a speed or a middle distance race every week from the end of March until the end of September. In the Netherlands we start with 6 speed flights. Then the same amount of middle distance races and then the one-day long distance races have started. At the end of June we start with eight young pigeons flights, then finally a series of 5 speed races in which both old and young pigeons are allowed to participate and then it's over again. Coming back to the fast starters I also like to hear. If you make the first flight a good result then you know that the condition is right. It may also be because you were in the right corner on that flight because as we all know in the short races the wind plays a very important role. So do not immediately cheer after a first good result. It is true that after the first flight I prefer that the crowd has to go after me than that I have to make up for the lost gap. It is also true that when you want to end with the champions you will have to finish in the snout of the result from the very beginning. Among us there are guaranteed to be a number with whom this will succeed but even more certain is that the group with whom it will not succeed will be greater. So put it on and just do your utmost to never cross the line in the last group.

For many years I am a big fan of light blue pigeons. This year I am forced to deviate from it, the reason you know. Marco and I have a breeding loft together and there are not only blue pigeons, there are even quite dark pigeons and I now have some youngsters in my racing loft. Marco says I should not complain about the colors. I used to mix everything and then I said to everyone who wanted to hear that ugly pigeons become more and more beautiful as they win early prizes, whatever they are. It may be due to the years that you get other preferences. Now I say it is my hobby and I decide what happens in my loft. I should probably assume that the time of blue alone is over. Given my age I do not have that many opportunities anymore. I do not want to say that I have had my time just think about it now and then. I still intend to count but I notice that it is all more difficult.

One of these days my electronic clock is being updated. The pigeons that are no longer there are removed from the clock and a single pigeon has to be added so that I can use the clock next weekend to see how the pigeons have come home from their first training flight. On Saturday 31 March there will be a training flight for the whole club. It is a kind of attraction flight and because it is a day before Easter the prices consist of eggs. In the past when I had a family with small children I thought it would be nice to win a few boxes but now that we are still two I do not have to think to eat all those eggs. Yet it is always nice when there is something to be gained. That is just like playing card games, if nothing is going on there is not being played seriously but as soon as it is a penny everybody wants to win. The will to win must always be there, without any interest you get nowhere and have always respect for the winner. Once that is known, shake hands and congratulate him on the success achieved. Who knows you might be next weekend.

With most fanciers the breeding is largely completed. With a large number of fanciers the early youngsters have been flying their daily laps around the loft for some time. In others the hens were transferred to the loft for youngsters with a youngster. With other fanciers, especially the long distance men, it has all just begun. If all goes well the program players and the speed men are already well advanced with the preparations for the first strength measurements. Of course it must all start with caution. Especially now that the severe frost and icy cold from the Dutch air has disappeared there is more and more opportunity to ride with the pigeons. The temperatures are about 8 to 12 degrees and that is a good temperature for training flights of 20 to 30 km. I have seen several groups of pigeons flying over, you could clearly see that they were on their way home. Now pray that we keep this type of weather for a long period so that we get a good start of the season and also wants to apply for the further course of the coming season. With me, although I still do not feel 100%, the regularity is very nice. The pigeons are currently released twice a day. Today they have had a bath again and tomorrow the hens with each a young go to the young pigeon loft. The cocks remain with their youngsters for a week in the racing loft. If I go on holiday for a week the youngsters the cocks and also the hens are separated and then get a 5 day yellow cure in the drinking water. They have to do with it they have had all the vaccinations so what medical support concerns they are ready. When I looked at the racing pigeons this week I was very happy with them. The weight was fine, they felt good and you could hardly see that they feed big youngsters. I hate it if you can clearly see that they have feeders beak. Still I have ones, yes that was a very long time ago, a hen who won 12 times the first, was always played on nest and with such a beak he won the first several times. She also won the first twice on an empty breeding dish. Her young had been moved to the young pigeon loft for more than a week and she still had not been laid. She went along just as well and believed it or not she was back and gave up the competition. It was a little fat-blue hen, just an unsightly creature but in my eyes she was terribly beautiful. I will never forget that animal. The crazy thing is that in the last twenty years I did not have such a pigeon in my loft because they would not pass through the selection and therefore get no vhance to perform. Now there is a small pigeon in our breeding loft again. It is a bit party colored too and I do not like that either. She has, also because of her formidable descent last year got the chance to raise a few youngsters. A large shale cock was found dead on the golf course next to our house. The nestmate, a small fur hen, did not miss. No, they were not all top prizes but when she played eight out of nine with twice in the first ten she is good enough for us to show her skills in 2018 as well.

Last year was not my strongest season. The breeding did not go well and that was reflected in the performance. The strange thing was that the youngsters did performed to complete satisfaction, in the club they were not even beating and the champion pigeon was mine. I have bred a few youngsters from a number of these yearlings and all other youngsters come from our joint breeders. That is why I will also have to get rid of my faith. I prefer to see all blue pigeons in my loft but that will change now because not all breeding pigeons are blue. Color is also a part of my hobby, red, pale, white, black, very colorful, I do not want them. Other fanciers do not care whether their pigeons are green or brown with them it is about performance. Also with me, but preferably achieved by beautiful light blue pigeons with possibly a single white pen. The racing pigeons for 2018 are all blue, the youngsters will have a number of other colors in between and they will have to come from a good house otherwise they will not come through the selection. When I talk about selection I am already busy with 2019. In that year I will be 82, will I still have pigeons? Let me not go too far ahead first 2018 and then we see further. It is indeed very unfortunate that the number of active fanciers decreases so quickly. Our national organization devises everything but unfortunately I do not see a bright spot that I think; yes, that might well have a chance of success. There has been worked with all kinds of committees for so long. Youth has long been an important target where a lot of time and money has been invested in. The number of members continues to decline further despite the unbridled efforts of our managers. No, the dark days for the pigeon sport are still there and if I see how many peers still are active then the downward trend in the number of members will be of increasing influence over the next two to three years. Associations will lose their right to exist and if the last club from the village or city ceases to exist more members will drop out because many older fanciers do not want to have to cover a large distance with their pigeons to basket. I would like to see it differently but this is the reality. In addition the mood in a small club can be very quickly influenced if some members do not agree with each other. In a club with at least 50 members you will not be bothered by that. How many clubs of 50 members will still be there? In my opinion not one and then to know that in the golden years there were several clubs with more than 100 members. Unfortunately this time I cannot knit a cozier end. Fortunately the season is approaching quickly and then there are to discuss completely different matters. Let's keep it that everyone in their own way will fully enjoy our hobby again.

More than two weeks of Olympic winter sports on TV was a bit too much of a good thing. Especially for the Netherlands because for us only skating was interesting because in the other sports we had a single participant but not really a contender. Our skaters have met the expectations, it could not be better. For me as a viewer it was all too much of a good thing. From the early morning to the midnight Olympics, I cannot see them anymore. On Monday evening in the Olympic Stadium of Amsterdam, where in 1948 the Summer Olympic Games were held, our athletes were in the presence of several hundred supporters and relatives in the icy cold honored. The announcer did not know how hard he had to scream to announce our Olympic champions. It became a shabby and anti-social display. That could have been much better and more stylish. This week they are invited to the King.

Cycling is done throughout the year. In the past years there was a winter break and there was room for track cycling. Nowadays the first cycling classics start right after the turn of the year. In the past it was only in March and Belgium was the first to take part in cycling, now it is the warm countries like Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and so on where the first races have already been held. Last weekend the first two classics in Belgium started in the icy cold and the next weekend "the drive to the sun" or Paris-Nice starts. Now it is freezing in the Netherlands the skating sport gets the most attention. Today the first marathon skating race on 200 km is held on natural ice. The skating fun is probably over at the end of the week. Too bad, because for the skate enthusiasts it could have lasted a week and then just rain hot water. But what do you get for weather, you better have dry weather with nice clear freezing than occasional sun and then rain again. Fortunately we do not have that in mind.

Despite the cold in our country it is fine weather to let the youngsters out. This is not the case with me yet they are only more than 14 days old. The first round is to Marco and only then it’s father's turn. After the bad luck with unfertilized eggs in the first round everything went well after that. The big problem was with our two better breeding couples. We had unfertilized from both the first and second rounds. The third round of the one couple is again not good but from the other couple it is. The youngsters who sit at Marco look perfect and with me they are shining in the nest. Beautiful manure around the dishes partly because of the cold and during the day a lot of sun it’s almost ideal for the growth of the youngsters. Not only the spring is coming the racing season is approaching with great speed. As I have seen it everything is ready on time. Second half of March we go to the sun for a week and when we come back we have 14 days left for the first speed flight. The pigeons can therefore still be tossed five times depending on the weather and that must be enough. The pigeons are still being cared by my sons Marco and Michel, I go only there at noon. Then you can see that the sun gets more and more strength, just wonderful to be with the pigeons for an hour. I hope that if it gets a bit warmer soon I will also become a bit more active. With my condition it is not worth anything at all after two months sick and quail. If I do something I am tired and to my age that will not so fast restore anymore.

I was really shocked when I read the news that there was an outbreak of bird flu in Groningen (North Netherlands). All 36.000 chickens have been culled and a transport ban for poultry is in the immediate vicinity. We as pigeon fanciers do not like that at all. It has happened several times that on the eve of the new racing season an avian flu outbreak took place so the start of the season was pushed up for several weeks. It was then also in the period of the spring fair and immediately became a ban announced that no pigeons from different lofts could be placed together in a room. Think of all the young pigeons that have been bred especially for the weekend of this weekend and there is a prohibition proclaimed you should not think about it anyway. Now the outbreak is still in the far north of the Netherlands the control is becoming stricter throughout the country. There only needs to be an outbreak in the south and Belgium will close the border and how will it go with the famous pigeon market in Lier (B) and the spring fair of this weekend in Houten (Utrecht). I will not go there would not know what to do. Fortunately, there are many fanciers who think differently about this. There is even more risk, because fanciers in Belgian Limburg have been diagnosed with adeno virus and the risk for the young pigeon disease is very high. Because of the infection with adeno the e-coli bacteria in the intestinal system get the upper hand. The pigeons get sick of it, the appetite goes away, drink more than usual and produce that slimy green smelling manure and the end of the story is that those poor little animals to pay for death. Away nice breeding results. In that respect our hobby depends of disappointments to each other. The strange thing is that never all youngsters get sick. Are they the best, the strongest or is it coincidence? If these symptoms appear on the loft consult your veterinarian at all times.

The whole international sports world is currently under the spell of the Winter Olympics held in South Korean Pyongyang. Already from the first day on the Dutch skaters committed an attack on the highest achievable the gold medals, but silver and bronze are also not safe for skating land the Netherlands. The Dutch are both for woman and man in all parts of the long track skating and short track Lord and Master. It started on the first day with gold for Sven Kramer on the 5000 meters. Also in 2010 and 2014 he won gold at that distance and that has never been achieved before. A day later gold, silver and bronze for the ladies on the 3000 meters and so it continues every day. Irene Wust took gold at 1500 meters and that was her tenth Olympic medal. Never before has there been a lady who has won so many Olympic medals at the Winter Games. The presence of King Willem Alexander will certainly have contributed to this, wonderful to see how he behaved like a fan of our skaters in the stands, great enthusiasm! And it does not stop. The skating mile produced a gold medal for Kjeld Nuis with outsider Patrick Roest as the winner of the silver medal. If this continues it will be an unprecedented success for the Netherlands that has no chance of competing in the other parts of the Winter Games. Is not bad at all because we are a skating country and we have once again clearly shown.

Why the racing pigeon Olympiad is held once every two years is not clear to me. If that happens in all sports once every four years why then for the pigeon sport an exception. There are so many exceptions in our sport in the far too long series of championships. Only for commerce and nowhere else is it interesting to hold an Olympiad every two years. It does not take a year and we have again a race pigeon Olympiad in Poland that will be held in January 2019. Also in 2011 the Poles were allowed to organize the Olympiad in Poznan. A bit of a good thing don’t you think? The Netherlands is not only a skating country it is also a pigeon country par excellence and that means that, just as with skating, it should be possible to strike in the same way. We still have a race year to go so there is still everything possible. The pigeons that have performed strongly in 2017 can be used with some caution this year, do not take too much risk, but especially the latter is easier said than done. Even on the most simple flights a good pigeon can stay behind and locally the danger of the birds of prey remains. You do not have to think that an Olympiad candidate will be caught by such a robber.
If you come back after a week to the pigeons you see how much has changed. The youngsters who were then a day or twelve are now so old that they can almost get away from their parents. Where two eggs lay in the nest are now bald youngsters. Those are the first impressions I have gained this morning. Furthermore I have only fed them, the drinkers refreshed, everywhere new grit in the jars, fresh minerals and they needed it because in no time the pigeons had eaten the jars empty. They are also ready for a nice bath, it is cold but otherwise nice sunny weather. They still have to wait a while because the article must be ready first and then they will have a bath in the afternoon. The racing pigeons are allowed outside for a while and then I can clean the lofts. As far as I am concerned the condition is completely back to zero. A week of being really sick is a real attack on your body especially if we look at the figures that are for the age.

Other years that happened already in the third week of January. This year we consciously waited a bit longer with pairing. We have this year more preferred to our breeding pigeons. Most of the eggs from the first round are placed under the racing pigeons so that Marco and I both have two youngsters from the breeders. There were also the necessary setbacks so that I cannot immediately say that I am very enthusiastic about the start of the breeding season. By my racing pigeons I had four couples that I wanted to have youngsters from. Of the 12 couples there were 2 unfertilized and that was exactly 2 out of 4 that I wanted to keep. We have chosen to submit as much as possible, a choice that I think afterwards; we should have done that differently. With that I indicate that I am not really satisfied. Now do not panic because it is of course also how the total breeding results are going to be. After all, it is about quality and not about quantity. In general I hear from different sides that the culture is going well. Those who did winter breeding all have the youngsters outside and in addition the weather helps a little hand as well because until now all days are fine to let the young pigeons out every day and number of hours. Unfortunately I have been informed that there are again the necessary victims because of the predators. It is a pity that this problem cannot be solved for us pigeon fanciers. There is a lot of work done, such as registering places where the bird of prey strikes. If it stays that way it does not really help. I also known the problem for three years in a row but fortunately the last three years no longer. I live on the edge of the golf course, in some places pretty many trees. The number of jackdaws has increased enormously in recent years. In the evening there is a huge swarm, a beautiful sight and a huge noise when they finally land in the trees to go to sleep. It does mean that I have absolutely no problems with birds of prey. It seems that the jackdaw keep the birds of prey away. Let me not be too enthusiastic because something can change. From an Irish pigeon friend I received a photo on which one of his pigeons was caught by a hawk. He takes care of the pigeon that has a gaping wound, they are the real animals lovers doing something like that. You may wonder if it makes sense. We have pigeons to play with and we have to be careful that we do not make a hospital out of our loft. Despite the fact that I have been possessed by pigeons for a while it goes too far by me to care seriously injured pigeons. I'll do them away, maybe very hard but you have to wonder if it will ever be okay with such a pigeon. No, I would rather save them a longer period of suffering.

The weather forecast looks fine for this week. At night light to moderate frost, during the day plenty of sun and temperatures slightly above freezing. If this stays for another day or four we can skate in the Netherlands. As most of you will know the Netherlands is the skating country par excellence. That will also be noticed in the coming weekend when the Olympic Winter Games take place in South Korea. Naturally the Netherlands is also represented there primarily for the skating sport. In the other winter sports we Dutch people do not have much to look for. But who knows suddenly a Dutchman dives into skiing which would be a huge surprise. In any case there is a lot to enjoy on the TV for the sports enthusiasts next week. That's what we thought last week. Then the world cyclo-cross championship was held in our own country. Our biggest favorite was Matthieu van de Poel. He had already won 26 games this season and according to insiders he would also take the rainbow jersey. Well not, it was clear to see that it was not his day, it became a complete agony. It was a very heavy course but that counts for everyone. Our national star had to settle with the bronze and our representatives in the other categories did the same. The youngest of all took by the youthful ladies gold and that made the surprise complete. Now wait and see if our skaters win gold and who knows the whole of the Netherlands is on the ice at the end of the week. Because skating we do prefer and the pigeons cherish themselves in the winter sunshine.

There are fanciers who already have their first round of youngsters outside, there are also those who have recently paired. In any case we are now in the middle of the breeding season. Some long distance players have postponed the breeding for a while but it will not be long before they will start. My oldest youngsters are now about twelve days and the coming weekend the eggs from the second round of the breeding pigeons will come out. Even now unfertilized eggs from our two best breeding couples. I do not want to say that Marco and I are becoming despondent but we are certainly not happy about it. Last Sunday the necessary eggs have been transferred so that the breeding pigeons can start on the third round. Maybe a bit too soon after each other but we have breeding pigeons for that. This season also shows that early or winter breeding is not conducive to older pigeons. Nothing new, annoying if it does not run as we had hoped. We thought that we would breed from our two top couples soon each two youngsters but we do not have one. At this moment there are 39 ringed and there is will come the same amount and then we have enough. Marco a 50 or so and I around 30. That should be enough to get the necessary good results if we do not lose too much before the price flights start.

The period from October to the start of the new season is also called the quiet season. Nothing is less true. That used to be the case but now it is teeming with awards, champions days, local exhibitions and last but not least the great diversity of all sorts of meetings. Especially the latter sometimes runs into crap. For example there was the fraud case in the Belgian East Flanders which has chairman Dirk Schreel of the National Sport Committee has cost the head. Now there is again the necessary commotion in Antwerpen so a new board has to be chosen. The name of provincial chairman Alfons Buurs is already mentioned as National President and is also associated with chairman of the National Sport Committee. Most likely he is not eligible for both positions because he is not perfectly bilingual. In Belgium in the southern part is spoken French and in the other part Dutch or Flemish. At this moment there is still no clarity as to how the two new boards will look like. More will be known during the meeting of 28 February.

To be aware of the latest developments concerning the pigeon sport there is still a possibility for Belgian and fanciers from the surrounding countries to visit the International Pigeon show "Fugare" which on 10 and 11 February for the 8th time will be held in Kortrijk. Also there will be the prize ceremonies of the one-loft races from Zimbabwe, Spain. Portugal, Tenerife, Romania and Bulgaria have been held.

If I hate something then it is shy pigeons. You sometimes have one that when you enter the loft immediately flies from his seat, I can live with it a little bit. There are also those who fly out of the breeding loft and I absolutely cannot stand it. I always do my very best to keep the pigeons quiet. You can do a lot of it as a fancier. Do not make unexpected movements and walk through the lofts in slow motion. Let your voice be heard and I think it is also important that you are always dressed the same way. Take the time to feed the pigeons. While they are eating you can safely take one in your hands once in a while and put them down again shortly afterwards. The pigeons must not be afraid and if they are it is usually up to the boss. Sometimes it is not easy to stay calm. Especially if the pigeons are just paired and are allowed to leave the breeding lofts for the first time. Especially young cocks can sometimes uncontrollably fly into several breeding loft. They are sometimes so passionate that they fly everything that moves. They can also take care of the necessary brawls if they fly into the wrong breeding loft again. If they do that multiple times you are able to swing them against the wall. Do not and never do! You can really ruin them forever. You deprive them of an urge to come home and what is worse they also refuse to come in. Usually the first arriving pigeons are not shy or afraid. A matter of poor entry always lies with the boss. He has made the pigeons so because he behaves completely different when they arrive home than when he does the whole week. I have been with fanciers who went in tiger creep to the loft when a pigeon arrives. The pigeons are not crazy and stay if the boss does not behave like they are used to. When the pigeons return from a flight behave always the same as you do during the week. Some fanciers want the pigeon quickly inside and throw hands full of food into the loft while they never do it during the week. Some fanciers start to whistle like an idiot when they see a pigeon coming at a high altitude. Assume that pigeon has seen you before you see the pigeon. The pigeons have to be happy when they see the boss so do normal then you do crazy enough!

It is like less and less fanciers do winter breeding. There may be several reasons for this. As far as I am concerned the reason is I now belong to the older fanciers and I was very happy that the season was over, finally a period of absolute rust. Others are waiting for breeding because in a number of departments the young pigeon season starts later. For years I have done winter breeding, wonderful to look at the newly weaned youngsters in the second half of January because what are they beautiful when they are just weaned. Then there is a short period of some relapse but that will all be fine if they first start to eat a lot. I always say when they are beautiful in the nest the will become later on also beautiful. Of the become usable or even good ones I cannot give a good answer. However I do think that the chance to breed a good one is greater if the parents have performed well. Every fancier gets a good feeling when a couple of pigeons are born that care in the racing season for pleasure certainly when that youngsters comes from a couple that he has paired himself. But how did the breeding for the young pigeons have been before they were weaned? By me from the first day I put the pigeons together everything went smoothly. The pigeons were well prepared by me for the breeding period. Ten days lighted and daily a little bit of hemp seed for each pigeon. I have also started to give a breeding mixture, not too much because locked up pigeons fats very quickly and that is not conducive to a smooth leg. When I pair the pigeons I always try that they look like they go into the basket during the racing season. I have written before that, despite the good preparation and the smoothing of eggs, a number of things can go wrong. In older pigeons unfertilized eggs, young cocks if they are paired well still visit the neighbor’s with consequence fighting and broken eggs. That is even possible yet if there is a small youngster in the dish and I also got to deal with that.

That means that the first youngsters will be weaned the last week of February. That are not too many because most of the breeders' eggs went to my son Marco and he will have more than me at that time. This is the case with father and son who play against each other and have to draw from the same breeding loft. Still I had two unfertilized eggs from two different couples each and with Marco there were two trampled youngsters dead in the nest. To date no problems with the growth of the youngsters that is going well. The pigeons from which the eggs have been replaced have almost all been around the 25th laid and are now brooding for the second time. The youngsters that are born out of it are for the most part all for me. If I have about forty I am satisfied, that is a nice team I have hardly ever had more. I have tried in my wild years to breed a hundred that I could fly with. I have never completely succeeded, 80 I think is the largest number I have ever had. I was and am absolutely not a fan of many pigeons. This year I am going to play double widowhood with 12 couples, that's what I have to do with it and why that will not work out. You only need one for victory. I stopped to leave the light on. I currently feed all pigeons at six o'clock and half an hour later the lights go out. In the morning at 8 o'clock out of bed. Eating a sandwich, quick read the newspaper, at half past eight to the pigeons and then I start cleaning the breeding loft. There are 22 couples and there is the most manure. At 9 o'clock all pigeons get food. It is then light enough so there can be eaten without a lamp.

I have moved away from my religion. Last week it was such nice mild weather that I could not resist keeping the pigeons in. I left them at 11 o'clock and they could go in and out all day. At 3 o'clock the sputnik were put in such a way that they could only get in and before they were all inside they could still enjoy a bath in the open air between 12 and 1 o'clock, something they really like. Yesterday it was cold and in the afternoon it started to rain, I had left the sputnik open (forgotten) and when I came up most of the pigeons lay in the pouring rain, not to believe because I was flapping with my old body from the cold. So most had to get soaked into the night. I do not know if they have been cold, in the morning they all still lived and looked fine. In the racing season I would get nervous of death, supposing they would perform badly on the first flight you can hit yourself in front of you. It does not mean that I now every day let pigeons outside that I view every day. I have noticed that since I let the pigeons outside the down molting has increased, sign that the outside air does the pigeons well.
In the winter season you usually have more outages than in early spring. A small number of unfertilized eggs, eggs with a dent or an egg with a young in it that was not strong enough to get out of the egg. They are all matters that have no influence on the racing season. It will be a completely different story if half of the eggs are unfertilized or if too many youngsters die after about ten days. Only then will the chance of a good racing season become very small. The fault lies with the fancier himself. The preparation for the breeding has been insufficient. Too easy, forgot to let the pigeons vaccinate in time and failed to do manure research. By making time to observe the pigeons once in a while you can avoid a lot of trouble.

When I get up in the morning it is a regular habit of me to read extensive teletext. That has to do with my deafness. The whole day the radio is on but for me too soft to be able to follow the spoken word well. However in order to keep up to date with the latest news I use teletext and only later in the morning the newspaper is read during coffee. I also read teletext in the evening before going to bed. So I read this morning with amazement that since the beginning of the measurements in 1901 it has never been so hot in the Netherlands. The day started with a temperature of 12.2 degrees Celsius and the expectation is that it can be as high as 14 degrees. For Dutch standards these are spring temperatures. Normally it would be that at this time of year is skated, there is snow and there is plenty of ice fun. It seems that this is going to be a thing of the past for our country. It will be the books where our grandchildren can read how it used to be in the Netherlands. The Netherlands the country of skating, the big question is how often will we experience the fact that ditches, canals and lakes are frozen so that long skating trips such as the world famous Elfstedentocht of 225 km can be organized. Fortunately a lot of international attention is being paid to global warming, a pity or rather incomprehensible that certain countries do not worry about it because it will have major consequences for the whole world. When I read this great news about the record high temperature in the Netherlands I also had to think about the possible consequences for the pigeon sport. We and our pigeons live in the Netherlands a country with often huge differences in weather types, we have been raised there and we do not know better. That is the same with the inhabitants of the southern and other warm countries and for the Eskimos. All those people are used to their climate. The same applies to the pigeons. We Dutchmen panic when our pigeons have their matches with temperatures of around 30 degrees while such a thing in the hot countries is the most normal thing in the world. In any case, it is important to think about how in the future (does the pigeon sport still have a future?) our sport will look like. For example; let us stop for a moment on the period in which pigeons are played in the Netherlands. Normally from the last weekend of March to the second half of September. Is that still possible if the temperatures get higher every year and that is not the only thing, including the increasingly large rain showers play a big role in this. In the Netherlands I hear more and more the call to start the racing season later, there are a number of well-founded reasons for this. If we especially look at the weather for our sport there is probably something forced to change. Who knows, maybe we will play until the end of October. Or maybe the racing season should be shortened to just over 4 months. It is all still looking at coffee, that something is going to change is as certain if twice to is four. In several southern countries a summer break is very common and necessary.

We pigeon fanciers are all champions. There are so many different titles that you can gradually see the forest through the trees. So this week my eye fell on a report about a prize ceremony held in Belgium. If a lay person reads something like this the wrinkles in the forehead will abruptly more than double and, if present, the hair will stand up spontaneously. The pigeon sport makes himself ridiculous on all sides. Or has everything been done with premeditation? I am still of the time that there were no middle distance races, everything under 500 km was sprint and above was the long distance. One day and multi-day long distance plus marathon did not yet appear in the pigeon dictionary. A designated or demonstrated championship did exist, why did I never be able to understand. It would be something for the real connoisseurs among us, do not make me laugh. It has nothing to do with a match. At the time it was all about the two top pigeons from the participation list. The one who clocked these pigeons first or in time was eligible for the title. Well, well what an achievement. The title was and still is won by fanciers who own some regular pigeons and they are always at the top of the list, that is not that difficult after all? It would be a different story if everyone can give up a small number of pigeons that are at the top of the list all season. Why such a title? We mostly play every week in the Netherlands with a fixed number of pigeons that compete for a championship title and that too is spreading sand in the eyes of the average fancier. The large and mainly commercial fanciers laugh at a lump, they can draw from a large number of pigeons every week while the average fancier usually have no more than about thirty old racing pigeons. They have at least the chance to rank among the champions. By the commercial boys it’s about the total result where all their entered pigeons can occur even though they are in their first ten clocked pigeons no pigeon of their 25 or 30 pigeons that count towards the championship it remains the same to them. They do not sell any pigeons because they have become champion, in that world it is the number of pigeons in the results. We will stop because there is enough said about it. I am still for 1 champion and the ones that follow are finished as 2nd or 3rd and so on, but under no circumstances may they be called champions. Get rid of that fool! Despite the fact that we are bursting with titles more and more commercial inventions are made, such as the best Bourges pigeon or the best Chateauroux pigeon all with the intention of selling pigeons where not only the boss something on. Here is a summary about the "championships" about which this report started; general champion, small speed youngsters, small speed yearlings; small speed old pigeons, big speed youngsters, big speed yearlings, big speed old pigeons, small middle distance youngsters, small middle distance yearlings, small middle distance old birds, big middle distance youngsters, big middle distance yearlings, big middle distance old pigeons, grand middle distance old and yearling pigeons, long distance old pigeons, grand distance old pigeons, in addition there are still in 18 different disciplines at least 3 ace pigeon (ace pigeon) titles to win. There are games where up to 15 championships can be won per discipline. Should go crazy if someone does not know how to classify them in one way or another and then he may call himself champion. I've been laughing for half an hour already.

More than 1 week and then the first month of this new year is already over. Fortunately it is a little longer light because I hate darkness. A little while and then the wild birds start to make a new nest. Nature is getting under way and the first drop-outs of good intentions have already been reported. There is still a large group that cannot stay away from their familiar cigarette and every day a little more exercise appears to be too difficult for many people. Healthier eating is an almost impossible task for young people in particular. A pizza and a fries with a coke or a hamburger with extra sauce are dishes that are still being served in large quantities in the beginning of this new year, this is the time in which we live. The developments in the electronic world are also continuing. You can count on it that the coming 25 years will change a lot. In the car world we go to computer send with fully electric motors and a step further and we drive on hydrogen. The new cars are all equipped with a reversing camera, one step further and they are equipped with a front camera and then it is boarding and the car does the rest. And then we have not even talked about all the possibilities that us all mobile phone has to offer in the near future. For us elderly people it is even a bit creepy while our grandchildren just consider it as a toy. In this new year I had decided to give myself a little more insight into the use of the mobile phone but I still have not got it and I'm afraid it will stay with the good intentions. Every one's hobby, I keep it with my pigeons but it does not mean that I close my eyes to the new developments. Can I keep it up? I do not think so.

Easier said than done. Today the eggs of the breeders have been laid down for as many as possible with the racing pigeons of Marco. First of all it was checked whether the eggs were fertilized and whether there was a dulled egg in the nest here or there. When I arrived in the breeding loft this evening there was a broken egg on the ground which was the first setback. On paper we had recorded everything which eggs would be placed under which flying couple. By one of the most important pairs there was a dented egg in the dish. Bad luck, but that can be overcome. We all know the expression "whether the devil plays", that expression was very appropriate for what we were doing. Marco checked all the eggs and then it comes; of exactly our two proven breeding couples all four eggs were unfertilized. Unbelievable, isn’t it? We will certainly not be the only ones where such a thing happens but it is and remains very disappointing. You can talk about that for hours that does not make any sense. The couples whose eggs are gone or unfertilized may make a restart. At the same time I have put my 12 pairs of racing pigeons together with the intention that a few eggs from the breeders can be accommodated there in three weeks. I must confess that I was very impressed with the condition of the hens, beautiful on weight and super tight in the feathers. You would say that cannot go wrong but practice is often a bit different. Tomorrow we'll have a quick look at whether the couples have accepted each other and a day later we will cautiously start letting the couples loose in the loft. The cocks have been "in the box" for some time as we call it so they know where they live and the hens will soon fly after hubby. We started by the breeders with the 6-day traditional drinking water cancer cure from dr. van der Sluijs.

What name should we give to this blunder. I cannot name it anything other than a blunder. Where that blunder is made I do not even want to know. It has created a lot of conversation material. Many ugly words have been used, perhaps not serious but intended as something of powerlessness, anger and an expression of disappointment. It is incomprehensible to us pigeon fanciers that something like this can happen. Especially because it is not the first time that we as a Dutch racing pigeon organization order a large amount number of rings. Many fanciers have been panicked, fortunately a solution was found by providing those who urgently needed rings emergency rings where it is not possible to apply the chips. Hence emergency rings, admittedly a solution but not ideal. It is to be hoped that hard work is being done behind the scenes on a method whereby it is never possible that rings are not delivered on time. I assume that NPO board and supplier are sick of this extremely unpleasant situation. Only tranquility can save us. As I understand the suffering has been suffered. I have read that I can pick up the rings and also the golden rings on Friday night. What matters now is that the golden rings are pushed onto the right pigeon's foot because with this golden rings race an interesting amount can be won. I like a bit of extra tension.

I have written it so many times, the annual English manifestation in the famous resort of Blackpool is unique in its kind. Unfortunately I was not there this year either. I used to think that if I were not there that it would not go on! It gets busier every year. More and more visitors from the mainland of Europe know to find the way to Blackpool. That's where it all happens. An unprecedented number of sales in different locations, from a football canteen to the most luxurious hotel where thousands of pigeons change owners. All large commercial boys are present there personally or through their sales organization. It is very unfortunate that commercialism is increasingly dominating. In that respect it is absolutely no fun anymore. What is really fun the whole city of Blackpool is dominated by the pigeon sport and until the small hours there is plenty of fun. I cannot afford to go to Blackpool for a weekend. From the Netherlands you are there within two hours, but then ...... you're going to beat that weekend especially if you like me also like socializing which means that the days in the weekend of January 20 are very long and the nights very short. I am very happy that I have been there several times because of the great contacts I had with mister Louis Massarella. You may know that I'm a bit jealous of all those who were there this year. You never know, if health permits I might risk it again in 2019.

Fairly new within the pigeon sport is the game with the late youngsters. The fanciers who are doing that have their youngsters, who were born in October, flying around for quite some time. Despite possible problems with the birds of prey these late youngsters have to go outside. They have to train and therefore also have to deal with the hardness of nature. Birds of prey must also eat and as we all know they prefer a not to be scorned pigeon's bolt. The late youngsters are therefore more attentive and keep a close eye on everything. Once they have been introduced to an unexpected attack by a bird of prey they will soon realize that the loft is the safest place. The boss does well to let them train with an open loft. The winter breeders have seen the first eggs come around the Christmas days so that their young acquisitions could be ringed in the first days of 2018. Hopefully that has not caused too big problems. Why problems? It has been a good practice for years that in the Netherlands the rings between Christmas and New Year are delivered to the administrators so that they can deliver the rings on 1 January to those who need them urgently. From that years of use had to be deviated because the rings manufacturer could not deliver on time which is definitely a bad thing. According to the reports the last rings would be delivered on January 12 and the fanciers who urgently need rings could submit a request to receive at least 1 January a number of rings. I do not know if that has caused major problems. For us it is no problem at all. We have put together the breeding pigeons on December 28 and when the eggs hatched the rings will be delivered. The pigeons came well on time with eggs. After 12 days two couples had not yet laid, big question is whether one of the hens is still laying. She has been stuck on the nest for several days but not an egg, she is open but I fear with great fear that things go wrong. The other couple let themselves chase out of their breeding nest in the beginning, that cock has already a cross behind his name. I certainly do not like that pigeons let themselves chase out of their breeding loft, it is a newly formed couple and the cock is only 1 year old. It is a grandson of the famous "Harry" but that does not mean everything abvious.

We do not have any foster pairs so if we want to have more youngsters from the breeders we will have to use the racing pigeons. My son Marco has put his racing pigeons in line with the breeding pigeons that are all with me, of that a number go to Marco. As soon as that happens I will pair my racing pigeons so that part of the second round of eggs from the breeders can be placed underneath. In this way we get a few youngsters from the best racing pigeons plus that we have four youngsters from the breeders in a short time if everything runs at least as we hope. Yes, that is how we are all working in our own way with the intention to breed a number of usable pigeons again this year which we will enjoy and with which we can strengthen our colony. I have been working like that for 70 years, I am still not a world champion but despite the necessary setbacks I have been enjoying my pigeon hobby all these years. Unfortunately there is now the first setback of this breeding season. With a new breeding couple consisting of my best breeding hen who is now eighth year paired with a one year promising cock the neighbor has visited. What I have not experienced before with that neighbor happened now. He apparently had such a need for brooding that he tried to sit on the eggs of my best breeding pigeon. That was obviously not accepted and that was fighting. In the morning the two eggs next to the breeding dish were both with and dent so I could do nothing but throw them away. I did put two stone eggs directly on it and they are now brooding. The neighbor cock is locked up and that is also a situation that I do not want to know about, but for the time being I leave it that way. As soon as part of the eggs go to Marco I will also remove the stone eggs so that a number of breeding couples start the preparation of their second litter simultaneously. Now it is waiting a few days to see if all the eggs have been fertilized. I must tell you that my racing pigeons are also clearly ready to be coupled. That will most likely be on Sunday the 14th of January. It gives me a good feeling that the breeding pigeons are now coupled, no problems with fights and yet it happens that a cock, otherwise a very good breeder, has destroyed the nest of his left neighbors. In spite of the cold I can still afford to stay with the breeders for a bit longer and also get a little more pleasure in cleaning the lofts. It lives on the loft again and we need some more time for the care. As of January 1 everything goes a little more at fixed times which is good for the pigeons and certainly for the boss. In the morning when I get up everything feels stiff, but when I'm done with the care of the pigeons I feel a bit fitter.

I already know that it will be different than before. The hens do not come outside in the morning. In the racing season I started at 7 o'clock in the morning. I definitely do not do that anymore, it's just too early for me. I decided to release the cocks at 8 o'clock as soon as possible, then I'm ready at half past nine. In the afternoon the hens leave at half past four and I hope that they can keep their training labor up for an hour and a half. They get food at five o'clock and the cocks are allowed to go outside for an hour. When the youngsters are away from their parents they may spend an hour outside in the morning. As soon as they are older and fly around the loft they go out twice a day. In the morning from 9 to 10 o'clock and in the afternoon from 6 to 7 o'clock but then we already live in April. Until that time I will see it per day but for now all pigeons stay inside. They have not been outside since the end of October and this is how it will be until mid-February. As of March 1 everything will be accurate again. My son sometimes says; "Dad, how the hell did you last this 70 years!"

When I still actively practiced cycling January 1 was the start of a new road season. That was at the end of the fifties, the cycling calendar indicated that there were almost no competitions. The months of November and December were the night of entertainment for us and we almost did not train. The weather conditions were often bad and we had never heard of a foreign training camp. But as soon as the calendar gave January 1 it was done with the fun and was seriously lived again. We started fitness training and as soon as we could we sit on the bike. The club that I was a member of and am still (next year 65 years) already organized in March the cycling classic De Ronde van Noord-Holland over 225 km. Now that the sport is much more professional and work is being done with sophisticated training schedules it’s in the early spring not even allowed to driven a course of 225 km at that time it did! Cycling has always been a tough sport and certainly in those years. Everyone had to figure it out for themselves, we trained like madmen and did not really know whether we did it right or not. We must and would have at least 2000 km in the legs before the Tour of North Holland started. In any case it was a wonderful time that I still think back to with great pleasure. Within the pigeon sport it is just like in cycling. Everything starts much earlier and the programs are getting heavier. Throughout the year there are cycling races and also the pigeon calendar shows a crowded program with sometimes three races in a weekend. Not surprising that there is more and more specialization in every branch of sport. Within the sport of cycling it is now the six days that demand attention and also the cyclo-cross is running at full speed. For the pigeon sport the time of the honors of all kinds of national competitions breaks up and there are also a number of big shows of which I still think Blackpool is the most beautiful and spectacular. Next year also for the very first time the tribute of the VERY BEST pigeons from the Netherlands. This is a competition with the same conditions that the F.C.I. is prescribed for participation in a racing pigeon Olympiad. The competition the "very best" is organized by the Neerlands Postduiven Orgaan.
Immediately in the beginning of the new year is started the presentation of the 10 best pigeons completed with their performance list achieved in the categories speed-middle distance-one-day long distance - marathon - yearlings - old pigeons - all-round pigeons and last and certainly not as unimportant the youngsters. No less than eight categories with the best pigeons in the Netherlands. It is almost unbelievable what our pigeons are capable of so it is not surprising that the Dutch racing pigeon is highly regarded all over the world. After the presentation of the very best pigeons on our site has taken place there is obviously a worthy and stylish ceremony. There is plenty of work behind the scenes. The final date will be announced very soon.

Now the first youngsters to be born it is important that everything in the loft is set accordingly. In this time of the year it can be cold and therefore a well-filled brooding dish with a mat underneath is not a luxury. When the fancier spends all the care on the new generation he will be amply rewarded from the summer. I've known fanciers where the winter youngsters just lay in a bare stone bowl, I do not understand how someone is capable of doing that. They are fanciers who wanted to participate in winter breeding as well but had not prepared anything and did absolutely did not want to do anything for it. They were winter champions with strong stories at the bar and in the summer they were invisible. Our pigeons should not lack anything especially now that they do not come out at all and everything is focused on a good breeding. Fresh vegetables, minerals and fresh grit are a prerequisite. Drinking water is also something like this, the pan must never be empty and as soon as it freezes the boss must ensure that there is no ice on it. As soon as the youngsters are about ten days old I feed the pigeons three times a day and I give water three times a day when the weather is cold. Maybe that's not necessary at all but it gives me a good feeling and that's why I do that. I hate if something fails during the breeding where I can blame myself. No, it all has to be correct and if you then have a nice team of youngsters running that gives a good feeling. It is still the intention that our breeders come together between Christmas and New Year. However, there is still a problem and these are the mice. I have tried everything, put clamps and put glue paper everywhere, I do not catch one. I sometimes see one or two run away, they are very dark in color, I think it's not the gray house mice but field mice. Possibly I have more knowledge of pigeons than of mice. I hate those little rodents an because they are ideal disease transporters. They also disturb the rest in the loft and as soon as the pigeons are brooding and they get a visit at night of those scum you even have a chance that the pigeons will run from the eggs. Mice are even able to crawl under the mat that lies at the bottom of the breeding bowl. I do not want to pair earlier than the mice in my loft have been exterminated. For the time being that seems like an almost impossible tasks

It is becoming increasingly common for fanciers to play with youngsters that were born in the period August / September. It is not new and there are more and more fanciers who try it because here and there fantastic results are achieved. It is a game that costs quite a lot of pigeons. I myself have played with some late youngsters and I will have done it wrong because I did not have one left. I also did not have that much with late youngsters, they just walk in the way and to breed with you have to wait more than a year and I did not feel like it. I know fanciers who are formidable with late youngsters and I even know that late youngsters in the long distance of the best pigeons of our country have ended. To achieve this these pigeons have to be taken away many times and that also happens, even in such bad weather conditions that we do not think about going out with them in the summer months. It is just what you love it is not for me and maybe I would also do it if I was 40 years younger then nothing was too much for me.

In the first place I want to start by wishing you all a very prosperous, healthy and successful 2018. After all the fun that the month of December had to offer us it was a nice feeling to pick up the thread of all days again. We are going in the right direction, the shortest day is already a few days behind us. We are on our way to spring but we are not there yet we have two cold months ahead of us and in March we can have plenty of snow fun. The situation in the world is still not rosy but we are concerned about a dent in an egg of a bald young lying next to the dish. What the hell are we talking about? Last weekend we had our annual club exhibition, it became a top-class debacle. Never has there been a year that I did not participate in my more than 70 year old pigeon career. It is first and foremost a fun weekend in the quiet winter period and it is fun to look back and of course to the plans for 2018 with sports friends. Curious about the results of the judge is almost nobody. It is mainly about commerce in our sport. It predominates unfortunately the overtone which through fanciers do not spontaneously talk anymore about their hobby. The large lofts are increasingly dominating and little fanciers are increasingly taking off against the big boys. Maybe not quit right but it happens and that goes ten expense of the atmosphere in the club. In our club we have no big boys and no commercial boys. In that respect matters are in balance which is not the case with the performances. Fortunately we have an A group and a B group. In the A games we play with 8 men and the rest of the members play in the B. In our show 13 members join and the rest failed and that is especially disappointing for the organization. Fortunately I have experienced very different times, as far as social life is concerned "golden times". It is no more, most of us are old we are not anxious to go on the dance floor. Yet it happened much more disciplined in my younger years. We felt obliged to participate in everything the club organized, we were real club people. That seems to be a dying kind. More and more clubs are defunct, we have to get used to the situation that we are with lesser fanciers and therefore play with fewer pigeons. That is not to say that it is less fun that is why it is important that every club has an active board because there are lots of things to think that are good for an atmosphere. Then the members must see that something only can happen as if each member cooperate
This summer the Dutch pigeon sport was startled by a fraud case. A manager from the province of Noord-Brabant had seen opportunities to cheat the things and he still managed. Until a day came when he fell through the basket. Worse than to bug your sports friends is not there. I understand that the man is now suspended for 5 years and what else is attached to him I do not know at the moment but I'm going after it! Only a penalty of 5 years for what he has on his conscience is insufficient. The next important question that needs to be answered in the cycling world is; "has the English top cyclist Chris Froome also found his way to the candy box?" Would be a great pity if that were true. For the time being where there is smoke fire is usually also present. We cannot do anything else then wait and see and this is almost certain again a rider ends up on the list of fraudsters. Riders who have ensured that we have been sitting on the tip of our seat several times to watch the incredibly exciting moments in the big cycling races. The American Lance Armstrong took care of that, the Dutchman Michael Boogerd, the Belgian Freddy Martens and what about Tommy Simpson and that way I can name 50 more without much effort. Commerce and doping / fraud, we will never get rid of it within the sport. Unfortunately!

For years there is too much time spent on that. Recently a national program has been adopted and now it is all about keeping our 11 departments there. In my department there is a speed flight added and further the whole program is equal to 2017. In itself I think it's a great program, I honestly did not go into that in depth. That time is behind me and now the youngsters (unfortunately there are almost no longer) are allowed to commit to this. I have seen that there are game opportunities for me every week and I can live with that. Just as the ideal car does not exist, the ideal flight program will probably not exist. Yet every year there are a number of those smarties who think they know better. That is how it has been for so long I am a member of the pigeon organization. In any case, on 7 April we will start with a series of 6 speed flights and on 7 September we will be ready. A week later there is still the possibility to play a joint competition with our sports friends from South Holland. So everything is arranged that there is opportunity for everyone who wants to play with pigeons every week.

A nice start in the new year. Our club has that on Friday evening January 5. Then the rings for 2018 can be collected. I have the idea that several members on January 1 at the ring administrator have been at the door because they urgently needed their rings. If you pair November 26 then you have the first youngster on Christmas and they will be on January 5 too big to be able to ring them in a decent way. There are fanciers who can ring them so to speak when they are 3 weeks old. This has to be done with a lot of art and flying work and I think it is with a lot of pain and effort, I just do not like it. Unfortunately, there are fanciers who have almost forgotten that their pigeons are living creatures and that they have to be cared in a good way and that includes rings in time.

The signing of the certificate took place on Sunday 10 December during the national days of the NPO held in Rosmalen. This is an important step for the preservation and future of the Dutch pigeon sport. The NPO thus has the obligation to consciously and actively set in to keep its immaterial heritage alive and to give it a future. The NPO has made a good care plan for this. Even Monday night in the TV program Hello Netherlands attention was paid. Heritage is the term used to indicate what one inherits from ancestors (inheritance). The importance of heritage is determined and supported by a society. In other words the term heritage is awarded to matters that people value, identify and want to preserve for future generations. As a foundation of a society works the matter also in a future-oriented way.

A part of the pigeon sport is the breeding period. At many lofts this period has started. This means that many fanciers have determined how they will or will have coupled the breeding pigeons, inbreeding or crossing. Both are done with the intention to breed a number of usable pigeons again. It is inbreed as soon as twice or even several times the same pigeon occurs in the pedigree of a pigeon up to and including the great-grandparents. Niece x cousin is the lightest form of inbreeding and often gives the desired results for a usable racing pigeon. Too close inbreeding, brother x sister, parent x child will not produce the desired result. Why would you do something like that? After all pigeons cannot pass on what they do not have in themselves. Inbreeding can only be done with the very best you have in your loft and then especially to keep up the good quality you have in the loft. Those breeding products, provided they meet the strict requirements of the final selection, can be used for a new breeding couple in crossbreeding. The children from that couple can be put back against their own kind. Certainty to breed better quality is almost never there but it is a good method to try to build up your own tribe. Beginners can best start with pigeons from two different lofts that have a good inbreeding family, so a well-bred strain. Those two lines against each other give a greater chance of a good after-breeding. In my own loft I have tried everything in the 70 years that I have pigeons. I made so much work of the breeding that I sometimes could not sleep. With what I described above I still had on average the best results. But ... best fanciers there are so many examples of all kinds of coincidences that you just as well cannot make a study to form the right couples. Why would you? Too close inbreeding is not advisable, free pairing is just a bit too far away. This week I heard a story from a leading fancier who probably has the best middle distance pigeon in one of the national competitions. The mother was a good racing pigeon but because she had a so called "lay butt" she got a place in the nursery loft. A lay butt occurs in hens who feel as if they have to lay an egg but there is nothing, but the coccyx is completely wide and her ass feels fat. That hen was courted by a young cock who had never been in the basket. She lay one good egg but there arise one of the best middle distance pigeons in our country, so more luck than wisdom! For example I was once with a fancier who had put his pigeons together that same day. There was another breeding loft available and there were still about thirty pigeons running on the floor. At the last moment a dark hen was chosen and a dark cock with a number of white tail feathers. The man had so many pigeons that he hardly looked at the pedigree of the pigeons. Two years later the pair of the white-tailed male turned out to be by far the best breeding couple, one good after another rolled out. I have put together two champion pigeons several times and the breeding results were not immediately to write home. Occasionally it was the case that their nothing-performing nest mate produced much better youngsters. Try to discover something like that, what do you have to look at? Are that the eyes, the feathers, the temperament, their strong coccyx, their limp at the top, the short rear wing, the broad chest, the short or long sternum, the narrow flight feathers, the breeding feathers under the wing. We can look and do what we want, we can think we understand it, forget it! The late Jos Klak once said it; we all know absolutely nothing about it. And yet we keep looking in the eye, pull out the wing and name it. It is all hobby and does not make any sense. There are fanciers who do not look at anything. They keep every year all the remaining youngsters and bring their older or lesser pigeons to the poulter or to the sales because they bring something more than with the poulter. You wonder how you get better pigeons that way. In any case I will go to the fancier himself.

There is more and more overview on the loft. Not all pigeons that can be gone are gone. However the 24 breeding couples that I now own together with my son Marco are paired on paper. Almost certainly we put them together on December 28 and then the party can begin. The cocks all know their own breeding loft which prevents the necessary fights when they are allowed out of the breeding lofts for the first time. The first two days they remain locked up and then they can turn loose in the loft. I am then often in the loft to be able to intervene if there are heavy fights. The days are currently extended with artificial light. The hens are nice on weight but the cocks are a bit too heavy but that will be reduced as soon as they are coupled because they will pay more attention to the female than eating. My son Marco pairs the racing pigeons with the breeders at the same time so that eggs can be placed under his racing pigeons from certain breeding pairs. I wait for a while I am glad that I have a little more overview. Because a large part of Marco his pigeons were with me now I finally get some more air. I pair my racing pigeons so that I can lay a number of eggs from the second round of the breeders. At the moment we are on a mouse hunt, they are mostly field mice that pull through the cold to the houses. Those sorts do eat the bags of food and I would not have any of that. Everywhere there are clips with a piece of cheese, peanut butter or bread. I only caught one in five days. I used to have glue to catch those critters, that always succeeded because even though they were stuck with a whisker they never came loose again. That glue can no longer be sold, I have now let myself be told that there are sheets of paper with a layer of glue on it. I'm looking for that now because the sooner the rodents are gone, the better. I'm still worried that mice can transmit diseases, they urinate in the grit and food bowl and they play water polo in the drinking trough, away with it!

A well-known saying within pigeon sport is; "in the winter the prizes for the following year are earned". That expression is based on the molt. All birds are subjected to this natural phenomenon. A good molt gives good health and is for our pigeons of the utmost importance for good breeding and flying results. With good breeding results is meant the growth of the young pigeons. It has nothing to do with quality. Even the worst pigeons can have beautiful youngsters in the nest. We do not know what the flight performance of the young guard will be until the end of the season and we do not know everything yet. It happens all too often that youngsters who perform more than well in their year of birth do not make a difference as a yearling. The opposite happens even more often and you only will know if you keep pigeons that have performed as young moderately. It regularly happens that they play the stars of heaven as a yearling. Usually this is done by pigeons who the boss like and have not come through the selection on the basis of performance. The molt of our pigeons lasts the whole year and that is just as well. The boss can see how it is done with health. Every morning when I come into the loft the first thing I do is check if there are a few tufts everywhere. Especially in the racing season with the widowers it is enjoyable to look in the breeding lofts and see beautiful little dry manure balls on which there are a few tufts. Then you start whistling with the general care of your colony because you have seen that it is good with health. The big molt normally starts in August. The season for the old pigeons has been done and in fact it would be good for the pigeons not to play them anymore. But other interests also play a role in that period. Especially nowadays with all those different (national) competitions commercial interests. That is why every effort is made to slow down the molt. Or if that has a good or bad influence we can see in January then all pigeons must have passed through the molt. Those who do winter breeding can do so only with breeding pigeons that are already separated from the beginning of August. It would be even better to have the eggs of these pigeons hatched by feeding couples and that means we have to keep more pigeons. The season has only just ended but we are now already busy with breeding and at the end of January all lofts are full again. I never have had any problem with that but now I do not have to think to care for so many pigeons and caring is something more than throwing a handful of food into the loft every day. We can do that to keep our chickens to the leg but pigeons where performance is expected require a different treatment. They are all top athletes, they may lack nothing and for that you have to establish a complete training and care schedule. A lot of work but if everything goes as the boss has in mind the effort is not for nothing and that gives a more than satisfied feeling.

Not by me yet. Our breeding pigeons, indeed our breeding pigeons, because from this year Marco and I have joined forces by making use of our joint breeding loft. Between Christmas and New Year the 24 couples are put in the way we recorded it on paper some time ago. Certainly know that something will be changed at the last minute. Maybe because a couple does not want to know anything about each other or that we think that the particular cock can be better placed against another hen. All events that belong to our hobby. Free pairing we do not accept. You also have more honor from your work if you have bred some very good pigeons that you have put together yourself. I used to pay attention to the fact that I did not put two pigeons together with the same eyes. I do not want to say that it is silly but I do not look at it anymore and breed just as much bad and good as before. When forming the breeding couples I paid attention to the fact that I put as much as possible a large one against a smaller pigeon this with the intention to breed a type of medium size. Do you know what happened? Whether large or small types came from that couple, compensation breeding is almost impossible at least that is my experience. Obviously you put the two best pigeons against each other and if you can you must try to breed at least four or even six youngsters from that pair. In itself very good but it does not guarantee the quality. It regularly occurs that a top pigeon is bred somewhere in the racing loft of two yearlings who have not yet produced any noteworthy flight performances. That is why I have always bred out all my pigeons. Pigeons that, according to the boss, are worth a place in the racing loft are in my opinion also worth breeding. The problem is that we all have too many pigeons. In most lofts there are too many breeding pigeons (at least that is how they are called), that is why only two youngsters are bred from most of the pairs, in fact this would have to be at least four for that we have breeding pigeons. If you only breed two youngsters every year you will never find out what the breeding value is. If we breed four youngsters from all breeding couples and also keep a few pigeons from the race pigeons the lofts will bulge out. Then we come to the point of how many good pigeons come from one and the same breeding couple. Usually not one and sometimes one and fortunately there are also examples of breeding couples who regularly put usable pigeons on the world. It shows how difficult or complicated it is to breed a number of pigeons by a minimum occupation each year to keep our colony up to standard but that is also the charm of our hobby. The bottom line is that we know very little about it and that we need every year a dose of luck to breed good ones. I still argue this way. Together with my son Marco we have 24 breeding couples and they are all there for us and for no one else. They are our breeding pigeons and we do not care what pairs of pigeons produce pigeons that get enough. It cannot lie on the descendants, if that would not be good such pigeons are not in our breeding loft.

They are bred every year and are a rich asset. It is a great feeling to have bred a pigeon yourself and it is absolutely fantastic to have a few brothers and sisters of that qualitatively almost inferior to that one absolute topper. Such a loft has a particularly good commercial value and is even of vital importance to a number of fanciers. We can ask ourselves whether it is still commercially important to have a top pigeon in our loft. The past weekend I have followed a two-day Internet auction, a bigger success is almost imaginable. Great what a gaining for mainly youngsters with a beautiful pedigree of mostly famous commercial fanciers. But we have already mentioned it several times, that does not give any guarantee. There was also a sale of young pigeons (from each breeding couple only one) that had never been in the basket but had been bred especially for that internet sale, average yield more than 5000 euros each. Without doubt a fantastic result, something to be jealous of. Commerce can no longer be seen separately from any sport. Every sport depends on it and within the pigeon sport there are even more fanciers whose simple pigeon hobby has become vital. Fortunately that these men are not dependent on sales in their own country, poverty would be a trump card. The time that there was a proof of ownership from a pigeon with the ring number of the father and mother on the back, despite the fact that I also profit from the trade, yet many times more fun.

Oh, oh what a beautiful children's party. Every year the Good Holy Father celebrates his birthday on December 5th and presents with his followers a gift to all small children. A party that has existed for a long time and where there has been a lot of commotion in recent years. Sinterklaas and his faithful servant is Zwarte Piet and in addition the Saint still has more servants of the same color. The discussion is about the black color and the name servant, which has already disappeared, which is according to the anti-Black Pete group is discriminatory. Many find this far-fetched but unfortunately the discussion has ensured that the assistants of Sinterklaas are not everywhere black anymore. Too bad that big people go so far. Luckily the children do not know and they sing Sinterklaas songs every night until December 5 in the hope of finding a present in their shoes the next morning. Also I as a child went to sleep every night after I had song by the stove to be sure that I had something in my shoe the next morning and I would definitely put a carrot and some hay for the beautiful white horse of St. Nicholas. As a child you could not sleep and in the early morning I went out of bed to see if the saint had been. Now I am a grandfather myself and together with my grandchildren I sang the highest song, unfortunately they are now too big to believe in Sinterklaas. At my age you almost really believe in Sinterklaas again. There have been many years that I only had stuff for my pigeons on my wish list. In the Netherlands the Sinterklaas feast was more important than Christmas for generations. More and more Christmas days take the upper hand by surprising family groups with a valuable gift. Christmas is a big family celebration although many do not know what it is all about. We are already busy with the preparations, unfortunately that is not the case in a large part of the world.

In pigeon land is the winter breeding where we worry about. At many lofts the breeding
and perhaps also the racing pigeons are together again. The season is emotionally only just coming to an end or the new generation is already coming. I am sure that in many lofts the final selection has not yet been completed. It is also no easy task to decide which pigeons may or may not stay. It is not easy to say goodbye to pigeons that you have been working on for a couple of years. Especially with the older pigeons it is difficult to decide about life or death. Everyone knows that we cannot keep all pigeons. After all our hobby also demands race improvement and that includes a strict selection. As a child I could not sleep if my father had said that there were too many pigeons. I knew then that we would eat pigeon soup for several weekends. My brother who had nothing to do with pigeons was crazy about pigeon soup and was usually the first at the table. I ate it but with every bite I took I had to think of the pigeons and in my thought I heard them still cooing. So it was with our rabbit. You cared him the whole year with the knowledge that he had to believe it with Christmas. That was not only the case with us, it was the most normal thing in the world in my childhood. At that time we had never heard of winter breeding. Our pigeons were usually coupled during the third weekend of February, we did not have breeding pigeons at that time. The racing pigeons were also the breeders. These were not just breeders they were all performance pigeons without a name. We only knew the last three digits of the ring number. With pigeons that were sold or donated was only a proof of ownership with at the back the ring number of the hen or the cock. You had to do it with that and that was enough for that time. In my opinion the breeding results were also better because the selection was much and much stricter than is currently the case. Most fanciers did not have the money to keep many pigeons. In many lofts money was played was played for money even though it was not large amounts it counted. Most fanciers bought their food with at most five kilos at a time and that cost no more than two guilders (90 eurocents). Such amounts could be earned several times per flight so that the pigeons could earn their own costs. That’s how it worked, pigeons where the boss had all confidence got money with but had to bring home the fivefold. If they did not succeed several times they signed their own death warrant. Nowadays are mainly played for championships in the Netherlands. The money game, even if it concerns small amounts, has largely disappeared from the sport and with it the quality of the pigeons. Every pigeon had to earn its place even if he or she had such good parents or performing brothers or sisters, every pigeon had to perform. Perhaps that is the main reason that fewer youngsters were lost in those years. Nowadays there is only just breed. Wherever two wings are attached it is allowed to produce youngsters especially if a beautiful name has been made up along with a pedigree where, for an observant fancier, nothing but baked air is placed on. About the pigeon itself there is almost nothing but it’s mostly about the great-grandparents who once made an appealing achievement. But what the hell do we have to do with such a meaningless pigeon. I cannot say that we are not doing well right now but it is true that we were doing different and better in the seventies and eighties. Now that we all have more money to spend the buying craziness has erupted so that the number of disappointed fanciers is increasing. In the Netherlands the fanciers have it through. They do, except a few, not participate anymore to count astronomical amounts. Pigeon sport is becoming more and more commercial while you cannot even win a brush and a can in the Netherlands. Name pigeons you must have, then you can sell something on the internet. Whether you can prove the buyers a service is doubtful. In this article we were talking about race improvement of racing pigeons, so think carefully about how to act. With proven racing pigeons you do not even have the guarantee to breed good pigeons let alone with the kind described above.

The weekend of November 26 is for many fanciers the beginning of a new season. Those who are going to do winter breeding have put the couples together on paper for a long time. From experience I know that there are still changes made on the day of pairing. It is a matter of deliberation and weighing which cock is against which hen, always an exciting activity. In my younger years I could lie awake for nights because I did not manage to form the couples in such a way that I would breed nothing but good youngsters. When I finally knew how I would put them together a heavy burden fell off me. I was almost certain that it would become top with this new coupling. In my dreams I challenged all competitors because I was so sure of my case that I would not know with the best will of the world who could beat me. Beautiful thoughts that never and never came out, now I know better. It is the same song every year. Most with lots of care composed couples are disappointing and that is a good thing. For the pigeon sport it would be disastrous if every year only good youngsters were born in all lofts. In every loft it is still feasting when a youngster is born that performs remarkably well especially when the same pigeon as a yearling can once again achieve excellent performances. They exist, however you have to look for them with a light. If you have doubts about what I am writing step into your loft now and see how many real good pigeons you have from 5 years and younger, maybe there are ten. You do not believe that yourself or you have to believe all those wild stories of fanciers who know how to breed nothing but just good pigeons. Suppose the average fancier breeds 50 youngsters per year, that's in 5 years 250. Just count how many of those 250 are left. If there are indeed ten top pigeons you will undoubtedly belong to the national top. Just a little longer and there is plenty of breeding and all fanciers have 100% confidence again. Maybe the newly purchased breeding pigeons bring good luck or maybe that formidable widower of 2017 will produce a bunch of pigeons in 2018 with which we can go a few years further. So we all have our dreams or expectations it is just how you want to call it. Fortunately it is not just about disappointment. Most fanciers are happy if they can come along reasonably well, it's not just about victory. Other (head) prizes also ensure that we enjoy our hobby. As in other sports there will always be fanciers who perform better. Do not be jealous but have appreciation for performances maybe there will be a time when you give the other a sporty beating. This is how the pigeon sport works. The rivalry ensures that pigeon racing remains a nice game. As long as everyone tries to beat his neighbor there will be a healthy fight every week, think about that. To beat the neighbor is more beautiful for many than a victory in a big context.

I have remembered these wise words from my father. It comes from the time that many fanciers took part in a show with their best pigeons. Everyone was curious how the man in the white coat judged the pigeons. Then there were judges who evaluated the pigeons on the basis of the regulations and unfortunately the best racers were almost never considered for a prize. The spirit ran back, fanciers hooked of because they did not want to go off at the annual club show. It had to be said that in the past years there were many judges who themselves performed below par. Then you soon get the remark; what does that guy imagine himself he cannot come along and does he have to condemn my pigeons? Because it was like that, pigeons with low points were condemned in the eyes of the fancier and not judged. There were also judges who were able to judge a pigeon. Just as good as there are good football coaches who cannot kick a dent in a packet of butter, that is also possible. Still there were then many fanciers curious about the results of the inspection but that time seems to be over. Fanciers find that they can do it better themselves. Here too the best mates are still on shore. Yet it is a shame that everything is different. Nowadays you have to lie on your knees to get participants for your own club show, actually too crazy for words. At our last meeting was asked who wanted to use pigeons for the show of our ensemble, no human! In the end our club joined as expected with 5 quartets. Last year we were the best and that is what we wanted to be again. That same afternoon the pigeons that were eligible for participation were selected in our club building. This time too our 20 pigeons (5 quartets) were judged the best so that the club prize was won by my club. No applause but the necessary commotion. It would not be not fair that our pigeons were pre-selected and that was reminded by the chairman during the award ceremony. Envy and unsportsmanlike I cannot make anything else.

This summer the Dutch pigeon sport was startled by a serious fraud case. The fraudster is the president of the local pigeon club, has a board position at provincial level and was even involved in the use of the pigeons. The man has admitted that he did indeed play unfairly some times. Despite this in his club of barely 20 members there are still a number of members against the dismissal of their chairman. Cause; no statement has yet been made by the NPO. For many fanciers the statement is far too long. You may wonder why? After all the man has known debt and from a later check it appears that he did not just piss off the pot this year. The good man had been monitored for a longer period of time but could not be caught immediately. Is not a simple matter and a question was asked about this at the last NPO meeting. Nobody knows exactly how to act when someone is suspect. That is indeed a serious matter and if you do not know exactly how to act crucial mistakes can be made. In spite of that it should not be that difficult to release the suspect (who has known debt) from his position and to exclude him from further participation or membership. "Your own fault, big bump", they say by us.

Our national football team has many loyal supporters which is not surprising because it belonged for many years to the best national teams in the world. Unfortunately, the number of loyal supporters is after the Netherlands has not placed itself before the World Cup in Russia drastically reduced. Understandably, the nauseating behavior of the players, the disappointing results and the too high upgraded quality of the national coach are far below par. Perhaps the press has written our orange team up too much. The same is now the case with our skaters. The Netherlands is the ideal ice-skating country but if other countries do not stand still with development competition will increase. That was seen during the first World Cup matches in the Dutch skating temple in Heerenveen. It is annoying to have to note that the Dutch skaters more or less drove away what was caused because the noses of especially the men skaters were not the same way. So we will also have to be careful that something like this happens in pigeon land. For some time a new board has been working to set out uniform lines for everyone who wants to join the races. That the decisions are not satisfactory for everyone is simply an impossible task. The positive thing is that for every fancier every week are game possibilities, a situation with which we have to be very happy. Nevertheless there are all kinds of counter-proposals. When is the time that we are largely unanimous, which should actually be very simple. We must have confidence in our national board but not only confidence we also have to support them. Only in this way pigeon sport will have a healthy future. On November 4 another step in the right direction was taken during the national members' meeting.

It happens sporadically that you get into conversation with someone who has chosen pigeon sport as a hobby. Fortunately there are plenty of opportunities to start. We older fanciers can contribute our part. The best thing is to tell novices nothing about pigeon magazines or even worse give information about sales sites. Advise them to read a lot of books about the pigeon sport, a beginning pigeon fancier will learn something from that. From sales sites and magazines with only a list of all kinds of results beginners become not wiser. Tell them that they will take a look at regional pigeon shows at this time of the year. There they can admire the finest pigeons from fanciers in their neighborhood. There is also a possibility to get in conversation with the winners of the show or with other famous players from the area. Everyone is then in the opportunity to make an appointment for one or even multiple loft visits. That is interesting and educational. At such shows you often have the opportunity to buy a voucher or pigeon from famous regional and even national champions for a reasonable price. Recently I got into conversation with a starter. It was someone from the back of the fifties who had as a child pigeons and never did anything with it. Here we see that it is important that at a very young age knowledge is made with keeping pigeons then there is a big chance that in later life will they will come back. It is comparable to someone who once sat with his ass on a road bike, you will never forget that feeling again and cycling will always keep them interested. That is also the case with our pigeon sport that is also a kind of addiction, once pigeons always pigeons! It is important that beginners hear nothing but positive stories. The pigeon sport is and remains a wonderful hobby at home. The pigeon sport is not a cheap hobby but which hobby is? You can make every hobby as expensive as you want. It is better to build up the hobby slowly, everyone will have to start with a learning period. The pigeon sport will have to play a lot more on this. With newspaper reports about a pigeon sold for 500,000 euros we do not get any new members. The beginner I spoke last was with 500 euros in his pocket went to a room sale with the intention to buy a young hen of high-performing parents. The man went home disillusioned because there was no pigeon below the thousand euro. I told him that the price paid for a pigeon says nothing about quality. I have not told him what happened last week in North Limburg. There was a sale of youngsters brought together by prominent Belgian and Dutch fanciers. The craziness was complete there. Among the four most expensive pigeons of the sale were three of the Belgian Willy Daniels. He is the man whose pigeon was sold a few weeks ago for four tons. Without doubt a very good pigeon but for 4 tons you can also do a lot of other fun things. Willy is also a fancier who easily sells his best pigeons and always ensures that he has one or even several good pigeons in the cage in no time. Selling such a very expensive pigeon also has other very large commercial advantages, the entire loft is upgraded. The proof of this was delivered last week during an room auction. Three youngsters were sold for respectively 80.400 49.200 and 43.200 euros. The total yield of the 168 pigeons offered for sale was 941.000 euros (average 5.600 per pigeon). If during a regional show tickets and pigeons are offered for sale with the intention of giving the club cash a financial injection then there is loud applause when for 20 pigeons in its totality around 1500 euros is offered and then I do not talk about the quality because it will certainly not be inferior to those pigeons that are sold for an average of 5.000 euros or more. Those expensive up-written pigeons come only from commercial fanciers who often owe their name to top performances from one of their pigeons. They breed throughout the summer to sell as many pigeons as possible in the winter months. In regional sales the donors do their utmost to supply a high-quality pigeon that usually comes from their best breeding or racing couple. No, all those gigantic amounts are not good for the pigeon sport but for the fanciers himself. Who of us would not occasionally want to sell a pigeon for a gigantic amount? Of course most of us want that. We can ask ourselves whether we get new members as a result. It seems more obvious to me that we lose more. That is how the novice I spoke last thinks about it.

We recently had our fall meeting from the club. The attendance of the members was good, unfortunately the reactions to the new proposals for the next season were not immediately positive. I then thought about the novice I had spoken. There flashed through me "if that man had experienced this meeting he might have been screaming run away". Just as badly I found the enthusiasm to participate in the annual exhibition. Nobody raised his finger as a sign that he was participating. Only when father and son Braspenning indicated that they certainly participated were very careful still some fingers up. Last year our club had the finest collection then you surely want to defend that achievement. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way.

The preparations for winter breeding has started although we are not yet ready for it. Neither is it necessary because we have still three weeks to reunite the sexes. The para-coli cure of doctor van der Sluis is behind. Something more than two weeks in a row ALL PIGEONS have had this cure in their drinking water. As previously responded my son and I combined our strengths by cultivating one another. The breeding cage has been completely made up. Dust free, spider webs removed, all corners sucked out with the vacuum cleaner. After that everything done with the burner (a better disinfectant does not exist) minor repair and then everything with the syringe against pests, lice and other spikes. The nest boxes had been cleaned some time ago. The next week they get a vaccination against paramixo and make a throat to see if they're free from cancer. Also the grit bins are cleaned well and burned with the burner. Everything looks new and the pigeons also look extra beautiful. Especially with the sun on the loft it’s enjoyment of the pigeons although they are not done with the molt they glow against you.

It was great today enjoying a fantastic weather. A steel blue cloudless sky, plenty of sunshine and a temperature just below 10 degrees. The pigeons also enjoyed the beautiful autumn weather. First the hens were allowed outside for two hours and then the cocks. At the pigeons you could see that they were fit as a fiddle because they flew that it was a dear lust except my two three-year-old pigeons. They breed longer than the other pigeons and therefore have some backlog in the molt. They just dropped their eighth pen and they are not feeling so beautiful yet. That's the case with the other pigeons especially the breeders who are already are through molt but yes they never come outside so you cannot judge them on fly lust. The department for the old race pigeons is still empty. I was planning to let the young cocks search a box but I’ll wait for it. The reason for this is that I do not know who is finally assigned a place. I have enough time with them because they will not be paired before January 1e. Fortunately I do not have a charge of birds of prey. Two or three years ago that I had and if you're not used to that misery it's a horror if you suddenly get along. Over the years I have spoken many fanciers who suffer from it all years. You hear their story and you have no idea what these people experience. If a single young pigeon is caught, ok you can say that's nature. It's going to be another story when they go with one or two of your better pigeons. You do not have to think about it and we know all too well what the commercial value of a true top pigeon is today. I know we all have our own top pigeons on the cage. We all know that one fancier's top pigeon is worth more than another. The same applies to all of us; none of us are waiting for the moment when our best pigeon is being puzzled by a robber.

They lived together in their pile house with us in the front yard. They were intensely happy with each other and occasionally rear up a youngster of the race pigeons. I did not like them because they are white and I do not like it at all, but there were two very nice pigeons on the yard.
These two nice white pigeons called "peacock tails". They are as easy as a lamb but now it's coming; the cock is not anymore. He came to the end of his life in a not so enjoyable way. In the early spring an magpie couple wanted to nest in that pile house. My white peacock tail wanted a stick for stitching he had enough talks to fight with those white/ black intruders, unfortunately he had to die with death. The pigeon is now alone and no longer in her pile house, she is between the breeding pigeons and gets a new husband in January. I have get ready a haired white pigeon for her. They can bring up two youngsters and they can then take place in the front yard so that I can enjoy a few white pigeons daily who can scramble around and around the yard. The previous two never got a bath, never got grit, they had to pick them up in the garden, they never received a medicine, never get a bathe they did when it was raining. They never felt anything and they always looked as white as snow. Especially my wife will be happy if the new "whites" are to be admired every day around the house.

From the first minute this meeting was possible to follow via internet. There had a big agenda to be finished and that was not equally interesting to everyone. Just like before they were mostly the same speakers who spoke and I have to say that our chairman his business was fine. He hardly had to think to give a well-formulated answer. It was a long time to follow this national meeting from ten to half past three. Of course I come back in a following article to explain the most important decisions. For me as a non-long distance player there was a very long discussion about the one-day long distance and the marathon flights. The proposed national flight program took also a long time but that’s never been others.

Of these 22 are sold on the internet via GPS. Simple yet, but it's not that simple. A few weeks before the sale the pedigrees must be handed in and two weeks before the sale all pigeons must be in the picture. A job of almost half an hour and there are high costs involved. In addition I had the bad luck that we landed in a 6 km file that caused 50 minutes of travel time. What am I glad I'm not on the road every day. During the return journey no setbacks and so on my way home together with my wife we have eaten deliciously. Now wait for the internet sales from 12 to 19 November.

As soon as the race season was over there was talked for years about the silent season but it has been a long time ago. The quiet season has never really existed. With a silence season is meant that the races were over. In winter the association exhibitions followed and there was no more. In some regions a lot of work was done on the annual championship ceremony and, in order to make the evening more cozy, there was sometimes a singer, a gagman or magician. The public was entertained and now these evenings are romanticized by saying that it used to be a lot more cozy. That's right, it was not comparable to what is being done now. At that time the people were used to nothing and had the greatest fun for the simplest things. It was real pigeon evenings, there was talked well and after the official part went on until the small hours the feet of the floor. It's different now, we're old and no longer getting on the dance floor, we just want to talk about our hobby. Now every pigeon event has always a few standers who sell all kinds of items for the pigeon sport but the main goal are the by-products that will perform pigeons better. Much work is being done of natural products which would be much better and less harmful than antibiotics. Unfortunately we cannot do without and what many may not know is that antibiotics are also a natural product but it is translated in a different way. Internationally the Kassel weekend (Germany) has been behind us. What ever begun in a simple hall has become an enormous international trade fair were in particular a large part of the entire commercial pigeon world comes. In the Netherlands is worked hard on the annual event of the NPO which is held this year on the weekend of 9-10 December, the entrance is just like parking free. On Saturday night the national champions will be honored and this always attract a lot of audience. It is also possible for the "standard" pigeons to be approved in advance for possible participation in the January 2019 Olympics held in Poland. Also the standard pigeons must have flown a number of kilometers determined by the FCI. If there are among the beautiful standard pigeons, who have flown the required mileage by 2017, the fancier can decide if the pigeon has to race a less heavy program in 2018 or that the pigeon needs to get some more out of the box. Anyway it’s so that the Netherlands is already in process of preparing for participation in the next Olympia. It's a pity that the heartiness for that category is not too big and that's very pity. In the past Dutch pigeons played a leading role in both the sport and the standard class. Fortunately is now working hard to recover that more or less lost position. The Netherlands has to go back to the place where they belong they go for gold and for less than bronze they do not. It is only that competition knows the Netherlands is coming on again, all countries are warned. How it will go with the sports class will depends largely on the Dutch weather. For the national league it does not matter so much, internationally it does because the weather conditions on the day of the race still have a major influence on the course of the matches held from early April to mid-September. Also from the sports pigeons are kept track of statistics so that a pigeon that makes a real chance for participation in the Olympics can be kept in on time.

In November a series of championship events will be held usually accompanied by a pigeon show. In my region it is the ZCC (our combination) that will hold the annual show and championship ceremony on 17 and 18 November. For the first time in the existence of the ZCC my son Marco is honored as the champion of speed and the middle distance races with which he takes the permanent place of his father. I ever did that from my father and so three generations of Braspenning play a leading role in Zaanse pigeon sport and also far beyond. This month is also the championship celebration of the North Holland long distance club. On December 2 the entire North Holland department, in which more than 1500 fanciers play weekly, will honor her champions. A week later on 9th and 10th December the national pigeon event and again a week later is the party weekend of my own association. Nationwide there are festivals every week. The one who want can visit several pigeon shows every week. Often this is worth it because every organization will have a sale of donated pigeons or vouchers for a young pigeon 2018 during such a weekend. Especially at all those regional festivities you can strengthen your pigeon colony for a very beneficial amount. In any case many times cheaper than the prices you see today on the increasing number of sales sites.

The big molt is almost is as good as over by most pigeons. In my darkened young pigeons there are some still standing on two old pens. They still have some time because the young pigeons do not do winter breeding. With the breeding pigeons we have been working for some time to form the 24 couples which gives me sleepless nights. I cannot actually write it but we really have a luxury problem. I did not even have so many breeding couples anymore. The pigeons I held in the winter of 2016/2017 have been through the selection so many times that they have all been well enough. Perhaps I still do some way because my son Marco has a formidable collection of breeding pigeons. What was first of all by me only the old-fashioned Janssen pigeons the descendants have now been crossed with the champion blood of the great Dutch all-round champion Willem de Bruijn. With that coupling we have been very successful. The hardest is yet to come. At the moment it is still not known which breeders from Marco can stay for sure. We are not going to put any breeding boxes at all. We have a loft with 24 breeding boxes and there rather stays one empty then there is one added. I am an enormous fan to have only performance pigeons in the breeding loft and that is not yet the case. We have again picked up some others among two grandchildren of Harry. We did that because Marco also wants to play his part on the one-day long distance. I have never been a fan of it but I have participated in it for several years. No, not all flights but with different successes. I would like to point out that my old Janssen type could also run up to 650km. It's a matter of want to and also daring to race the pigeons. Especially for the latter I was far too economical on my pigeons. Now that I'm old I'm thinking about it easier because my son Marco wants to enjoy those flights. Hence we will do our utmost to give the big boys whack. We never loved a figurative role.

On October 5 after a debilitating disease the highly respected Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan died. Shortly before his death he was still on the arm with King Willem Alexander for a walk through "his" Amsterdam. In his farewell letter to the inhabitants of the capital he wrote among other things, "take care of our city and for each other, goodbye". Thousands of Amsterdammers say goodbye in the concert hall on Friday October 13th to "their" precious mayor who was buried in a closed circle on Saturday. For us fanciers it was a pity that no pigeons were released during the funeral ceremony. Pigeons also belong by Amsterdam, at the Dam Square before the Royal Palace crimson it. Some hate them for others a tourist attraction. In the golden years of pigeon sport there were more than 1500 fanciers in Amsterdam. Amsterdam had its own department of own transport and of course its own board of directors. The Fond Club Amsterdam was very famous in the Netherlands and had many top players among its members. Their annual festival evening with the highlight of the championship ceremony was held at Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky. To be there you should, even if you were a member, order timely tickets otherwise you did not get into it. The Amsterdam department also held their championship ceremony and the annual exhibition with a separate honorary class for the first ten general champions of the city. Usually were represented Mr. Staal director of Krasnapolsky who had his pigeon loft on top of the roof of this immensely large hotel and also in that time a man with respect Mr. Gerhard's director of the Mars chocolate factories for years he was the man who could not be beat. For those events there was always plenty of interest and with so many Amsterdammers in the hall you are assured of full of cosines. Twice I received an honorable invitation to judge the honors class which was one of the highlights of my career as a judge. Later the exhibition of Amsterdam was held at the Hilton Hotel after which it went unfortunately downhill. Consumption was found to be expensive and forced out into a simpler and cheaper accommodation. It eventually became the death strike for the ever-busy Amsterdam exhibition and it meant the end of many stylish party nights. At the moment many fanciers have left Amsterdam, they have been devoted to various outside communities because keeping pigeons in the overpopulated city was almost impossible. The department of Amsterdam, like the Haarlem department, has gone up in section 6 - Noord-Holland, but in this fusion department the membership is sadly returning and in the long run a large nostalgia gap will be lost. The Amsterdam humor will remain but unfortunately that's we can say.

Habru enjoys great publicity in the Netherlands because of their high-quality pigeon sports products. Carefully started making aluminum sputniks but after all those years the range has been expanded with a whole range of articles. During the 9th Habru day all products were well organized in the company's spacious hall so that the ever-increasing number of visitors could admire the latest new gadgets. Also from our neighboring countries was great interest in Habru products. The day was entirely a sign of charity and a strong forum was formed for the fanciers consisting of four strong players as; Willem de Bruijn, Stickers-Donckers (B), Opdebeeck-Baetens (B), the thriving Zeeland talent Frederik Dekker with as presenter the Frisian "self-made man" GJ Beute. The forum brought little news forward it took too long and there was too much talked about medicine, cure and vaccination. The pigeon on its own does not seem to be so important today either the pedigree and the name. The most beautiful response came from Stickers-Donkers, his answer to the question "how do you plan your pigeons if you want to" peak "on a particular flight he said; we have 40 flights a year and I want to win all of them so I do always the same. My pigeons can choose what they want to eat every day, there is plenty of food all day because the food tray is always filled. He is also in favor of driving a lot with the pigeons sometimes four times a day. Responding to the visitors' reactions it was definitely a successful day. I think so too because I like something different within our pigeon sport. All national and provincial annual return pigeon events will be very boring in the long run.

There was a time when every fancier had to submit his pigeon's performance in order to compete with national competitions. Not everybody did that which there was no pure picture of who the true champions were. There was a lot of discussion in the pigeon magazines. Known champions did not join at least that was what they told. Suddenly there was one year that two strong players had a good pigeon. Yes you read well, 1 good pigeon while they had 200. The pigeon sport is really not so simple when it comes to real top pigeons and yet they are there every year. Those two players who find all those extra championships nothing were in that year that they each had a good one the first to submit their participation form. Both ended high in the final classification but did not have the best. One of the men has died the other one still talks after 25 years about it remaining what indicates how difficult it is to score high. Still there are fanciers, counting on the fingers of a hand, who almost stand there every year. That's partly because everything in the computer is being calculated and saved and what appears now, there are still games, associations or regions who still count themselves. Almost all of the Netherlands will calculate their results at a nationally known accounting firm, some do not and therefore the final stages of all competitions at national level are still "official" at this time.

Now that the fly season is over and many fanciers are already quite advanced with the selection the conversations will begin to form the (new) breeders. I admit that winners give winners rather than ace pigeons do. That's why I always pair two winners. A few years ago I had more than the last two years. The cause I'm looking for is the age, motivation and fitness of the boss. These are the biggest dangers for an elderly fancier to be able to sustain. Elongated discussions can be held about breeding pigeons and the formation of breeding pairs. No-one can tell in advance what a good breeding couple is even the eye judges cannot, if they could they would have enough to one pair. Also they breed a large number of young pigeons every year which they indicate they also do not have a look at it. A good fancier once said to me; if you have a pair that has given 1 topper you already have a good breeding pair. There are couples who have given several useful pigeons and there will also be breeding pairs around the world that produced more real good. In general it’s so that all carefully compound breeders give more bad than good. So we do not know much about it, a dose of luck we certainly need to breed now and then a good one but for most of us it will always be a dream.

This week my mother would have been 109 years old. Four days ago was the cremation of a good pigeon friend with whom I spent many years in the board of our combination. Today I read in the newspaper that the widow of a good pigeon friend has passed away. After months of political consultation the Netherlands has again a new government since Tuesday the 10th. Last week I went to a cycling race near me, a real fun fair round that closes the cycling season in Noord-Holland every year. Last Saturday we went to a perfect dinner show in one of the television studios. The same Saturday we had the annual goat trip with which some renowned pubs participated. The purpose of this is to drive by bike from one bar to another and drink a buck of beer. The weather conditions were too bad so we had skipped that event this time. Monday evening was my fixed card evening and Tuesday I use to write some articles about the pigeon sport. No, I'm not bored because I'd like to be everywhere.

I go to my pigeons only half past ten every morning. I will first have a nice breakfast and reading my newspaper, then I release a department of pigeons and start cleaning. Most pigeons get food and clean water at 10 o'clock. After the afternoon another group of pigeons will be released and at 5 o'clock it’s dinner time again. They then get more like in the morning because they have to spend only 7 hours from one feed to another but after 5pm it is 17 hours. They have already been used to the new feeding times. Not all the lofts are cleaned every day. The young and old cocks are separated and that's also the case with the hens. However they still get a bath and fresh vegetables every Tuesday. The molt runs well and the pigeons now have a para-coli cure of Dr. Van der Sluis. Furthermore it’s the intention to vaccinate all pigeons in early November against paramixo and at the end of that month the breeding pigeons will be re-paired. They are almost ready. They are divorced from the beginning of June and most have only one old pen. The tails are almost full and when the one after another tail pen is renewed the big molt is behind.

In 2016 my son Marco returned to his birthplace again, he is living 5 minutes with me it's sky wide about 800 meter. He immediately tied up a simple loft so that before he moved to his new address had fly a number of young pigeons. He played them in the autumn flights and that meant little or nothing. Of the 20 14 left and they were allowed to stay all, only two of them had played a remarkable prize. With those 14, 6 hens and 8 cocks, the season for old pigeons began in 2017. The expectations were not super highly tensed. The pigeons were not selected they could all stay because they did come from the breeding pigeons. That does not say anything because how often it does not happen that two proven pigeons do not breed any good. Fortunately there are also (breeding) couples who regularly produce useful pigeons and because we both do not add so much to the performance of young pigeons there was the confidence that a couple of yearlings could provide fireworks. And yes, it even exceeded expectations and they even grabbed the title on the speed and also on the middle distance. Without a doubt an unprecedented success for father and son because the pigeons come for the most part from me. We are also pleased with the young pigeons who have performed well and we have not lost so much so for 2018 choice enough. All breeding pigeons, 24 couples, are housed in the existing breeding loft in the Wijdewormer. Still I have not been able to decide whether or not to play with old pigeons. As it looks now that is certainly not the case. It is the meaning that I am going to play with young pigeons in 2018. At least two sections for the young pigeon game are made ready to play "on the door". To say goodbye to all my pigeons I think it is too big risk. When you have 71 years pigeons, that's almost my whole life, the daily format is largely filled out and if it ones goes away I do not know what to do. I’m too old to occupy another position in some board or committee. Remains cycling and cards a few times a week because I like to play cards and occasionally together with my wife play bridge. But my pigeons were and are still my big passion. The cycling sport still has my interest too.

Marco and I are neither lovers of a large amount pigeons we must be able to overlook. I never had many pigeons all my life that was also my father's advice. He always said; we need only a few but all tops. That has succeed for a great deal but there exist no loft that has only good. Nowadays it might be possible. The trade in pigeons has gone unbelievably from the claws, all with wings is for sale nowadays. The Belgian hen sold last for 4 tons (400,000 euros) has opened many eyes again. I can still remember that we went on bike to the Jordaan Amsterdam where in the neighborhood building the Palm was held in the winter months every Sunday morning an auction. The pigeons were deployed for two guilders fifty (which is now 1 euro 20). The hall was full, only Amsterdam had more than 1500 fanciers at that time, now there are no more than 100. The auctioneer stood on a kitchen staircase and when the highest bid was released he hit with a whisk on a can and the pigeon was sold, great to experience. Now everything is internet, only the pedigree is checked and the pigeon is side issue. It becomes very interesting if it is an "ace pigeon" and all the way if it is a national winner. Does not matter against how many pigeons if he only won national. In such pigeons many wealthy people (there are many in pigeon land) are interested for commerce. It is also interesting for the little fancier who has such a pigeon on the loft. With such dizzying amounts paid for top pigeons you can do lots of fun. In my view it's not smart to not sell such pigeons. You must smear the iron if it is hot.

In the Netherlands it has been four weeks since the last official flight was held. Many pigeons could not be played anymore but maybe there were even more in blurred form. Now that the big molt has reached its peak it is no unnecessary luxury to give extra attention to the pigeons. Many fanciers are like their pigeons at rest and many take that rest as well. However that does not mean that you can throw the hat right now. You know a pigeon season lasts a whole year, proper care is needed from January 1st to December 31st. I say consciously a proper care which means that the bow does not have to be stretched anymore. Release the pigeons every day is nice if there is the opportunity but it is not necessary. There are fanciers who after the season never release their pigeons. This can be for several reasons for example they leave and come home in the dark from work and in a number of areas the predator problem is playing. Others think it’s enough to release the pigeons only on weekends. It is best to let the pigeons out as much as possible if there is the opportunity. This can also be an aviary what some call an oxygen cure. I do not know what to think about it, bad it will not be but my experience is that pigeons who are heavy molting like to sit inside and not full in the wind in an open aviary. My pigeons are currently flying for half an hour and do not know how fast they go inside. They actually know themselves what's good for them. The one who observes his pigeons regularly sees at their behavior what they like which you cannot resist at this time of the year.

Because I was not well in my skin for a few months during the race season the care and therefore the performances were not well. I did not have pleasure of staying on the loft longer than necessary. Cleaning did not happen daily and when I could not do that at all my two sons Marco and Michel took over this task temporarily. I continued to feed them what contained I lift the lid from the feed bin and quickly throw the estimated amount food in the tray. Look at the pigeons or take them in hand I did not at all. The widow pigeons seemed to be chickens there were always a few eggs here and there. I do not like that because the attention for the cock reduced. Some hens were not at all interested in their cocks, they were pushing at the pillars of the door to get out, well then you know. Or maybe not because there are those who, despite their behavior, perform (very) well. Two widow pigeons who are dumb to each other and sometimes lay their eggs at the same time can surprise at the flights. No, I do not encourage it because other pigeons perform under the measure. Previously I watched the ladies in the winter months very well and when I saw two ladies lay somewhere cuddling one of the two had to disappear. At this time of year you have no trouble whatsoever, they have something different on their heads the molt asks all their energy. That's why they may not lack anything, only on dry bread no athlete can perform. Only on barley no single pigeon come perfectly through the molt. Barley is fine for the pigeons but if they are completely ruined. My pigeons had never get barley they do not even know what it is. I never gave it because a big champion dissuade me. I've just kept that in mind, others swear by it. I like to feed sweets in the season and actually also in winter months I think more than the average fancier does. In my opinion candy seeds provide extra fuel and also for extra willpower but be careful they get too heavy. That was a few days ago when I watched the breeding pigeons. It had been a while since I took them into my hands, I was shocked they were not lifting so heavy. This is partly because they never come outside and the fly pigeons ask more attention. The breeding season is over so water, feed and cleaning and that's it, I do not know what to do more about it. Yes, occasionally take them in hand because if you do not do that it may have an effect on the molt because too heavy pigeons molt badly.

My young pigeons performed well. They stayed fine in the feathers because I almost darkened them until the end of June and maybe that’s why I did not suffer from an e-coli outbreak this year. Other years I darkened until the end of May and about two weeks later they suffered from coli. That's for me, for who not, something to get lost. First of all it’s very said for the pigeons because they are deadly and in the second place I find it terrible to clean the cage. Horrible that dirty green oily carpet it's almost impossible to get rid of your scraper. With a thorough approach to a coli infection you can get rid of within a week. During the cure feed very little or almost nothing because they are more likely than profitable. Once they start eating better and more they are also well within a week and you can see that because they will fly around the loft longer and faster. If they are ill you can keep them better inside. Adverse effects the young pigeons do not have if they have the coli contamination behind them. Those of me are heavily molting most of them are still on six old pens and I assume that they are all exchanged in three months so with New Year they are all back in the Sunday suit. Today I took the all youngsters in my hands, they disappoint me. Actually I should not have done that because molting pigeons never feel beautiful, often a little weak, wings not nice because some have thrown two pens at once and when they have just grown a little the next pen goes out again. No, I was actually a little disappointed in the youngsters a month ago I was so proud they looked so beautiful. Fortunately no burden of sickness or heredity.

I'm increasingly doubting to everything I do for my pigeons. In a week they all get a triple paratyphus cure, they do not molt less so evil it cannot be. Whether that disease is slumbering I do not know. If so such a traditional cure cannot be wrong but what is the point if it is completely absent? Why take an aspirin if you do not have a headache? Nevertheless, I'll do the cure again this year because Paratyphus is a common sneak disease, it's a real assassin that you better prevent then cure because it can crash your entire breeding and fly season.

The season is going to the end, it's almost up. I was always a fancier who wanted to play for a couple of weeks I could not get enough of it. Especially not if the pigeons continued to perform well and that was happily often the case. In particular the pigeons who stayed a whole year in the aviary did not like to stop and it was a pleasure to see pigeons arrive. Really like stones, the wings stiff against the body and only at the last moment the brake went on. I then flew the classical widowhood only with cocks. In fact, I think it is still the most beautiful. I then had 16 doffers and many times they played 16 prizes. You were quickly done cleaning and had enough time to observe the pigeons. There was also not so much time lost in release the pigeons. The cocks went out from Monday till Thursday twice a day. Friday not, that was a mandatory rest day. Also on Saturday no pigeons were released because that is the day of the race. Sunday again a mandatory day of rest also to not give the neighbors any inconvenience if those were sitting in the garden. On Monday everything went on time again and I kept it up until Thursday. Sometimes I still wanted to release them on Friday morning because I was not convinced of the optimal condition. Every Tuesday they get fresh green food, usually soup vegetables from the supermarket, on Wednesday they get a bath and every day all the pigeons get something extra like some peanuts, a pinch of hempseed, mineral mix, a teaspoon of candy seed. Two days conditional mix in drinking water, all day something extra and that's what they know because when the feed bin is empty they all stay on the floor because they know that the boss has a little extra and I’m going to sit there at ease look and look again. Occasionally I take a pigeon in my hands to test the weight.

I have always made sure my pigeons were well housed. With other fanciers I saw that they often sit in small often dark and humid cages made under the pigeon loft. They never got released and the cage never cleaned. These are things I really cannot resist. I loved hygiene and I still like that. In a clean loft you’re pigeons look always more beautiful, that's enjoy? My pigeons were always in a spacious loft with an aviary. The only times they got out was Thursday or Friday just before they were shown. I closed them for an hour and you had to see how soon they went inside again. The other time they were allowed to fly for an hour was Saturday before the other pigeons arrived from a race. Unfortunately it went wrong once. Then I went outside to call the pigeons inside and found out that many pigeons flew around. I had checked the speed but did wrong so the cocks were at home earlier than I had calculated. Yes, that was bad luck, and then there were some ugly words. Nevertheless I never deviated from that system until I switched on entire widowhood. With the pigeons who had not had a nest for a large part of the season and were only released two times a week I achieved excellent performance during the natour, great as those ladies came home. So does each system has fun and less fun sides. The fun of widow hens on widowhood is the way they train. They must be in the correct condition then it’s enjoying it looks like as they are be seated afterwards. They then fly very close together at high speed, never more than an hour. By others they flew two hours and sometimes longer, that could not with me. After an hour of training it was time for dinner and who was not at table on time got nothing. That's what the ladies and also my other pigeons did very quickly. Take care pigeons at regular times they call conditioning. Pigeons that are cared at fixed times become a kind of robot because everything happens again at exactly the same times. With the advancements of years I sometimes get a little easier with those fixed times which certainly contributes to somewhat lesser performance. I know it's not my pigeons but the boss. I do not wake up there anymore. The time I could not sleep from Friday on Saturday has been over for some time. When I was still a very bright shrub I like to talk on Friday as long as possible in the club or play cards with a beer. When I went home in the small hours I did not have to wait long before the pigeons came. My clock was often taken into the bedroom so that nothing could happen. Many times my wife woke me up with the request to put that time bomb on the corridor. It has changed tremendously now. No hassle anymore with rubber rings, we live in the electronic age. If the clocks are taken out of your hand you will get the results right away. That same evening you can see on the computer how there is played all over the Netherlands everything is on it. In the past you had to wait a whole week for the results. Everything has become much more professional but whether all those changes in the eyes of the fanciers are seen as improvement? I have to be guilty of the answer. It can not only be because of the aging we lose so many fanciers.

These were always "my" flights I like to play very much, I did everything and it was mostly rewarded. Unfortunately I'm not very well at the moment but I can still enjoy the last five flights of the season. It's not really great but I join and do not just get lost. Another three weeks game and then it's over. It will be a difficult and important winter for me. I just come from the pigeons. I have cared the old and the young train now from 6 to 7 hours just lovely to be at the pigeons again. I do wear a mouth cap I'm afraid of the dust because I have had a pneumonia several times and the last one still not completely healed. No, it's not going to be the way it should be. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the pulmonologist again. Marco cleans the lofts daily and the race, both the old and the young, I care, the rest is for him and then he go home to care his own pigeons. We can be satisfied with the results. Old and young are coming well we are still in the race. Now to see to get rid of the horrible coughs so life for me, Cora and the rest of the family looks a lot more sunny.

For years the Netherlands had the largest national competition for young pigeons from the famous French unloading center of Orleans for the middle of our country about 525 km. A competition where all the Netherlands lived and ever had a participation of 160.000 pigeons, big or small everyone participated. In the early years when no-one had heard of eclipse also pigeons joined that were heavily molting. One did not know better and also then great results were made. Now everything is a lot more professional, making the young pigeons this race easy to handle. Self-evident man thought differently and found that the flight was prohibited because the distance would be too long. Here too, theory and practice do not exactly match. Much has already been done and much has been written about it. Fanciers have placed their knees to restore the flight but it did not work. In addition over the years we have a political party in the Netherlands, the party for animals. In itself a good thing because things happen with animals that cannot really get through. Unfortunately many people still do not know about pigeons, even our politicians, and that lies with us. Our former managers have failed to give more attention to the pigeon sport. One had to know how carefully there is cultivated with the aim of raising of racial improvement. One does not think it’s possible that young pigeons of only 6 months old can complete a race of over 500 km with the greatest ease. If you tell something like that to a leek they are completely surprised and can hardly believe it. We fanciers know better but our opinion is not asked. National Orleans have called for replacement competitions but you cannot call it a national race. There are now four or five unloading places. Perceived by itself, unfortunately it does not appeal to the fanciers so that participation has fallen to a minimum. On Saturday the 26th of August it’s again so far. What it is going to be I do not dare to predict about the participation. It will not be in proportion to earlier years. There has been no publicity for this single national competition for young pigeons. It does not live and the organization does not make any effort to put the pigeon sport back into the spotlights for all the Dutch and so we continue to decline. In the national newspapers a big article had to be written about this national pigeon event. Nevertheless I hope that it will be an attractive competition for the participants with good winners. Next time I will give you extensive information.

I have a lot of trouble this year about health. For the third time in one and a half year time pneumonia and that at my age is not something that makes you happy. Still I do not feel like it should be. Many coughs, soon tired and futile. Fortunately the last thing is better every day. If the boss is not 100% it's repercussions on the performance of the pigeons. The care is not as it should and if you are not well in your skin you will soon find it good. You can skip good care one day but if that week goes on it does not really have sense to join. When I was in the hospital my sons helped great. It is however holiday time and the men who work for a whole year also want to go on holiday with their family. They are right so than the pigeons get a lesser care. Currently I go to the pigeons again and take care of the old and the young pigeons. These are two lofts with 20 pigeons in each cage that I supply with water and feed and they are also released, cleaning is done by Marco and when Michel returns he will help again too. The flights for young pigeons are almost over. I put two on the national flight and the others I play on the last four speed flights. The young pigeons have done the merit and pulled the championship for me. Bad luck there is too. When I paired the old pigeons for the natour I found one cock short. I therefore took a breeder who flew for three years and also won three times a first prize to play the hen. A beautiful cock that's been gone one day and is not back yet. After two weeks I gave up the courage. Another disappointment I had on the first natour. A young cock who won the first flight for young pigeons the first prize and the second a second did not came back from the first natour race and is not back in four days now. He could have fallen in the field of honor. Such promising pigeons cannot really be missed and he was still beautiful in the hand as well. In this respect you had to have as a fanciers a fair amount of cash. Furthermore Marco and I cannot be dissatisfied. The championship sprint, half-long distance and young pigeons is for us and hopefully we will hit at the natour again. Our season is more than successful and we can continue working on a very close cooperation. Due to my repeated pneumonia I have become a little scared of the pigeon dust. I think everybody knows how the Pulmonologist thinks about pigeons. He would love to see people with lung problems immediately killing their pigeons. Such is not easy certainly not if you have pigeons for 70 years. How it's going to be accurate is still unknown. Marco goes through and maybe I too but with a minimum number of pigeons. We have also talked about flying only with young pigeons. That seems a good decision but if you do that you have pigeons from the end of January so you can play with some old pigeons as well. Doing everything away is also an option but that is very resolute. Half September I have a conversation with the pulmonologist, now I do not feel good, maybe then. That conversation will depend on what will happen to my pigeon hobby. If the pigeons have to go away it would be nice if they go to one fancier so that he can play with the best. Marco and also several others have proven for several years that they do not have to go aside with the Braspenningen for anyone, the "Brassen" plays a leading role throughout the world. Another 4 weeks and then the season is over. Time flies especially when you grow older.

The more often that is said the more people believe in it, true or not true I'll leave that the middle. Perhaps the reason is that there join many fewer young pigeons. Playing young pigeons on the natour can have an advantage. During these races more and more old pigeons are being played. It was once called into live to let summer youngsters go through a school until they felt that a championship had to be fought. It would become more exciting and it would increase participation. Men went on further. Also the old pigeons had to be able to do some flights at the end of the season. Especially the widow pigeons were on those flights in their element. After almost a year the ladies had no litter they were extra motivated to show their art during the last five sprint flights. That was often excellent. After months again eggs in the dish the pigeons longed to their nest and what to think when their lay little youngsters? If they were molting it would definitely stop with youngsters in the nest. It was especially important to have the pigeons still in the feathers during the last flights. The one who had made the most beautiful results. Also the cocks were especially the last two flights in their element. This is still happening at many lofts today. However in recent years the tendency has been the widowhood game. The pigeons are paired again, breed for a few days and then again on widowhood. By illuminating from mid July the molt is delayed so that darken youngsters and illuminating old pigeons can easily be held into the feathers until mid September. The more complex the feather suit is the greater the possibilities of winning a number of beautiful performances at the of the season. Especially during the last five or six flights a midweek training flight still wants to help to keep the need and the speed. For the young inexperienced pigeons it can help to match them with the old experienced pigeons who can take them, especially the first kilometers, on tow. After one or two flights we see that the old pigeons have the greatest difficulty to keep up the flown young pigeons. The young pigeons who did not participate in the young pigeon program have during these five fast flights just as much problems as their peers during the young pigeon program. There are enough examples that the natour races goes smoothly but there are also examples of the massive loss of young pigeons at the first but also on the last flights. There were also young pigeons who were taken away by the boss several times. Hence I put big questions on the frequent tosses of young pigeons. It's only 6 times good and the seventh time goes wrong. All effort done for nothing ?? !!

During the months of August and September it can be beautiful summer weather and sometimes even very hot. Lovely to sit in your lazy chair in the garden and happy to wait for the pigeons. However nice weather does not mean that it's good weather. It is often that in the city you do not notice how bad the sight is. I live in the polder and when I look over the meadows it is never really clear during this period. In spring it is clear that is said "it's so bright that you can look around the world". In the early spring we almost never have to do with the dry east wind but in the summer months we do and right there our young pigeons are very affected. I will never go drive with the young pigeons with a steel blue sky and east or southeast wind. That is fatal for inexperienced pigeons and races under the same conditions for experienced pigeons always show a strange course. Despite the high speeds of the first pigeons a flight is longer open than races whose fastest pigeons do not get high speeds. With east and southeast wind the best pigeons often miss their early price. Pigeon sport is largely dependent on weather conditions plus a dose of luck every week and if you do not have quality under the tiles or you do not have the means to handle pigeons properly it will never succeed. If you sit in that corner look first at yourself and wonder if you have the right way to take care of everything you've done to your pigeons. Keep your eyes and ears wide open because of the swim at the bar you will not learn anything but take a table in the room where two or more good players are talking to each other. Winter champions are almost always at the bar and the men who make the service out of the race season are usually not there. END OF SEASON
When the natour starts the season is as good as over. Only 5 weeks of play and 2017 is done. A rest period for boss and pigeons breaks maybe even on holiday. For the pigeon starts the big molt and also the selection. The pigeons which have not met will be noted by most fanciers. In addition at many loft will be still too many pigeons in spite of the losses. Perhaps the addition of young pigeons will give some problems. Unfortunately there are too many young pigeons left behind again this year. Of the departments that have started with the young pigeon game just two weeks ago no data is yet available. Whether we can say that by starting later the losses are less is not measurable. It’s even so that in a small country like the Netherlands the weather is not always the same. In the east of the country the competitions are fine while it is very difficult in the west of course the reverse is also possible. What is very important that, despite all the pericles that were we had have we can look back on the past season with a good feeling so that everyone has enough motivation to continue. Despite the fact that the pigeon sport is sometimes linked to disappointments it is still a nice hobby!

It's not just high season in the pigeon sport, what about the World Cup athletics in London. I follow that with great interest and as I look at all those beautiful parts of the athletics my thoughts go off to the pigeon sport. I'm looking for comparisons, I look good at the athletes when they are presented to the public just before the start. Especially the ladies are very nice types, as a former race pigeon judge I obviously notice the bodybuilding. During that proposal I turn off the sound of the TV and try to determine for myself who will throw high eyes. Soon you will find out that not always the most beautiful finish in the first three. All participants in this World Cup are athletes but what a huge difference. The little muscular sprinters or the ladies who do bullet punches or bullets and look at the length of the legs at the runners. At the longer run numbers you will see a larger variety of athletes. They can all run and yet there are still some which overlap with head and shoulders. That's how it's with our pigeons. They can all fly and fly hard they have proven otherwise they would not have come through the selection which has nothing to do with the size of the pigeon. I've had enough pigeons in my hands that delivered top performances, usually they were different types. Pigeons with a short breastbone and a short wing that played a first four times a year although in the club. It was the time we could talk about associations. In my view almost no associations now exist. I think with less than 12 racing members you cannot called any association. In this regard the downward spiral is almost impossible to stop. If we follow the pigeons during daily training it seem that they all fly as fast but on the race it is proved to be the opposite. It therefore has more to do with orientation, stamina, suppleness, character and not to mention the condition. The construction we're all looking at, the plumes, the eyes, the bumps, it all adds to but whether it's the most important features for a good sports pigeon? There is definitely more to look. In the time of the money game you often heard the remark "the pigeon looked so amazing that I would dare to put my entire salary on". But good that this did not happen otherwise there would be a lot of money gone wrong. All in all, it shows how incalculable the pigeon sport is. Fortunately there are also "fixed" pigeons that tickle several times a year that are the white ravens within our hobby. Look for the best performance of Dutch top pigeons. Also those are not very every week early at home and we all talk about "first prize winners" you must have. Too much family breeding is not recommended either, with crosses you would breed better. We had to know how many top pigeons are born from family breeding or even heavily inbred. These are the discussions that keep pigeon sport and other sports alive. There is no booklet in which you can read how to play the top in a few years. You must have it in your fingers, you must have a good commentary and you should definitely not get into the use of medicines. Look at how many pigeon friends on a simple cage with a simple care participate weekly with good results. With a small number of pigeons on the cage you cannot take it against the big fanciers. Those who take the championships are always fanciers who basket a lot of pigeons weekly don’t look blind. However I can imagine that it is discouraging to fight every week against mega players. This is how the pigeon sport is once in place. Fair game there is and will be much talked about. Honest game does not exist, please keep up with it. In the past, you did not hear anyone. Most fancies had about the same number of pigeons to play with. There were many more fanciers than now so the spread was also much bigger. Nowadays entire areas are completely eliminated which has nothing to do with quality. The wind is of great influence and because the game areas are too big compared to the number of participants short distance game becomes almost impossible. Most importantly now that everything is being done to maintain current members for the sport and what you need to do is to come from members and the NPO will have the last word.

The Dutch ladies football team has become European champion and still in its own country. I still remember that there was inferiority spoken about women's football. I have a daughter who is in the meantime 47 years old who has performed at an honest level. I went to watch because it was my daughter. She was incredibly enthusiastic but the football of that time was still in his infancy. When she stopped playing football I never looked at women's football. Great was my surprise when I saw the first match of the Dutch women's team two weeks ago. I enjoyed and many thousands with me. That ladies football is really improved and especially the behavior of the ladies is a wonderful example for those men who make a deadly role in the slightest body contact. I do not want to say just give me ladies football but the behavior of the women in the field is exemplary. It became a very big party with a formidable dedication in the city of Utrecht where many thousands of supporters were present. Bet that ladies football in the Netherlands will receive many new soccer players. This would also be the case with pigeon sport. Every two years (a little strange while it is worldwide every 4 years) there is a post pigeon Olympiad. The Netherlands has done very well many times over which I have read little in the newspapers. We have won gold as a team and individually. With such achievements you can win souls. Unfortunately we all let it go. Yes, attention has been paid to your own circle but you will not go any further. Unfortunately the drive to join among the fanciers is almost zero. Too bad I have to find that.

The NPO has been promoting youth for many years. Everything has already been achieved. Well-kept documentation, every year a wonderful youth day where youth members can join with their friends. Everything is done for them, even small pigeon lofts are made available free of charge, a promo film is made. If you ask me what has helped of that I have to give a negative answer. It is likely that youth is not our main target group. But who am I? However it may be even more negative. With us in the region it was even front page news. Two weeks ago a major event was held in Rotterdam which could also be done by young people. You never recommend what to do for the youth. They was taught to pick unwanted animals like rats crows and also pigeons thus make "pan ready". The political party for the animals certainly did not agree. But what did they do? By baking only sweet buns you do not solve anything at all. It would have been very nice when a number of Rotterdam fanciers had rebelled. Such a thing we don’t let happen as fancier? I do not want to say more about it SCANDAL. Hopefully the organizers will not come alone with a warning finger.

Especially for the long distance men it is currently a busy period. The one after the other one day or multi long distance race is flown in the Netherlands it is so said hoist time. Also in Belgium, where they play even more long distances than in the Netherlands, the fanciers are a lot of days in the club rooms or basket centers. As far as international flights are concerned the Dutch long distance players flying in the spotlight. The three International flights are all won by a Dutch pigeon. Coming weekend International Marseille and in the Netherlands National Chateauroux and it seems that many fanciers participate. The men are looking for a real national strength measure. It will always be exciting and interesting competitions even though certain areas on such a one-day race are unprecedented for early classes. Chateauroux is 665 km for me, the shortest distance is 525 km and in the north of our country they play 825 km. A difference of 300 km is too much for a fair amount of strength. In addition it is also important from which angle the wind blows and so we can think even more negatively. It is better to see national competitions of the positive side, all fanciers in the same competition which is a great dream if you know to write this race on your name. The fact that there will be only one winner but that should not be a reason for not participating. That the fright is a bit in it by the long distance players is understandable. Barcelona had a lot of pigeons left this year. The last weekend the pigeons of the Eastern and Northern fanciers Orange flew 800-1000 km and that flight also saw a disastrous course. The pigeons were unloaded at 7:00 on Saturday. On the day of salvation, a small number came through and on Sunday evening there were not enough pigeons in many associations to empty the clocks. At the young pigeons we get at the first the best race straight away to deal with a very difficult flight with a lot of leftovers. So much even that was decided to cancel the second race so that the pigeons who were at home had the opportunity to recover again. The flights thereafter have passed well. Last Saturday a beautiful long distance race for the old and also a good and fast passed speed flight for the young pigeons. I think we can speak of the two most beautiful flights this year.

As soon as half of the young pigeon races over the end of the season is back in sight. Still two beautiful one-day long distance races. On July 29 the last middle distance race and four for youngsters and then the last five fast flights. We live on September 16th and a week later many fanciers go on holiday. So far it is not yet. If the weathering are good for us there is a lot to enjoy. For example the last 4 young pigeon races. The pigeons are then well flown the distances go a bit longer and the quality plays than more and more an important role. Many times I have already written that the performance of young pigeons almost does not matter by the final selections. What fulfills the performance has been achieved on the last three flights. Just take a look, the pigeons that are coming well then are often as yearling the better especially the hens.

In winter I shrunk my colony. Regarding the number of pigeons I am even very happy. Two lofts with 22 cocks and 22 hens with 10 pairs for breeding and the others to play with. Less old pigeons automatically mean fewer young pigeons. I did not want to have more than 30-35 it was finally 26. I was so set that nothing was wrong from the start, but I think it would be a bit too tight afterwards. But after that you see a cow in his ass so they say. I lost 4, 1 with a broken leg and a very beautiful blue pigeon I removed the chip ring because she has already entered the twice the loft from another fancier. Because she has no chip ring I can not pass her by accident. I do not really want to lose her, she gets the chance to prove herself in 2018 what is also not certain because taking care of the pigeons becomes more and more difficult. Who knows what new thoughts I will come in the coming months. Currently I play with 20 young pigeons, they are as slippery as an eel, they glimpse you and they train well. With my son Marco it’s. He just freaks out that his young pigeons do not train well but you would not say if you see his results. He is having an excellent season! In the stand for the young pigeon championship we are currently taking the first and second place.

One time I think I will do the same thing next year and a few days later I think very different. I would prefer to delete them all at once, It might be the best solution. Maybe yes, but if it turns out it's not the best solution? Seventy years of pigeon sport is a big part of your life. So big that it takes all your spare time. The pigeon sport has given me a lot of fun and I have a lot to thank about it. Still I'm an enthusiastic fancier but it’s the age which decreases me more and more. Then I think again; I'm going on with even fewer pigeons. However a figurant role has not been devoted to me and the pigeon sport of now is so that you can only participate in the championships with larger numbers of pigeons. In the past you could play with 12 pigeons the old pigeon program and participate in the titles. You can forget that today. It are the bigger ones whit hundreds of pigeons who make up the service. They are doing well even fine but unfortunately I cannot do that anymore. So I'm falling off and the annoying thing is that you're soon forgotten. That's the way I was retired. For 38 years at the same employer, I’ve never been there and never seen anyone again. Yes once upon a funeral. And so we slide whatever comes by myself too. The cosines is gone, a pigeon club is no pigeon club anymore. Formerly with 40-50 members and some clubs had more
than 100 active members, now no more 10, and with 10 you will not walk the polonaise as soon. No, the atmosphere of the past is no longer and we are no longer as before. Envy in the pigeon sport is getting big
and disagreement by chances in the organization. Pigeon sport and I are having a hard time continue or ……?

For everybody there is game. Thousands of pigeons have been split last weeks the French, Belgian and Dutch airspace. Meanwhile three international flights have passed and all three were won by a Dutch marathon pigeon. There is no better advertising for Dutch sports pigeons. Not for nothing there has been a lot of interest from all over the world for our pigeons. Belgium started the game more than a century ago. The Dutch have taken over and not only at long distances. In Belgium there has been a specialized game on speed flights for years. From the end of March to the end of September, 100 and 200 km can be played every week. Those pigeons fly blindly through the weekly training of the same unloading place. Once home they are so conditioned that they do not make a flight around the house because that makes a difference of 10 places in the results. It's pigeon sport for the little man every week were still be played about euro’s. You must experience such arrivals at least once in your life. It's great to see with what kind of speed pigeons dive down, at once at the sputnik and they are registered. Breathtaking, really true!

The one day long distance races are very popular. You cannot open a pigeon newspaper or you can see all kinds of reports about these types of flights. I've also participated a lot of times but it has never been the game that my preference goes on. Because these types of flights get a lot of publicity I've checked how about he participation. That is quite disappointing at least in our country. No 20% of Dutch fanciers are interested in the National or International game. Due to the fact that many one-day long distance races count for the championships the participation in this is unquestionably good. The long distance flights mean to us all a little more when it comes to remembering the results. I am in the happy condition that I have achieved a lot of wins in my 70 year-old pigeon career by far the most times on speed flights. But the few times that I played the first on the one-day long distance I think I still remember. Also how the arrival went and often also the long period of waiting. The latter is the reason why I do not like those long distances because I cannot wait for pigeons for a long time, I'm too impatient for that. I need to calculate exactly how late they arrive so that I can sit for half an hour before that time. Then make sure you calculate the speed of the right distance.

Fourteen days back I played 1 and 2 with the youngsters. The first 10 pigeons came pretty fast and then it fell silent. Half an hour after I had clocked my first pigeons the phone calls came in. It ran for no meter. Some received a pigeon and had to wait for minutes for a second to come. It became a flight with a disastrous course. Fanciers were in all states. In order to keep calm I told at the club that we could only on Monday were able to determine if it was indeed a disaster, unfortunately is was. My son Marco and I were lucky. We missed each two, others lost more than half. Take on me that this is not all about health. How it comes it comes no one is served by this. A very wise decision was to cancel the second young pigeon flight the following week. We only flew with the old a 180km race that was released late but luckily had a good run. Last Saturday the second flight for the juniors. I assumed they would come about half past one. It was a strange sensation that my friend, who comes to see all weeks, was already about half past twelve. Strange because he's usually late. At quarter to twelve I was going to prepare everything and while I was there busy with my grandson Barney there arrived four pigeons at the same time. The clock was connected, from the garden was shouting "they're already", soon the door opened but they kept flying. I did not wear my dust jacket or my cap. So I'm always dressed when I'm busy with the pigeons. When all was settled they fell all four at the same time and were pretty soon inside. I lost the first prize which was for son Marco, I played 2-3-4-5. It could have been a bit more beautiful but with this result I am also more than satisfied. What was the cause of this surprising arrival. I had the distance of the week before in my head, that was 180 km and we flew only 120 km. Let's just say that this has to do with age.

If you take the time to observe your pigeons you learn and see a lot. Just after the evening dinner when the pigeons are at rest, you can watch the best. No, not at hand, just looking at the pigeons. The one who sit the most tight have an excellent condition. Look if the eyes glow, no nose feathers end up, the head is pretty dry and the neck must be high gloss, there must be no feather wrong. Cup crabs and gape are not good signs then think of cancer or ornithose. The means against that I have from Dr. Van der Sluijs always at home so I can intervene immediately. Do right away because from delay comes down and then it's as good a lost season. Look especially at the dung buns in the morning, the drier and the smaller they are all the better. When I started the season a couple of weeks ago I still have the coli cure of Dr. Van der Sluijs in the drinking water and to date no symptom of a coli infection. With darken I stopped half this year. My experience is that plus minus two weeks after darken the chance of an infection with the coli bacteria is big. I want to avoid this by from the first race to darken the loft halfway and make sure I shut up the bright sunlight. So far everything goes as I like but if it stays, I hope so. My young pigeons show while training they have fly shape. The price percentage is above 50% and after two flights I have a young pigeon who won the first prize on the first flight and the second at the second. Will it be a new champion or ...... .. anything is possible. It's a very nice light blue cock. Do not look too much at him because if you do that you lost them quickly. Or will that be superstition?

The season is 3 months on the way so we are halfway but I have the idea that it still has to start. It's as though everything is getting faster and faster. Currently there is a game for everyone. The sprinters are ready and for the long distance men it’s high season. Here and there the game started with the young pigeons, most will start this weekend. There are also departments waiting another month. Once the young pigeons are midway it's just a jump and we're ready for this year. In the past I had the idea that a pigeon season lasted for a whole year and now that I'm an old man it's just over. What is a day, a month and what's a year, time flies. I can say that because last week I celebrated my 80th birthday and so far I have already three victories in the big game. That feels good if you leave the younger, unfortunately I cannot speak of youth, behind you. We also have some very bad flights in the meanwhile including a very bad for the young pigeons making there are far too many away. Too bad, also pigeon sport is hard and nobody is waiting for but the show goes on and for many it's teeth biting to keep up with it. Giving up does not happen a lot in the dictionary of a fanatic pigeon fancier. Unfortunately many older fanciers have more and more trouble to continue. Big offender is the loss of too many young pigeons. A good friend of mine had luck in an accident. On the conscious flight that many young pigeons left behind he could not participate because of the coli contamination. As it became a disaster it was decided to cancel the flight the following week. The next weekend we will reboot, we will go to the same unloading place as 2 weeks ago and now he can join with a full team while the others lose more than half. This is how it may be in our sport.

The game with the young pigeons is above all a matter of healthy pigeons but that’s easier said than done. In the Netherlands you can experience everything, one day tropical warm and two days later a difference of 20 degrees. Then again plenty of sunshine and a few days later heavy rain showers. It's not easy to keep the whole team for the full 100% in order. Many fanciers tend to help their pigeons by providing them all kinds of resources. If you belong to that category it is taking care. In all pigeon magazines countless resources are offered that make you race harder than the competition. In itself fun but you know as well as I that in spite of the most peppery preparations in the end one can win. I have never read anything about a means that reduces the loss of young pigeons to zero. No, no manufacturer dares and all those other means are not sure if you have a victory or good performance to thank. It is still the case that the one who uses the least medicines also plays the best. To keep young pigeons on their feet with pills are not even good enough to cook a soup.

In our association last winter we decided to hold a so-called Belgian race. One day was scheduled to go to Belgium with a coach to purchase a Belgian with a Belgian ring. Unfortunately the party did not continue because there was bird flu. The market was closed and another solution had to be found. After some searching we visit the Natural breeding station. It became a very nice pigeon day and when we left the bus our members had in every hand a Belgian pigeon. Also the fate struck down because many of these pigeons are just like our own pigeons slain on the field of honor. The Belgians league is already unsuccessful before we start. Too bad, because all those extras are good for pigeon sport. A separate league usually also gives other winners and there it is finally to do. I also bought 2 Belgians one of which I liked. He developed well and the blue cock even became one of my favorites. Unfortunately he had to put the lead on the last difficult flight. And what happened? After a day or ten he sat just like that in my loft again. He felt quite comfortable so he probably will be able to join the next weekend and who knows he will win the Belgians competition for me too. On the first flight there was only one fanciers who had his Belgium in time at home and that was not me. Now that I've got him back it's nice to be able to compete further. It's just a peculiarity but nevertheless the winner will never forget the gratitude.

Two absolute sports highlights. The Tour that started last weekend in Germany had immediately problems. Heavy rain made the time trial ride as smooth as an ice rink. One of the big favorites, Spaniard Valverde, fell so unlucky that he crushed his knee disc. We must see if he ever returns to the peloton that he has imposed his will several times this year. The man won everything in spring, the shape is there and suddenly it’s done within a second. Something too hard into the bend and there he slid with a sharp blow to one of the metal jailbreaks. A big favorite had to leave the world's largest cycling event on day one by ambulance, tragic of the upper shelf. At present more than 17.000 pigeons are on our way to the Catalan capital Barcelona where they will be released on Friday July 7th. Also there are some favorites that may by bad luck, bad weather or fill in yourself make no chance of a good result let alone the chance of victory. Unfortunately there are still too many fanciers that think Barcelona is a kindness. The distance is for many pigeons just too far. This race is only for the strongest and are often not the most beautiful, the biggest or the smallest. It does not matter if it's a cock or a hen. The final will be between pigeons with a good suppleness and with a stamina of a horse. Or will the Barcelona winner even have a better stamina? Both events are a sporting spectacle that gets extra attention in the international press. I'm a bit chauvinist Dutchman and I hope that a Dutchman wins, if not I'll give it to everyone! Interestedly I look forward to the first international reports on Saturday July 8. Two weeks after we know who won the Tour. Again Froome?

Summer we associate with nice weather. We then think of staying at the campsite, walking or cycling or perhaps to the beach or the woods. However we are all pigeon fanciers and if we are talking about good weather we will certainly mean good weather for the pigeons. We currently have no complaints about the weather. It has been nice summer weather several times and there were even tropical days with what encountered with the young pigeons. Last week a disastrous development in Belgium. Even so badly that some areas canceled their flights for young pigeons last weekend. Incredibly so many pigeons are left behind it is not going well. Too many young pigeons are not yet flown. They miss experience because they are still close to home released. Last week we had the last training flight with the big car. Again many pigeons did not return. This coming Saturday the game begins for real. Several lofts are already halved and then we still have to start. Now it is the case that most pigeons stay away from the first flight, after a few weeks the losses are minimal. You will hear the remark "now the chaff is separated from the grain". A comment that is often made by the lesser players. What they mean? Very simple. The sick are gone and now it's going to start really. Believe me it's not just sick or bad pigeons that left behind. Sick pigeons have a lot more trouble to come home. However are there so many sick pigeons? I am convinced that by far most fanciers do their utmost to get started with only healthy pigeons. The big majority of our members are older fanciers. Men with years of experience. Do not think that they do not know which pigeons may or may not participate. I know fanciers that play very strong for years and lose too many pigeons every year. We should also not forget that our young pigeons must perform in the worst season of the year.

Can pigeons better against cold then against heat? I think it's certain depends of the country where they are born. An African will never become an Eskimo or vice versa. Dutch pigeons are used to their climate and when if it's above 30 degrees in our country we are talking about heavy pigeon weather. If there is a bright blue sky and to make it worse a powerful east wind then it is guaranteed a flight with a catastrophic course. That's something different than a disaster. From a catastrophe many pigeons do not come back at all. A flight with a catastrophic course is far too long open before the prizes are earned and if the prizes have been earned 75% of the pigeons are still on their way home. For those types of flights I always say Monday night we have to make a balance, then we can judge whether it's a disaster or that it was a disastrous flight. If it turns out that Monday's only 10% of the pigeons are not back we should not whine that belongs to the current pigeon game. I know, 10% of your pigeons to hand in is not fun I do not like it either. However the season may end, at the end of the ride shows that in October we still have too many pigeons. Believe me that are not all good ones. You know that as well as me and yet again we make the same mistake as before. We think far too fast that we have a lot of good. Just start that by saying that we all still have too much bad or valid pigeons, otherwise I cannot explain it. We even quit the selection because the game has to start yet. Last week I unfortunately 4 handed in and with that I belonged to the lucky ones most fanciers lost much more. Unfortunately I also had to deliver one of my better old cocks. He was perched during the race on the balcony of an older lady about 80 km south of me. The best lady called and e-mailed me Saturday night. The next Sunday morning at 7 o'clock she went back to the phone to ask if I had arranged something. She dared not catch the pigeon herself, according to her the pigeon slept. I understood immediately that the pigeon was dead. A pigeon friend of mine was going to get him and indeed he did not sleep but was succumbed to exhaustion. A cock with 46 prizes on his palmaris you cannot miss. Sentiments then play a role even so much that you consider stopping. Frankly there is not much to happen or it's really that far. It's a good thing that we pigeon fanciers have forgotten such contradictions quite quickly so that after a few days we'll come back to different thoughts. You rather get used to win than to waste your pigeons.

The third week of June early summer is the tradition that a national competition is held in St. Vincent de Tyrosse. I do not join, the distance for me is 1082 km. It is and remains for me, despite being no long distance player, a well-known spoken marathon flight. In the past all the Netherlands did join, yes me too. Do you know that there were formerly 100.000 fanciers in our country? At that time there went usually old crunches along. Cocks with coarse nose caps, impressive to look at. Now it's predominantly the two-year-old who make the service. This year 2585 fanciers brought 13.240 pigeons to the start. It will tell you immediately that there is no real national flight with such a number of participants. For this reason the number of participants, especially for a sponsored National Competition, is far too small. A lot about these types of flights is spoken and written. Maybe they get too much attention. Nevertheless it is and remains a great achievement if your pigeon knows to bridge the distance successfully. The two fastest pigeons live on the front flight in the same village. Only four minutes after each other these two Zeeuwse airspace working horses arrived at Cees de Ridder & Zn and Klaas van de Graaff both living in the Zeeuwse village Arnemuiden (946 km) in the southwest of the Netherlands. The third national pigeon arrived in Limburg (south east Netherlands) at Lei Kurvers and Dr. Henk de Weerd. The 4th National Pigeon was a lot further. It lives in the high north with a distance of 1125 km and is owned by Jaap Mazee from Ens.

For years this was the largest pigeon newspaper in the Netherlands. A year or eight ago this well-known magazine went bankrupt. A few weeks ago it is rebooted now in digital version. For now the text is only in Dutch. Those who want to follow Dutch pigeon sport can do that by looking at the website of The latest news, the category the MOST FASTEST pigeon of the Netherlands, every week the intermediaries of the national competitions en the most popular pigeon of the Netherlands and more.

Last winter I drastically reduced my colony of pigeons. It was necessary, I could not fix it anymore, too much work. For someone who's fine but 80 years old it's no longer go the way I'd like. In other words, the will is there but the body let me down a bit. I never was a lover of many pigeons. I have to be able to overlook it easily but because I have a big loft you are unnoticed with more pigeons than you would like. Due to the specialization today there are considerably more pigeons than in the 70's and 80's and I just do not want to participate. I try to keep as few pigeons as possible and I enjoy it. You will then have to make priorities and make choices. You cannot join everything but I did not already. The long distance game was never really spent on me. I like the flights that I can accurately calculate the time they arrive. I cannot wait for pigeons for a long time so that’s way I maybe do not like fishing. Waiting for something I have not seen before is not spent on me. I will go for a deliciously baked fish to the fish stall where we have in the Netherlands very much.

My race pigeons are in a loft that is above my office/breeding loft. On the northwestern side three sections for young pigeons and on the southeast side three for the old pigeons. I can go upstairs in two ways, one inside and the other outside. It is a good therapy to walk up and down the stairs a few times a day. It's going to be another story if you have three or four baskets dive up the stairs and have to go down and right there I wanted to get rid of. I was planning to use three sections on the southeastern side, 1 for widow hens, 1 for widowers and 1 for young pigeons. Below I would keep eight breeding pairs while I have 24 breeding boxes, more breeding boxes than breeding pigeons. The situation changed. My son Marco had come to live in the Zaan region again and had insufficient space to place his loft. Fortunately there was enough space by dad so the breeding pigeons could go there. There was also enough room for the reserve pigeons and because the breeding loft was now in use by son father had to move his pigeons upwards. The situation is now that all departments are occupied again and that I have never had to take care so many pigeons as currently is the case. Frankly I’m having the greatest effort but others think that will keep you fit. Unfortunately that is not the case, I'm getting tired of it. I enjoy the pigeons, I'm a real pigeon man and can spend hours between my pigeons. In the past it was quick and quick because there had to be work. Now I have enough time and now I cannot manage it anymore. But I do not have to think that for whatever reason my pigeons have to go away.

My son Marco has insufficient time. Together with his brother they have a home furnishing so that there is also a regular work schedule on Saturday. Fortunately there is the electronic clock system that makes the pigeons clock itself. I do not have to think I'm not home when my pigeons are on the way. But it's just what you're used to. We have nothing to complain about the achievements, the pigeons do it formidable. We have won four of the 8 speed flights.

On Saturday the 24th of June the season starts for the young pigeons, so we are busy with the training of the young team. We are going to drive for two weeks in a row to bring the pigeons into their flight rhythm. Especially the stay in the baskets and learning drinking in the baskets are very important to the young pigeons. The most important thing is health and they are. They train as if they are sitting afterwards and when they are doing good exercise they eat and listen well too. So it looks promising. Together with the first flight for young pigeons we play our third mid-flight of 390 km. They would do that same day in Belgium but with the young pigeons. They start there much sooner than we. My opinion is that we are too careful in the Netherlands because many young pigeons do not return every year. Cause? There may be many and still nobody knows the right thing about this disastrous state. It's terrible that you are busy with the young pigeons for 5 months to prepare them well for the races and then it's just a day that I do not know how many pigeons stay away. In Belgium that was the last weekend. That is also the reason that in Belgium the flights for young pigeons have been postponed on the weekend of 17/18 June. It was bad weather for those untrained pigeons that Sunday. In the morning a cloudless sky you could so said review the whole world. A sharp inversion, sharp sun with a lot of power and for people was advised to not sit in the sun for more than a quarter. In addition the temperature was above 30 degrees with a southeast wind. All in all very heavy weather for young pigeons that I have written several times. In retrospect it turned out to be the case as the losses were massive. That has also marked several members of my club. They set off on Sunday morning with a large number of young pigeons who were unloaded at a distance of 40 km at 11.40. I saw the mood hanging and warned several people not to join. Keep the pigeons at home, I said. When I came home with my wife in the afternoon I heard all the misery. One had three out of 24, another 12 out of 90, there were some that had still no pigeon at home after three/four hours they were unloaded. Fortunately at the beginning of the evening it became cooler the wind woke up and even some rain fell. The chance was that there would be some pigeons the next day. And that was so. Yet there are still too many pigeons away and that was not necessary. If brought them away Monday and Tuesday and both times they were already in the loft when I got home. On Friday they go with the big car for the first time and that's again another situation. We’ll wait and see. The confidence in a successful season is definitely present. We are even very optimistic which in fact says nothing at all. It has to be with you and you need some luck.

Especially in the season everything happens to me on time. It's as though the pigeons go for everything and honestly that's the way. Actually too crazy for words but if you want to excel and just are pleased with a headset then you have to do everything for it to achieve. Of course this should not be at the expense of everything because there is more on this earth than just pigeon sport. But if it's possible it's nice that the pigeons are being taken care of punctual. Because it's a game sport we all want to win but that's not going to happen. It is always the same to indicate the tone. You can easily share the pigeon fanciers into categories. Always the same that play well, always the same that always buying pigeons and perform nothing also called winter champions, always the same that buy only the cheapest pigeons and the bluffs who love to buy the most expensive pigeons. These are the experts who only pick up pigeons from well-known fanciers to figuring out on the loft. You always read the same names in internet sales. These are the lovers of paper pigeons. It's always the same to visit the vet regularly. No, not to check the pigeons occasionally but because they have always trouble with their pigeons. Then there are the men who love speed races, others prefer to play with the young pigeons, others like the long distances and another group just wants to play more long day distance races. It's just what you love and luckily everyone can within pigeon sport make their own choice.

The pigeons who have to do the big work have now been well flown. A neck broker they have behind and that was certainly not easy. Many pigeons have remained at that first one-day flight which was obvious about the number of pigeons used last weekend. Only 888 pigeons in the second middle distance race that have never been shown before. This is because many players use their pigeons every week. The second middle distance race came right after they got such a lead-heavy middle distance race had behind. The next weekend there is a 620 km flight on the program and for the men who like to play for 500 km there is nothing. That is not a good thing for the sport or for the pigeons too. During this period the pigeons must keep going to stop the molt. If they are too quiet for a while they will throw pens and can hardly play in August/September. Occasionally a week of rest is fine but too much rest is not good for a race pigeon. Next weekend there is only a training flight for the young pigeons and my hens will also join. Widow pigeons who only participate in short flights can be played weekly. It also prevents them to crook with each other making the attention for the cock less and that the pigeons less rapidly lay eggs. The latter is not so bad at all. My experience is that in the coming period the hens who have eggs will come home very well.

I hold my heart when I release my young pigeons. I have 31 and when I open the window I need to look for cover otherwise they fly the pet of my head. Within seconds they are out and they are also out of sight, better cannot. Now that the flights for the young pigeons arrive I'm afraid that for some reason the shape will go back. Because they fly so great I have two that have something on their wing. This is because they all fly out at the same time and that cannot be done from a sputnik. For the time being I continue to darken and if they are at home from the training flight with the club I certainly do a coli cure in the water. Of course I do not know if it will help but prevention seems to me better than healed in this case.

If the pigeons are really in top form it's an easy game. You can also basket your breeding scales so to speak. But oh, oh, if it does not work I've experienced that too many times. I then sat down to watch all the pigeons and stayed just as long until I saw something. One I saw scratched his head, the other sneeze once, another yawn a few times. Then I saw one for a long time picked in his feathers or one with the nose feathers up. I kept looking for a while until I saw ghosts. I wanted to see something because I thought the pigeons were not as they had to be. Spray against lice, multiple drugs into the drinking water and then it becomes even harder. Then you follow the advice of others, all well-meant but it will not help you further. As a fancier you must be able to see at a glance what is wrong with your pigeons. If you do not control that go to the vet and tell him exactly what you think of it. How they behave, make a throat smear and take samples of the morning fertilizer for research. Such a situation is to become discouraged. If the pigeons are good you do not have to do anything at all, it's like it's all goes for granted. In that situation my son Marco and I are now. All weeks early pigeons, there is really no size. Before that I had three weeks thinking I'd stop. The pigeons did not want to eat not exercise and were speechless. Too bad because before that and now they are performing to the fullest satisfaction. The short distance championship has already been achieved and at the middles distance is also taken the first place. It's about good pigeons but without perfect health and let's just call it super form nothing's right. For the time being it is enjoy every weekend.

In the Netherlands wants to be said or wright that there are still 25.000 active members. I have been discussing that number for quite some time. In America is still advertised about 50.000 members but unfortunately we have to go back for more than 30 years. Unfortunately there is no chance of stopping this rapid decline. Much has been tried but not help. Who knows that this time it’s going to work because the NPO has confident in the GPS2021 plan that has been developed in the interests of our pigeon sport. It looks good but there is always a big difference between theory and practice. In any case it would be good if the current NPO members give all confidence to the board so that they can finish their job. According to the latest data there are 18.000 members and as a result I went to see how many members have participated this weekend. Unfortunately I do not have a 100% pure picture because I do not have the right number of participants from 4 out of 11 departments. For the 4 departments (3-4-8-10) I have made an estimate. I came to the next terrible discovery. Section 1- 435 participants, 2-888, 5- 1468. 6- 637, 7- 703, 9-1.069 and 11- 928 do not totally scare 6188 participants which is an average per department of no more than 900 fanciers. If for the 4 missing departments I use the same average number I do not even reach 10.000 members for 11 departments, unimaginable and almost unbelievable. Once upon a time such a big national sports federation with over 100.000 members with only 10% left over. It's all about the active members or the playing lofts. We can ask ourselves so slowly what does the NPO still have to worry about? It means that almost 50% of the membership file is still a member but for some reasons no longer participate. We can certainly assure that due to the aging population the membership will certainly reduce by one thousand per year over the next 3 years. I cannot do anything else, unfortunately.

Just started and the speed players are already ready. Six flights, none of which went smoothly. The weather conditions certainly did not work, leaving many pigeons behind most on last week's flight. It was in my eyes all panic releases. In the south of the Netherlands in the morning mist and here and there heavy fog. Belgium was good but before noon heavy showers were predicted with a chance of hail and even a thunderstorm. To keep up with the bad weather most of the departments decided to release early. The department of Friesland spends the crown by open the doors quarter to seven. They are famous for it or are the other departments maybe too careful? When weather is good it's very simple to give release signal but with that volatile Dutch weather I almost feel sorry for the men who have to decide. If such a flight goes well then you not hear anything but oh if there are many pigeons left on the day of release then nothing at all is good. Fanciers are likely panic too soon if on the fly day many pigeons are not back yet. I also find that very annoying but say mostly; I do not need unloading competent to ensure that many pigeons stay behind, I can clean up myself. But I give it to you. For the one you are doing well and the other finds that you do not have a look at it. Keep calm in those cases and make a balance on Monday night, in most cases it's not so bad. This weekend (May 20) we start a series of 5 middle distance races (300-500 km), for the majority of the members the most beautiful distances. The influence of the wind is less and the matches are not completed within 10 minutes. I'm looking forward to it, lovely in the garden with a few friends while enjoying a cup of coffee waiting for the arrival of the pigeons. We only once had those situation in the Netherlands this season. As far as the speed flights are concerned it did not work for me the last two flights as I had hoped. After four flights I was at the top three in the middle class and afterwards I had the peak that both the doffers and hens had no appetite anymore. I hope to get them back on track and I see with confidence the middle distance flights. With my son Marco it went very different. He played the tiles of the roof from the first flights and finally he became champion of speed in the club and also in the strong ZCC. Together we currently have a breeding loft where we can get ahead for the time being. We strive to have within three years a loft that have bred pigeons who have won at least a first prize in great relation or became champion. In name pigeons we are not interested. In our breeding loft remain only pigeons that have proven themselves to be a part of it. Of course there are some purchased pigeons whose parents have earned the predicate "excellent" on the races. A pigeon who wins the first prize with us goes straight to the breeding loft. It is still the case that the best race pigeons do not automatically give a very good young, but ...... when you breed a topper in most cases it comes from one of the best pairs and those live with us in the breeding loft. Would it not be that winners give winners? My son and I will keep it up there. We do not intend to wait for a coincidence.

As time goes by it's time to spend more attention on young pigeons. The breeding is done and add we do not do anymore. The young pigeons are doing fine, they are storming out the loft and in the morning and in the evening they are sure 20 to 30 minutes away. They have had all the vaccinations, get their whole life the same food, fresh grit and minerals every day. In the morning I let them run by turning one or two peanuts in a different corner of the cage. I have fun and they too and it keep them active. Feed they get twice a day at the same time. When I stand beside the sputnik they know that it’s dinner time and in no time they roll in. They only do that if they are super healthy. If two or three pigeons do not beware of coli contamination, I immediately do a cure in the water. Those two or three that stay outside act sometimes as weird as if they no longer know the entrance of the loft. The coli bacteria get the upper hand and assume that the infection is part of a large number of pigeons. Direct cure prevent a lot of misery. It's over again soon but the days when they're really bothering is not fun to clean the loft. So prevention is better than healed. Learning to drink in the baskets is definitely recommended. Because of my age I do not feel like, I have an "upper loft", have to go up and down several times a day so I have chosen for elongated drinking troughs from which they can drink 6 with each other. In this way I try to imitate drinking in the shipping baskets and that works.

Oh beautiful pigeon sport what's up? The membership continues to decline. A peer-up promotional film appears to be discarded money. The promo pigeon lofts available free of charge to future (youth) members did not achieved the result was hoped-for. The attention paid to youth members has not added anything to the membership. In the Netherlands is only one pigeon magazine the others are souls. It's not hoped for that the same happens with our pigeon sport. Fortunately the (new) NPO Board has (again) developed a new plan that will increase the age again in a year or five. It is and will be a prognosis for the time being, but let's assume it will be successful. Before it's so far there must 5 years be bridged and then there may be a lot of mistakes. The rise at all presentations on a new course that the NPO wants to take was moderate to very bad, which does not say everything. It is important that experts in every department get up to support the NPO so that we can indeed go on a new course. Not only for the renewal but for the maintenance our sport. If we see that there are 1000 members less again this year we need to cherish the existing members and that is only to achieved by not making fit and too fitting changes. We are dealing with an ever-elderly group of pigeon fanciers. A large group who has been playing pigeons for more than 40 years. Boarders must understand that just that group is not waiting for big changes. They have been playing their game for years because they have peace with otherwise they would have stopped for a long time. Previously we had more than 120.000 fanciers, 2016 there were 18.606 and in 2017 there were still 17.773 members. Worse is that there are members who have no longer pigeons or just play games but are still members of a club. It may be that there are up to 14.000 active members and even that seems to me too high. What if there were 1000 members less in 2018? How is it resolved organizationally, in what sense do we want to make the pigeon sport attractive if there is no pigeon club in every village? Existing young pigeon fanciers are still willing to drive to another city or village to basket their pigeons. Many older fanciers are therefore forced to stop with their hobby. How are we going to stop this? The Dutch organization consists of 11 departments with a total of 676 associations. The Zuid-Holland division is the largest with 2502 members and Zeeland has 851 members. The pigeon sport remains a beautiful hobby but we are going to meet five more difficult years. And after that? Who knows may say.

Five sprint races are over and the cards are shaken. Like other years many of the same names in the top of the intermediate position. With some pride I can say that my son Marco is in charge of our division with a rich lead. His pigeons performed formidably and made up almost half a game on championship points. It's going to be crazy if he's not going to be the new sprint king. To me as a father wonderful to experience if son love also ends in the last flight in front and be crowned as a champion of speed flights. Do not anticipated too much because the last race has yet to be flown. In the Dutch football league we are also making something like this. One of the most famous clubs in the Netherlands is Feijenoord. They are already on the rankings at a given moment even 9 points ahead. Now the lead with another match for the bow has shrunk to 1 point. So the next Sunday do not go wrong because arch river Ajax is on track and follows 1 point lag. Thus it can be in every branch of sport. It's comparable to a cycling race because riders can ride the whole stage with a rich lead but one thing is certain at the finish only the prizes are awarded until that time everything is possible. That also applies to my son. The advantage is that his pigeons come home every week tremendous so he does not depend on one or two pigeons. Last Saturday it went like this: 1-5-7-8-9-10-11-17-19-21-24 against 339 pigeons. Next week we will start a series of 5 middle distance flights and this month start the one-day long distance flights. Busy times break because the young pigeons be prepared too. Always exciting because the game with the young pigeons is no more kindness. In the past years most players could get a prize. That time is over because also by the young pigeon races are many specialists and when those men start to clock it's very normal they hit 30 within a minute. To achieve that they must be super healthy and a little more.

Nothing goes without saying. In order to perform well much work has to be done. It is important to set priorities. There are fanciers that spent hours on the pigeons throughout the week. Not bad especially if you have a lot but the issues are important. The fancier himself must feel every weekend that he has made every effort to get his pigeons in top condition. With me is high priority everything at the same time in this respect for rest, training and eating. Regular care ensures optimal condition and everything depends on it. It is further to the fanciers to determine which food or minerals he gives, whether or not fresh vegetables, yes or no show and so I can continue for a while. Many fanciers make nowadays a necklace of driving with the pigeons. I think it's an advantage especially at the end of the season. In addition I am in favor of rest on the loft. With the old pigeons I never drive. However with the young pigeons I never drive more than 10 times before the flights and when the flights have started there is also rest on the loft. Many fanciers play at the door disguised widowhood with young pigeons. With me the young pigeons are not separated and if they want to build a litter they can go their way. After two young pigeon races I even leave two old pigeons at the youngsters to encourage them to nest. Both systems have good results. By young pigeons health is most important.

It should not be crazy, I have never seen this before. You will wonder what is happening again in pigeon land? You might think; fewer members the less problems. Miss, we have just left or the envy celebrates again. It's childish and the problem is that older and you would think knowledgeable fanciers cause the problems. There are those who try to torpedo our hobby in many ways. It's those blisters who always disagree with something. Worse is that they interfere everywhere and cause nothing but unrest. This time it's about picking up our pigeons and loading the pigeon truck. As long as I play pigeons the pigeons of all clubs are picked up at the club rooms to bring them to a central gathering place. There be all travelling manners by a permanent group of employees loaded in the large pigeons transport car. At that rendezvous it is forbidden for fanciers who have nothing to do with it. In spite of that ban most the same people are trying to enter the field in the hope that something can be identified that helps gossip into the world. For years the same carriers were used because of their many years of experience, they knew all the ins and outs we could speak of an oiled organization. Unfortunately at one point the pitfalls of pigeon sport began to start. There were fewer expert managers behind the table who usually started with a courteous endeavor. Last year our new board announced that work would be made of cheaper transport. After 40 years of faithful service another conveyor came, it became cheaper, all members happy. Our sport is certainly not cheap in the Netherlands so that was a great move from our managers. It's annoying that nobody has ever noticed anything about a price cut. What has been noted is that transport is no longer as we used to. The knowledge of the new managers was missing and also from the new carrier. It was improvised instead of organizing. Our pigeons were no longer picked up, we had to deliver them at the collection point. Something that was held impossible for years because the safety of the competition could come into question. What can all take place if two fanciers have to deliver the pigeons of the entire club 10 km away? Traffic accident, whether or not indebted, fraud possibilities plus that you cannot oblige anyone to remove the pigeons every week. As soon as the pigeons are taken we start with the award of the previous flight. Always a cozy activity where all members want to present because we have quite a few prizes.

Our club management did its best that this year the pigeons will be picked up at our clubroom again. There have been 5 flights now and loading the pigeons and unloading the empty baskets was viewed within 10 minutes. My club has invested quite a lot to make loading and unloading a lot easier. As everyone will understand a pigeon car is never fully loaded every week and because we were the last pick up address there was a wide choice every week in which place our travel baskets were placed in the car. For several years several associations have asked to put their baskets right behind the cabin. An impossible task and just because of that it was noticed that the baskets were not in the same place every week. A sort of regulation system was used by the transport committee. Because the big pigeon transport car now comes to our door we depend on which place the driver assigns us. In the eyes of the fellow associations this was a very favorable place. Over the last few weeks a large number of members of our club performed in the eyes of the competition above expectation well. That would have to do with the place in the car. The fact that some of our members perform well to very well is no coincidence, they are members who are also in charge other years. There was complained of routine fanciers what, according to them, has nothing to do with envy. Our pigeons were a bit wider because one side of the car was not fully loaded. You can ask yourself where to put the baskets when the other side of the car is full. It is look for nails on low water and is actually too childish to pay attention to. It is jealousy of the upper shelf. Now our pigeons have been in the back of the car last week and the performance within our club is steady. For years the place behind the cabin would be the best. Our pigeons would have more "fresh oxygen"???? this season than the other pigeons that were on the full side and because of the envious our performance would be better. How do you think about it? It is unfortunately impossible to place all of the front or all of the backs or we should think of the well-known Belgian joke. In that country all passengers wanted to be in front of the bus. As a result buses were made 14 meters wide and four meters long. Many passengers could sit in front but the bus could not go any further.

After four weeks of speed game the names of Marco and Bert Braspenning are on top of the rankings. Especially at Marco they come as comets, father Bert just gets too short. You cannot wish anymore if your son take over the stick more and more. That does not mean that father Bert will not win himself. I’m long been pleased that one of my sons is interested in pigeon sport. I helped him on all sides but Marco is so fanatic that he almost not need any information from me anymore. Still we play the same fanatic game together and we both have a lot of fun. This week too went smoothly again. In the club we played against 359 pigeons: 1-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11, the yearlings came the best this week. The winning speed was 1511 meters per minute (over 90 km per hour), within 10 minutes 90 prizes were earned. Despite the high speeds several pigeons were not home. With me a 2 year old pigeon left behind but on Tuesday morning she sat on the cage again. She had lost a lot of weight and that's why I think it's so beautiful that such a pigeon has so much will to get back home. For the time being she definitely cannot join she is sitting with some spare pigeons in a separate loft so she can rest. This week I will not let her out, she gets extra spoiled because I always have a lot of appreciation for pigeons who come home independently despite all the setbacks. I have less for pigeons of 2 years or older that needs to get back. I'll always get them back but in practice they almost never come through my selection at the end of the season.

Our pigeon sport is highly needed for a rest period regarding to the organization. In the time that there were still thousands of members everything went well. Of course there were situations where not everyone agreed but in general everything runs quite noiseless. Unfortunately that cannot be said in the last 20 years. Aging pushes his stamps on our sport, expert managers disappeared out of view and the newcomers try to find out the wheel every time, it is done with the rest. Fortunately there are also positive changes. The transport was adapted to the demands of modern times, including electronics, and we also got a doping rule and in our simple sport. The common man is taken of the almost neglected gambling were he had the opportunity to earn a few cents to afford his hobby. The pigeon sport is definitely no leftover area. Unfortunately due to the strong return of the number of members we are no longer interested for the newspapers which makes our hobby/sport even more oblivious. The internet does not make publicity for pigeon sport but commerce gets extra attention. All that attention is focused especially on the far east. There are exorbitantly high amounts spent for Dutch and Belgian pigeons. In both countries there are a lot of fanciers that with the help of brokers enrich themselves by selling their (mostly) name pigeons. You can imagine that by selling those pigeons a lot of baked air is used to goods and chattels bring to the man. Game-technically the Netherlands and Belgium are now dealing with stricter regulations regarding pigeon transport and unloading. The misery with the avian flu is finally over. The pigeons could have been out for a while and last week it was the turn of the chickens, ducks and turkeys. Now there’s been driven with pigeons the agreements have been strengthened. Wild unloading is prohibited, for transfers over 500 pigeons, official papers are required, unloading places must be left as soon as the pigeons are released and made clean. If not no permission is granted for a next time. In the meanwhile we have experienced that.

On Friday April 21 Noord-Holland received an official letter from the NPO that we were no longer welcome in the Belgian unloading station Asse-Zellik. Reason; one of our drivers refused to clean up the rubbish. He gave the service representative a big mouth and drove off. Other drivers left the unloading area neatly. What do you do with such a driver? I am convinced that the man has received good instructions. Is such a man aware of what dangerous game he played? He puts the hobby of thousands of pigeon fanciers at risk by not doing what he was assigned. Resignation the most is in place. Fortunately everything went well. Our managers decided to play from Oudenaarde on April 22 and release all of Holland's pigeons at the same time. Due to the fact that it was not ideal pigeon weather risks had to be taken. At 12.10 they could get out by a low-hanging cloudy cloud and despite they had to deal on the road with sometimes fierce rainfall it became a smooth concourse with speeds of around 73 km per hour. Of losses was almost no mention.
Even after the third speed flight the Brassen did it well but 18 pigeons of the 43 in the list is actually too little. If you want to play in a champion style you are almost required to play at least 50% price (1: 4) and this time it was only 45%. The result is very good, in the club it looked like this; 1-4-11-12-23-24-25, 7 in the top 25 is by no means a result that makes you satisfied. Son love is in the first place after 3 flights and father follows him in second place. In the division against 2986 pigeons it started with: 3-21-34-37-67-71-76 etc. For the coming weekend the forecasts are better. Temperature 15 degrees and a calm southwest wind. Now let’s hope the weather forecasters have it at the right end, the previous flights it was really no fun to wait for the pigeons. Coming Saturday with some more sun is not only better for the pigeons but also for their bosses. The young pigeons act formidable for a week.

I hear from fanciers that their young pigeons almost an hour migrate. I'm then inclined to say that they have to look around the corner if they do not graze on the fields. Mine have never been so long away. I'm already happy if they are out of sight for 20 minutes. I still have 33, there was a very nice light shale. It was just one of my young favorites. She already shine in the dish and when I had her in my hands last week I got a good feeling about her. Really a pigeon I'd like to see and a longer story I cannot tell about her. She's gone, just gone from the cage. I missed her two days ago and she is not back yet. The high-voltage masts or a bird of prey, I do not know. These are the risks if you leave pigeons outside, so no worries we eventually get them to compete and you will lose a number of them each year. Most fanciers then cuddle because it’s always one from their better breeders. It will be, the experience has taught me that despite all the losses we all still have too much in October. That's good too, because we would like to select as strict as possible. If possible I'll play my young pigeons on all 8 flights and they go also 5 times on the natour. They must then have a good condition otherwise you better keep them home for a week. I think young pigeons should compete as many matches as possible in their birth year they benefit greatly from it. But once again they have to be healthy and sometimes dare to clean up one of them definitely when it not look as it should be. Every time you go to the loft you first look at that pigeon to see if it's already refurbished and if not you're moody for the rest of the day. So soon get rid of it we're not bothered by a young pigeon of whom we know little or nothing about it
Our con voyeurs or competition leaders are sometimes too careful when it comes to release our pigeons. If a competition with a distance of 200 km is open over an hour many fanciers are in panic. Mobile phones are ideal to upset each other. Everyone calls with each other and then just moan about the lengthy opening of the concourse it could well be a disaster flight. What is the objection as a short flight is longer open than we are used to? It would be too cold and also head wind 5, ingredients to make a heavy flight. If it is fan flight, you know them force 5 on the tail and a speed of 120 km per hour, then everything is within five minutes passed and there we are an entire week been busy for. All days care the pigeons and in the weekend is fun done within 5 minutes. It may sometimes been different. I mean that once other fanciers can be seen in the top of the results. Pigeon racing is like a stage in cycling competition, every day something else. The only significant difference is that all cyclists should make the same distance what is not the case with our pigeons which can cause large differences. So there was the past weekend in my region a flight of about 180 km. Due to low temperatures and rain at the release point the release was delayed up to 2 hours. The departure was not good. The strange thing was that the first pigeons made a speed of over 80 km by wind-force 5 on head. Previously we would against each other have said that the fastest pigeon always made thousand meters (60 km. p.h.) per minute but that time is over because today with headwind they make 80 km per hour and that we find quit normal. No, the sport is really not standing still. Width sport has become much stronger. Previously there were few that with head and shoulders get out of it what is still the case but on each loft are now pigeons that can compete with the big guys.

Such speed flights can actually only be flown in a small area. In the district where I play is a difference between the shortest and the longest distance of almost 30 km. On a race such as last Saturday with strong headwind there is on the for flight not to win. Almost certainly there will also come races with winds appear from a different angle but the difference remains 30 km. Even though we have in the Netherlands a commission "fair game" this type problems are not resolved. Maybe because of that the flights with a distance of 300 to 500 km are the most beautiful. Then the wind has less influence and do most fanciers participate. About races with a larger distance is much written. This are races who speak to imagination but we must not forget that perhaps 20% of the fanciers join. In Belgium these races gets much publicity because they played there at nationally level. In the Netherlands we have only one national competition from Chateauroux what for me is 670 km. I don’t like these races. My preference is for distances up to 500 km and there we have 25 of them.
With mixed Feelings the Brassen were waiting each by their own loft for the pigeons. The departure would have been bad. Many pigeons were very long hanging above the release point and then you get big differences in arrival times. On this flight the Brassen pulled fiercely we won both the club against 441 pigeons and in the ZCC against 1700 pigeons 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th prize. Winning speed was 1,350 meters per minute (81 kph). Along the way they should have a part west northwest wind otherwise it’s almost impossible to get such a speed. A stray rain would also have provided for a (too) long concourse length. The season began what the weather condition very conveniently. Really pigeon weather and comfortable temperatures. A common saying in our country “April does what he wants" and it shows now like tonight's freezing weather, there is chance of sleet and daytime the temperature comes not above 9 degrees. For next Saturday's the weather forecast is just like that. You can imagine that this is not conducive for the condition of the pigeons. But we live in the Netherlands where were we have to deal with such big differences. The pigeons must be able to stand that just as they in Saudi Arabia must stand the heat they have to adapt our climate. The same goes for the Belgian pigeons. That's why our pigeons must first acclimatize in other countries and only a year later they will be able to care for youngsters in their new homeland.

Around the perils with avian flu the NPO has again pointed out that ALL pigeons, including the breeding pigeons, must be vaccinated against paramixo. Previously that was not really necessary. It was the case that pigeons who came into contact with other pigeons had to be vaccinated. Pigeons who did not join the flights had to be vaccinated at least once (as young). None of the fanciers are waiting for this kind of regulations. Nevertheless I advise everyone to ensure that everything is in order for the NPO apply stricter controls. It has to do with public health and of course also with the economy. Our pigeons do not belong but ducks, turkeys and chickens. Today I have the youngest young pigeons vaccinated. I had them done a yellow plastic ring so that I could easily grab them. I had also taken a couple of old pigeons for control to Dr. Van der Sluis. After last Saturday I doubted their health because there were big differences in the arrival times. I assumed that it would have something to do with the airways. However, when I looked at the results two days later I saw that known fanciers started later than me and that they also had to deal with big differences and also played a far too low price percentage. Even for the next race it does not look rosy again. Cold and rain is forecasting with north-west wind again. This means that they must turn back against the cold wind. They must be fine enough to be able to finish in the front ranks. Next week we will know again.

We left, everyone started full of enthusiasm for a season that nobody knows what it will bring us. We are all back to zero and even the 2016 season was still as good security for 2017 no one has. There are those thinking because of their new purchase or a strong season with the young pigeons that this year will also succeed with yearlings. We have to wait and see. In any event care that there is nothing to notice about the care. Every fancier must feel that he has done everything he can to achieve good performance. If that feeling is not there and the performance fails don’t looking for the pigeons but by yourself. Especially these first flights it’s about differences from a few seconds which means everything has to be correct. What is a difference of 5 seconds? In the pigeon sport this may mean a number of places in the outcome. For boss and pigeons it’s a new start again both have to get used to. The boss has to behave like he did all winter and last year. On the day of return do the same as always. These first flights also the pigeons are tense. After a couple of months of rest they go into the basket every week. That certainly ensures stress in the beginning. The fanciers do not suffer from it at least if I believe the most. I can give you enough examples of how those quiet men get into practice, you do not believe what you see. I have seen them crawled to the cage in 'tigers' walk when their first pigeon fell while they walked slowly to the cage throughout the week to calling in the pigeons. The pigeons see that immediately and become nervous because they do not know that behavior from their boss. Then it's not so strange that they do not go straight in while the seconds just go down. Do the day of arrival exactly the same as you do all week. As my pigeons go in after the daily workout I stand next to the sputnik because they know it's dinner time. If they arrive on Saturday from the race and I do not stand next to the sputnik they make another or two rounds around the house while the seconds go, but when I stand there they fall straight next to me on the sputnik. I almost never lose seconds and that have to do with the behavior. The pigeons do not know better than when I stand there they get food and you know food means a lot for animals.

It started again the same as last year when there had to be a regular change from unloading place. For me incomprehensible but also now that was the case again. On the site was indicated that the unloading place was not suitable for which I cannot understand. If you choose for a particular place then you need to know that there can be unloaded and you will check with some managers if that place is still suitable. Everything can happen. There may be an annual market or fair, it is also possible that such a place will be used for housing. If you assume that the place of unloading is unchanged every year you can still hit your nose. Contacting the municipality in advance is something you will do first. Okay not further whining because the first result became good enough. The pigeons had to bridge this first speed race a distance of 155 km which did the fastest with an average speed of more than 85 km per hour. Against 469 pigeons our joint races began like this; 3-4-5-7-8-10 and 28 pigeons (1: 4) of the 50 in the list. The competition was open for 10 minutes which meant that the 118 price pigeons were at home. Without doubt a nice flight with little or no losses. The yearlings had this first race some harder than the routine old pigeons, at the first 25 there were 9. Overall it was the well-known fancier who played a high price percentage (more than 50%), in a word amazing but .... it is also the reason that a large number of participants do not come into the list and that is pity because it's not good for motivation to move on. Indeed it’s always the same fanciers who play under size. There are that maybe experience more fun with their pigeons than the men who MUST perform each week. So I also read a mega number of 200 pigeons from one fancier. No, they do not do anything wrong at all. In the Netherlands you can use as many pigeons as you like and then you get these kinds of phenomena. I have never been afraid of large numbers of pigeons. In the good years I flew at 15 to 20.000 pigeons a week. There were also 200 of Jantje sometimes and sometimes 300 from Pietje it did not matter to me. I have to say that I then had a team of pigeons who could all play at head. They could not only they did too. Now that we are with considerably fewer fanciers the pull of the pigeons is mostly on the side where most pigeons are which can have a considerable impact on the distribution of prices. It's not fun for little fanciers to box again to those mega lofts every time. See the results well then you can see that those mega lofts (usually) are less performing than the small ones. Pay particular attention to the price percentage. My opinion is that you have to play at least 50% price each week to say that you play in the championship style. That's what the fanciers with those giant numbers do not get. That means there are many more unusable pigeons on those lofts than with the little fanciers. The difference is that the selected pigeons from the little fanciers go to the poultry and those of the mega are also sold through the well-known sales sites for too much money. How stupid you should be to step in there every time. I would love to know how many good pigeons are born of all those paper wonder pigeons. You're reading something about it but that's still an exception.

On the weekend of April 1 I started darken. I do that from 19.30 until 7.30 so in total 13 hours. In the meantime we are almost two weeks away and it look like it’s snowing in the loft. Unbelievably what influence the darken has on the ruins of the small feathers. Every day they are now from 9 to 10 and from 6 to 7 hours outside. They start flying well. The oldest have been vaccinated against paramixo and the younger ones that walk around with a yellow ring are still to be done. Soon this will happen because you never know with the unexpected finds of dead birds that have succumbed to paramixo or bird flu. Now waiting for the pigeons how to perform this weekend at the second speed flight.

For most fanciers it was only a training flight. In the southern Netherlands was already really play and just there it did not go as it should. The eastern part of the province of North Brabant played from Isnis, an average of 120 km. Many pigeons logged off and a competition of 2.5 hours. Central and West Brabant had the pigeons in the Belgian town Asse-Zellik and there the competition was closed in good 7 minutes. What are we to say? Irresponsible discharge, unaudited fly line? The pigeons had an unlucky day, all days earlier wonderful weather, Saturday very precarious (fog and rain) and the day after again beautiful weather. My association was at a distance of 70 km and within the hour they were at home. I was certainly not displeased but for pretty the first ones had to arrive 1.5 minutes earlier. For coming Saturday I'm curious. The real form is not signed yet and train they do also not as belong. I now began they train for sure one hour without a chance to fall on the loft. That is for me not so hard they can only land at the house or on the loft. Many fanciers that living in a busy residential can have trouble that the pigeons choose the roof of the neighbors. It was striking that the yearlings by arrival fell on the young pigeon loft. That they were used last year because they lived there. Now they for the first time with a few thousand pigeons come home you notice that they are not forgotten the old situation. We've all experienced once that a pigeon came back home after many months and flew smoothly to his nest tray as if he had never been away. I’ve also seen that two of my youngsters that just came outside were suddenly shocked by the neighbor that went water the garden. Still no 100 meters further down they entered a loft. Luckily the man saw that it were not his pigeons because they had a name ring so they were the same evening back in their own loft. We are all stand to zero and about six weeks come again drawing in the battle. Most likely we see the famous names in the top of the standings. My racing team for 2017 consists of 12 cocks and 12 hens and is still complete so I can in each case Saturday join with the full team on the first showdown. The weather report indicates 13 degrees and a calm west wind.
For Sunday is 20 degrees predicted, something is quite normal in the Netherlands.

Last week there was a case of avian flu in the Netherlands. Fortunately no consequences for the sport. In Belgium also no problems anymore and from April 3 France also gives permission to transport and resolve pigeons. Let's hope we saved from the evil spirit "bird flu", you never know. If there is a dead bird in the ditch or pasture it’s immediately reported. Before we just stepped over, in wild birds also do not have eternal life. It is now being studied which they are deceased.
Belgium, the country of cycling and pigeon sport. Currently there are the spring classics in full swing. Last Sunday was quite Belgium totally upside down. The Tour of Flanders also called Flanders' most beautiful was ridden. Already at the start, which took place at half past ten in Antwerp, thousands of spectators stood to marvel at all the greats of cycling which had a rate of 6.5 hours ahead. It was the day a big party especially since this classic was won by a Belgian even though it was a French-speaking Walloon. The two multilingualism plays in Belgium yet an increasingly important role which is fortunately not mention if there is headed. Walloon or Flemish they are all possessed of cycling. It is striking that many fanciers follow cycling from start to finish. Many ex riders are now fancier and busy with their pigeons. Most of them prefer the longer distances. On Saturday April 1st the long distance racers in Belgium were a breakdown near. On the Pipa site stood an article about the probable cancellation of the national long distance races and they have in Belgium quite a bit of. The KBDB wants namely the organization draw towards themselves, transportation and making the results were not outsourced. The lucrative revenues would go into the coffers of the national organization and caused mayhem. According to the report was gathered until late in the night and there it was even hard to. The whole country in turmoil and guess what? The whole story was invented, everyone is fooled. Indeed, it was an April 1 joke.

In the Netherlands draws the NPO governance by the country to reveal the future to all fanciers. Wednesday April 5 they are in North Holland which is the province where I play. Although I'm not so fanatical as I was I want as older fanciers still hear what our national directors plans. I've already heard a lot and I also read about. The plans look like many previous plans well thought out. I have to say a real vision that well thought. Or the development of these plans are realized depends on a lot of people from the organization. Recently the NPO board was in South Holland where perhaps live most fanciers of the Netherlands. The turnout was disappointing. It indicates that the interest is there a minimum or is it because of the time chosen for these meetings. Everyone is in fact preparing for the season and then they do not feel for meetings. Winter is over and that is the perfect time to discuss any changes or innovations. It would be unfortunate if in North Holland the rise is also minimal which could mean that the good intentions again temporary be pushed onto the long path. Once I was a director. Manage a club or an organization is not an easy task especially with pigeons people. Pigeon racing is an individual sport. Everyone wants to draw the lion's share. It is almost an impossible thing to get everyone facing the same direction. Good luck for the next games.

It is only recently the scare hits us to the heart. Another bird flu! It started in Belgium, Netherlands followed and also in France here and there was a dead bird fished from the water. From previous years we know what heavy consequences this has. From ministries is no single risk taken. There are strict rules applied and despite pigeons in the Netherlands not fall under poultry is a as soon a dead bird is found direct section done and when it’s positive the turnips are tender. Then for our pigeons are the same measures as for poultry. It is best to understand as poultry is a very significant economic value. They believe that pigeons be able to transfer contamination and the scholars are still not agree. It does mean that many fanciers sit with clenched buttocks because soon starts our season and this comes in danger. A whole winter we’ve been busy to get our pigeons healthy through the winter months. If the culture is passed most fanciers look forward to the first races especially now it is in the Netherlands such beautiful spring weather. Anyway on April 1 we start and how it is about a few weeks when the pigeons come from France is not quite known. That could soon have consequences for the Belgians. If they play from 200km they sit already in France. Let's hope that by the beautiful spring weather no new outbreaks coming and we can begin without worry to the season. I should not think about that at the last moment yet a transport ban being proclaimed. I would not say that all the preparations are for nothing but it won’t make you happy. We remain optimist and from now on we are going to deal with the races. The pigeons must be in good condition now. The one who still have to do that has now a lap down and that is difficult to catch.

This year went all swimmingly, great weather to bring pigeons away. Daily fine weather, a small drawback was the bleak cold northeast winds. You could see at the pigeons. By arrival they were the first hours a bit "fat". In the past I made far in advance my training schedule for the old birds but often there was anything right. Strong winds, rain and even snow. I've been through that I was waiting on the arrival of the birds with a cap, a thick scarf and a winter coat with occasionally a snowfall. Then you see that our pigeons can more than we think. Of course is it not good that pigeons had to come home between snowfalls but once released does not mother love more, then they hang in the air and they will rescue themselves to reach as soon as possible the home port. Actually it’s incomprehensible that despite all the modern equipment still taken too many wrong decisions. More worse in my opinion is that far too fussy is handled with the pigeons. By that cautious fuss we make from our pigeons no racehorses of airspace but hothouse plants which in turn huge losses could result. As for that I dare to take the necessary risks. For heavy cloud I am not afraid but for low clouds I am. With crystal clear weather and east wind I go certainly not with the youngsters on the road only when I already four times gone along. That kind of weather they also faced during the season so that part belongs to the tutorial. Rain I'm not afraid for but for constant heavy rain, but occasionally some rain will certainly do no harm. If the ground temperature is 13 degrees I'm a bit careful to bring them away. Especially the birds that need a few hours to come home have it then difficult but if they suffer I do not believe. Look once in winter how they fly at temperatures below zero. Anyway, so everyone has its own method to let the pigeons perform as well as possible. Fortunately there are very many roads lead to Rome meaning that everybody has a real chance to play a prize and that’s what it’s about.

At this time of the year most birds are not yet in optimum condition. Fanciers even try to hold back a bit or so they claim. I'm certainly not. I take care of my birds as good as possible so that they sit every day just fine. I can annoy me at pigeons sitting thick or when nose feathers are up. Every morning I look first at the dung. The morning manure is an important indicator for me. Lovely little dung balls with a few down feathers at top I like to see. By the widowers I like to see that the dung balls are very close together, indicating that they have quietly spent the night. Where the dung balls or weak manure is spread throughout the breeding loft the cock is still too nervous. Show them longer in the first weeks may well help. Personally I show the hen almost always especially by one night basket. In two nights basket they do not see each other and the dish is not reversed either. I take them very carefully from the loft. My pigeons are not timid or tame. That's why I prefer to show them every week because I can pick them without any problem out of the breeding loft. The first week I show more than an hour, the fourth flight I start picking them after only 20 minutes. I let cocks and hens all at once together. They can do whatever they want, I think it motivates them to come home the next day as soon as possible and then they can again the whole day do their own business. No matter what time they arrive the same evening at 7 pm I bring the hens back to their department. Some go to another department because I have a couple of horny hens lie cuddle with each other and thus affect all women upset. The appetite is then less and feel to make love is getting fiercer. I cannot open the door of the hens loft or there are a couple trying to fly over my head searching for hubby. They are my idea a little too horny. Saturday I can tell you more about. When I see the pigeons the cocks looks firmer and the manure is very close together. The hens are perhaps too restless whereby they unnecessarily debilitating. At the first sprint races it will not have much impact but if it we go further I place there some doubts. We will see it all.

Nothing stands us in the way the signal is green. All prohibitions be lifted, no new bird flu cases in the Netherlands, Belgium and France can go courses. In the Netherlands we starting the first weekend of April which means that from Saturday April 1 again thousands of pigeons cleaving the Dutch airspace. The Northern situated fanciers begin within own borders but the largest group starts in Belgium. Our southern neighbors have already started although it’s actually too cold. Now there for an extended period temperatures of around 13 degrees are predicted you see each day with great regularity groups of birds pass over what is a sign that the speed players bring their pigeons into their fly rhythm. I'm also started at least my wife because I still cannot drive. Hopefully soon because the sight in my left eye is 55% and from 50% you may drive. Soon I'll make an appointment with the optician and who knows glasses bring a small improvement. What visibility subject I am a happy man again. The aftermath of the flu is also less so I’m precisely for the start of the competition season weather in good shape. Only then you realize how important health. I hope it goes up with the pigeons exactly the same side. Because by my long-term problems with my eyes and then a heavy flu I could not care the pigeons as I'm used to. In this respect 2017 has a difficult start. Now everything is the right direction we wait for temperatures of 18 degrees or something higher. These are for our Dutch and for our pigeons the best temperatures. Below 13 degrees and above 28 degrees we Dutchmen can’t stand. The most beautiful competitions are with a degree of 20, light head wind, big white clouds and a bright blue sky. Unfortunately we don’t have that too often in the Netherlands that’s why we would like to go on holiday to the more southern countries. We soon start and in one go until half of September.

Exercise/Training provides an extra condition. All athletes ensure that they have for the start of the new competition season a thorough training program so that they come well prepared at the start. For our pigeons applies exactly the same. Many fanciers choose to let the birds during the winter months not outside. There are several reasons for. The start of the new season also determines the start of a more serious approach. In mid-February we see more and more pigeons fly around the loft which is not foolish because six weeks later start the race season. The speed and program players, to which I also belong, will be ready. Still, I'm a cautious starter. At the first flights it could in the early morning hours pretty cold and I think it is better to keep them inside instead let them fly in the freezing cold for half an hour. But I like to let them fly in the cold winter months. While I watch them shivering I see them flying at high altitude. Some think the reason great condition but I assume that the birds know exactly where they can best fly. In the cold winter months it’s at high altitude more comfortable than close to the ground. A same situation you see often in bathing. By gorgeous summer weather we think about swimming and lazing on the beach we don’t do that when the rain clatters against the windows. The strange thing that just then the pigeons have a greater need for bathing than at tropical temperatures.

Personally I always took care that at the last training flight the pigeons were breeding for a few days. If the temperatures were too low I had always the option to keep them another week on eggs. Because a later breeding start and the boss was not comfortable in his skin this is not possible now. So by the racers no second round eggs. Cocks and hens are separated and will remain so. In this period they are trained I let them occasionally with each other. That's easier to deal with and because I have pretty much yearlings it’s for them also a little learning period. Widowhood they must also learn. So in the run-up to the first flight they may every few days before and after training for a while with each other. The lofts are again disinfected with the burner and ceiling diffusers are made dust free. The cocks sit on their outstanding breeding loft on wooden caskets wherein the hatching tray is pushed. When I show the pigeons (I always do at races with one night basket) I take the dish out. The hens sitting on chapels 4 one above the other, separated by a partition so that the hens cannot see each other. The cocks are fed into the large manger which is on the ground. After dinner the cocks get in their breeding loft a pinch of candy seed plus two peanuts. The hens get all their food in the common tray. The breeders have food all day at their disposal. At noon they get in their breeding lofts some candy seed, on Wednesday a bath and Tuesday vegetables. The breeders get never medications. The racers have almost every day something in the water, garlic they get all year.

This week there was one that stay at his seat. All the others stood in breakneck speed eat at the food tray but that one remained. A day earlier I had him in the eye, he walked around the feeding pigeons pecked here and there a tiny little seed on. A day later he remained seated and when I grabbed him he only had water in his craw. I put the young in a separate box with toilet paper so I could see how the next day the manure looked like. Not pretty but not oily green because I was initially feared. Your thoughts go immediately to a coli infection and I am now just short time after my long illness not waiting for. Usually I have no mercy for youngsters but for unexplained reasons she still is. Just to make sure I still did a coli cure from Dr. van der Sluis in the drinking water. I cannot bear to think that now I’m recovering I get problems among the pigeons.

At the speed players the breeding will be as good as finished. The racing season is getting closer, there is little time for thorough preparation. By me the pigeons had the necessary vaccinations. This weekend a cancer capsule and they have to cope with for the rest of the season. Recently the old racing pigeons have all had a paratyphoid injection and they had the first two days quite a lot of trouble. The day they were vaccinated they looked like to get a through a ring. Slippery as an eel, beautiful weight, shiny eyes, silky plumes what is it then enjoy. Unfortunately it was the next day completely different. Manure less beautiful, less appetite and fly they had no need. About four weeks should everting all tip top in order and I have confidence in it. I doubt to pair them for a second time. You hear more and more that fanciers put their pigeons on widowhood immediately after the breeding which is not my system. I've always paired them a second time so they sat on the last training flight on four days eggs. If the pigeons came home on Saturday I took the eggs away that same evening. Sunday the hens leave at noon. Because they have no eggs anymore they are more quieter as they arrive in their department were they stay the rest of the whole racing season. Because I have now been five weeks suffering from the flu the pigeons are still not at its regular time of care. I can still not afford, feel weak and miserable, did not feel like anything. Still, I try to take care the pigeons optimally. In 4 weeks can still happen a lot and I know they can do it, trust in own birds is amply present.

Uncertainty remains about the bird flu. It was a shock last week because the local newspaper indicated that 8 km from my house bird flu was detected. I could not make out whether it was an infection of chickens or pigeons. The pigeons are fortunately still under the category birds and not poultry. In Belgium the prohibition to keep poultry indoors now relaxes and the fanciers can release the pigeons again. Despite that there are still appropriate restrictions. Suppose there is a limitation that the Dutch pigeon transports are not allowed to drive on Belgian territory then comes our pigeon sport in severely danger. If there is found in the coming weeks no dead wild birds there is little or nothing to worry about. To be sure light a candle.

This morning I sat for half an hour with the youngsters. There is one light scratch on, 1 shale and the rest is light blue. I like that color and have in the course of the years selected on. If I tell to other fanciers they shrug their shoulders. The answer they give is usually "color is not important as long as they fly hard". Furthermore we all know the remark "the better they get home the more beautiful they become." Of course these fanciers are right, color does not matter. However it is also about the hobby. Every day of the week and for 70 years I’m working with my pigeons. Currently it’s different then over 15 years, at that time I was very fanatical. I just had to win every flight and that thought is changing considerably. Of course I want to win, who does not but it’s not so emphatically present. That's by my son Marco totally different. He tells every day to his father that he is going to crush the whole world this year. With him it is also increasingly becoming a "blue train". The scratches disappear more and more. We now go together for beautiful light blue and especially good pigeons. We join forces by building a joint breeding loft. That's what I will report extensively in the course of this year. I think it’s truly interesting for you as a loyal reader to know what breeding material is housed at our breeding loft.

As long as I have pigeons I have always paid great attention to the breeding material. Although I never had a lot of pigeons I had comparatively quite a large number of breeders. As soon I won a first prize in the ZCC this pigeon went straight into the breeding loft. The ZCC was in my region a very strong combination of 15 associations with a total of 450 fanciers. The flying area was 8 km long and 5 km wide. An ideal situation for flights up to 450 km. Weekly 5000 birds competing. If we look back it was a dream to be able to participate. In the same period we could also play in the division in which more than 20,000 pigeons participate. Such a thing is inconceivable nowadays and you can imagine that when you today play a first against 2000 pigeons this the older fanciers among us no longer appeals. Unfortunately, it is no different. The membership is still running with jumps backwards and we will have to get used to. Fortunately there’s developed an entirely new policy within the new NPO board which should bring the sport in the interest of the Dutch population. The downward curve in the number of members will continue for a while. Most members are in the category of 70 years and older. So the next ten years we are going to miss a lot of souls, but enough of this. We proceed to the order of the day and that are the youngsters. The winter youngsters flying it is a real delight. With me they come just a week outside and they rumble from the loft to the roof of the house and back. I leave them in the morning at ten o'clock and noon I will close the cage so they can only through the sputnik inside and not get out. My breeding was not super. I had a lot of failure but the ones I have now are behaving well, pretty manure, eat well and when the sun shines you can enjoy in the loft. The day before yesterday I have given them a bath and this morning when I took a bunch in my hands they feel as soft as silk. The smoothest of the whole group sit already at the top of the seats and every night I'm just teasing them, let them peck in my hands and teach them at this way to defend their territory. In a moment I'm going to chop the soup vegetables and then all the old and young birds get their weekly serving of fresh vegetables. At the end of the week the last youngsters are set and then it's done. I'm going to start the season with 12 couples in total widowhood and as it stands now I have next week 35-40 youngsters. Today is gorgeous spring weather and then you want as avid sprint player really start. Be patient and then the violence breaks loose.

Alas, he has a little trouble with flu, you know this expression. It seems somewhat innocuous but it is certainly not. But there is an enormous difference between flu and flu. I have again experienced firsthand. Man, man what I have been sick and it’s not yet over. Today I even thought I get it again. Nights of long cough, sore throat, high fever, sweating, no appetite and huge thirst. This Illness demolishes you within a few days. Conditional you go with big steps backwards. A simple flu is for athletes horrible. Their condition will disappear as snow for the sun and needs a long time to rebuild. After 10 days the flu I felt limp like a mop. With a lot of effort I get the first letters of my article on paper. But anyway I went to work. My wife is bridge and I do every effort to write down anything meaningful on paper. I start with a couple affairs that totally went wrong. I am ashamed for that while I'm dealing with nothing. It is about the total failure honoring of Olympiad winners. This happened about 2 hours overnight while there was no longer present 100 men. The highest to achieve in our sport. Suppose you’re among the lucky one than you sit all evening wait at the edge of your seat. No words for! They should ban the Belgians the first 10 years too organize an Olympiad. I have experienced many Olympiads and actually it’s every time "YUST NOT" while this honoring for each fancier has to be a highlight. Anyway the Belgians have much to learn. The dissatisfaction with the fanciers and the many perils of doping have not done well. So this times a thick insufficient for the Belgians. It should for Poland be a piece of a cake to do better in 2019. Unfortunately this cry we have previously heard and it was again and again insufficient. In the Netherlands they thought it to do better. There was decided to honor ALL Olympiad participants but this goes me a little too far. That they get a memento because they were among the participants, fine. But let's stop to hoist all participants on stage hang them a sash and let them leave without a sensible word. What a dramatic happening. It is more than enough if only medal winners are put in the sun. Is it still about gold, silver and bronze. I would not feel happy to be honored as 24th in the ranking. Who is there now waiting for you do nobody a pleasure. Winners we want to see but the Netherlands had this time not even a handful. That has been different. Is that the fault of the Olympiad committee, the NPO board or little interest among the fanciers itself. The 35th Olympiad is over time for other business because it may even crazier.

You could say that a bid of € 316,000 on a four-year pigeon (a bird of flesh and blood, bones and feathers) with a total weight of 450 grams something is that millions of people cannot contain. That is € 700 per gram. Ever eaten so luxury? The final of the bids went between two Chinese and Comb. Mark Kitchenbrand and Samuel Mbiza from South Africa. It was embarrassing to see that two adult people made a round dance because they became the new owners of a Belgian pigeon of € 316,000 plus 21% tax (total 380.000). Presumably the seller of the pigeon still dance his round. Namely he sold 405 pigeons for 2.145 million euros (average of € 5.297 per pigeon). In that same Belgium our pigeon club was a day guests by the grand breeding station of the firm Natural with the intent to purchase some pigeons which in the Netherlands within the club a special competition is held. Fortunately there were the prices on a slightly different level. For € 30 you could decide which racial pigeon you wanted to take home if you wanted a pedigree it cost € 30.00 more. After a pleasant afternoon in Antwerpen the whole club returned home with major Belgian pigeon racial. Now wait and see who in the months of July and August performs with his "Belgians" so strong he will be crowned "King of Belgium league". By purchasing this pigeons with a Belgian ring we can inside our club speak of international races. By the way the KBDB goes also on the international tour.
The KBDB sees domestically no possibilities to continue at affordable prices to go on with computerization of the administration, self-calculating and national results and the doping control. Who would have ever thought that such things could not be done to full satisfaction in own country. Boundaries and distances no longer exist and then there remains no alternative to cooperate internationally. Typically you'll find nothing back in the FCI record. If two countries will collaborate why do not more? Unwillingness or sufficient opportunities in their own country? Presumably important enough to follow international policies closely. In the Netherlands the NPO continues to steer its own course. At two locations is set out the new course in a very professional manner. One and all enthusiasm! On March 11 would take place an important meeting with the council of members. Yes if everyone is so excited you would like as governance certainly keep the momentum. But it was too little too high. The board was rebuffed, it would all go a little too fast. Not all departments had the good plans explained to their members. In that respect there is too much delay. About a few weeks a new date is set. Before that the NPO governance visits areas where the necessary questions are. All in the interest of a better, professional and affordable sport.

First week of April start in the Netherlands the new racing season. Spring has emerged and more and more pigeons you see every day make their training laps. The frost period is behind us, the temperatures go up a little every day. The days are longer and that you clearly mark at nature. New life is on its way. In many places you also see flying youngsters. For me that is not the case. I had them put aside with the hens and they went off today. Tomorrow Dr. Van der Sluis comes to vaccinate the youngsters against paramixo and Monday the old birds get a jab against paratyphoid. The care taken place as if the summer time is entered. That means that everything is settled for a good season start. The month of April is decisive for a good season. Is preparing good enough, the right condition there, and how the weather gods minded. Alas, in April we first have short flights of 100 to 250 km. You have to ensure that you are sitting every week since we have the whole winter did our best.

Let me start with the most important. The operation on my left eye is successful. A day after the surgery I could without glasses everything see again it's all much brighter. We are now a week later and I feel fine. Had no pain or other niggles. Until this time reading the daily newspapers without glasses (yet) not possible. The letters are a bit too small if they would be a fraction bigger than I could read without glasses. Currently I'm so happy as a child. Before the operation I was very nervous because I see with the right eye almost nothing. Left is my good eye which I had to be helped. Suppose that the operation would fail than it’s done with my pigeon hobby and writing would be impossible. Four weeks after surgery I return for control and then I know if I can without glasses through life and if it turns out that I furthermore proceed with glasses that’s no problem. I’m very optimistic. Sunday I went for the first time with my pigeons. My wife has bought a goggles for if I go inside the loft. The racers are all on little youngsters. By the breeders it’s less successful some more failure than I thought. Where there one young lies I will as much as possible lay a different young from a pair that have also one young. I will arrange that some of my better ?? couples come again quick on eggs. I do not need that much. If I can start with at most 40 it’s more than enough. Before the races starts there are usually a piece or six less. I assume that when you can’t keep up with 30 youngsters it also will not go with 50. It is not the quantity but the quality that we need and certainly do not lose the health from the eye. The next few days I'll start with ringing of the youngsters but that will not easy going. Today I have the red rings strung on track and soon I came to realize that the color red with black figures is for me difficult to read. It looks that my son Marco is the one that goes ring the pigeons. The racers comes regularly outside and like to go in bath. For the next week are predicted low temperatures and then the pigeons stay inside. It's in that in a few days can be plenty skated. Maybe it become a real old Dutch skating weekend. For us Dutchmen it’s so that if there’s no ice in the ditches and canals it has been no winter. It need only to frozen for a couple of days and Holland gets the Elfstedentocht fever, a match and tour over more than 225 km. Even our king has ridden him. Very good, hats of. Or the "journey of tours' will come this year is a big question. It’s possible. The last one that was held was also at the end of February.

The winter months suited ideally to congregate and that is done plenty. It is as if there is never an end to all the different opinions over how to proceed with our sport. Any time there be new directors and each times they go again reinvent the wheel. Nobody sees that things that goes well you better leave as it is. Better not touch and please starting and proceed with cases that are eligible. Now again there is a plan developed from the NPO board with the help of a few outside managers how future for our sport looks like. Much beautiful cries and incomprehensible words must go caring that starters are insisting to join. I read somewhere that the sport should be compared with the dart sports. It is mainly in England but also in the Netherlands where the dart sport has grown to great heights. However I see no connection between pigeon sport and throwing darts. Pigeon racing is time consuming even so bad that there’s almost no occasion to go on vacation. Darts is maybe nice to view from the couch or to do it yourself by going one or two evenings a week to the pub, seems cozy. I sometimes go to a street fair where sports associations promote their sports. Most stand I walk by but when it comes to animals I would sometimes look. Rabbits, chickens, canaries or other birds are always interesting to see but if you have nothing with it you walk through again. I live for 25 years beside the golf course and there are also hockey fields. In hockey I might look in all those years 3 times and with golf I have nothing, I'm going at most to drink a beer. Pigeon sport has tried so much, they have certainly not been idle in order to win souls. Maybe they started too late or wrong. To discuss the new plans had invited the governments all 12 departments by the NPO. The press would be attending but for unknown reasons it was canceled at the last minute. When you do something like that you are doing totally wrong. New plans must be properly presented by the press. If you close out you have something to hide and govern should just be a crystal clear case. So our new directors are afraid of the press and therefore already inadequate now. Who follows? Because the habits enormous change is urgently needed change in our sport. Earlier when people had almost nothing they were with what little they had been satisfied. That today is not comparable to the day. Whether it got better I leave to you. I'm still very positive about the sport because it controlled a large part of my life. I'm wrapped up when we lived in very different times, times that are not comparable with the millennium which we are now. It is certainly very positive that our national government will consult people whose sport also climbed out of a deep valley. My blessings they have.

It was costly, only for security was needed a lot of money. The ceremony of the Olympic winners ended in a debacle. Only at 2 am the ceremony took place at night. A complete flop because there were only a hundred people present in the hall. In 2019 we go to Poland and they have now announced that they are going to do much better than the Belgians. I read that there were thirteen countries with pigeons present. This is very bad because there were more than 30 countries present to toast and eat. The FCI meeting was extremely messy and sensible decisions are not taken. Who knows what will make our new Hungarian president. On the Friday when the Belgian prince kept his opening speech the visitors was mediocre. Saturday until noon a long line at the register and Sunday it was downright extinct. Although the Belgians already organized this Olympiad for the fifth time it has not earned a beauty prize and also no sufficient. Also cause can be the dissatisfaction of the Belgian fanciers towards their national government the DBDB. This cooperation is currently lacking.

A surprising denouement during the 35th Olympiad. The Hungarian Istvan Bardos dominated the next few years "pigeon land". Many had hoped that the President of the KBDB Stefaan Van Bockstaele would become the new president. Possible the controversial handling of the doping regulations cost him his nomination. Such is the whole world over and then you can shake it as candidate. Who and what does the new Hungarian leader is not quite known. The best-known Hungarian I know is the famous footballer Ference Puskas. In his great years a 'world star' to whom Hungarian National stadium is named. The new President ended with his Hungarian country team just outside the podium, they were 4th. The country ranking in the (old) standard pigeons was won by Slovakia, the silver went to Germany and the bronze to the Czech Republic. By the youngsters were the end result almost the same 1. Slovakia, Germany 2 and the Netherlands 3.
Times have changed and that is clearly noticeable. The time that participating in the Olympics was more important than winning is over. The fancier mentality is no more as it belongs to be. Where's the time remained that every Dutchman stood eager to join. If we look at the standard pigeons participation is horrendous. Only 12 countries participated. The Netherlands as important pigeon country were cut ruffs so they ended up in the middle. For the Belgians it was signed worse they were last. In the sport class did Poland by far the best. They won really everything there was to win. Really super to see with how many podiums they returned home. For the Netherlands there were only four individual podiums, 1x 3x silver and 3x bronze. Furthermore the Netherlands is weather back on its hind legs. The cause of this is the participation of an Dutch pigeon that finally ended 3rd (?) while this pigeon according to the Dutch Olympics Committee not meet the requirements. By intervention of some NPO board members she still was managing. They assumed that the bird would be disqualified but for unknown reasons this was not the case. By disagreement sent the NPO board the Olympiad Commission home. Reportedly this is an action of only a few board members their colleagues would in the first instance not been aware of. The question that now remains; "who had sent home" the Olympiad committee or the NPO board? If that ends well!

In most countries that are members of the FCI participation is participation in the Olympics a matter of honor a high point in their sporting career. I have notice at the number of e-mails I received from foreign friends in which they reported a dream become reality for them because they were eligible to participate in the 35th Olympiad. That some known pigeon countries not participated surprised me. An Olympiad in which 12 countries participate is not exactly something to shout from the rooftops let alone to mention in large letters in the newspapers. There will undoubtedly be a cause. What struck me was an article on the site of Pipa which was about a Belgian fancier S.Verhestraeten. He would have become 1st in the Olympiad sport class category A. I wanted to know more of. In which category I looked nowhere I could find that name. After much searching I saw him as 25th which made him the first Belgian pigeon but that is a totally different story. In itself a creditable performance but to make so much fuss that he became first you put the loyal readers/buyers on the wrong track. I also saw a few names of greats back into the muzzle of the results. Famous names from strong Dutch participants are undoubtedly those of father and son Verkerk, father and son Verbree Comb. Van Breemen-van Zon and father and son Schutte from Amsterdam who were even crowned this year as the best fanciers of the Netherlands.

On January 16 our breeding and racing pigeons had laid almost all. There were also some that were too smooth on eggs. After several days hatched showed that of those quick mats was no single fertilized egg. Very sorry but own fault. The intention was that there would be paired between Christmas and New Year. Due to circumstances we did not succeed while the pigeons were all ready. That was evident in the rapid lay eggs of a number of hens. Of course there were also some not fertilized so this time certainly not a 100% score. Is that worrying? I think not, because we know in general the cause. Because of this setback are from most breeding pairs the eggs re-laid so there can with lightning speed again be laid what is now the case. The racers all come together with youngsters. They all have eggs of exactly the same date. The boss also helped because I love on the racing loft equal nest positions. In a few weeks they all go together on widowhood. The breeders continue for a while. Of the couples that we think they are top couples are bred six youngsters. How many real top couples we have I can only tell at the end of the year and I'm talking about the parents of the yearlings. The performance of youngsters tell me not so much. My experience is still that the best yearlings as young won two or three prizes and I'm not even talking about top prizes. What makes me quite happy are first prizes also from youngsters. I prefer to breed from first prize winners. Now I keep them not directly at home anymore what I've done for years. I then had only first prize winners and champion pigeons in my loft. Hard to believe but true. Now I play winners just because I don’t have to look forward more than 20 years because then I'm 100. It is now all at a lower ebb. Still I hope this year on a couple of victories because this week I will be helped on my left eye. Right I see very bad and left might improve something. Very exciting for me, I'm pretty nervous because it MUST succeed. Until next week hopefully a very positive story about a successful operation.

Blackpool is already over. Months of preparation are needed to organize each year a successful pigeon event. After a weekend pigeons party at The Winter Gardens life continues as if nothing happened. Monday morning when my wife open her newspaper, Algemeen Dagblad, she saw a beautiful color with a nice text about the BHW Show. I enjoyed intensely since the Dutch press paid almost no attention to the sport. Certainly the national dailies fail massively and now suddenly an impression of the show of the year in Blackpool. Finally something different than a photo of a football!

International shocking news came from the pen of the NPO. On the eve of the 35th Olympiad decided the NPO board with immediate effect say farewell to her Olympiad Committee. The men were not moving in a line, agreements were not honored and personal interests played a role. Upon inquiry the main cause was by a pigeon which was rejected for participation because the results were passed from scores that not exist, this sounds weird but it is so. The relevant department plays in four districts, each district has his own winner and there is no total winner. The owner from this relevant pigeon has the total result declared and then were the puppets to dance. The Olympiad Committee and NPO board were not on one line they were even total disagree with each other whereby the NPO board put a line under and the Olympiad Committee have removed from their function. Many bickering what most likely gives consequences inside the new board because also there they sit no longer on one line. All of this for a pigeon and two quirky NPO directors. There is always something. A few years ago there were problems about the insured amount of the participating pigeons. Later there was someone that have bought a pigeon who qualified for participation in the Olympiad. The buyer wanted under his own name participate in the Olympiad. How do you make it! Please let's not forget that the Olympiad is the highest attainable, yes also in pigeon sport. It's not just a game, it is a very serious case whereby the regulations shall prevail. The final selection for participation in the 14th standard pigeons was on Wednesday for the Olympiad. There was even doubt whether one would get this number. In that respect I would say; Dutch fanciers shame on you! With such a troubled preparation you can never win an Olympiad. We are curious.

In an extensive writing the Dutch fanciers were informed how the NPO board see the sport in the future. A wonderful story that teeming, for many pigeon fanciers, incomprehensible words and texts. New directors, new ideas! Despite their good intentions it seems to me still flogging a dead horse. During my long pigeon career of over 70 years it’s within the organization very long been quiet. There were fanciers enough. Some clubs had even a stop member. It became more and more restless when managers saw the number of members rapidly run back. Everything stayed at the old and to save the sport there was more attention paid to youth. That runs great. Winners at the youth were overloaded with miscellaneous prices hoping they would sign another year. Older fanciers were jealous. Inside the sport they reward youth and inferior players significantly. It helped not a whit. The decrease of members remained and despite the trouble that was made to win youth members it didn’t succeed then and now. Lofts were placed free by youth members. There was made a way too expensive promotional film but new members stayed away. Pigeon sport in the dialog form is outdated. Fortunately our sport have gone in the electronic age. Also on the transport of our pigeons is little to criticize and gets at least enough attention to a previously created committee. Also welfare of pigeons gets plenty of attention. Administrative will unfortunately not succeed. Too many personal interests play a major role. There’s too little management experience in the central administration in any case to little on the part of everything that has to do with our sport. After all the good intentions the membership runs still back. Youth has still no interest in our dowdy sports. We elders still enjoy it very much. Over ten years it will be well done with the sharp decline in members. Most of us are not there anymore. How much there still be is the big question. There will be a lot to be done to have still 10.000 members in the Netherlands in ten years. If there are 10.000 weekly plays with pigeons it does not look bad. Personally I think we will have at most 6,000 active members and if so far there are plenty of new problems. Remains it affordable for everyone and how is transport, it is almost impossible to do. Six thousand fanciers seems very much divided over a whole country it allows little or nothing. I almost cannot believe that we will have a prosperous future. Especially not now that I've read all that hot air with which the NPO now comes along again. I hope I've got it all wrong. Given the disagreement and personal interests national pigeon sport will have to apply much stricter rules executed by a strong and highly skilled national board. Unfortunately I do not know skillful and strong board members like we had them in fairly large numbers for many years. There was plenty of choice and now the organization must welcome any good will who wants to play an administrative function. Whether he or she is the right person in the right place who knows. Hopefully next time positive news on the progress of the 35th pigeon Olympiad and that the best and most beautiful birds should have won.

IT IS A PARTY OR .......?
It is almost time that the 35th Olympiad be held on the weekend of January 28 in Brussels. An event where the whole pigeon world looking for. However those that all the fuss about the perils of doping in Belgium follow could sometimes have grave doubts whether it will a truly international sporting event is going to be. In Belgium go the wildest stories about fanciers who tested positive in 2016. Some are severely punished and others were acquitted. There appear also doping sinners walking around whose pigeons after South Africa took doping test proved positive but these files remain sealed. The KBDB appears not ready to speak clear and comprehensible language. Belgian fanciers
currently don’t know if they can believe or trust their national government. This pig is far from washed. How to proceed during the Olympiad. What goes F.C.I. directors say. The Olympiad organized by the Belgians could by all those confusing doping stories ever lose much of its luster and that would be a great pity. If there exists a doping list showing all the prohibited substances it must be easy to call to account the person who used these substances. If after a second check reveals that it’s wrong then the person in question (including pigeons) must be still punished. Yet easy or not? Unfortunately in practice it seems to work very differently.

The WOWD, part of the NPO, has a message do go out on a whole new disease that was discovered in Australia in racing pigeons. It is a serious infectious disease that affects the liver. The causative agent is reoviral which exists worldwide. The pigeons gets greenish droppings, vomit, sitting thick or ball and die within 12-24 hours. According to the latest reports it will take another 18 months before there’s developed an effective vaccine. To be continued.

Today (15 January) it’s the 10th day that our racing and breeding pigeons are together. Almost all of them have one or two eggs. By three hens that had laid after a few days I’ve thrown the eggs. Four hens of 40 couples had yet laid no egg. I see your face already! So many birds! You would still hold much less. Yes that's right, and that is true. I have eight breeding couples and 12 couples to fly. Furthermore there are 20 breeding pairs of my son Marco that I feed every day and Marco doing further care. My own pigeons I care myself. It sounds as if I deliver a top performance which is indeed more and more. Still I am very happy with my pigeons but as you get older it's like every day there’s a small physical problem. Now I have suffered from gout which already takes a week so I cannot clean my loft as I am used to. I creep my whole life through the loft and that does not work now. According to the doctor suffering must now be fast ago because he has given me the "horse means" prednisone. Lovely if you can do again what you want. I have the racers recently released in the morning, the winter weather allowed it. It is enjoyed when you see a couple loud flapping fly away after they have made shortly love before. This release is good for the pigeons. You can clearly see the difference with the breeders who never come out. Yes they come out but not beyond the aviary. It will certainly also have a favorable effect on the number of fertilized eggs. Outside the cocks get more opportunity to join their hens than in the loft. There are always a bunch of fanatical loft mates who are trying to avoid. About two to three weeks we know more about the number of fertilized eggs and the number of youngsters lying in the dishes.

From a racing pigeon which expected they go perform well everything must be right. That means everything must be 100% right. The first matches we play are often decided by differences of a few seconds. Also the loft, the clock and trust between boss and pigeon must be 100%. Of course the quality of the pigeon plays an important role. However there is much more to it. Assuming there are born more poor to moderate pigeons on each loft the selection cannot be heavy enough. Remember that it is too bad for anyone to grow a real top pigeon. That’s why you never do so soon a good one away because we do not breed four per year. So if there is anything wrong, away with it. Now we're in the middle of the breeding season it comes to act on firmly. What differs slightly from the normal immediately remove. Those who dare will see the results in the coming races for youngsters. The one that the previous selection period fails will soon find it back at the performance of their yearlings. The newborn youngsters have to grow up immaculate, everyone knows what I mean. At the old birds you may not see they raise youngsters. They should also look flawless in this period and they should certainly not lose weight. Therefore it is not wrong to take care the pigeons three times a day. As they sit on eggs midday a pinch of candy seed and if they have youngsters from a week you can certainly provide double portions also at noon. Certainly not forget the minerals, vegetables, grit and water bowl because they certainly need to provide the youngsters, who double their weight daily, the right nutritional components.

The selection begins in the nest, misshapen and small eggs can go. Both eggs must hatch simultaneously. If they come with a half day difference than the smallest youngsters will almost always remain, it certainly will not be champion. That I in January already release pigeons has to do with preventing skew fly. Previous years I waited a little longer. I notice that flying pigeons, if only for an hour a day, behave better. They are more alive, eating better and often look firmer. In short, they are as we want to see them. Regarding crooked fly, I've never seen it yet, but it's like that evil does occur more and more. Possibly it’s due to the growing population of birds of prey and the (too) long retention in the fall and winter months. Raptors like a pigeon every day. Certainly the next few weeks it is advisable especially in the areas where live many birds of prey to hold the birds. There is almost no other choice. In severe cold get the birds in the wild, especially in cold weather, more hungry. As the day again slowly longer go into the wild birds also preparing for their breeding period. In that respect nature just goes its course, we need not concern ourselves with that. I do definitely not but my wife does. She loves it to give the birds some extra. Always a fun face all these different birds around the house. How they come to know I do not know but once food hangs it's like they're telling it through each other. In no time it is a twittering of vengeance and fought for every peanuts. How beautiful it is, we do interfere with the selection. This take place in nature at this moment. It is cold, there is little to eat and only the strongest remain. By feeding remain now birds live that are actually selected out properly. We have no idea how many kilos of seed is sown. Just look what, especially women, buy by super markets. All wrong. Let's take the middle ground because some extra love for animals is also worth something. I wish all my pigeon friends who are going to visit the pigeon Olympiad a very nice and pleasant weekend.

Yes, it's that time again. The pigeons are paired, both the fly as the breeders take care for new life on the lofts, always an exciting happening. I have been a long time busy, not only to form my own breeding pairs but also from my son, they are with care and knowledge paired. I think they're all excellent couples. Are you so optimistic too? It must be, if you find now that it's nothing you better start taking white mice. Of course we all know that it is impossible to have breeding pairs that just give great descendants. Oh, why would we not think it's all good breeding pairs, you never know. Why will there be by other fanciers some useful pigeons born and not by you? Do not think your pigeons are less. I think quality runs in commercial lofts faster back than by normal modal players. Why do I think? Just because there’s much junk bought against ridiculous high prices. The astronomical sums that are counted down the last years for "paper pigeons" have absolutely nothing to do complied quality. The value of a pigeon is just what a madman gives. The poultry don’t want them for nothing no more! So far we are sunk with our sport. Our sport that is no longer a sport anymore for the ordinary workman goes bluntly fucked. The modal players can almost no longer afford to bring their pigeons to the classroom. I must say that in the department where I play no real crazy things happen. Professional fanciers are not with us. I don’t know one that arrives with a hundred or more at the start. Maybe later with the youngsters that could be. In early April the average is definitely not over 40. Important is that everybody has a successful breeding. No problems during paring and on time fulfilled eggs. Then pray that there are little or no unfertilized eggs and that the youngsters grow up beautiful. Now the pigeons are paired most fanciers can hardly wait until the first eggs come and when they hatched every fancier wonders how they look and what color they get. Will they become the spitting image of their famous father or mother? Let's hope the breeding season is going well. If so, you can meet with a clear conscience living towards the new racing season.

It is better to have the lofts in order now than that there should be boarded up or even painted in the early spring. There is always something to do, some minor repairs and that can be done better before breeding begins. I love rest on the loft when the birds breeding, actually for a whole year especially for the racers. I take care in the morning and at the end of the afternoon, in the day I never enter the loft. With lofts I mean also the breeding lofts. Often there are some piece hinges or doors that do not close properly. Test the electronic clock regularly, this is definitely recommended. The pigeons may luckily outward again. It was early December a shock when the news came through that 28.000 chickens were killed in connection with the dreaded bird flu. There are 20.000 culled at a poultry farm within a radius of 10 km. The next few days we get light frosts and then it would be a degree or seven. Not wrong now the pigeons just sit together. With severe frost I'm always afraid that newly laid eggs freeze. I know nature ensures that this does not happen so easily but if I may say I prefer the mild spring weather. So far it is still a long way, we can get enough trouble. I used to not to get off the ice, many skating tours I have driven but that is long gone. Now I dare not even walk on the ice. When people my age fall they usually breaks an arm, hip or leg and I pass on. Let me sit by the stove.
To avoid lagging youngsters are obviously all kinds of new features designed to prevent. So they want now only start in August to play with the youngsters. As for me, well, I'm no longer worried about. Before I would do, I've been up on the table to proclaim my opinion. It happen still but now by other people and I know they do not come further. In the sport we never agree with each other and will remain so. That's okay if we do not stay mad at each other. Everyone can have their say and when it comes to voting we will have to join the majority and further do not complain anymore. Or we with a later start fewer youngsters will lose I doubt it. Youngsters must be super healthy then there is little to worry about. The problem is that the youngsters today are much more susceptible to all kinds of seemingly minor ailments. Diseases that are dormant ensure disorientation and therefore stress. Also the transport plays an important role. The road to the release point for youngsters is often heavier than the journey home they travel.

Within the sport is often talked about winning. But when you have really won opinions differ. To achieve a national victory you should at least start to play first in the club. It is often claimed that you actually only the first win in the interaction. Then there is discussion again about first in the district, an even larger ensemble. Which counts really some say, the last two sets are little or nothing according some. What then actually means a provincial victory? Then you have the fastest of all districts of the department, also called provincial. If we continue equally, which represent a provincial victory if this pigeon plays a first national? National fanciers love to read because that is top notch. In Belgium they have some invented. You can achieve there a national "zone" victory which is often played at a ridiculously small number pigeons. For commerce certainly important. A victory where NPO, NAT. or NAT zone listed is going to Asian buyers as easy as cake. My opinion is that we should have respect for each winner no matter what level. Of course a national victory against thousands of pigeons is a dream for every fancier. I've been through enough times that a fancier earned his first victory although at the club. Take it from me that he is as happy as someone who has won the victory on provincial or national. Nevertheless, I like to say because every victory is a feast for any fancier. Therefore there may be talked about six first prizes weather they are flagged in the club, the interaction, the district, provincial and even national or even zone. What's wrong with that?

Pigeon racing is for most of us a competitive sport. Today there are for each sport training schedules and also for different levels. In athletics are as you will understand for a sprinter different schedules than a marathon runner. In training schedules belong also diet and lifestyle. It's not just athletes who avail of these schemes also at lower levels there is very much use of it. The first thing what strikes is that they are actually quite simple. Often in all kinds of sports there’s thought too difficult to reach a certain level. The most important thing is talent, one must have the potential to play a sport at reasonable levels. If you do not have talent you can train what you want, you'll never be a best player. However we should not forget that when you practice a sport at a lower level there may be enjoyed more than someone who wants to perform every week top and just cannot reach the top. That is frustrating making fun disappears. In everything you do you have to want to see that we do not all have a chance to be Olympic or world champion. To be allowed to participate is so great! Otherwise it is nowadays with many footballers. Since there are an awful lot of that think of themselves they are very good, that sport occur the most ego trips. Young guests that make in a fairly easy way too much money so they knowing of craziness not what to do with it. Whether they are at the hairdresser or they are on the table for a new tattoo, they spend part of their income to the casino or they have one or even several very expensive cars. At such a young age have a lot of money cannot be good and it shows more than once. We can pull through this whole story to the sport. In the pigeon sport, we will in order to achieve a certain level also need to operate in accordance with schedules. Those who think this is not necessary will remain wretches. The memorization of descendants of famous pigeons are not enough. That a fancier knows a lot of famous pigeon names is just fun, otherwise you have nothing to it. That you know a lot about famous fanciers can be part of your hobby but you do not fly through a line faster. You'll also need to start in our sport as a beginner, all the way down the ladder and then try to climb up as quickly as possible.

Is it the loft, the pigeon or the fancier. If I had to rank them I would conceivably put the fancier in the first place. It's actually easy to explain. A good fancier know how a good loft should look and also to determine the difference between a good and a very good bird. A minor we can all get out there's so much to see. However it’s about the essential differences. What is important to a good pigeon. A true fancier sees and feels. So for any fanciers, especially for beginners, it is important that he / she knows how a good pigeon should be built. That is very different than nicely built. Because I am a true sports enthusiast I like watching sports on TV. You see everything very closely. Have you also noticed that (usually) not the most beautiful athletes excel? Yes, there are indeed beautiful athletes in both the men and the women. On the loft we call that a "white raven". We mean that it is an exception. Why do you think very good pigeons called the cross-eyed, crooked sternum, the lame, the small or large? Not because they were so beautiful. I had the longneck. That was really a very ugly pigeon, flat head, long neck, sagging tailbones, high on the legs, but three times the first within four weeks. When he came home I thought; "he’s flying to pieces against the rear wall of the breeding loft". Like an arrow from a bow he dived into the loft, then I quickly pull his lute from his leg and if I 5 minutes later went into the cage I thought he die. Total distraught he was in the breeding loft, hardly looked at his hen. Only after two hours you could see that he was on top again and when I let the pigeons train the next day he was the first fly out and was almost always the last back. There was so much character in that pigeon which he never gave up. He wanted to go home as quickly as possible and via the shortest route. As a youngster he only stood out because of his fighting spirit, every day I had to fight with him, he was waiting for me. His performance as a young were very mediocre, because of his fighting spirit he was allowed to remain. As a yearling there was none on. 17 times joined and 17 times price whose three first and second twice and always against a few thousand pigeons. As a 2 year old he has come in a very unpleasant way to its end. As long as I have pigeons, and that's a long time, I always put in for 100%, my pigeons were (almost) always in first place, I give everything. To a birthday I don’t want to go because the pigeons had to be taken care of. In summer to the beach, fine, but go home on time for the pigeons. I often went too far. Now I'm still a fanatic. I still want to win but with a considerably smaller number of pigeons. You do not need much to be champion if you just care them punctual and well. With prompt treatment even a lesser pigeon will become a regular prize winner. Let's not talk too much about winners and Ace pigeons. There is also something else in the sport where you can enjoy weekly though it would only the arrival of the pigeons. At that moment you cannot see whether it is early or late arrival.

All my life I experience a lot of fun on my pigeons. It's not just the game, it is especially the care and the preparation for the next flight. Bringing in a good condition of your pigeons, everything right on time, eat rest and exercise. Only water and grain is not enough however there is not much extra needed to perform well anyway. No talk of wind or location, and we cannot do anything. It is the optimum care, dealing with the pigeons, a good functioning loft, that's when the pigeons sit as gold crests. If not equally long search until it is the case. Dare to select not too fast think it are good pigeons. To a large extent the basket's do the selection, breed many out of your better pigeons and fly it, what not perform well do away even if they come from your best. Prefer youngsters over older. Look at the fanciers in your area and pay attention to the dates of their better pigeons, they are always one or two year olds. Do not save on food, give them the best to buy. An animal that have to perform or have to work hard deserves a good meal. Not give too much but sufficient, that's very different than fattening. Pigeons who are overweight do not train, take therefore occasionally one in your hands. Observe the pigeons regularly and if there is no feather wrong and they have sparkling eyes and snow-white noses then go for it because the success is coming.

We can look back as much as we want, 2016 is over. This month is dominated by a large number of pigeons events as first Dortmund. I've been there many times, always very impressive. It is not nearly as big as before. Then we get the third week January the grand annual pigeons manifestation for the 40th time in Blackpool a fantastic weekend to experience. Most international interest will undoubtedly go to the Olympiad in Brussels where the Belgians will put their best foot for to make a good impression in any case. In the first weekend of March we get on the eve of the new racing season the Spring Fair followed by the homage of the Dutch champions in the combined competition of formerly who has them better and the best of the best. In my own region in February follows another meeting on the reorganization of the flying areas and the last word will definitely not be spoken. That same counts for the "hot item" training pigeons. On the last NPO meeting is decided that it is over with whit training pigeons. This means that all the pigeons go over the basketing antenna so all pigeons are in competition and thereby participate in the contest. It is up to the participants or they clock. Before the launch in 2017 sounds will be much discussed.

At many lofts in Belgium and the Netherlands is the winter breeding began in late November so the first youngsters 2017 are born during Christmas. Actually that are late youngsters from 2016 that get a ring of 2017. Is that fair? I do not care. Perhaps it would be better to send the rings until January 10 so that administrators can issue the ring January 12th. We are therefore (almost) sure that the youngsters who get a ring of 2017 were born in 2017. Now the rings are delivered between Christmas and New Year at the club why would they not reach out directly. What makes those few days from now. Yes, many think like that but not all.

Malta is a very small country of 28 km long and 11 km wide. It has a national soccer team that all have a job. So they are semi-pros and they are up against the best teams in the world, it seems pigeon sport! Pigeon racing they have indeed but unlike in the Netherlands. Malta also has its own language that is not understandable for us, fortunately many residents speak the English language. Malta takes 90% on tourism and it was to see that they expand because everywhere you see standing tall cranes that are often used for the construction of more hotels. The country has 160,000 inhabitants of which there are about a thousand pigeon fancier. Those men can choose from 22 pigeon clubs. Central Malta is a large pigeon container and trailer where the clubs must supply the boxes with pigeons. Five to six thousand birds competing is quite normal. What is not normal for us is the number of birds which may be played weekly. Every fancier should give up to 10 pigeons. It is flown in from Italy, starting with 155km, 200 and 250 km. The last 80 km to be covered by sea on the way home and as doves still have no webs remain sometimes a lot behind. A pigeon finds it difficult to fly long distances over water especially if they cannot see the other side. I spoke to someone who had used the last three weeks three times 10 and was also lost 3x10. Precisely for this reason fanciers in Malta have actually too many pigeons. It struck me that they did not ask each other what the arrivals were but just about the number they had returned. Pigeons that come back they find good pigeons. I always think "what do I have to home comers?” Only that indicates that we are playing a different game. In the Netherlands long distance or marathon players talk also about home coming but that are other fanciers than program players. The first three flights of the short distances are be played multiple times, each time a new series of three of the same release point. Is a bit like Belgium where they play Quievrain every week. While I was with my son in Malta (weekend of 17/18 December) we believe truly experienced a first. Never was there such foul weather. Cars blew spontaneously from the road, the water was meters high whipped up against the quay walls, trees fell down like matchsticks. The temperature was 17 degrees which was not bad but we have unfortunately been barely outside. The pigeons flight was canceled, newlywed would be better so from Sunday morning they had to stay in the boxes. When I asked when they had to bring the pigeons to the club for the next flight the answer was; on Christmas Day. Well there you do in the Netherlands certainly not to come along. When I said they were "crazy people" was laughed out loud. The flight program in Malta runs from mid-November to mid-May, then it is much too hot to play with pigeons. In high summer it is even too hot to go on holiday or maybe under a palm tree on the edge of the pool not too far from the bar. I get the water in the mouth when I think of as a refreshing tropical cocktail that tastes in the southern countries much better than in our own country.
When I was a Sunday evening after a long flight (transfer in Frankfurt) came home I had terrible pain in my right foot because of gout. From the plans I had made for Mondays little came. Tuesday went better and got the whole day spent in the loft. Everything prepare for coupling which involved burning lofts (better disinfection medicine does not exist), nest bowls filled with mats and directly spraying pest exterminator, breeding boxes put open for yearlings so that they can sort out their own homes and of course clean all lofts because my wife does not do. Is not necessary I'm happy if the pigeons get food and drink, and she did just fine. The pigeons can weather outside, there is no risk of infection seems to be more in the Netherlands so that's good if the pigeons are coupled soon. There is nothing more beautiful than chasing couples at high speed see in the sky. Be careful for fireworks because there will soon again shot millions into air. Very nice to see but I am afraid and have never spent much money on fireworks. Yes, when the children were small I bought some of those innocent sparklers. I stay New Year's Eve nice at the hotel we have booked a package. I wish you all a very enjoyable and pleasant New Year and I hope that will all wishes come true for 2017.

Yes you read it right it is about a Christmas show 50 years ago. This story begins in 1963 in which one of the best pigeon I have ever had the lead role. A cock NL63-963358 who went through life as "58" bred from a cock of the race Gebr. Janssen and a hen from the Utrecht grandmaster Jan Pot, unfortunately none of them are still among us. I was married just two years when my parents late 1962 reported that they want to move. Until my marriage I played with my father and from 1961 I had eight pairs of pigeons at my new address. First only grow and in 1962 was first played with youngsters. They did it more than excellent with the end result being 2nd Champion youngsters from Zaandam against more than 400 fanciers. I played the youngsters by the natour where they made me 1st Champion against more than 1.000 fanciers. At that time a participation of 15 to 20.000 pigeons was quite normal. In 1963, the year my son Marco was born, I grew my father six youngsters which he could participate in the races including the "58". Before the races started my father checked what youngsters he still had and discovered that six pigeons in his loft were not his. It was common that you reported a strange pigeon writing to the NPO. After several days the owner received a written message. So I got a message that there were six pigeons from me sat with my father and my father was informed that he had six pigeons from me in his loft. He was in fact forgotten that I had given him six youngsters who also had a ring of mine. Hilarity, that you can understand. Of the six pigeons that my father had from me he was single-handedly lost one, you guessed it was "the 58th."
In 1964, exactly a year after he had stayed away, he came at a young pigeon flight back home. At first glance we did not know him but when we looked at the ring number everything became clear. It was not exactly a cock which we gladly saw, little big, long tail, a bit deep and too weak back as we call it in pigeon terms. As unpaired yearling cock my father played him the same year on training flights for the late races. He said that the "58" on all three flights was minutes home before the second pigeon came. Because he had no hen he was not played anymore. That will be a good one for next year, I said. We had, because I was moving again, just decided to play together again. Eleven males came through the selection and the "58" was allowed to stay because he had at three training flights performed formidable. Had that not been the case he certainly did not come through the selection. Suddenly we had every confidence in him.

As newly formed duo we were pf course very curious how our 12 widowers were going to perform and particularly how the "58" it would do. The first flight had a distance of 98 km, distances that my father and I loved. We were real short distance players and that I stayed so far. Because the "58" the year before notice had performed at distances below 100 km we put him in the first three drawn which always stood for all fees in other words, which were full pooled. We were at that time happy to have a go when there was still to earn some fell. We played on Sunday and the first flight also was watching the reckoner of Zaanse competition organization with us. To make it a little more exciting we told the story of "the 58". It was a great disappointment. 11 pigeons at home and the "58" was not there. The second flight again with 12 widowers, 11 got money, and the "58" stood below the participation list with no cross behind his ring number, the trust was gone. Sunday morning just before nine o'clock we heard that the pigeons were liberated at eight o'clock with a calm southwest wind. Because the distance was just over 100km we went out immediately because the pigeons could arrive any moment. I looked up and saw a piece of tail just saw go inside. Quickly run up the stairs and there was already the 58th to the bars of his breeding loft cooing to the hen. Very rap was the "rubber" in the clock and with hindsight he played the first against nearly 5.000 pigeons. Furthermore, we won nothing, no money and he was not put to the prize. Later that season he played the 1st of Tergnier (325 km) and the 1st Provincial Chateauroux (665 km). There was no better pigeon that year in Zaandam. Of the 14 races he played 12 times price, three times the first.

In December 1965 I was invited to join him on a big Christmas show. Everyone could participate only one who had a champion pigeon got a place in the honors class. Despite being a very long time ago I still know it as the day yesterday. Judge in the honors class was Jan Heerschop from Haarlem, according to say it was a very able man. Well in my eyes he could nothing about, he dared to give my champion pigeon 89.5 points. There was not a pigeon on the show who had so few points. It was good that the best man was not around when I saw that otherwise I would have grabbed him by the throat. Of course the man was right, we didn’t keep the "58" because he was so beautiful building. That we kept him is extensively described above. My father always said; "Exhibition is disappointment." The story continues because despite the low number of points we got more confidence in "the old 58" as he now came to be called. In 1966 he was with three wins in the big ensemble weather 1st champion pigeon. All the more reason to give him a place in the breeding loft. His son "young 58," he had the same ending numbers as his legendary father, got his breeding loft. Unfortunately he left after two top finishes off and we have never seen him. We still often said against each other; maybe he come just like his father after a year back and become a champion. It was not to be. The "old 58" sat down in the garden in the breeding loft and because he occasionally came out I left him sometimes up to its former breeding loft because it was empty. I romped than him and he loved it. Every day he trained and fight. It looked so good that I said to my father the "old 58" goes this weekend with. We flew Pont Saint Maxence (385 km) and he had that year not been a time in the basket. Nevertheless he played the 1st, won all the pennies and the top prize. After that he never sat in the basket. In 1967 he became the father of our legendary "three zeros" NL67.182000, a tiny fat blue hen that won 12 times the first. She had a father who was rejected because of its construction. On that day it was a huge disappointment, afterwards we have never had a better Christmas gift in 50 years.

From childhood I play with pigeons, it was and is my passion and my life. It was just after World War II that pigeon racing gets more members and joined the weekly competition. Often with a few pigeons but they did. If you had at that time 12 couples to fly you were a pretty big fancier. Those racers were also the breeders. The economy improved sadly the working man noticed little of that. They had insufficient money so they worked extra hours to pay their hobby. Most fanciers played on nest because they had only one loft were old and young birds lived together. Because everybody had to work on Saturdays the races were held on Sunday. The Whole family and the neighbors lived and when it was time that the pigeons could arrive everybody was eagerly waiting. During beautiful Sundays this gave some problems. Most children went with their parents to the beach or just a short bike ride or visiting friends or family. The children of many fanciers went not because dad’s pigeons had to come home. Who I speak most thought it was a disaster that dad had pigeons, everything must give way. If then also the pigeons where dad had put money on were late you had hell to pay. Yet the gambling on pigeons inseparable. It was all about small amounts but it gave an extra dimension to the sport. Gambling on birds was not as difficult but the point was that you wanted to receive more back than there was deployed and that was definitely not easy. There were then connoisseurs that earned money with their pigeons. No, not with selling pigeons it were the rapid pigeons that earned money. In particular on the short flights, there were the most, was much money deployed. Every week there was only one flight, hence the large number of fanciers that took part. To me that is still the most importantly. It was not about the number pigeons because almost everybody played with a small number. At that time was absolutely not spoken about unfair game because no one participated with a large number of pigeons. Everyone sought weekly out his best and did once or a while a few extra to keep them going.

It was during the time of the clocks and the rubber rings. By most fanciers was the first pigeon that arrived as soon as possible clocked sometimes even too fast and the owner has a week later suffer because the pigeon was so wild caught that he refused to go inside. There followed a lot of ugly words and often the whole floor littered with pigeon food because the boss began louder to whistle and threw more and more food on the ground to lure the bird. Yes it happened sometimes that the pigeon was shot of the roof. That was rare, I've never experienced but still people ask me if I ever shot a pigeon from the roof. You see that kind of fairytales going to suffer a life of its own. To make the pigeons were not afraid we never clocked all the pigeons, the fancier arranged for himself a little. If he had 10 with and he got five in a row he stopped clocks. My father always said; if it rains by us then it will not drip at another. Today it is so that almost all the pigeons are clocked in other words be registered by the electronic system, there is often discussion. Fanciers who have large numbers of pigeons rattling in just a minute thirty in the clock. That is very frustrating for the fanciers that can give a few. Luckily it sometimes happens that such small fancier a big fancier is too quick but mostly the little guy gets several times a hefty smack around the ears. It’s still so in the Netherlands that you may use as much pigeons as you like. So the big fanciers do nothing wrong.

The sport has grown into a commercial sport. Previously there was fiercely fought for the general championship. You become if you had performed best on all flights throughout the year. This meant that you had to join all races from April to October to win that title. When I had young children I went against it several times. I did not want that all flights counted so that young people with little children could go on vacation and still could become general champion. On my proposal was unanimously voted against by the older fanciers. Nothing, they said. General champion is general champion and that is always about ALL flights! There you are as a young father. I have not played for several years with youngsters because I did go on holiday. You see then it was also not always jovial. Now it’s so that by many clubs the general championship is even dropped. Is due the specialization and the ever-increasing number of races. After the years of plenty you now see everything at an accelerated pace declining. Many races propose anything more because of low participation. The game program of the job, the interest is gone. The hobby is far too expensive and the profs continue as if nothing is wrong. Especially the marathon players form a group who allow themselves difficult. They play (almost) all just the overnight long distance races and there must all for retreat. They take no notice of the program players which have early April everything in order because from that moment there is played for the championships. The long distance men are still in hibernation. They go as we already are hard at play only put together the pigeons because they do not fly with their youngsters. If we play at the cutting edge they come with baskets "training pigeons" and currently there lies the problem.

I know that there have always been some areas in the Netherlands where you could give "port" pigeons. They not participated in the races but only went along to train. No problem. There were plenty of fanciers who put all their pigeons and only a small percentage did not. From the mid-nineties were training pigeons or port pigeons generally good. There are associations were sometimes more training pigeons go on than racing pigeons. In North Holland where I have played my whole life we knew the phenomenon not. From the moment the training pigeons could be deployed on all flights it has given problems. Due to the sharp decline in membership training pigeons pressing too hard on the associations. Clubs are becoming smaller and therefore it become more difficult to carry out all work in the club. Requirement is that you must have at least five members and one must have a seat on the board. When that is not the case then you should go to another club where there are enough participants. The NPO wants to ensure that all birds are back in the competition, the fancier may determine himself if he will clock the pigeons. If they do not clock the pigeons more pigeons from another come in the results. With me in the club there’s one that don’t give the pigeons a chip ring before they go for a price. He is afraid that a pigeon stays away and then he is his money for the chip ring lost. That’s what the man only talks about. I'm sick if I've lose a pigeon and I don’t care about the money for a chip ring! I think it is much worse that my pigeon is gone. Yes, you have to deal also with such figures. They come with baskets full of pigeons and you have just extra work. It would be glad training pigeons lapse which we have again increased participation in the competitions. Let us not forget that pigeons that are not chipped gives a lot more work. The owner must fill out a participation list and the man who operated the computer have to enter all the pigeons by hand because they do not go over the basketing antenna. That same work must be ones again if the clocks are opened.

For many it will be a celebration if we all participate again. One condition is that we go back to 1 or at most 2 races per weekend. I truly think that less than 15% of all Dutch fanciers participating to all one and more day races. Those guys get all the attention while the program players play against much, much more pigeons. That is nothing. The races of 250 km is just child's play. No, it must be 1000 km or more. And who win this? Usually the same select group of which the birds leave on the Internet for a lot of money. I happened to read an article about a stuntman who played the first National against 751 pigeons. I wipe my ass with it off. Those men not, they walk with their chest out and get plenty of attention on teletext or in a pigeon magazine. It's really good if someone runs ahead with his chest as he realized a striking victory, we all do it finally for. It's for those men only good that all program players do not participate these marathon races otherwise nobody would know today's long distance specialists. Why? In the past Bordeaux was always our last old bird race and the only overnight race. As far as I can remember that race still never won by a long distance racer. Nowadays manage that men because in my region are less than 25 that join yet they can get along at national level.

I can only describe how I spend Christmas with my family. With no way I get an article on paper where the Christmas spirit is still alive. The time in the Netherlands, especially in these dark days before Christmas, the churches were still full is already far behind us. Most churches are now used for completely different purposes. We Dutch have a generally pretty good life, everything is properly arranged. Where I live it is as if time has stood still. Generally many rural residents, the houses and farms are quite far apart. It's quiet here, and we are grateful. I live with my wife Cora in a former farm. What is now our living room were once cows and where now the loft is was formerly used for the horse and the pigsty. Our parking lot once stood at the edge of the ditch the laundry room where the cans were rinsed. We have a large garden (too big) that formerly ran to the railroad and was full of all kinds of fruit trees .That part of our garden is incorporated into a 18-hole golf course. I just have a lot with pigeons and nothing with golf. My loft is the same size as a normal house. On the first floor are the old and young racers in six different departments, three on the south side and three on the northwest side. The northwest side is completely empty. Why is that? Fewer birds for a man which in a few months becomes 80 years and can’t all good keep up. On the southeast side there is a section for the widow hens than 12 breeding boxes for widowhood and/ or nest game and a division of 30-35 youngsters. I'll have to join it in 2017. Whether it will succeed should I wait because I am still under treatment for my eyes. Unfortunately, ears and eyes let me down but we remain optimistic! As it looks now the pigeons will be paired between Christmas and New Year and maybe it will be the first week January. Downstairs were always my breeders but the breeding loft is to a large extend seized by Marco who does not have a place to keep breeding pigeons at home. He's looking for bigger living space and of course a large garden to keep all his pigeons at home. For now he has succeeded not yet. Luckily we were able to solve it this way. Furthermore there is currently nothing shocking to tell about the pigeons. We are heading towards Christmas and the New Year. We call it the holidays. Can we still speak in this strange world on holidays while there’s only misery in a large part of the modern world. Every day again lumbered through the media with the most horrific images. Innocent people that cannot move, natural disasters that cost many lives and beautiful ancient buildings are bombed. It does not stop. In the Netherlands all peace and harmony. The heated discussions continue about Sinterklaas with his Zwarte Piet. Incomprehensible that large people try to kill this kids party. There are other things that we should worry about. What about respect and peace for all people. Later we are in the house Braspenning on Christmas day with the family together, always very friendly, good food (usually too much), it may not. Actually scandalous because we know what there is a poverty on the world. Sick children cannot be helped, threat of war, fear and sadness. Every year you hope the world improve but unfortunately it is only false hope. Maybe there will be this month a ceasefire, unfortunately we cannot call that feast. Close our eyes to the suffering in this world we should certainly not. Then what? I cannot answer that. The only thing we can do is our neighbor, elderly and sick people not to forget then we are already well on the way. We should all spend the Christmas days in our own way. I express the wish that for you and yours may still be an enjoyable Christmas.

For those beasts looks in Belgium not so cozy. From 17 December to 7 January 2017
there may be hunted. The Belgian fanciers are advised not to leave out their birds during that period. In the Netherlands the pigeons may not outside because risk of infection. There are still found dead birds or fished from the water that succumbed to bird flu.

During the weekend of 9 and 10 December was our annual Christmas show and champion ceremony. The Friday was entirely dedicated to the celebration and began with a warm buffet. Furthermore there was a pigeon quiz and bingo, also a raffle with a bike as a prize. During the day the birds are judged. Each member has used four pigeons, one old and one young cock plus one old and young hen. It is about who has the best quartet and three prizes will be awarded individually. On Saturday afternoon there was a spectacular sale by prominent fanciers donated pigeons and vouchers for a youngster 2017. It was a very pleasant weekend

Last night 9 degrees of frost, outside everything beautiful white and in the loft all troughs with a thin layer of ice. Because there is no wind and not a cloud in the sky it feels as if it is spring, nothing is less true. No leaves on the trees, but beautiful skies at setting sun. Lovely weather for a walk, coat and cap and a thick shawl. The pigeons look with this freezing cold weather beautiful. By me they are not paired yet, I definitely wait after Christmas. Others have their pigeons already a few days together and will have with Christmas the first youngsters in the dish. How many new champion or useful pigeons are in between is a question that still cannot be replied. However pigeon keepers are optimistic by nature and are confident that better pigeons be born than previous year. Without a doubt a positive attitude, as it should be. However we must not forget that the sport often of disappointment hangs together. Confidence in our own pigeons should be there. Who knows which promising youngsters take care for some special birds. Look how many good pigeons are ever born of two yearlings. I know plenty of examples of people who get along on a ticket with a youngster of two yearlings. Most buyers are not so happy about until it appears that this pigeon performs above expectations. The next year is from that pair nothing to buy anymore, not because one is left behind from both parents but because the fancier itself has also bred a "super" and as usual there’s little or nothing away from it whether….there is a big price to be paid for. In any case it is true that in a month at most lofts start the breeding season. Always very exciting. Good preparation is of utmost importance. Personally I let well before the pairing date the young cocks choose a breeding box. The old cocks then go to the young pigeon loft, their breeding boxes stay closed. The young males can choose from the vacant nest boxes. This avoids unnecessary brawls as the newly paired cocks and hens fly free in the loft. I also try as much as possible to replace the old hens in the breeding loft where they have been this year. They know where they live and their hunting cock will fly quickly behind them so this is also a way to avoid fights. By lengthening the days with artificial light the pigeons will accept each other more easily. It is important to ensure that the birds are not too heavy or too fat. Pigeons should be associated in the same condition as for a race. If these conditions are fulfilled you will notice that the pairing should not be a problem. The long distance players remain provisionally still in hibernation. They will only think of pairing if the new leaves come again to the trees. All other fanciers are as soon they go paring already busy with the preparations of the racing season. Their youngsters are as their season starts at least 5 months old. Long distance players totally no bother because they usually do not play with the youngsters. Those guys are a big part of the year working with in flown. A phenomenon were many association are not happy with. Lot of work and they do not participate in most games.

The new federal administration has done very much to attract more visitors these days. They are partially successful but actually it was a flop. Adding the number of visitors was higher than the year before. On the first day came 2975, and the second day 2300. In 2015 there were 3150 paying visitors that counted down € 31.500 to get in. To finance the free admission was held a sale of donated pigeons and tickets with yielded a total of € 26,000. To make it attractive for the visitors were forums consideration with behind the table a number of experts. Unfortunately for the organization there was sparsely interest for. Most attention was given to subject; losing youngsters. For the point "in conversation with the board," was absolutely not interested so this part was cancelled. On Saturday was Traditionally held the "youth day". Fortunately youth state everywhere still uninhibited throughout so this event can be every year seen as very successful. Also there was kept in a nicely decorated hall the celebration of a very long line of national champions. Too crazy for words that in such a simple hobby/sport are so many champions. What says a championship if you are not in the first three curved ended. Gold, silver, bronze is something we are used to at all sports, but fourth, fifth and yet more is something that no mortal understands, away with it! The organization find it odd that there is so little interest for this honoring under the non-champions. Have they ever wondered how someone feels that had won nothing and the whole day has to clap his hands for champion where he has never heard of and also not know, I know nicer things to think. Such ceremonies are only worthwhile for champions among themselves. A room full of people that all have won something gives atmosphere and appreciation plus it's not need to be such a prolonged monotonous meeting. Also for the champion is usually not so cozy. We must not forget that they already in the club, the department, rayon and I do not know what more they yet are honored. From this point of view this whole champion celebration is little or nothing and we just keep going. It is simply to make something attractive and say goodbye to the long tradition of comprehensive tributes. There is no man going even if you allowed free entry. What the "show" concerns while these days it’s every year a bigger debacle. Little interest, good pigeons you do not see anymore. Only beautiful especially for the exhibition beauty bred pigeons to admire. Unfortunately fanciers have no interest in champion homages and to pigeons they even do not look. What do they do at these days is talking with each other, it is more of a reunion that we can wonder it still make sense to hold these days. Early March again the spring fair and that’s I think something too much. I'm eager the entrance weather is free. This year more visitors but none income funds. Compared to 2015 the organization has with their new redesign let slip € 30,000 from their hands. With these costs they have despite the sponsors and the proceeds of the sale (€ 26,000) maybe just played equal.

Since two weeks prevails particular in western Netherlands the influenza A virus subtype H5N8. The Ministry of Health has therefore decreed an overall duty to keep birds indoors. All poultry species and also our pigeons (although pigeons are not counted among poultry) should stay inside. Especially around the IJsselmeer are last week nearly 1500 dead birds fished from the water. Also in Switzerland around the famous great lakes are dead water and migratory birds fished. Especially now that we are in the period of "pigeons shows and public auctions" live can there a prohibition be promulgated. Last weekend were in the Netherlands the major national NPO days and luckily everything could continue. Furthermore we now have to wait and see how the flu himself further expanding and what new measures being taken.

The pigeon sport was once more shaken because of doping. It will only happen that your name is called as doping user. What was the case? The German feed manufacturer Matador has in her mix seed rape seed and now it appears that in a large batch of rape seed also prevents poppy seed. Poppy seed comes from the poppy and there is morphine. Now I understand why there's so many sandwiches eaten with poppy seeds on top. The seed should come from Afghanistan where that is farmed in large quantities by the Taliban. Research has shown that pigeons has to eat a large quantity before they will have advantage or disadvantage of it. It's more of a storm in a glass of water. In England appeared to be no storm in a teacup. I've written about it before. The Sun came with a headline that also after a second inspection in a South African doping laboratory fanciers Kierren Clegg and Ricky Mc Grow are positive and are thus three years suspended. In the Netherlands Kees Droog was caught on the use of illicit funds. He would have inflammatory administered. Anyway his pigeon was after a second research positive! Actually incomprehensible that such players administer something they did not know or there are banned substances in it. The winning pigeon Queen of the night arrived in early morning from Pau with a distance of 1127 km at 4:24 pm and sold afterwards. How's that end? Sold is sold or money back? This mouse will still have a tail. It does not stop. In Belgium were from 1 fancier 5 pigeons found positive, drugs used! They were before knowing for 90,000 euro sold to China and not come back. What does the broker to do? It could for him ever to be a significant financial setback or the fancier who supplied the pigeons have to pay him his commission anyway. Therewith the end is far off because pigeons let return from China is almost an impossible task.

It is not a bed of roses in the sport. That experienced Frans Bungeneers from Belgian Ramst. From his lofts the locks were forced. The thieves came at the right time. While Frans his youngsters were sold at Pipa for an average of 4686 euros per pigeon burglars pitched battle. At audit found that there were still 29 old birds of the 90 in the loft. Than knowing French is a police officer. How rude is that?
The biggest selling site of the world is undoubtedly Pipa. They are best known for the high quality of the pigeons that they bring over the internet to the man for over 10 years. Youngsters would not qualify, it had to be only "top" and what do we see? With great regularity they bring youngsters on sale under the name Collectibles. Children of phenomena in pigeon racing on the sales table. There was not one right set of a champion loft they were all "second hand". Also went two pigeons of the hand for 26,500 euros each. One went to England and the other to Taiwan. What a madness when Harry appears in the pedigree.

The traditional date for winter breeding is November 26th. So if this article is facing has mainly the breeding started in many Belgian lofts. In the Netherlands it’s as if ever fewer fanciers do early winter breeding. Possibly this is because in our country the start of the young bird season is later than our southern neighbors. The age of those who will play a major role. I just look at myself. Previously I just had to do winter breeding. Youngsters would be at the start of their season a half years old so that the teething troubles were over. Now I must not think that I have at the end of January already a loft full of pigeons. I just got a little breath. I do will go soon start preparing. The young cocks (10) are allowed in the racing loft from 1 December to sort out their breeding loft. Furthermore it is intended that they are going to be paired between Christmas and New Year. They are beautiful come through the molt. A few have only one old pen and they shine up to you. Too bad they are not allowed outside of the bird flu. This week I have together with Marco all birds sprayed against vermin. Quite a chore, no not for me because I have very little but together with the pigeons from Marco there is still a considerable number. I would definitely can’t stand to take care of so many birds anymore. Together we have a room auction in Malta on Saturday December 17th. From me some old breeding and racing pigeons and Marco mainly molted summer youngsters of the best breeding and racing pigeons. We have been asked by the organization to be present there as well so we have a long weekend, for our standards, can enjoy a wonderful temperature. Marco is still looking for a house. Unfortunately this does not happen yet which means that the breeders are still a season with dad. We agreed that he the entire breeding loft with 24 breeding boxes and two aviaries gets available. I have nothing to look for more. Upstairs are two empty sections, one section for eight breeding couples, one for 12 racing couples, one for the 12 widow hens, one for 12 males and one for a maximum of 40 youngsters. Currently I still have mountains of work with all those pigeons of Marco. I'm looking forward to going to do much calmer which I was last winter already planning. But you know how it goes. A well-known Dutch folk singer became famous with "Nobody leaves his child alone." So I think about, assuming that he must do it alone in 2018. May also be because I'm 81 then.

Once the sport began as an elite sport. Only the better-off could keep pigeons for the hardworking man there was (yet) no place. Keeping pigeons was still in its infancy. More than a hundred years ago people started getting to do more of crossing different breeds of pigeons. The strange thing was that one always made more work to fly back pigeons from great distances home. The pigeon was a genius postman who could convey compared to everything else deliver the fastest important messages. The pigeon was also decisive for the world trade, for example coffee and spices. Do you understand that at that time it was really nothing to keep pigeons as a hobby, they were for trade or consumption. Yet there were became quietly more pigeon keepers. The dignitaries were given competition from leading breeders who started to take more and more long distance races. Especially in the crisis years of the Second World War the number of fanciers grew considerably. There was no work. Many people were poor, had no money and yet were kept pigeons. If no work man is still looking for something in which he can spend his energy. Pigeons keep house seemed quite nice, whatever it was. The problem was that the fanciers who wanted to participate in the games with his pigeons had to go to the cafe. Cozy among themselves a beer tastes best. Unfortunately it never stayed at one beer which was at the expense of the housekeeping money and most people had already so little. It has until after the Second World War lasted until pigeon clubs had their own room. Once it was so far the sport went by leaps and bounds. Belgium more than 200,000 fanciers and the Netherlands nearly 100,000. The sport flourished. Our pigeons was improved, it became stronger, the races told us what was good pigeons. Lofts were improved, companies began to focus on building lofts. Running with the rubber ring to the local pub was dropped. Many fanciers have their own clock and others hired a year. The transport of the birds changed. The dog cart, the cart, the cargo bike, train, truck, all lapsed. Nowadays youngsters not even know the existence of this. Nowadays driving our pigeons to the unloading place in modern equipped cars. Water and food on board plus a good ventilation. We landed in the electronic age. Fortunately the sport moved with the times. Nearly everyone has an electronic registry system so we can fully enjoy the arrivals of all pigeons. For that matter it could not be better. The sport is mainly for the elderly (there are most of) become too expensive because of the major changes in lifestyle. In addition, a large part of the sociability disappeared also because we are getting older. We are not so jumpy anymore. The problem is that too few young people come making the sport disappears more and more into the background. The newspapers pay less and less attention while for 2000 the newspapers after the weekend were full of pigeons results. It's gone and never comes back. One loft races seemed a nice solution for those who were too old to keep pigeons themselves or had no room anymore. The participation fee and the large losses do not lie so that kind of pigeon racing will die a quiet death. In the Netherlands this form of pigeon racing has even banned. Even youngsters should not race over 500 km in our country. At that way there remains little fun. Last weekend was on the internet sold a pigeon for more than 40.000 euros, how crazy you must be. What also struck me was the performance of the pigeon. National winner at approx. 40.000 pigeons. Without doubt a world performance but if you have no other prices what you do with it. In a room sale which a number of prominent fanciers had eight youngsters for sale was the most expensive 38.400 euros. A youngster who has never been in the basket but had Harry in the pedigree. Then hit a lot of wealthy pigeon keepers seem really excited. That particular weekend 160 youngsters were auctioned which yielded an average of 5016 euros. In a word; insane. How will fanciers felt that sit with 500 euros in their pocket with the intension also to buy a pigeon. It will not take long before all the name pigeons disappear from the scene and then there are others again. So was it used in a simple way and now it is accompanied by outrageous amounts. Still hordes of people do not know that the after breeding of those pigeons are broadly of the same poor quality as most of the pigeons. But if you having so much money that you so badly want to possess such a written up pigeon as a "gadget", what the hell. Unfortunately hooks therefore older fanciers off. They can no longer participate in the game. For them the fun is completely gone. It is the rich who call the shots in the pigeon world. The cozy the conversational is gone. The envy reigns supreme and the only people who can afford anything easy remain. The pigeon sport are destroyed and we come down again. I mean that the sport ends as it began, a hobby for the elite!

The agenda of the general meeting was the establishment of the ring prize 2017. In the Netherlands we pay 0,50 cents and with our southern neighbors it’s 1,07. To cover the costs the KBDB raise the rings with 1 euro and the one that more than 150 rings order should pay 2 euro more from the 151st ring. That way you can very easily tally the household budget. Thus it does not stop. There is still achieved a hefty price increase. For every pigeon taking part in a national competition (they have quite a few in Belgium) has to be paid 0,48 for the calculation of the results. I have no idea how many employees there are in the office of the national organization federation. Labor costs are nearly a million, that's quite something. I can imagine that it won’t take long until there will be considerable protest. Maybe the next Olympiad in Brussels serves as a suitable place for it. Or a new board will be a good solution? They sit as the organization does not change with exactly the same problem.

Last week I visited the North Holland championship day. I was involved from the beginning until a few years ago. What is left from that spectacular day event is still a far cry from what once was. Once we started early Sunday morning with the use of only champion pigeons and winners of major competitions. There were not so many pigeons showed. The level was very high and the fanciers who were eligible to participate were very honored. The whole day ran inspectors in white coats along the cages that were equipped with a lock. The day started with a joint champions breakfast followed by a question forum consisted of well-known national champions. During breakfast an amount was handed over to a representative of the KWF (cancer). All afternoon there were performances by famous artists and at the end of the day pigeons and vouchers were sold for the benefit of KWF. The hall was crowded and those who had bought for ten guilders lottery tickets had always price. This ranged from a bunch of bananas into a color television or a box of mandarins into a dishwasher. The visitors fought for these tickets. Fantastic, what were the days! This year the event took place in the same (reduced) room. The room was well attended but there was unfortunately no atmosphere. Many champions let it fail and did not even pick up their won sports trophy. The joint lunch were well cared, there was nothing wrong with. Well before closing time I was already home. I found nothing on but maybe I'll be a grumpy old fancier.

We are in the middle of autumn. When I got up and looked out the world was all white. A beautiful sight but it is not my weather. I do not like cold and wetness. My daughter is much better. She came this afternoon to say goodbye because she goes ten days to Curacao, a great temperature there so she will come back browned. We will have entertain us in the Netherlands with temperatures of 4 degrees above zero. It may be still comfortable in the loft especially in the morning with the sun shining at the front. For me reason enough to release this morning at half past eleven the cocks. In no time they were very high in the air. This is not a sign of shape but just a sign that it is more comfortable at that altitude than near the ground. We do not need to teach the birds they seek it out themselves. After half an hour they came back to the loft and then they notice that they want inside. Yesterday they all had a bath which made them look well. Especially a day later you can enjoy to watch some birds. A bath is anyway good for them, then the plumes feel extra soft. Furthermore it is an ambience of tranquility in the lofts and this will continue till Christmas. From mid-December I extend the days in preparation for pairing between Christmas and New Year. From that moment comes again fully liven.

I wish it was as calm within the pigeon organization as at my lofts. Unfortunately, that's not true. Miscellaneous proposals again submitted by the organization to make if necessary again make changes. For years there was a set flight program. It was during the time that the Netherlands had still about 100.000 members. It does not say that everything was much better but it was quieter. Now the NPO has only a handful members there’s no more rest in the organization. Each year there should be invented something new and that is just the older fanciers cannot stand. Older people are lovers of tradition. They have for years been broadly satisfied with the way the sport put together. No, I want definitely not romanticize, even then there was sometimes bickered about the smallest changes. However it was much friendlier. It was almost for all a hobby, pastime after the daily work. It was relaxing at home and then there were the social contacts in the clubhouse. They went together to loft visit, they exchanged pigeons with each other, they went together on the bike training the pigeons, pigeon racing caused some relaxation. It is now only effort and envy. Fanciers are not really happy more with their hobby which also takes a lot of time. It has become an expensive hobby, in my view far too expensive. To a large extent the fanciers are guilty themselves. There are held far too many pigeons. Previously the pigeon had to earn a place in the loft for the next year, there were performances of his or her expected. Today too many pigeons are kept who have done nothing but have a sister, cousin or uncle that has ever won a nice prize. You will not go along. It used the 123 the 654 or 928 that were so called because they had achieved special achievements

Today all pigeons have a flashy name even though they have never achieved something special. Beautiful pedigrees and names like Tornado, Speedy or Super Sprinter cover worthless pigeons. One is more concerned with names and pedigrees as the pigeon itself. No one immerses himself in sophisticated breeding methods. It has been said the best come from the best, in practice there is considered insufficient to. Fanciers have been satisfied if some familiar names usually written up from not performing commercial fanciers come in the lineage. The construction of the pigeon and everything what has to do with a good pigeon does not interest the today fancier so much. Descents, that’s what it’s about. Mainly descendants with names of fanciers you can read for three weeks at various sales sites. Let that exactly be the pigeons you should not have. You do understand as well as I that the men who are trying to sell birds on any site that pigeons are just ordinary death makers. In such a pigeon world we currently live. The sport is totally changed. Previously it all happened in summer months and winter months were named the quiet season. It is exactly the opposite.

The last races have just ended or the marketing circus starts again. First are offered late youngsters obviously from the best breeders. Could it be that this are late youngsters where the pigeons have completed the last races of the season. Youngsters that lay one week under a certain pair and the next week by another couple. Play youngsters they call it and it is usually not exactly known of which couple they are. They are often youngsters from youngsters. It does not mean there can’t be a good one between. On each loft sometimes will be born a real good pigeon. When I read the sales sites there are only good, but that's impossible. Anyway, it belongs to modern pigeon sport but real fanciers grilling thereof. The category of disgruntled fanciers increasing every year. The common man cannot participate in the battle to buy affordable pigeons. There are mainly by gullible foreign fanciers amounts counted down where the average fancier dizzy. Commerce has become increasingly important, everything revolves around money. Fanciers that have issued capital to "paper" birds still think that they have done good purchases. However practice is quite different. In no way they can keep up with their expensive pigeons. There must of course be something else going on. They do not live on the flight line, the wind always blows against them so that the pull of the pigeons is always on the side where their rivals live and you can never win. Or so it is argued. They do not see that birds decide where they fly, the wind can sometimes effect on short flights. It cannot be that the annual champions playing to the head for many years against the best fanciers always have the wind in its sails. They must also overcome the setbacks but they have by strict selecting and breed with knowledge built up a stock of pigeons which still managed weekly perform well under many different Dutch weather. Take a look at these fanciers and see with your own eyes what a simple way they keep pigeons. They are not satisfied with names and pedigrees, there should also appealing performances are applicable. Only then the performance circle is around for them. That has nothing to do with early or late releases, nothing with the mode of transport, nothing with a flight program, even the number of nights their pigeons are in the basket does not affect whether or not performing well. I am as long as I have pigeons in favor of just one night basket. I think that this is a characteristic of the speed players. Long distance players make no problem of it. Look at their pigeon that race Barcelona. They're almost a week in the basket and look how many times these heavy flight have a normal course. Good pigeons you need or try to breed. It’s not only that, there is more to it. Especially the care and strict selection count. Do not make the same mistake as most sports friends into thinking you have a loft with only good pigeons, most are completely worthless. Believe me or not, fine, then the basket will tell you in 2017.

It is now November the month of the falling leaves. The weather forecast indicates that temperatures dramatically go down, it will be bleak and cold with heavy rain. We're going back in a few days from 16 to 8 degrees. The only advantage is the grass does not grow anymore so my wife and I do not have to mow every Friday afternoon the grass. Now the garden is overflowing with leaves the falling off large amounts of feathers in the loft is as good as over. This is because my breeders are already long separated. The racers have not been in action until the end of the season and the youngsters had in the early spring already dropped the requisite small feathers so they are still working on the last two primaries. They all shine towards you again and for those who have hardly selected it will become even more difficult. Both the charts and the lesser gods will again look exquisitely beautiful. Soon they all wear again their Sunday suit. For weeks I have to suck every day large amounts of feathers. Now the last tail feathers you see lie. Many birds are busy with the molt of the back flights. These are the only feathers that not molted annually, usually only two or three. Pigeons with a long and tough season behind would sometimes have problems with poor ingrowth of one or two back flights. I always say that it is a characteristic of a good race pigeon but that does not mean I like it. In the distant past I regularly pulled out such bad feathers. Whatever you do it’s always a bad pen in its place so just stay away and do nothing. It's not a pretty sight, but they fly no less next year. This molt period I had a young hen (done well) who had serious problems with molting. She was really molting sick and perhaps she had other problems with her health. It was certainly not well with her, she got several tube pins and also quite a lot of those jagged small feathers on its wings. Such pigeons nobody wants in his loft and because I was convinced that she would not perform well I put her away. A few times raise a piece of cheese will sometimes help. However by me they should unassisted smoothly get through the molt. Too bad because it was a really nice little pigeon, she comes also from one of my better breeding pairs but fortunately I have two sisters and a brother of hers who have performed all three as a youngster until satisfaction and for the next year I have all confident.

More and more fanciers discover that their pigeons does not react or different respond to medicines. The fight against trichomonas is a good example. Especially the category poisoners as I call them make a mess of it. One takes it not so serious with the rules. Personally I have been trying for years to limit drug use to a minimum but I have learned that without not going. If there has occurred an infection in the loft I support to provide a complete cure. For years I gave once every three weeks a two days so-called disinfection cure for cancer. The performance was excellent which certainly not come with a two-day cure. It was just part of the total care. Everyone knows gradually that strong play does not come from a bottle, there's needed very good pigeons and a very good care. The point is that everyone also needs to know how a good pigeon looks. One watches the muscles, the other on the feathers, even the wing and eye expression plays by many a significant role. There are fanciers who like a deeper pigeon and others their preference is more towards the total skeleton. We will certainly have to pay attention to the performance, the basket tells us more than the manual inspection. A pigeon with soft feathers and no endurance will bring nothing to go. A pigeon with a wonderful eye and flabby muscles will disappoint the boss weekly. The opposite is also true. I had pigeons in my hands I thought; as that would be in my loft I stood on top. You know those thoughts undoubtedly. When the owner showed me the performance list I thought what the hell we worry about. A very small pigeon with much power can shine every week even though she has a weak back, a thin wing, a small flat head with a single eye and no charisma. If you do not know what she have in its march no man wants to own such a pigeon. We pay too much attention on construction and then you breed in the end very nice pigeon that win prizes on the show. Fine if you preferred. How many times will be said by a well-built pigeon in top condition "I dare to put my entire monthly salary", in other words that pigeon shows she is in top form. Put your whole monthly salary is not that difficult but to catch back five times is a different story. We all pay attention to all facets, practice and theory remain a huge difference.

In the summer we do our best during the season to take care of the birds so that they can perform at the weekend. Unfortunately many fanciers retreat once the season's over from that. It does not happen all as punctual anymore. I have throughout the year garlic in the water. I believe in. I think it definitely works against cancer which contamination is especially detrimental during the racing season. They impede the flight and appetite and everyone will understand that there is no significant price to win anymore. Garlic is healthy too. Every week fresh vegetables is something that cannot be waived. Believe me the pigeons certainly needed. The big molt is almost over, so no more feathers in the grit and mineral trays. What is much worse is the dust that comes free with the unfolding of the springs. That little light flakes blowing in all directions, just look into the drink tray. Certainly no luxury to also refresh the drinker every day during this time. Bathe is a necessary evil. With me they bathe in the loft, beautiful sight but what a job to clean up the wet mess especially if you have a number of departments. Yet do for bathing benefits the quality of the springs and bugs hate it. Currently I am working with a para-coli cure of dr. Van der Sluis. I'm sure it participates in overall health. It gives me a good feeling and I'm sure the spell; "In winter are earned the prices for the next season," therefrom has arisen.

After a fancier from England this summer has been caught for fraud is almost certainly now a Dutch fancier caught of the use of banned substances, let's call it a doping sinner. Just like in the UK it happened on a major national long distance race. In the Netherlands are 30 names published last season on doping. By 29 fanciers everything was in order and one has in a first control urinated outside the pot. How it’s end is not yet known why I still do not want to mention his name. I can say that the suspect is playing in the same division as me and he already has won a national victory and this is not working directly in his favor.

Without the program on the overall assembly of the NPO is discussed the program it’s already published in a Dutch pigeon magazine. Yes or not well intentioned with such a way of working many members did not agree and certainly not the electors. For me the program is not bad and am therefore in favor. The whole thing keeps minds churning. I have seen that our central management for smaller business decided to resign. It is not easy to do it right for everyone. That matter is the whole pigeon organization is not well put together. The central management has little or no control. The meeting beasts in other words the electors that again call the shots every time. I've had my time it doesn’t interest me anymore. But who am I? I can imagine that younger fanciers make themselves very busy since this is their hobby which they hope to have fun for many years. The main point in this new flight schedule is the start of the young bird season. For many years it starts in the third week of June. Now is proposed that only begin on August 4 and the end of September is the season then passed. Winter breeding is no longer needed which can be an advantage. But it can also be a disadvantage for those who are used immediately after the season (was 6/7 September) to go on holiday. October is done with the nice weather.

Quite a few years the forfeit of youngsters is an enormous problem. Several studies have been and are still being committed but a solution is still not there. Drinks, powders or capsules where worldwide advertising is made will not help. Maybe we should look for the more climate change. There is plenty of debate about reducing carbon dioxide emissions and what about the unstable weather. Global warming leads to less stable weather and considerably heavier rainfall. Today's homing pigeon is there maybe not be sufficient to withstand. The transport must be given all the attention. Many youngsters have been disabled as they arrive at the release point. The pigeons cars are especially the first time chock-full. Those who have experienced sometimes a pigeon landing know how terribly hot it can be in the pigeon cars. The still inexperienced youngsters are due to thirst severely stressed and will have the greatest difficulty to come home that same day. That youngsters from the outset know how and where they can drink is vital. It is advisable youngsters even put three days in a large shipping basket with on every side a drink tray. Sprinkle some sunflower seeds in the drink trays. The seeds float the birds will pick them up and feel right that they can drink. Give them food once a day in the baskets. Many fanciers will feel little for it. Compare pigeons not with people. They have from origin an immune system that is different from ours. That they pick up food that lay in the manure of healthy pigeons can do almost no harm. Whether we will avoid big losses I wish it were true. In any case it is highly recommended to learn the youngsters as soon as possible to drink in the basket. The reason that the NPO has proposed to fly with the youngsters much later is born in practice. More and more Dutch fanciers prefer to fly their youngsters only on natour (August 1 to September 8). The strange thing is that the group that does not play natour stand on their hind legs because they feel that it is started too late. Try to come up with a unanimous opinion.

If you will go ahead in the sport you have to select strictly. You can do that by just looking at the results. The most difficult during the selection period is figuring out the youngsters. One watches the building, then you have to know very well how good fly or breeder should look like and what conditions they must meet. I know myself that I've always been a very rigorous selector but it’s becoming increasingly difficult. The big molt is over and with me also the selection. All pigeons that still sit are worth certainly be allowed to stay for a year. The bad thing is that the boss cannot stand large numbers of pigeons anymore. I never was a big fancier I could compete with 24 couples. That number is much too large. Every time I find myself that I will be moving a pigeon back pack from the group to other fanciers. A day later I spend another two or sometimes three I wanted to keep myself to another loft and must necessarily bring back three more for my own loft. Especially now that the breeding pigeons practically are through the big molting they become more beautiful every day. Great to be so busy every day with your pigeons but it’s difficult to definitively say goodbye to them which is certainly not a fun activity. Still I have to continue to come at least on the number of what is planned. Keep some spare pigeons is not wrong. Winter is still long and there may still be some fall to as the raptors. Do not release them is an option but I like to see a flock of pigeons that fly around the house. Every morning I leave some outside and at the end of the morning I call them inside.

This time of year there are large numbers late youngsters sold. You will understand that these are all very good, especially if you believe the pedigrees. My opinion is that if you have a loft of pigeons that performs broadly satisfactory you better cannot purchase late youngsters or you must have sufficient space. Late youngsters walking just in the way and in a few months you will have enough early youngsters that can participate in the flights. With late youngsters you start late with the breeding so you cannot race with their youngsters. My preference always goes to summer youngsters from the breeders these are on time mature to be paired. One who select strict and therefore will perform well will as in other lofts occasionally breed a promising pigeon, better is not. When you are in that situation you can buy every two years a pigeon for fresh blood. Do that with a loft where you'd have a pigeon. You will certainly have a good reason and pigeons will in most cases be affordable.

Before we begin the new year is still a lot to be done. My wife and I can look back on a successful short vacation. The weather was not ideal but we had no holiday to lie in the sun. It was a break in the north of Germany in part by the former East Germany and West Germany a bit. Although it is already a long time ago that the Wall fell the differences are obvious. With such a break you are not directly dependent of beautiful summer weather, as it is dry you can set up a cap and put a warm jacket on. Rain makes it poor and the atmosphere is deteriorating. We had everything and then ten days are long enough. When we got home no internet and no phone. I could not see how many times I've been called and how many emails were received. Since Tuesday (today) everything is working again, calls completed and more than 500 e-mails have disappeared in the trash. Everything is under control so we can prepare for the winter season. About six weeks we celebrate St. Nicholas, no not Santa, in the Netherlands. A more than 100 years existing feast especially for the children. Previously you be, if you had been naughty or at school had not well done your best, frightened by your parents. You would not get presents but you went with Zwarte Piet in the bag and he took you to Spain. Of course it was not all that bad and if it was December 5 each child had a pack from the good Santa. Currently there is much to do about particular Zwarte Piet, it has to do with discrimination. A certain group cares about the color of Zwarte Piet, his face would have given a different color. It’s even a subject of discussion in the Council of Ministers and America! A more than 100-year-old kids feast where I do not know how many books have appeared with on each page an image of the saintly man and his servant Zwarte Piet. Where people now are already not worry about. Originally has been the cause of the black face that Piet crawled through the chimney to put presents for the children down by the stove. I can still remember that I was 'Blue' singing on the stove and the next early morning went to see or Zwarte Piet had brought a gift. All very exciting and now big people doing difficult because the servant, that word may definitely not used anymore, has a black face. When I got older I have for many years played for St. Nicholas with my father. An unforgettable time and to this day children are still under the spell of the festival which is celebrated on December 5. After that we prepare for Christmas I‘m eager if there comes commentary on Santa Claus, maybe there are people who feel that his beard on the pitch, what a hassle! After Christmas comes New Year and that is the deadline. Then begins pigeon land again become truly awake. At lots of lofts get on January 1 the first youngsters their foothold ring 2017. These are the so-called winter youngsters whose parents end of November are paired.

Winter youngsters are half years old when in the Netherlands the game with the youngsters start. Usually the teething troubles are behind. Personally I darken the youngsters from the 2nd half of March until the 2nd week of June. The first two weeks I drive as many as possible so they are ready for the races. You can then play until the end of September and it is not wrong to light them from late July until the evening ten o'clock. Most begin in the early morning but my experience is that this is not necessary. Mid-August leave the winter youngsters the first quill and mid-September they certainly are still on 7 old pens and that is almost the same as a "full" wing. The big problem is still the e-coli bacteria or adeno virus. Pigeons who suffer are not able to quickly orient themselves making them rather fly the wrong way than the good.

Para typhus can be a very nasty disease because it is usually dormant. You do not notice the pigeons fail something but yet they are not top. The manure may look fine and they train good. Since once needs to be an effort they hooks off, come home late and often look "flew off" (very tired). Therefore I am now with a three-week course in progress. The pigeons find there absolutely no bother and the molting is not affected. In the new year before the races start they get a vaccination against paratyphoid. After the course what they get now I give after 5 days eggs a 5 day cure against trichomoniasis (canker) and they have to do with it. March 1 everything is put in motion for the new season which is still a long way away but before we know we are to it.

End of this month start the first tributes. Third week of November is our national event traditionally held in Houten. Many visitors from the neighboring countries come to it and linking on Sunday a visit to view the Belgian pigeon market in Lier plus a visit to the famous Natural Breeding Station. In the second weekend of December my club has its annual show with a festive champion homage. Special attention is then given to the best day long distance pigeon of the Netherlands which is owned by Ruud Moes one of our members. A week later the homage of the ZCC champions a combination of Zaanse associations in which already played hard for many years. In March last ceremonies take place and in January the biggest pigeon event that is held once every two years. I'm talking about the Homing Pigeon Olympiad in Brussels. Sure we will meet there again many sports friends. Also a great event the Show of the Year at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool. This must have been through everyone at least once. There you notice that the sport is far from dead. Unfortunately I will not be there. I'm have been there a lot of times but unfortunately this is too heavy for me. That's one of the disadvantages of growing old.

No, I will not talk again about the biggest youngsters competition in the world held from Orleans. We long known that the national race by a number of experts with a wrong view of contemporary sport is killed off. It remains a shame that there’s still no change is brought in. I think there are still many fanciers who find it challenging to join as a national race. It must be possible in the Netherlands, as one of the main pigeons countries, yet at least one national competition for youngsters be held with a total solution for all participants. With our southern neighbors they play Chateauroux with youngsters. To me that is 665 km and the longest distance in Belgium is 550 km. Will be 600 km an insurmountable problem for the most northerly places? There must be an appropriate release point to revive a national mega competition. The point is that a contest will be held with a national solution and a national result. By making also some regional results will surely encourage participation. A flight with a national profile we need within the sport to present ourselves. About such a race is spoken, getting media attention. In this way we let anyone who wants to hear or see that the sport is a modern sport with professional transport. Regionally, nationally and internationally, we show up where Dutch pigeons are capable of. It does not always go about the distance, it is more about participation and the list. A nationwide competition where thousands of youngsters join is a huge positive image for our sport. Of course there are hooks and eyes at a national competition especially the difference in distance between the front and rear directions, so what! There can still only one win and it will never say in advance where this winner lives. With headwind may be the shortest distances for the benefit and at the tail longer distances could ever have a better chance of winning. If we are about these things keep on nagging there will never be a national competition of the ground.

What we are doing in the Netherlands does not make sense. Currently they play from four different release points. Perhaps honest but that is not evident in the participation. A national flight for all participants from the same release point must ensure that fanciers become enthusiastic again. The one major annual flight will thus have to be arranged that there is spoken just as in previous years about "Orleans fever" but with a different release point, perhaps "Paris fever" or "Dutch Grand Prix." A first prize a large sponsored car, which must nevertheless be able! In recent years the former National Derby Orleans is demoted to fourth regular sector. Nice thought and nothing special. Sorry, I have no other and, unfortunately, no better expression. We look at the participation of this year. In Sector 1 were 995 participants with 11,848 pigeons; in Sector 2, 707 to 12.727 birds; in sector 3 10,654 pigeons at the start raised by 961 fanciers, sector 4 with 733 participants 11,985 pigeons. A total of 47.214 birds, which is still a respectable number of birds which may be considerably higher according to experts. If the Dutch pigeon organization has 18.000 members and 3396 joined (which is less than 20%) we cannot say the Dutch fanciers are eager to join. It’s clear something else must be devised. That the flight included for the championships in the 11 departments seems to be a prerequisite. A beautiful task for the NPO to magic a new world famous prize game out of the hat.

The last time I was already reported a fraud case in England. Then, longtime it remained silent. They are also not the best situations within our sport to make extensive mention at. In any case the fraudster is now nailed to the post. It was the 52-year-old Eamon Kelly who wanted to write the grand prize from Tarbes (935 km) on his name to win a car. He had previously such a great success achieved but now with a completely different outcome. Because the man his winning pigeon flew 1075 meters per minute faster than all competitors there was suspicion. It appeared that the man had 14 pigeons used but they were not listed on the registration form. He kept these at home and 14 others transported to the south of France. He was disqualified and has admitted his fraud. If you ask me there is only one penalties and that is ending pigeon sport!

Since we had not yet got round to. Our planned trip begin September 24 was canceled due to low participation. Our first choice was Southern Germany and has now become the north of Germany. Sounds like fun because we have never been there. It will be a short trip. We stay at the same hotel and make daily trips with the whole group. You know how it works if you want to break. On departure everything has to look perfect knowing it looks after three days as if nothing was cleaned. My son will take care of the pigeons. If he feed them and gives clean water I'm already very satisfied. Cleaning is not the first priority and he doesn’t relaese them. He is an entrepreneur and is busy enough and if I return I take care as I am accustomed to for 70 years. Even though we remain only ten days away during that time the birds do change. There are some that become nice again and there are those who still heavily molting but be presentable again in a week. Once I'm home they all get a three-week paratyphoid cure where they totally do not suffer from during molting. As it stands now I pair the breeders yet again the end of November. Just finished the flights and we are already preparing for the breeding process. Do you see a pigeon season lasts one calendar year.

In some departments is the season is over for three weeks but there are also some departments that stopped the weekend of September 25th. If during this period the birds have three weeks rest feathers fly in no time to your ears. With me are the pigeons some time to rest because I stopped earlier. The first thing I do in the morning when I get into my loft is putting the doors ajar and vacuum the huge mass feathers. Whit the breeders it’s no longer necessary which have already become beautiful. The big molt has almost finished most need only throw a pen. Mid October they are again in their Sunday suit. They are ready for the winter breeding and some of them may also have view on the annual show. I'm 38 years long in the winter months cross through the country to assess pigeons beauty. I deliberately say beauty because it is not visible from the outside whether it is a bad or good racer or breeder. We can suspect but that's something else. In pigeon land there are a couple of those soothsayers who claim that they can see it. I do not believe that! Fanciers can do great debate among themselves whether a bird is or is not good. There are pigeons which is said I dare to put my entire monthly salary. By this is meant that the pigeon has a great look as if he can beat the whole world what does not mean that in reality does. I've also experienced in my own loft. Such a pigeon you put at the top of the list and then competed for big money. Participation is still something else than cash if you know what I mean. The opposite is also true. You'll also note that a pigeon is rejected by several fanciers while that one several times delivered a top performance. So it is with the assessment of pigeons for flights up to 500 km, from 5 to 800 km and there are also marathon pigeons. In all three disciplines are beautifully built pigeons. In the group of up to 500 km are often the most beautiful. Perhaps that is because I am an avid lover of such flights. Whether they are indeed suitable the basket will prove. Beforehand we can say that it is a good long distance pigeon but they will have to play first and the basket will show whether we are right. It is now molt time and we are busy with other matters than during the racing season. Rest is best. Pigeons are sometimes so heavy molting they do not even want to leave the loft. Twice a week bathe they have rather than flying around the loft. I leave them now as much as possible out just lazing in the sun. They do not come loose every day, I get them to speak out their flying rhythm. I feed them at 9 pm and afternoon at five. I also make sure they are not too heavy. Too heavy or too fat birds molt not good. Do not think wrong that they now need more food, better is to give them a little less. Grit and soon as the weather is colder a bit more oilseeds. All you have to do to get the pigeons through the molt.

For many years is being done winter breeding. In late November were definitely put together the breeders and many fanciers did it also with their racers. This had a number of reasons. In that period it is still not as cold in the Netherlands. By illuminating the pigeons were renewed the days so the birds mated easily than in the middle of winter when the days are short and cold. Once little boys lying in the dish you do not bother that pigeons fly to the fields. There are risks involved because there’s worked in spring with poison and when the pigeons get inside you have a major problem. It is also true that the youngsters are six months old when the races begin. Chances are that the teething troubles be over. It is also an advantage that winter youngsters have shed the small feathers and hold the feathers so they have still a good as full wing at the end of the season. You know that something is very important when there’s played for beautiful results and championships. It is quite possible that Dutch fanciers this year do lesser winter breeding this year. The reason for this lies in the much later launch of the young bird season. The NPO has proposed as a pilot to start next year in early August. By darken and lights from the longest day you keep the youngsters well into the feathers. By starting later with breeding you have not already in late January a loft full of pigeons. It might be interesting for the fanciers to have a rest period between the selection and breeding period. It will be some getting used to and it is not yet final. That’s a pity for thereby there’s a risk of division within the associations. Whatever is suggested by our head office they can never do good for everybody even though the change is so well supported. It should be the case that what the central administration proposes this uncritically is adopted by the members. It is not for nothing suggested, it eventually comes anywhere from the members. I used to have always a clear view about what was going on within the sport. I cannot imagine anymore that I've made me so busy about. Now it does not bother me anymore. I think it's all fine and certainly hope to be able to play another year with my pigeons. Previously I had to get involved. I just had to be champion, it was a great time. Now it is much more relaxed but that would not say better. Then and even now it's great to win a competition, it is the reward for a whole week working hard to bring home the victory.

Molting is not an easy time for the pigeons. There are those who are very molting sick, I'm watching it. Pigeons should now be very healthy. By properly care they need to get through the molt without any problems and where that fails they can leave. Only pigeons that have no problems the next three months may continue. I assume that pigeons who did not do what the boss expecting are gone. This also applies to youngsters who have been selected because of poor or bad construction and/or poor performance. We are talking about pigeons that have passed the selection. In addition I always keep a spare pair of pigeons. I use primarily as nurse pigeon and once the season starts they go away. I take the risk that if I lose one I have no replacement. These reserve pigeons you should also place and not everyone has enough compartments to also keep reserve pigeons. Unfortunately not everyone has access to breeders and still know a lot of those guys play well with. Presumably they experience more pleasure from their pigeons than all those men with I do not know how many lofts and a multitude of birds.

The season is over. There is much written about. With regard to the weather conditions it was not best. Therefore were lots of flights not easy and we can qualify 2016 as a rather heavy and difficult season. The youngsters were lucky but nevertheless there were still rural seen huge losses again. Some lofts are even ruined, others had to surrender "only" 30% of their pigeons. Today we call it normal but it is not. When you see how much attention is paid here it’s many times wrong. I understand that there is going to be paid more attention to. A special commission will be created for this problem. It is intended that the Netherlands is divided into three longitudinal sectors. Hereby would be prevent cross discharges take place. West Netherlands will play from the southwest, central Netherlands holds the center line and the east plays as much as possible at the most south easterly landing places. Not until 500 km can be played from the same place for the whole country. All this is already a bit of the result of the survey conducted by the NPO where incidentally nothing is brought out yet. In the coming months there will be much to do about it because we are facing the off-season, at least as we call it. My experience is that it’s even busier for many fanciers because of the many meetings, exhibitions, champion honoring’s and room sales. The latter is perhaps the most fun because we get bored on the mass internet sales. Fortunately the fanciers are increasingly realize that buying pigeons from a picture or only by the beautiful description makes no sense. Fanciers want to buy pigeons where they see something in and think they can give their colony a quality injection. Just those pigeons you want in advance look at, have in your hands and that is only possible on room sales. The total auctions that take place in an auction hall are the most interesting because you can evaluate all the pigeons, the bad as well as the good. The results are described in the sales list and it's nice that you can assess firsthand the pigeon before you bid.

Now that the season is over will be the coming time evaluate everything. What is good will remain so and what was bad there is tampered with. There is within my department, which have a small thousand members, launched a proposal for a new classification of the flying areas. Beautifully designed and well prepared to get the approval of the majority. So each department can set its own layout and flight program. In the Netherlands are 12 departments and over is the national government known as the NPO. The strange thing within our organization is that the national government actually little or nothing has to decide whether to tell. It is still true that the representatives of each department (the electors) have a say and that is a situation that is difficult to control. The NPO can propose what they want as the majority of the electors (each elector will vote with the results of his department) vote against can do the NPO whatever they want but the party is canceled. Practice has shown that the NPO attracts a lot of times the short straw and that is the cause board members of the NPO quits after a short time and then must again from scratch start. Now there is launched a nationwide proposal by the NPO for a new flight program. And that is something were especially the older fanciers are not waiting for. These are people who love traditions and they are hard to get off. That is why it is so difficult to develop something new in the sport. Too bad that many fanciers do not even notice. It is as if they would rather plod through until no pigeon sport is possible anymore. It would be a terrible shame if our sport goes defunct. Therefore a call to the elderly; be positive and give young board men the opportunity to save our sport with new impulses. The new flight program involves all departments begin on the same date and also end again right. Each department has the same number of speed races which also applies to other disciplines. The main difference with previous years is that the races for youngsters only start in early August and the natour races are expired. The latter I am very sorry because I really liked to play these races but if the majority vote "for" than I agree obviously with this. The new flying program starts on 1 April and ends in late September with a national competition for youngsters. This means winter breeding are no longer necessary because the races for youngsters begin much later in the season. Problem is; how do you get the youngsters until the end of September well into the feathers? With problem I mean that not everyone has the opportunity. Problems within the sport have always been there. Take the number of birds which you can participate, which is free and that means that Johnny joins with 10 (because he does not have enough space and finance) and Pete comes with 100 because he does not have the problems of Johnny, speaking about fair play! Within the sport is also the location of the loft is important. The wind can have a significant impact on the course of the game. Football playing 11 against 11 on a field with fixed dimensions, swimming competitions done with teams or individually in the same bath, cyclists ride on the same track their games and there are numerous examples. The point is that they all face the same situations. In competitions for pigeons it’s not always the case. In one area they have to deal with head wind and to the other side of the country a south wind is blowing. So is also the chance of rain. Therefore it will always be that pigeon racing is not a fair game. Do not misunderstand me, I do not mean that it is unfair. Unfair is doping or make fraudulent transactions, everyone knows exactly what I mean.

The time for the selection of our birds is not only after the flight but throughout the year. Personally I am not for doing away pigeons during the season. I'll make notes which I can use in the final selection. We all want to win and pigeons that win to remain in each loft. Yet we must be careful with that. It is also about how many pigeons to the victory. Was it a flight with a very long contest duration or soon over. How were the weather conditions. What was the nesting position or was the performance achieved on widowhood. Won the pigeon a price on eggs, small or big youngsters and some new eggs in the dish. I keep up that always but deviated from the last few years, must be the age! The fanatic becomes a little way. Remember that if you want to achieve you have to do anything and even the smallest details can be important for achieving a good result.

We are all looking for loft strengthening. That sounds better than that we are all looking for good pigeons. Good pigeons you do not just have, you have to breed yourself. That's easier said than done but it comes down to. There are very few fanciers who have a loft full of useful or good pigeons, and if they have then they do them not so easily away. Who sells his hobby? None yet! If you may believe the selling sites are sold only top pigeons and there's been a lot written about. Everyone should now gradually realize that real top pigeons are rarely sold. Buyers will have to do it often with grandchildren or perhaps a single direct child and there will probably fail something. Fortunately it happens that fanciers themselves breed a real class from parents that they selected himself, better you do not. Each year clubs have one or two fanciers that have a real super that year. A wealth for an real fancier. We are not talking about money but about many times such a bird arrives early. That's an experience that I've experienced a few times in my career. At the beginning of the season it is so that you tell your fellow fanciers proudly that this or that pigeon already for the third time has arrived early. Three weeks later you're all over the moon if that same pigeon over and over again is another one of the first. Again three weeks later you start to get a little nervous, it would indeed be a disaster if the pigeon not come back, and if nothing is wrong plays this conscious pigeon an early prize for the ninth time. Who has such a pigeon? There are always fanciers who are in possession of such a white rave. The season runs through and for the old birds are still four flights scheduled. Each week the boss think more and more he will participate with this pigeon. There is a risk, an accident is in a small corner, and if the pigeon is not at home while the majority of the loft has arrived the master is going more nervous walking to his loft as he stares at the sky simultaneously or his favorite is approaching. I've experienced too. There were seven at home and my cock which later was the second best of the Netherlands did not show up. Suddenly he was there and was seventh clocked, it was in the days of the rubber rings. When the results came he was still 35th against 4,710 pigeons. Oh what I squeezed him and what a liberating feeling you get when that pigeon is in the loft. At the end of the season it is really not funny as you possess a pigeon like that. Then plays all through your head if such a pigeon let longer waiting for it than usual. Great is it when you have a pigeon at the end of the season yet, it will be exciting again how high he ended in the various classifications. If you want to end by the best in big or national high you have to start in the club and then have a look how it is in the interplay or the rayon. If the top is there you are naturally very curious where he is provincial. If that is also the first place then it becomes again a nervous affair because then you will also nationally known as the best of the country and if that is not the case remains a ranking nationally in the top 10 always a dream for every fancier. Currently we have at the club someone playing the best pigeon of the country. A hen who last Saturday won her 18th prize this season. Another one she can win and then 2016 passed. For the one a disappointing season but for this man an unforgettable season. He has this season five biggies pigeons, two are in our area by far the best. Or they again will join on the last flight will cause some headaches. It's an adventure, so it is a golden or an iron which means all or nothing. Regarding the members of the club it may be the "everything". When you pass through that a member of your club has the best pigeon of the country. If it succeeds, and that’s a real chance, it will of course be celebrated exuberantly.

Those who have done nothing to stop the big molt are now no more to customize. Those that have at present their pigeons the best into the feathers are the winners. It are not only the winners but also the ones that make the best results. As soon as you will see small feathers in the loft the aerodynamics is affected and the pigeons cannot perform one hundred percent. Currently you can have the best little youngsters in the dish which inhibits the molting. Also enlighten from the longest day is a method which ensures that the birds are still on a nearly full wing. If the deck (the wing) is affected by molt you can forget. Many ride will mostly still help in this period to keep the pigeons in the feathers. Especially the youngsters win from the old. However it is striking that there are still fanciers that play better with the old ones. But in general the old birds are no longer in the list. I once read that a strong playing fancier released pigeons in the vicinity of tall buildings especially where the buildings were close together. The pigeons were as it were vertically flying up and it appears almost impossible especially when molting has begun. The man let his pigeons one at a time so he knew what will and will not effortlessly flew up. You guessed which pigeons get a plus or a minus. Following that story I started observing my pigeons in the loft. My youngsters are already quite far into molting and I watch how they fly to their seats after dinner. Some float as it were while others make quite a lot of noise with their wings it costs them extra strength. I have since made notes and as long as molting continues I will them a few times follow very well. I'm eager if that makes a difference in the flight performance. So you see that there are plans again for next year. I hope good that I will get through this winter well so I still can play along with a few pigeons in 2017.

The season is almost over. From the first weekend of April most of us have been 100% busy to let the pigeons perform as well as possible. The care at home is obviously the most important to keep or bring the pigeons in good condition. Fanciers nowadays will do everything to let their pigeons perform well. Used to be but different. Pigeon racing was just popular entertainment but now it's much more professional. Whether it therefore has become much more fun can fill the old fanciers for himself. It used to be different because the food just had to be bought at the grocery store and further nothing special. However there were all kinds of first aid kit against ornithose or smallpox. At paratyphoid was only one remedy and that was stabbing your loft into fire otherwise you never came from that disease. Nowadays all kinds of things for sale but especially medicines and all kinds of products which makes the sport unnecessarily expensive. From silliness the fanciers do no longer know what to give to perform better. The ads in the pigeon magazines take care of that. Fanciers know all about medicines and not delve into the pigeon itself. Pedigrees they know out of their heads but they have never thought about how much tail or primaries they have. Some think that if they put two champion pigeons together that you have in no time a loft full of champion pigeons. Luckily it doesn’t works like that but you would think so. Look soon to the buying behavior on the sales sites. Ridiculous amounts are counted down for embellished and sleek four-color printed pedigrees with the most beautiful names, beautifully depicted pigeons but without a notable effect. So though a decade or so, the amounts are getting crazier and buyers as well. Could we once again inspect all the breeding and racing results achieved by pigeons whose parents have cost more than ten thousand euros. Good playing fanciers should breed at least 50 per year to keep about 25 that have yet to be selected thereafter. If that happens according obtained prices will be most than 10 remain and how many of those 10 will drop as a yearling significant achievements, maybe three and a year later remains perhaps another one on. That would mean that you have bred five real good in 5 years. Just call me once a loft with more than 5 real good pigeons. Which can be counted on the fingers of one hand. I wish I had four real useful pigeons in my loft every year there would be little on my side. Thereby it is not easy to make the right choices in the selection each year. There will be without knowing a lot of useful birds culled. Fortunately it’s so that once they are gone you do not know whether you did it right or not. I know plenty fanciers that keep pigeons because a sibling or cousin once delivered a top performance. That you should have just not. Only good you need and you can only achieve to select very strict and even then it will not be easy to breed a high percentage of usable pigeons. Finally the basket will just tell the truth and all that bullshit at the bar is just cozy and adds little or nothing.

That had nothing to do with the farmer himself. It was the simple care, healthy grains and no medicine. Pigeons that could not stay healthy by themselves were irrevocably gone. Medicines for pigeons had ever heard of so away with such pigeons. Pigeons were performing, it was for that time anyway so costly they had to earn a living for themselves. Cost-goers were not kept and fried or pigeon soup is still a delicacy. Let's do not be sentimental about it. We must return to stronger pigeons. Because there are so many (medicine) on the market they be administered to bandied. That has to do with the good feeling that the fancier must have. The fancier must at all times think he has done everything to bring the pigeons tip top at the start. We may wonder whether it is the right way to administer pigeons from anything and everything. Are we not on track to make them hothouse plants? Does this perhaps have anything to do with the large losses in particular youngsters. It's like our pigeons nowhere to be. In all the years that I play with pigeons I have never seen that three days in advance a competition was postponed or canceled. Inversion had never heard anyone. That meant that if it was not raining the pigeons were released, whether it was 12 or 30 degrees, they went out. Why not? In the southern countries and in the mid and far east is still played with significantly higher temperatures. Pigeons can do more than we think and that pigeons are not standing high temperatures is a misunderstanding. Pigeons suffer more from the journey to the release point than those few hundred kilometers to fly home. The pigeons car is just hot. You will feel sorry for the birds when the vehicle is stationary. Stick your hand only once in a full basket you just feel how hot it is. Especially inexperienced youngsters who do not yet know where they can drink have it very difficult. At the time these birds fly out of the basket they are totally disoriented so they have a very difficult home journey ahead. Years ago I once proposed to basket the pigeons at a later date. For example, in the evening from nine o'clock until half past ten. Always water at the baskets containing some sunflower seeds which are light and float so that the birds will drink more confident when they see driving the sunflower seeds. Later basketing means release later. Well that’s not so bad. Previously received every fancier a flight book and there were even unloading times already. It was quite normal that the pigeons went off at the specified time. Today everything happens so cautious and will not help because the losses are much greater than earlier years. This means that our pigeons have to be "harder". Look at the workers from earlier years. That had to walk more than an hour for their work over ten hours work hard and running back home. Bread with bacon they ate and evening kidney beans or peas with a good piece of bacon fat. This was necessary in order to perform the heavy labor. Today everything goes by bicycle, car, subway, bus or train. Our children are called the "back seat" "generation, terrible! They cannot themselves because they are raised so protected. They are placed anywhere and removed. Whoever thus treats his pigeons is thinking corpse completely false. To work hard you need good cost and good sleep. Don’t you think this is also the best for our pigeons, I do!

The small Belgian town Nevele was compared on Monday August 15th with Rio de Janeiro. The reason was the final of the World Championship for racing pigeons and simultaneously was held for the 9th time the Belgian Master with participation from 25 countries. It was just like other one loft races a complete meltdown! What had to be a pigeon party ended in a solemn funeral. No, the festive organization was all right which was well organized, drink and food in abundance but frankly that day not the most important. Fortunately the weather conditions were excellent. Nevertheless the northeast wind turned out for many youngsters too much of a good thing. Of the 800 birds that were left for the final managed only 32 pigeons reach the loft the same day. Many fanciers had come to this large-scale pigeon happening. They enjoyed the atmosphere and the beautiful summer weather. But for what they had come was a failure, a fiasco. At 7:40 pm the pigeons were released in the famous French release point Tours (460 km). Still at 16:02:21 pm arrived the winning pigeon which is owned by the Belgian Eric Cocguyt. It was "The Dark" which dragged for his boss 25.000 euros for this achievement. We had to wait until 16:23 pm before No. 2 arrived and that was a Belgian from Cools Syndicate. The 3rd place was to the pool Silvester Zylinsk also the only Pole in the results. Two hours after the first pigeon there were only 14 at home and the 32th (the last of the day) arrived at 21:14 pm. Only 7 pigeons managed to achieve a speed of just over 800 meters per minute. Nicole from "De Weerd Pigeons' had the best ace. World champion became Dane Tommy Rasmussen. His pigeon arrived 4 hours and 21 minutes after the winner of the Belgian Master. To know who would win silver and bronze had to wait until Tuesday morning. The winning pigeon from the Belgian Master was sold at the end of the afternoon for 15.000 euros. You may rightly ask what is the value of such competitions. On the sport it adds still nothing. At the origin of the (paper) pigeons with all those super pedigrees it can’t also be. All commercial men participated. They were also present because these (counterfeit) champions would like oh so eager to be seen. Unfortunate for them they all had to go home empty-handed. It is high time that the pigeons unions and F.C.I. go lay down stricter rules to prevent such disasters flights or even ban. I'm still a huge opponent of this type of commercial jokes. With pigeon sport it has to do little or nothing. Despite the fact I had a giant pleasant afternoon. I was not a participant and never will be.

More and more I discover that it’s almost impossible to get and keep large numbers of youngsters of different nationalities and fanciers healthy and in proper condition. In Belgium they started this time with nearly 1500 birds that were housed in a delightful accommodation. How they are cared I do not know. Whether they lightened or darkened I do not know. If they could build a nest? All that is not the most important. What matters is there can take part as many birds in the final. The participants had to count down a large amount and then you have to be convinced that your pigeons are prepared with the utmost care on something spectacular for the sport. That spectacle is never. Yes in the press can be pre-written a lot of blah blah but therefor it become not what the participants made wise. In my opinion all these pigeons remain as stupid as the horse of our Lord and that was a donkey. How did that happen? Practice learns that very large groups of pigeons stop each other. They fly circles around the loft but they don’t migrate which is so important for them. Youngsters have to investigate. The one time in the east and then to other winds as they learn from and prevent large losses. That they flutter an hour or more around the loft does not help and as soon they have their first training flight of 10 km remain large numbers behind. Also all fly to the same loft makes little sense as they are not become better. Pigeons must learn to detach themselves from large groups and choose the right route to their own loft. They have never learned so that they cannot. During my attendance at the Belgian Master was clear to see that most fanciers were waiting for a fortune instead of their pigeons. I say no more about it.

In my region the young bird races have gone quite well. Maybe it was the lighter flight program that was chosen. After 6 races we had not been further than 200 km and therefore the losses are limited. With limited I mean that in most lofts surely there is no more a third of the youngsters. Last weekend got our youngsters for the first time two nights in the basket and then it is more important that they drink. Not drinking is lethal at a distance of almost 400 km. What my pigeons were wrong I don’t know, they did excellent and even a podium place was possible. However the last flight included and this was with me not too good. My youngsters came slowly back home and were exhausted upon arrival. Even Sunday and Monday I do not left out, I could see that I did them no fever with. Maybe this weekend I play a few I have some hope again to the old birds. This weekend starts the natour and that are as you probably know five sprint races in which old and young birds playing against each other. It was many years "my" game. I paired them specially for this flights and now I have left them together after the last race for old pigeons. The result is that I now have big youngsters, also small and incubated or fresh eggs. The first flights will thus succeed but in three weeks they will fall spontaneously bare. The big molt starts and that's end early rankings. I do not care so much anymore. What now matters is that I can join next year even it’s only with a dozen or widowers.

there was eagerly awaited at the first weekend of April, the season was about to begin again. Everyone was naturally very curious about how the pigeons would perform and looking back to 2015, everyone hoped that the weather would be better disposed towards us this year. Well, nothing good, it was even worse than last year. It's like the pigeons getting harder every year. European weather and above all in the reputable pigeon countries was downright bad. Irregular flights, our unloading leaders had very difficult when and when not release. Real disaster flights were not luckily. In my rayon we had in the early spring a flight of 230 km of which too many pigeons have remained behind. International Barcelona had it hard. What the youngsters concerned remains the problem of too many stragglers. What there is to do there is still no solution found. The long distance program is over. These flights get too much attention in my eyes. At most 20% of the fanciers are participating and then I am very optimistic. If you look at the results you scare of the low numbers of birds that participate. Nevertheless these results are mentioned on a sponsored teletext page in the Netherlands. Not because the performance is so beautiful but to place certain commercial figures in the spotlight. Look in the pigeon magazines to the long distance results, there is less and less mentioned how many pigeons joined these races. It is not spectacular when you read that fancier A has won a race of 1000 km against 500 pigeons. At the speed races joins lots and lots of fanciers and pigeons, 50.000 per division is quite normal and there you read as good as nothing. In the Netherlands there’s only one pigeon newspaper. That mention everything but that magazine is not to read. Every week the same frumpy style, fine print and small pictures almost always from the fancier and occasionally a pigeon. No, within the sport is for years not properly engaged, it remains amateurish. Commerce has become too important. Last week I was in Belgium at the Belgian Master, "one loft race” where a lot of advertising is created. It was pigeon technically a complete disaster. Of the 800 pigeons arrived only 32 on the day of release and then the caretakers are extensively put in the limelight. These men were given more attention than the winner because when those honored were most visitors went already home. The reporting in the various newspapers were very mild. It was not the truth, perhaps afraid of the animal rights that they would not tolerate that such flights are still being held. In a report you must be able to read how well or how poorly the event has expired and not invent all sorts of detours making it even seems something. So mention numbers of pigeons about winners of major flights, why not. A flight can do just as well be an important flight with a small number of participating pigeons. We will have to learn to live that the number of pigeons participating in various flights will be less each year, that's just the way it is. I'm from the cycling world. Ever actively and later for many years involved in the organization. In the golden years there was always a full field of competitors sometimes 100 riders be disappointed because there was insufficient starting opportunity. In criterions, the famous circles around the church, might never more than 110 riders started. Now pray and beg an organization to get riders at the start. Nowadays it is normal that there are 45 riders leave and half-course ride only 20 the circle. For the public no more fun to watch. Previously we organized cycling events for the villagers and now only for the riders as the audience increasingly fails while cycling on TV is one of the most watched sports. We will increasingly have to get used to. The Olympics games passed. The US went with the most medals home. Is also a very big country but there are more large countries which were not yet half of all Americans. Netherlands finished in the row medalist at the 12th place, which is not a bad achievement for such a small little country. We had hoped for more but unfortunately some favorites were failing completely. Fortunately there were lesser known athletes who provided a surprise. So it often even in the pigeon sport. National races are usually won by an outsider, the celebrities sitting there often but it’s about win and that is very often a stranger in our midst. The young bird races are over, rest 5 speed races and the big molt can begin.

Next weekend (August 27) is a national race that has come to replace the famous derby competition for youngsters from Orleans (500km) in the Netherlands. Entire the Netherlands talked about it and yet it is gone. People who think they know everything from pigeons flight turned the neck. Nonsense, most youngsters are play lost from the shortest distances. Everyone spoke of Orleans and the participation was overwhelming. All that is over and now we have to do it with a fake national competition. Orleans was released for all Dutch fanciers at once, now they play four different distances. It is perhaps more honest but it has nothing to do with a national competition. These are just four flights with for each sector about the same distance. Perhaps it’s honestly but no one speaks anymore, participation represents little or nothing more. A best of 160.00 pigeons we will certainly never more experience or bobo 's need to find out that youngsters from almost 8 months old and still one hundred percent in the spring such distances with ease can handle.

Of the old birds most fanciers do know what may or may not stay. That first rough selection has already taken place in many lofts but that does not mean that birds are all gone. It used to be. In the period after the flight was eaten pigeon soup regularly. It is annoying to say but now these pigeons are not one-way kitchen but at the pigeons brokers. That selected pigeons soon look just as beautiful as the real top pigeons and therefore will buy a lot of (foreign) fanciers wrong pigeons. Not so bad if the pigeons are affordable which is unfortunately no longer the case. What concerned the youngsters it looks at many lofts not so attractive. If you nowadays 50% of your youngsters on hold you cannot complain. Personally I wanted to complete at least 50% of youngsters every year and in my good years I had always 24 couples. I wanted so decided to supplement 24 yearlings and I really wanted to choose from at least 35 loft mates. Something succeeds almost impossible and yet it is still the best method. Then you better keep less pigeons but pigeons that you like and maybe still have performed well. On the latter I never attached much value. Of course I would like a few youngsters that made the weekend some sunnier than normal. My experience is that youngsters who come the best home from the last two flights with the longest distances as a yearling often are the better. I always keep on it.

The small Belgian town Nevele was compared on Monday August 15th with Rio de Janeiro. The reason was the final of the World Championship for racing pigeons and simultaneously was held for the 9th time the Belgian Master with participation from 25 countries. It was just like other one loft races a complete meltdown! What had to be a pigeon party ended in a solemn funeral. No, the festive organization was all right which was well organized, drink and food in abundance but frankly that day not the most important. Fortunately the weather conditions were excellent. Nevertheless the northeast wind turned out for many youngsters too much of a good thing. Of the 800 birds that were left for the final managed only 32 pigeons reach the loft the same day. Many fanciers had come to this large-scale pigeon happening. They enjoyed the atmosphere and the beautiful summer weather. But for what they had come was a failure, a fiasco. At 7:40 pm the pigeons were released in the famous French release point Tours (460 km). Still at 16:02:21 pm arrived the winning pigeon which is owned by the Belgian Eric Cocguyt. It was "The Dark" which dragged for his boss 25.000 euros for this achievement. We had to wait until 16:23 pm before No. 2 arrived and that was a Belgian from Cools Syndicate. The 3rd place was to the pool Silvester Zylinsk also the only Pole in the results. Two hours after the first pigeon there were only 14 at home and the 32th (the last of the day) arrived at 21:14 pm. Only 7 pigeons managed to achieve a speed of just over 800 meters per minute. Nicole from "De Weerd Pigeons' had the best ace. World champion became Dane Tommy Rasmussen. His pigeon arrived 4 hours and 21 minutes after the winner of the Belgian Master. To know who would win silver and bronze had to wait until Tuesday morning. The winning pigeon from the Belgian Master was sold at the end of the afternoon for 15.000 euros. You may rightly ask what is the value of such competitions. On the sport it adds still nothing. At the origin of the (paper) pigeons with all those super pedigrees it can’t also be. All commercial men participated. They were also present because these (counterfeit) champions would like oh so eager to be seen. Unfortunate for them they all had to go home empty-handed. It is high time that the pigeons unions and F.C.I. go lay down stricter rules to prevent such disasters flights or even ban. I'm still a huge opponent of this type of commercial jokes. With pigeon sport it has to do little or nothing. Despite the fact I had a giant pleasant afternoon. I was not a participant and never will be.

More and more I discover that it’s almost impossible to get and keep large numbers of youngsters of different nationalities and fanciers healthy and in proper condition. In Belgium they started this time with nearly 1500 birds that were housed in a delightful accommodation. How they are cared I do not know. Whether they lightened or darkened I do not know. If they could build a nest? All that is not the most important. What matters is there can take part as many birds in the final. The participants had to count down a large amount and then you have to be convinced that your pigeons are prepared with the utmost care on something spectacular for the sport. That spectacle is never. Yes in the press can be pre-written a lot of blah blah but therefor it become not what the participants made wise. In my opinion all these pigeons remain as stupid as the horse of our Lord and that was a donkey. How did that happen? Practice learns that very large groups of pigeons stop each other. They fly circles around the loft but they don’t migrate which is so important for them. Youngsters have to investigate. The one time in the east and then to other winds as they learn from and prevent large losses. That they flutter an hour or more around the loft does not help and as soon they have their first training flight of 10 km remain large numbers behind. Also all fly to the same loft makes little sense as they are not become better. Pigeons must learn to detach themselves from large groups and choose the right route to their own loft. They have never learned so that they cannot. During my attendance at the Belgian Master was clear to see that most fanciers were waiting for a fortune instead of their pigeons. I say no more about it.

In my region the young bird races have gone quite well. Maybe it was the lighter flight program that was chosen. After 6 races we had not been further than 200 km and therefore the losses are limited. With limited I mean that in most lofts surely there is no more a third of the youngsters. Last weekend got our youngsters for the first time two nights in the basket and then it is more important that they drink. Not drinking is lethal at a distance of almost 400 km. What my pigeons were wrong I don’t know, they did excellent and even a podium place was possible. However the last flight included and this was with me not too good. My youngsters came slowly back home and were exhausted upon arrival. Even Sunday and Monday I do not left out, I could see that I did them no fever with. Maybe this weekend I play a few I have some hope again to the old birds. This weekend starts the natour and that are as you probably know five sprint races in which old and young birds playing against each other. It was many years "my" game. I paired them specially for this flights and now I have left them together after the last race for old pigeons. The result is that I now have big youngsters, also small and incubated or fresh eggs. The first flights will thus succeed but in three weeks they will fall spontaneously bare. The big molt starts and that's end early rankings. I do not care so much anymore. What now matters is that I can join next year even it’s only with a dozen or widowers.

The Olympics are only just begun and in the first days there were direct top athletes who could pack their bags. Several years trained hard to achieve their goal, then it finally happened and by bad luck or poor-quality games are already over. For our sports enthusiasts there is a lot to enjoy. We will experience that joy and drama are very close together. Even though Rio is very far from us we will be several times witness his. Top sport is beautiful but also very hard. That we experienced we Dutch already on the second day of play when one of our ladies women cyclists seriously crashed in beating position in a dangerous curve and thus could forget a certain gold medal. At the time she was transported to the hospital in an ambulance with sirens became a favorite of the other Dutch women's Olympic champion. Joy and drama of the highest order! Boxers (not Dutch) have unfortunately once again placed in a bad light by falling ladies tricky in the Olympic Village and even offering money in exchange for sex. The organization has ensured that this (strong) boys were placed behind bars and quite rightly so space is very different than a boxing ring were they had finally come for. Also from the Dutch camp was learned that one of the gymnasts had gone outside to alcohol itself. How bad it was and what the arrangements on this are not known exactly, to me the fact is that the man in question is already back in the Netherlands. Who knows what we are going to experience. Let's stay positive because top sport remains exciting to watch. So far from home and still images with hopefully new records from Rio directly into our living rooms, gorgeous!

On the first Saturday of the Olympics were held in Belgium the flight of the year. National Bourges with a total of 45.507 old, yearlings and youngsters in competition. Throughout Belgium that day was captivated by the sport and then later in the day Greg van Avermaet became world champion with the professional riders the feast joy knew no bounds, what a day! After many weeks of bad pigeon weather Bourges had (average 475 km) a fantastic course with winning speeds of nearly 85 mph. By the old birds Vannoppen-Luyten was the winner. Yearlings victory went to Ronny Menten with 1410 meters per minute and the fastest of the entire competition by the youngsters was for Rik Hermans also publishers together with his father Jan of the famous Belgian magazine De Duif. In the past it happened that at renowned fanciers dozens of supporters were waiting for the arrival of the pigeons. Bourges is still a magical flight with our southern neighbors. I can say that I certainly am a bit envious of them. Once we had a national competition for youngsters with in good years a participate of 160,000 pigeons. The competition is unfortunately banned because the distance for youngsters would be too far. I cannot believe this world famous flight is prohibited. The Netherlands was under the spell of this competition. It would be great if such a flight would come back. If it is possible in Belgium must also here. Of course not all fanciers are enthusiastic. Differences in distance and location play an important role. As on other flights in advance is already to determine in which region the earliest birds will fall and therefore also the regions which difficult clock an early pigeon. The weather conditions will always have a significant impact in the sport that we have known for years and will remain so. But that should not mean that there is therefore never held again such a taste making national competition. Where a will there's a way and one year the eastern fanciers are in benefit and other years other areas will have more chance to win. Before the flight lots of fancier bring their pigeons in the right condition, it is spoken, it brings additional stress along because on the day entire Netherlands playing the same flight. The media could do much by paying extra attention to this nationwide contest. Sure there also come a lot of fanciers watching the arrival of the pigeons. Especially now we know very quickly were the first pigeons arrived in any corner of the country. It would be nice if I could at my age once again participate in such a competition.

My whole life I have pigeons, not a day I was not, then I can surely say that I am a real pigeon man. I have not only my whole life pigeons I am also in the fortunate position that I almost won everything there is to win. Unfortunately I have many times expressed my fear that the golden era in the sport are over. Ageing and no growth of young and new members. Maybe it's not a game this time. Especially in this electronic age there are plenty of opportunities to make the sport more spectacular to also make the laity and youth interested. Within the sport all sorts of things are always changed again where the older fanciers not waiting for. However if we do not want every year fewer and fewer members have left there have to happen something. That "something" must be expressed in various hobby magazines and of course in the newspapers. Doing that only in the well-known pigeon magazines does not make sense because we get to bring new audiences. In the department where I have weekly play developed new plans for the coming year. The course involves fair play. The regions are regarding the number of members equated. The racing areas are adjusted so that each area have an almost equal number of members and pigeons. A lofty aim that in the long term not a viable option will prove to be. The aging continues and we become all just older, youth has no meaning in this old fashioned game especially if they are housebound every weekend. Today's youth pulls out, have very different opportunities than we had. In the time that I belonged to the "youth of today" there were only limited opportunities. The boys were playing football and the girls did gymnastics. Pigeon sport will, however difficult it may be, must address matches with pigeons in which it is possible for everyone to participate. That little nasty phone call where the youth oh so badly deal with could be or become of very great importance. Let the inventors of modern pigeon racing pay more attention to that so the sport never gets lost.

Thus begins every fairytale and every pigeon story from earlier times. There was once a time that most pigeon fanciers were hardworking people. The pigeons were a huge distraction for them. Many elderly people had to work in the "good old days" (would not know when that was) sometimes 10 hours a day often under appalling conditions and then it was lovely to return home and sit for a while by the pigeons. It was in the days when everything was simple. It was a real hobby where a lot of fun was experienced. In some cases even the whole village sympathized as "runners" for their "pigeon bosses" on the way to the cafe where the rubber ring should be returned. It was during the time that there were self-made lofts in the gardens often made of all types and sizes of wood. Unfortunately it does not always looked as neat. At that time it looked in the class neighborhoods, homing most pigeon fanciers, mostly sober. People had little money and were content with little. It was a time when most pigeon fanciers purchased weekly 5 or even 10 pounds pigeon food. Now they get I do not know how many bags of 25 kg at a time. The thirties were the years of crisis, a gloomy period just before World War II. Despite the fact of that poverty period many people enjoy their pigeons. The five dark years were for everyone a complete drama. After those horrible years in which had to be killed all the birds flourished everything again. The people were free again and everyone was in good spirits. England helped Netherlands to pigeons and new associations sprang up like mushrooms from the ground. Increasingly workers discovered the sport. Especially in Belgium and the Netherlands became a real national sport practiced on Sunday. For the Catholic fanciers were especially on Saturday night or early Sunday morning additional church goings so their pigeon hobby was not in danger. Every Sunday morning you saw on several squares all groups of people in the air squint to see the birds fall by the other villagers. The sport became more popular and grew to major sports. Until the late eighties increased the membership to. The housing construction has not helped our sport, there were more and more forbidden to post a loft behind a new house. It was think the beginning of aging because from that time it became increasingly difficult to place a loft in the garden (especially in big cities). The pigeon lived golden years until more and more people got more and more free time and therefore there were other interests. Each village had its sports hall and so more opportunities for the youth. There are only sparsely arrived youth fanciers. Also the elderly getting better, vacations became popular. Thousands of people went on a moped on vacation. There were campsites and more people were able to buy a car and did the sport no good. The people ventured out and then it became a habit that the women went to work and the number of fanciers went down. Because both spouses had to work all week and cared for the children there was increasing opposition to stay the whole weekend at home because dad had to wait for his pigeons. The sport went to the Saturday which was no easy but a good decision. In this way the Sunday came free for the family. However it did not mean that it will offer new members again. Without we noticed the membership runs increasingly back. There was more modern transportation, computer processing era, everything went better and faster and although the sport went along with the times the return of members could not stop. The specialization came and the number of flights became more elaborate. For everyone so plenty of game options. In retrospect it proved a wrong decision, it was too much, and therefore too expensive. When commerce was introduced it was done with the fun. The sport became too professional and too commercial. Unfortunately the film is no more turning back and we sit within not too long a time with the baked pears. Due to the large shortage of members the sport will never be as described here above. I'm glad I experienced the golden years and even now I enjoy every day my pigeon hobby. Unfortunately it is not comparable with the past, the atmosphere is gone and especially the jalousie is increasing. Also there is a large discrepancy between the coziness players and professionals. Fanciers are no longer satisfied, it will undoubtedly come with aging. The tale is over. I would like to end up like every fairy tale ends with "and they lived happily ever after." Alas!

In England The Sun led with an article on fraud in the sport. The winning pigeon would never have been present at the release point. The owner is fortunately caught and hopefully excluded for life. For this type of figures is certainly no place in our sport, away with them!
In Belgium teeming National competitions. Participation does not so much more and therefore also national victory not. They perform in this small country to release from three close together situated places every ten minutes. It would surely be much more fun and meaningful to make a contest and to think that they still playing separately with old, yearlings and hens. You will therefore have more winners but when you see the number of participating pigeons it is to cry. I would not know how to look I have to say that I won the first provincial against 285 pigeons, what are we talking about? For commerce counts the provincial victory and the number of pigeons is not talked about.
12.698 pigeons did this year participate in the international race from Perpignan (3200 less than last year). The cause is likely to lie with the disastrous expired flight from Barcelona. It was even more than 5,000 fewer than in 2014 when Barcelona was successful. Perpignan have got this year a very surprising winner. In the northwestern Dutch Medemblik live two Turkish cousins who are possessed of national and international competitions. It is and was their dream someday to win a monster competition. Much they have invested to achieve their goal and last year was the first small success. This year Tekin Mevient did amaze the whole international long distance world to demand the 1st and 2nd place internationally. They clocked their pigeons in the early morning at 5:30:58 and 5:44:20 hours at a distance of 1190 km. The Dutchman Jelle Jellema has the honor that he clocked the first in the middle nighttime at 3:39 hours which was good for 5th internationally.
On a slightly lower level but just as nice was the provincial victory of son Marco. One of his youngsters (born on the loft pa) proved to be the fastest of the entire release and that there were 14.400. Last weekend dad won the first in the Rayon and that was something what was coming. On earlier flights was played once 2-3-4-5, 5-10, 6-7 and now the first against 1700 pigeons. Oh, you have to be once satisfied.

In early August the entire sports world comes together in Brazil. Then start in Rio de Janeiro the Olympic Games, the highest achievable for any athlete. I'm already looking forward to it and am wondering what records are going to fall again. Perhaps our Russian sports friends are not there. From what I understand of it is their own fault. The Russian government would have announced their own anti-doping program for the previous Games and if that is true and if it is proved for 100% then the Russians may not participate. Very sorry for all those athletes who are "clean". Four years training work for nothing. So it is too with all those athletes who "just" have not met. Sometimes they not catch limits with tens of seconds. The laws are strict but that’s the Olympics games. We're going to enjoy top sport that’s already certain. Hopefully a few trouble-free weeks in Brazil in all respects. Clean sport we all like. We fanciers are already almost two seasons working to be eligible to participate in the 35th Olympiad organized by the KBDB and FCI in Brussels on 27-28-29 January 2017. The conditions are known to participate. In sports class it’s about the following categories:
A - 100-400 km - 10 prizes 1: 5-1300 km
B - 300-600 km - 8 prizes 1: 5-2800 km
C - over 500 km - 6 prizes 1: 5-3500 km
D - Allround - 11 prizes - 1-5, put together from:
100-400 km pr 3-5; 300-600 km pr 2-6; above 500km 1-3 pr. With a total of 3,500 kilometers.
E - Marathon - from 700 km four prizes in two years.
When I read this I immediately got into my loft with all my flight data and quickly came to the conclusion this time certainly not a participation in the Olympiad for me. The season was not good. This has nothing to do with the bad weather but the pigeons who did not met the expectations and then you can participate in the ultimate sporting event write on your stomach. Whether I'm going to the Olympics I do not know yet. However the situation in the world has certainly to do with it but even more my physical condition. I almost never pass over an Olympiad but the years count now. For years I had thought that I would never change, always passionate and enthusiastic but now I find myself beginning to be an old man. It has been a lovely and memorable time. What is always a pity that the best birds of the world get too little attention at the Olympiad. The media should be indented much more. It is a great advertisement for our sport that can use some extra publicity. If someone accidentally wins with his 45th-drawn a national competition the newspapers are full of. Sometimes not even with a well depth report in which we can read how the bird is prepared to come to such an achievement. It's just blah, blah story with big chocolate head letters. Nice for the fancier but even better for commerce who frequently earn more to the market than the owner of the pigeon.

For years there was a race program in the Netherlands where everybody participated in. There was a national competition from St. Vincent (average distance thousand kilometers) for old birds and there was a national competition from Orleans (average distance 500 km) for youngsters. Furthermore the flight program consisted of four speed races, four middle distance races, three day long distance races and Bordeaux as multi-day long distance race. There were five flights for the youngsters. That was it and everyone was content. Bordeaux was the last flight for old birds and was also called the "clean-air". Most pigeons that participated were fighting for their last chance and the winning pigeon was suddenly found to be good enough for a place in the breeding loft. The strange thing that flight has never been won by a known long distance racer. The result was always very surprising. Specialists were not there, nobody had ever heard of. Everyone could participate in such a race program. Pigeon racing was a hobby for the working man that making "overtime" by his boss earned some extra money with which he could pay his simple hobby. There was, not by everyone, gambled on pigeons because you could ever earn an amount of 25 guilders. That was a nice boost to minimize the cost of the hobby. The gambling was about small amounts, there was more fought for the honor. Winning first prize was for most like a stage victory in the Tour. There was discussed and the newspapers paid plenty attention. Where has the time remained there was every Tuesday for over half a page pigeon news in the newspaper. With the decline in the number of members are daily newspapers no longer interested in our sport. Now we have to rely on the pigeon magazines but we only reach the fanciers and not the layman or those who perhaps want to keep pigeons and so we descend further and further into the swamp.

In the Netherlands we have just as all other countries for all kinds of sports a national federation. In most cases decide national government the policy in which a number of fixed lines. In the Netherlands it is unfortunately so that the 12 departments each have a big finger in the pie. The board must carry out what the departments want and it is difficult to control. Furthermore there is because of the specialization of each component within the sport the opportunity to play that game you want. In itself a very good idea. However they did not take sufficient note that the number of members because of aging is rapidly runs back. There are actually too few participants to the wide variety of competitions. It all became too much and too expensive. Small fanciers have no more game fun if they have to take on men who come to the start with large numbers. These people do nothing wrong, in the Netherlands you can use as many birds as you want. However it is indigestible for many people to have to take on the with 10 pigeons against sometimes 100, 200 or even more. There's found something. In order to qualify for a championship count the first 25 nominated pigeons. That's only fair you might think. However, remember that a person with 150 pigeons every week easier join with 25 pigeons than someone with 50 pigeons. The great fanciers have every week the opportunity to "fly" several pigeons that can be deployed at any time. The mega fanciers laugh at this system because championships are nothing within the commercial world, it is about good results and especially for foreign buyers is a good result one with as much as possible pigeons from the same fancier. Mega lofts have no interest in a beautiful sport jar. Pigeon racing has become their own candy store and with all those sweets many sport friends have enriched in a huge way. It has become their profession and within such a simple sport as the sport it can never be the intention that pros play against amateurs. The golden years of the pigeon racing are over, it is now the commercialism that counts. There are far too many flights and too few participants. All that is the cause of the hole we increasingly deeper digging, so deep that the last of us tumbling in. I hope I'm completely wrong but then there should be short-term change soon. Where is the time we all drove with a sticker on the rear window of our car with "PIGEON SPORT FINE HOBBY!"

After the pigeons almost five days and nights were traveling sounded Saturday at 11.15 pm the launch in the Catalan capital for this annual international race. A risky solution because who has watched the weather charts saw mostly rain and thunderstorms. Longer wait probably costs too much money and therefore the 17.732 birds were released. The fastest of the whole company turned out to be a German pigeon who made a winning speed of 1250 meters per minute. In the top ten International reports two pigeons from Germany, four from Belgium, two from France and two from the Netherlands. These are not the first ten in the Int. rash. National winner of Netherlands lives in Yerseke Zeeland and is owned by Hans and John Lindenberg. The pigeon was clocked at 9.14 am Sunday morning. Furthermore another perfect performance from Jelle Jellema (NL) nationally against 5244 pigeons 3-10-18-37 (note 12) wins. Before that he won Barcelona already with 1 and 2 National. With a winning international speed of 1250 meters per minute you would initially think Barcelona in 2016 has become an easy flight. But let us make no mistake, a flight can never be really easy with an average distance of 1100 km because to bridge a large distance successfully you must have real powerhouses with the shape of the day. So all grade for the pigeons that have played a major role this year. For me as no long distance player there is always the question; have the earliest birds flown through or did all participating pigeons overnight somewhere on a roof? Due to the increasing number of arrivals at night you never know what early birds may or not have flown. The current international neutralization time still gives no guarantee that the pigeons at that time really have not flown. To make a rash that comes closest to the truth, I do not know how to put it another way, everyone will have to accept the neutralization time. The Netherlands don’t have this system anymore. Once a pigeon in the nighttime arrives contest period starts counting again and decay the neutralization time. That seems to me more to approach the accuracy of such an outcome. Coming winter months this will again especially during the Olympiad at the FCI congress be discussed.

Now I write this article I sit with a wet nose on the computer which can mean a summer flu is coming. Last weekend the matches went well in the Netherlands. Beautifully clear weather with sunshine but most of the birds suffered en route from rain but they can stand that. The Dutch weather can be beautiful at this time of year but in everything we organize outside we will have to set up a tent because you never know! With the old birds it’s done with me. I get them impossibly on going, they still don’t eat enough so they cannot build up reserves. Last weekend I had 10 with on a race of nearly 400 km and my first pigeon arrived 20 minutes after the winner. Fortunately I have almost never experienced before. The youngsters do it very well. Last week 1-2-3-4 and now 9-10-11-12. The first arrived pigeon left me in his shirt. After several laps of honor around the loft she came after more than 3 minutes in and thus they lost the first prize. Nice story but the time the clock indicates counts. All birds were beautiful in time home so this weekend they can all with again.

What a great sporting events and surprises. Russia, England and Italy home. Iceland has made a reputation, Wales is working on a super tournament and Portugal is a "lucky" team by without a victory yet to come in the semifinals. Germany, Wales, Portugal and the organizing France go the next few days decide who can call themselves European champions. If I had to put my money somewhere I would do so in Germany but still I hope that an underdog win. So Wales come on!
The Tour is just beginning, Cavendish already has two victories in his pocket and favorite Contador has twice made an ugly smash. Froome remains the biggest favorite and the clown of the bunch is world champion Sagan that currently runs in the yellow and sometimes take care of nice surprises. But the road to Paris is still very long.

It is mid-July, my breeding pigeons are still on 5 old pens, the old racers have just thrown their first or second pin. I have not darkened them because I do not have plans to join the one-day races. The youngsters are darkened until the first week of June and still there were some who had thrown one or two pens. The last few days I find quite a lot of pens in the young bird loft. I thought it improved until I cleaned the small breeding boxes. Behind the litter trays I found several pens so I immediately went to see a number of pigeons. Ostensibly they look perfect, no feather wrong because they have molted by darkening fine. How it plays out with the pen stand I should wait, I'm certainly not enlighten and as it stands now I do not play until mid-September. So this year becomes a fairly short sport year that not brought what I expected. My hopes are now pinned on the youngsters that make it excellent to date.

This means that it is probably better to start calm instead of immediately pedal to the metal. I usually respond by saying; I'd rather have the crowd must follow me then I need to catch up arrears. In practice it’s not all that bad. If the youngsters directly address the proper form they come home soon. My old pigeon season is simply gone wrong. So far I have no one met who can advise me. For several weeks they have absolutely no appetite and every time I think they crawl out of the valley I get disappointed again. My opinion is that a pigeon always have appetite and the boss can do much. With my 70 years’ experience I think I can say that I really know how pigeons to feed but what I now pass through this year I have not seen before. It could be the herpes virus and there's are no medicine for. Baytril may be the best that you can give but it is a strong antibiotic and I am not in favor of. But necessity has no law so I have given it six days. It seemed that they revamped but it did not become what I hoped for. Some weeks I have not played them and I want so badly. With the preparations for the youngsters season I've also included the old pigeons every time. They are always short distances that had been no more than 35 km and there is no pigeon that suffer from that. I would like for the coming weekend hand pick 10 to play them at a distance of 390 km. Two weeks later there is such a flight with the same distance and if they do it this weekend well they may also one more time with. Meanwhile we also have the first flight of 120 km for youngsters and that was more than exquisite. In the club at a small 400 pigeons I was 1-2-3-4-6, in the district against 2141 pigeons 2-3-4-5 and provincial against 14.000 pigeons there were only two pigeons faster and finished the brassen 3-4-5-6. After so moderately old bird season this is a dream start. Whether they will realize such performances each week that I do not believe but if the form is optimal it can be a few weeks enjoy. I hope the saying "runners are dead runners" not count for me.

Six times has my wife the youngsters taken away (I cannot drive anymore) and that went very well each time. The last time was on the same day the pigeon club also taken away the pigeons but they were unfortunately left too late. The clouds grew heavier and thicker so not ideal to bring out youngsters for a training flight. When my wife drove the yard arrived simultaneously with her all my youngsters. That day have not been released by the club because the supervisors did not trust the weather. When I told that to my wife she answer; you've told me that I had to release them, well I did. Fortunately it went well for me. The pigeons of the club came back and the next day they would be taken away again. The boxes were put in the room and the pigeons were given food and drink. It was striking that many youngsters drunk because that's usually a problem. The troughs were sprinkled with some sunflower seeds which float and as the pigeons who want to pick them they feel immediately that there is water in the trays. That same morning my son brought mine and his birds to the club. There were three fanciers that had the day before not participated and now they did. And now it comes; the pigeons that had spent a night in the basket arrived on the shortest distances to about a quarter past eleven. Three hours later I had not one, Marco had three and the other devotees that first joined the club got almost no pigeon home. The pigeons that had spent a night in the basket arrived with one exception in a record time. If all the fast arrival are really true I do not know. You know as well as I that there are often referred arrival times at training flights when the pigeons at that time were not even loose. I call that winter champions. In winter at the bar they have the last word, with training flights they get the pigeons at times at home that are almost impossible and when it really matters they are nowhere. These are the men who know all about the sports only they have the bad luck that they live in the wrong area, they always live unfavorable and they find no style that others with up to 25 pigeons participate and they themselves have only 10. Nevertheless we need these men in our sport.

First play and then see where the ship ashore. Play with healthy pigeons because otherwise you will lose more than 50% and for that we have not bred them. From that poor training flight I was at night still 12 lose and then you cannot easily fall asleep at least I do not. The next day there are 7 come through, so five road. Of the earlier training flights I was 2 lose and 2 dead by adeno I think. Now I have 24 of the 33 of which I have on the first flight 19 passed, the other five had suffered a lot of hard training, some came only at the end of the day at home, and others even the next day. There were some who have flown at least 500 km on that day but you will not easily lose them anymore. When you after such a disastrous trainings flight made such a great season start gets a man of nearly 80 years yet again a happy feeling in the old body.
Next weekend It’s so far. If the weather would cooperate will be the workhorses of airspace Friday July 1st released for a race of more than a thousand kilometers. Who will this year gather international fame? So far the marathon pigeons have not received it as a gift and they do not even get it from Barcelona because it's a difficult mountain stage. The hardest and hopefully the best race of the year. Pity that each year the number of participating pigeons rapidly going down. Yet it remains the most appealing heavy classic. I wonder if there is an outsider with flowers runs off. Good luck everyone!

The last time I talked about the neutralization time and what I said is not entirely true. You see that I'm not a real long distance player. In the Netherlands the neutralization time is controlled so that once there arrives a pigeon in the night hours from that moment the competition starts again and so it may happen that someone win the first national while a fancier that clocked much later gathers international victory. Internationally the competition stands a predetermined number of hours still.

This means that it is probably better to come to start calm instead of pedal to the metal from the start. I usually respond by saying; I'd rather have the crowd must follow me then I need to catch up arrears. In practice it’s not all that bad. If the youngsters directly address the proper form they come home soon. My old pigeon season is simply gone wrong. So far I have no one met who can advise me. For several weeks they have absolutely no appetite and every time I think they crawl out of the valley every time I get disappointed again. My opinion is that a pigeon always have appetite and the boss can do much. With my 70 years’ experience I think I can say that I really know how pigeons to feed but what I now pass through this year I have not seen before. It could be the herpes virus and there's are no medicine for. Baytril may be the best that you can give, but it is a strong antibiotic and I am not in favor of. necessity has no law so I have given it six days. It seemed that they revamped but it did not become what I hoped for. Some weeks I have not played them and I want so badly. With the preparations for the youngsters season I've also included the old pigeons every time. They are always short distances that had been no more than 35 km and there is no pigeon that suffer from that. I would like for the coming weekend hand pick 10 to play them at a distance of 390 km. Two weeks later there is such a flight with the same distance and if they do it this weekend well they may also one more time with. Meanwhile we also have the first flight of 120 km for youngsters and that was more than exquisite. In the club at a small 400 pigeons I was 1-2-3-4-6, in the district against 2141 pigeons 2-3-4-5 and provincial against 14.000 pigeons there were only two pigeons faster and finished the brassen 3-4-5-6. After so moderately old bird season this is a dream start. Whether they will realize such performances each week that I do not believe but if the form is optimal it can be a few weeks enjoy. I hope the saying "runners are dead runners" not count for me.

Six times has my wife the youngsters taken away (I cannot drive anymore) and that went very well each time. The last time was on the same day the pigeon club also taken away the pigeons but they were unfortunately left too late. The clouds grew heavier and thicker, so not ideal to bring out youngsters for a training flight. When my wife drove the yard arrived simultaneously with her all my youngsters. That day have not been released by the club because the supervisors did not trust the weather. When I told that to my wife she answer; you've told me that I had to release them, well I did. Fortunately it went well for me. The pigeons of the club came back and the next day they would be taken away again. The boxes were put in the room and the pigeons were given food and drink. It was striking that many youngsters drunk because that's usually a problem. The troughs were sprinkled with some sunflower seeds which float and when the pigeons want to pick them they feel immediately that there is water in the trays. That same morning my son brought mine and his birds the club. There were three fanciers that the day before had not participated. And now it comes, the pigeons had spent a night in the basket arrived on the shortest distances about a quarter past eleven. Three hours later I had not one, Marco had three and the other fanciers that for the first time joined the club training got almost no pigeon home. The pigeons that had spent a night in the basket with one exception arrived in record time home. If all the fast arrival are really true I do not know. You know as well as I that there are often referred arrival times at training flights when the pigeons at that time were not even loose. I call that winter champions. In winter at the bar they have the last word, with training flights they get the pigeons at times at home that are almost impossible and when it really matters they are nowhere. These are the men who all know of sports only they have the bad luck that they live in the wrong area, they always live unfavorable and they find no style that others with up to 25 pigeons participate and they themselves have only 10. Nevertheless we need those men in pigeon sport.

First play and then see where the ship run ashore. Play with healthy pigeons because otherwise you lose more than 50% and for that we have not breed. From that poor training flight I was at night 12 lose you cannot easily fall asleep at least I do not. The next day there are 7 come through, so five road. Of the earlier training flights I was 2 lost and 2 dead by adeno I think. Now I have 24 of the 33 of which I have on the first flight 19 passed, the other five had suffered a lot of hard training, some came only at the end of the day at home and others even the next day. There were some who have flown at least 500 km on that day but those you not easily lose. When you after such a disastrous flight made such a great season start will get a man of nearly 80 years yet again a happy feeling in the old body.

Next weekend it’s again so far. If the weather would cooperate will be the workhorses of airspace Friday July 1 on the Costa Brava unloaded for a race of more than a thousand kilometers. Who will this year gather international fame? So far the marathon pigeons have not received as a gift and they do not even get it from Barcelona because it's a difficult mountain stage. The hardest and hopefully the best race of the year. Pity that each year the number of participating pigeons rapidly going down. Yet it remains the most appealing heavy classic. I wonder if there is an outsider with flowers runs off. Good luck everyone!
The last time I talked about the neutralization time was not entirely true. You see that I'm not real long distance man. In the Netherlands the neutralization time is controlled so that once there arrives a pigeon in the night hours starts from that time the competition again and so it can happen that someone in the Netherlands wins first national while it is possible that another Dutch fancier that clocked much later can become international winner. Internationally the competition stands a predetermined number of hours (neutralization time) still.

The weather in Europe is for several weeks totally upset and avenges the races. Every week major problems with the release. Last weekend the Belgians had decided to hold a day before their national race. It was a good decision and fortunately it was an excellent flight but a question that remains is; how many working fanciers are disappointed by a release on Friday or are there almost no more working pigeon fanciers anymore? Maybe we go the way of an elitist sport which was used to be. Only after the Second World War it became a true national sport where 100,000 fanciers weekly pleasure experienced. Now we are already 16 years live into the new millennium the sport gets increasingly more difficult. An absolute low we experienced in the last race (the first one day long distance flights) of just over 500 km. In the district where I play joined only 44 of the more than 150 members while there were not even a thousand pigeons in the competition. Our pigeons were for that flight a day later basketed and a day later discharged. In retrospect a good choice because it was a smooth flight and no working fancier was duped. The category that is often the victims are fanciers women. Their plans for Sunday have been several times shattered. That's the downside if you are married with a fancier, further it’s not so bad.

Short and middle distance players have totally not to worry for a national victory. These flights cannot play nationwide because the distances are too short. Even distances over 500 km are rural seen too much influenced by the wind. So I noticed in Belgium the results of one Kurt Platt Century. He played with a yearling 1st National against a total participation of over 50,000 birds (29,500 old and 25.000 yearlings). In Belgium play the yearlings in a separate competition. In the Netherlands a yearling is simply an "old bird" who play along with all other older pigeons. In Belgium they also have separate competitions for hens which we do not have in the Netherlands. All old birds playing against each other cocks or hens does not matter. Previously was thought that the hens (the weaker sex) could not against the widowers but they play even better certainly in the long run. Seen sporting it should be the case that we always admired the winning pigeon, or that is in the club, the union or even a higher level, winning is always fun because that’s we all do it for. Yet it is a little bit different when you read that the winner had deployed 190 yearlings. Most fanciers have less than half of that number in their loft. The man in question has done nothing wrong it is in Belgium free to put in as many pigeons as you want. The problem is that the little fanciers feel that they have no chance while it certainly is not. It remains an indigestible matter that such gigantic numbers are used by a fancier. The small real fanciers come with a selected number of pigeons at the start. They have picked the best of the best in the loft for such an important national race. The mega lofts looking nowhere. They come along with baskets full of pigeons and which signed pigeon is first they could not care less. They are concerned only for some good results and you've pretty quickly if you're playing with such a huge number. Small fanciers play much stronger than the upward written champions, shame they still do not see it themselves. Other fanciers don’t either because they cannot read a rash, that is not art but you must master it. That's why I think many fanciers make the mistake stare themselves blind on the number of early prizes achieved by a mega loft. They do not see that a 3rd prize with five pigeons is considerably better than 3-6-8-9-10 with 150 pigeons. It is therefore advisable to get reinforcement by a small fancier where each bird has to perform to be able to overwinter. Many fanciers are obsessed by all sorts of offers of great fanciers. Especially on the internet sales sites most cunning marketing stories are written. It is just done so cunningly that it is just not a hoax. The best stories are thought for a pigeon who has never accomplished anything and whose parents have never been in the basket. For that kind of stuff you pay ridiculously high prices while you often on the corner of the door can get them for a friendly price.

Many opportunities to bring out the youngsters we have not had and yet the season June 25 starts. Especially youngsters are very dependent on the weather but especially optimal health. Health is a prerequisite for youngsters because if they are not tip top in shape you will lose too much. Most fanciers prefer to play short and middle distance races just look at the participation. Yet the number of participants that play with youngsters is every year larger. It appears to many it’s little easier to motivate the youngsters. The more attention you give them the better they know the boss and the perform will become much better. Youngsters have absolutely no need for heavy food. The best is that every day they are a little hungry but that’s different then starvation. They may have some reserves especially if there are flights over 300 km on the program. Also check every morning the manure which is indicative of good health. Learn the youngsters at least an hour a day to make their training laps around the loft. In the beginning we learn that by stabbing the flag. As soon the flag is removed they know it’s dinner time. If my birds are out I'll never show me but if it’s food time I stand next to the trap and as soon as they see me they know it's dinner time and everyone knows that an animal does everything for his daily portion food. To motivate the pigeons I create some dark corners in the loft. I leave just before the flights three old hens with them, I put some nesting boxes open and on the day they go into the basket I throw some nesting material on the floor. I play the pigeons no longer separated because I have no loft available. All breeders of son Marco sit with me and therefore dad is forced to do this year in a different way. The youngsters train and behave entirely satisfactory so I hope they are going to save the season for the boss because the old birds did not have brought much. They lack many weeks of appetite and its cause I still have not surfaced.

There have been years that I went every week with my pigeons to the classroom, regardless of the weather I did it. I assumed that as soon as the weather was not good enough to solve the pigeons it did not happen or we had to wait a day or they came back. Weather forecasts they were quite simply not (yet). On the radio you could hear in the morning how the weather was in the Netherlands, there was informed by a miller (who had knowledge of the weather) or a professional fisherman. Also a well-known sailor was regularly asked his opinion about the weather. In addition they called a number of farmers to inquire how the weather was in their environment and what they were thinking further. We had to do it with. Because of their profession all those men had a very good look at the weather. They could see at the wind, the clouds, the behavior of the cows and the color of the cloud if there is a deterioration arrived or that it remained constant fine weather. Of course it was sometimes wrong but since we have all those expensive and ingenious computers much more go wrong. There is so to speak in the morning not be told what we can expect in the afternoon. To give people an optimal weather forecast there are various color codes created that show the extent to which it is going to rain, storms, hail or more of that kind of trouble. Almost everyone follow the weather forecasts and certainly we pigeon fanciers, we want to know whether it is safe to put our pigeons. From the weather forecast is made quite a lot of work. Any TV or radio channel has its own weather forecasters and they all have a different forecast which indicate how difficult it is. Then there are the national weather stations and let's not forget the airports, for them it’s for sure of great importance what the weather is on its way. Capital getting paid for the most advanced equipment with which the public can be informed. Through mobile phones you can see all times of the day what the weather is like or even longer term forecasts can be read at that tiny phone. It even goes so far that you can view the entire flight line. Isn’t that great? Isn’t it! Big question remains; what is the meaning of all these predictions because it’s almost never true or do we not get it?

Certainly the sport is hugely dependent on the weather. Rain on the road is not so bad, therefore you get absolutely no games with a disastrous course. It is mainly the atmospheric disturbances that especially the youngsters have a lot of trouble. We have had no normal flight yet since the start of the pigeon season (first weekend of April). Several with hard-tail wind, others with heavy rainfall and a couple of big disruptions. This weekend the expectations were again abysmal bad. The Belgians even canceled the national competition from Chateauroux. The other national race did go through. On Thursday the pigeons were basketed and until Monday they could be unloaded. It was a complete disaster flight and they have in Belgium already a couple behind! The fanciers stood on their hind legs because on the day of basketing it all went wrong. The pigeons were picked up by a clunker of a truck that was perhaps just good enough to transport waste but definitely not suitable for transporting pigeons who had participated in a major national competition. Shame that one thing can still happen in the year 2016. Fortunately the transport in the Netherlands’ is much better regulated. Our pigeons go in a moving four-star hotel to the release point and on the route they lack nothing. Only the weather and incompetent supervisors can be the cause of an irregular competition. In the Netherlands we have the IWRM giving the signal to all counselors if our pigeons are allowed to leave. Previously it was so that each supervisor could determine in consultation with home when the pigeons were out. In itself a strange thing because every Saturday morning the TV shows the weather on the racing line and what malfunctions occur. Several supervisors defied the discharge advice, that's now luckily changed. That does not mean that there are no irregular flights take place anymore of course. Nature controls everything selves, we humans have no influence and as the pigeons once left the baskets we have nothing in our hands. Generally run at least 80% of the flights normally and at the other 20% you see so suddenly names in the top of the results that you otherwise never read and that's only good for the sport in its entirety.

Yet I had big plans this year with the small number of pigeons that I have held over the past winter. The start was good, the pigeons did it well and even competed for the first place of the sprint championship. In the first half of May fate hit. My pigeons did not want to eat well and exercise no more. I visited Dr. Van der Sluijs and there was a party. The table was full of delicious pastries and I could connect. He had three early birds clocked who were all three on teletext. That's great because only the fastest ten up thereon and that are often results of flights by around 20.000 pigeons. I told him it was not party to me but just a sort of funeral mood because it became by us a very difficult flight with many birds left behind. I missed eight and still do. Was it because of bad weather or was it a first warning that the birds were not in order. From that moment they are still not as they should be. After that I joined with some birds but the result did not make sense. Van der Sluijs, all these years my regular vet, has done everything he can but it was a complete mystery for him. I am now so far that I no longer join and also stopped providing medicines. They must now recover by itself, I do nothing else about it. Next weekend I'm going with my wife and a few friends a long weekend away, just get away from the pigeons because if things do not go as you'd like there is certainly no fun. What all happened now I have never experienced in my long pigeon career. Of course I had to overcome many setbacks but this one I can’t still solve for the time being. The only thing that remains is rest. Whether they come into action this year I have my doubts. When the tide turns it will not be easy not to play them. I'm finally just like you a real pigeon fancier and I want to participate every week since I got them for. Otherwise I'm going to focus on the game with the youngsters which will start this month.

The sport has different facets. In addition to the game and the care there is also the organization and that is something that often is too easily thought about. Within the Dutch organization has in recent years happened quite a few things. The board was like a pigeon loft, they flew in and out. Fortunately there is again formed a new board and the guys are full of momentum begun their no easy task. As good managers you can best start to improve the things that are not successful. That which goes well you don’t touch for the time being. First the directors have sent a questionnaire to all members. Anyone can say what he/she think of the organization. This is going about play, transportation, champions scheme, number of flights, national championships and many more things. Desirable is that a large percentage of members responded to the call to fill in the form as accurately as possible. In itself a good thing and what is even more important; will the board do something with the outcome of the survey. Is it partly stopped in the bottom desk drawer or does one actually get to work. It is unfortunate that this research is only now been made. We can say that an investigation is never too late but people disagree widely. Certainly the Belgian and Dutch sport is due for revision on everything related to the sport. In both countries it is not going well, every year the number of members decreases drastically. Now we are just beginning and problems already stocking. Transport and thereby the changeable weather caused much unrest. In Belgium the carriers of the pigeons are responsible for solutions and that has ensured that there are masses of pigeons are still underway. Two weeks ago a solution of youngsters that only in the afternoon at 4 pm took place. The day after the discharge had to be clocked as the number of price pigeons was insufficient. Last weekend Bourges, a beautiful distance of about 500 km with 39.000 pigeons departure. A day after the release was only a third of the birds at home and that means that there still 26,000 pigeons trying to find their way home. It will be clear to everybody that in this way a lot of sports friends call it a day. A good organization is of the utmost importance. Proper arrangements avoid many mistakes. Hence; prevention is better than cure.

Often fanciers don’t realize what it means that agreements made in the winter in summer not complied. The problem usually lies with the flights with the longest distances. It was agreed that is driven at all times to the release point established despite good or bad weather. The pigeons go to the agreed unloading. Only when it cannot be redeemed will be driven back the next day for a shorter distance. This week was the weather forecast abominably poor and already on Wednesday decided to cancel flights. What happens? Nothing happened. Excellent weather throughout the weekend in the western Netherlands. In the midst Netherlands was kept a flight of 500 km which was quite successful and then you have direct the devil to play. In the area in which I play a lot of fanciers were very angry because the organization had not complied with the agreements. You have then always two camps. One group agrees with the decision and the other not. Maybe that's typical pigeon sport, one chooses for his pigeons and the other wants regardless of the bad weather that the birds travel. Then it’s not about the birds but about the marbles. I've never seen that even the smallest changes all noses pointed in the same direction. Everyone knows the situation when pigeons cannot be redeemed. Many disappointed and angry fanciers and if they later in the day are released everyone is happy. When that same evening shows that it has become a very difficult flight with a lot of stragglers then everyone angry again and have done the reps all wrong. Still many fanciers do not understand they themselves are responsible for participating in a contest. Everyone in our country determine how many birds he bet. There are countries where participation is subject to a maximum number of pigeons. In the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and England we don’t know this measure.

We are now accustomed to the fact that every fancier about a third of his youngsters lose, that's a given. The national organization is with a number of experts busy for many years to reduce these losses to a minimum. A lofty goal which has yielded so far little or nothing. It has previously not to prevent that on a particular flight many pigeons lag. My experience is that you lose the fewest youngsters in an almost completely cloudy sky with a few small blue holes, then orientate youngsters best. In fine summer weather with high temperatures, a cloudless sky and a bright blue sky with east winds are the losses in the Netherlands and Belgium large. There are fanciers who do not make too much work by bringing the youngsters away and there are who drive almost daily. Both categories are strong playing fanciers. A first reaction might be that it does not make much sense to bring many times the pigeons away mainly because our cars are still not driving on clear water. Yet I choose to drive multiple times, not too far because pigeons now their way home better than we do. We need a navigation system and traffic signs, if there were not then it would be an even bigger mess on the already congested roads. It’s more about we make them familiar with the basket and through much exercise they get in a good rhythm fly. This is certainly a good method, especially if you do that in the last two weeks before the official flights begin. Yet it can happen that a day will come when youngsters remain massively partly because the weather maps studies are insufficient. It can prevent a lot of trouble. Soon will start the races for youngsters. It is always very exciting especially the return of the pigeons. It is our future and you have to keep so much you have a choice who can and cannot stay. We fanciers can do much about that. But we must realize that nature does not let rules and therefore it will not be easy to reduce losses with youngsters. The climate is a global issue and we and our birds have certainly to do with it. Just look what a natural disaster is all happening in the world.

The season is at full speed and so far most flights have expired with "tailwind". It’s strange that races with very high speeds are never closed within minutes. Flights with "head winds" are often quickly closed and most participants have a price while downwind the percentage of participants that gains no price is higher. How is that possible? With wind behind the wind at different heights is not equal. Some pigeons choose the correct height so that they have the most benefit from the wind. Often there’s disparagingly spoken of races with downwind. As strange as it may sound, it is harder to play at the top with high speed than with headwind. Last week we had such a flight. Speeds between 115 and 120 km per hour and the winning pigeon still flew 40 meters per minute faster than the second pigeon. The flight duration was around 3 hours for a distance of approximately 350 km. Which means the first pigeon had a lead of 7.2 kilometers and that's quite a bit. Something like that do not pass through with headwinds at the same distance!

Yet here starts also for the juniors the season. If it's good all the youngsters are vaccinated against paramixo and many fanciers let their youngsters also directly vaccinate against smallpox so you do not have to worry during the season. Currently, there is still plenty of time to go to the vet to see if they suffer from cancer. Also droppings investigation do no harm, it shows whether a coli infection or perhaps a worm infection and even coccidiosis is possible. We ourselves can check for pests because if they suffer from they will guarantee perform less well. Good preparation is vital to let our youngsters achieve satisfactory. Healthy pigeons win prizes and get not so easily lost! That should provide a reason for anyone that the youngsters arrive at the start in top condition. During the season it is recommended to keep eyes wide open as they can infect each other through contact with other birds. Therefore, keep your eyes open and make time to immediately after arriving observing the birds. If the pigeons for their daily training storms from the loft it’s with the condition okay especially when they disappeared from sight within seconds. It gets more interesting if they want all at once in the loft after training on the first whistle. Sign that the appetite is good (youngsters never leave hungry). Don’t give them with an empty throat so that they maybe come more quickly into the loft when they return home. If the contact between boss and pigeon is all right they will never doubt to enter the loft or they must been totally flown off whereby they because of fatigue not easily enter.

For a long time it was when a novice started with pigeons he did with youngsters. Everyone played on the young bird races price. It was often the case that just beginners achieved good results with the youngsters. Perhaps it was they spend a lot of time because there had not old ones yet. With youngsters they playing regular price if they made them familiar with the boss. Regularly take them in hand, with one hand take of his seat, they should know the boss especially his voice and movements in the loft, made dark corners in the loft where they can woo, in short youngsters should be treated as a young mother does with her newborn baby. Those were years ago the ingredients to perform frequent well with the youngsters but the important thing is the system. Today there are fanciers that are hard to beat. They have such a system worked out to make dazzling results, in a word, fantastic! It is striking that these same men with the old birds play very mediocre. You can say it's just what you like but I do not believe in. I think that someone who plays with pigeons on each flight wants to drop good results whether it is old or young birds.

Boss and pigeons have to be healthy. If that link is missing that reflected in the performance. We now notice after seven weeks. By several older fanciers fanaticism is less thereby also the attention whereby they overlooked small defects. Once these men performed admirably and now you see that they are increasingly going to come up short. Even in everyday life that’s just the downside of aging. The spirit wants to do but the body begins to protest more and more. Moreover no reason to stop. Also with me the signs of aging come more and more forward but although I still really enjoy my pigeon hobby. Currently my pigeons are not as they should be. I've already skipped a flight because I found them not in order and they still aren’t, a great pity. I'm namely still in 3rd place for the sprint championship and it would be a shame if I could not join the last race (May 28) to move perhaps up a place. Earlier I would have found this terribly. I had to win but this has become a lot less. As long as possible I continue to play, I think it is too much fun game and I have the pigeons for. If I do not find good enough I skip another week. You can also throw them for the lions but you achieve nothing. They perform well below par and then the chance you unnecessarily lost many is great. I have them not so far that they train hard and they have not at all big appetites that’s why they are not good enough to play. Too bad because I had despite my little number racers evil plans to give the competition once and a while a great twist to the ears. Despite the two wins that has not really happened yet!

On two key issues is given too little attention in many lofts. Especially if there is satisfactory performed this would sometimes forgotten. As long as the birds not come into contact with other birds there is no risk of contamination. Once the flights have started it become more likely especially if the birds have to stay more than one night in the basket. The time of longer sitting in the basket has come. The longer middle distance races and one-day distance races are going to start and that requires extra attention. Take time to observe your birds daily and spent enough time feeding your animals. By observing the birds regularly you learn the behavior and that is very important. At the behavior is to see if the pigeons are in shape. As long as there is not a feather wrong there is nothing to worry about, especially if they train and eat properly. Also at the weekly bath you can see if the condition is sufficient, if they like it it’s ok. Pigeons that regularly yawn or scratch their heads are not top. Nose feathers up, no shiny feathers and too much pick in the feathers are something wrong. Pigeons have to have in the morning beautiful bello fertilizer preferably with a few small feathers on it. How closer to each other, the calmer the pigeons have come through the night and that means that it is alright to health. On the way of eating is also to see how it is with the condition of the pigeons. When the pigeons are fed twice a day and they are with the entire group to the manger than it should sound if there rattles a machine gun, so fast they need to eat and they are super fine. Once they eaten slowly there’s failing something. By fanciers that give every day "full house" the eating of course different. There is also a difference between a full house and full house. One says full house as the birds can indeed eat throughout the day and the other called the full house as the birds can eat whatever they want for 20-30 minutes. The first thing in the morning I watch how the birds fly out the loft, which has to go quickly, they should as it were flying off the cap on your head. If you want to look the pigeons after they should have been out of sight and if they then after fifteen minutes again rise above the loft the fly form is good. Pigeons that not migrate are not in the correct flight condition. With normal temperatures the pigeons should certainly not landing on the loft with the mouth open also not with real summer temperatures, but because birds do not sweat it happens with very hot and stuffy weather. Keep that in mind and do not think directly to respiratory problems. The airways are definitely in order if the pigeons still train fast and prolonged at high temperatures. These are all things that you will discover if you have more time spent on feeding and observing. With each day cleaning the loft twice a day you learn not know the pigeon's behavior and you also win no extra early prizes.

Youngsters born in December or January are now adult pigeons. The winter youngsters are already sexually mature. This is evident in the cooing cocks that are already beginning to show off the female beauty. They are almost fully grown and those who have darkened the pigeons will have their youngsters still on a "full" wing. Next month will start in the Netherlands the races for youngsters. It's been many years since everyone could play price with youngsters. It's long past time, there are now real pikers making unparalleled results with their youngsters. That cannot just lie on the quality, it definitely has to do with perfect care and of course there is something else. The results with youngsters is primarily in the "system" which is used. Years ago it was the darken method, then came the drip method, we worked with cheese and sheep fat, pigeons on widowhood, the game on the door, it's nothing new. It's the smart ones who stay in front of the competition. Is that by bringing the pigeons far away or not at all. Is it the motivating atmosphere in the loft, is jealousy plays a major role or working with nutritional supplements? There are many roads that lead to Rome but the point is that our birds do pick the shortest route. At only arrive home we have nothing especially the sprint / middle distance players have nothing to that. The long distance racers do look very differently and do not care about the youngster game for them is the arrival more important than the result. To know if we start with healthy youngsters is advisable to examine morning manure by the veterinarian. I have experienced firsthand. I cannot see whether the birds something wrong with my eyesight. In my mind the old and the youngsters were in good health until we got a tough flight and I had to hand in eight birds. Then you immediately know that something is wrong, but what? The pigeons viewed from all sides and to me there was nothing wrong. Also the appetite became less, by the youngsters a light coli outbreak and despite that was quickly rectified they did not what I expecting from them both old and young. So to Dr. van der Sluis who found coccidiosis and trichomoniase, you cannot play further. If you do that then you play your loft half empty and therefore I skip a week. After two days of medication I saw an immediate improvement in appetite. Before that there were pigeons that had absolutely no appetite and now they been eating well. I have written many times that pigeon racing is an easy game and that's true but then they must be super healthy. As fancier you have to be very alert, you can relax in nothing, do everything you can, if the results are good then you do it gladly. I'll be glad when I got back on track the whole lot. A week of rest they will do well!

After the New Year fanciers who want to make a good season begin with the preparations for the new season. The care is tighter, racing couples are compiled and the breeders have their first kid. A month later the racing couples are paired and the youngsters of the breeders come already outside. This may all be associated with setbacks. Pigeons do not accept one another or fly in a wrong breeding loft, broken eggs because of fights or unfertilized, youngsters that will not grow, pipe pens, poor manure. When the youngsters grow older there is risk of e-coli bacterial or adeno infection and then there is also the circovirus. By the last two infections is doing little or nothing. Coli is still the easiest to combat but by adeno or circovirus infection they look in the morning to get through a ring and the same evening they are dead. Then there is the mandatory vaccination paramixo and further we may have to deal with paratyphoid, coccidiosis, ornithosis, canker. Once we bring our pigeons as pre-season several times away there can be suddenly a day that the pigeons have a full day work to come home. These are days that the weather looks lovely but apparently not for the birds. So I would still be able to continue for a while. Those that are longer in the sport have these types of situations already experienced several times. Fortunately we have now a lot more information about the weather circumstances but then people must not forget to consult this information.

It makes no sense to look back into the past. We think the weather used to be much more constant but also then there were flights with a disastrous course. At that time we could blame the cause to the lack of communication which today no longer holds. Everyone everywhere is accessible so that, if necessary, until the last minute changes can be made and that is now unfortunately done inappropriately. Every disadvantage has his advantage would say late Johan Cruyff. The sport has moved with the times in many ways. In the Netherlands we have perfect transport there is nothing wrong with. Modern cars equipped with the latest technologies. The only problem is the professionalism of the people who have to organize everything. As we had last Saturday in our flying area once a flight with a disastrous course. Cause initially hard southeast winds and that is fatal especially for inexperienced youngsters. That Saturday we flew our 5th sprint race, distance 240 km. The first pigeons flew 100 km per hour and the competition period was more than an hour, that says enough. Normally these types of flights are closed within 10 minutes. It was very hot that day with a very low moisture content and no cloud in the sky. So clear that you could look over the whole world. What our carriers have forgotten to look at the weather maps. There were on the Dutch coast various atmospheric disturbances which many pigeons could not orient optimally. Surely more than one-third of the pigeon is not at home. I joined with 22 of which there are still 8 on the road whereby my season (and that of hundreds of others) after 5 weeks of sport is already for a large extent to the Philistines. Because in my loft 8 pigeons are left are several couples no longer complete, there must be other partners sought and therefore they cannot be played the first two weeks. Then there are pigeons that cannot join because they have hanged Saturday hours in the air to come home. For people like me who is busy with the final years sport this is a harsh laughter. If I talk with other fanciers it looks the pigeon in itself does not interested them. By such figures the pigeon is a thing that lets you play a game at the weekend, it's about performing and what pigeon that does they not even know. I ask often enough but they really do not know. Cause perhaps the electronics, thereby fanciers have their pigeons fewer in hands and they do not know exactly who’s who. We older fanciers know exactly, it is not even that long ago that I could see in the sky which pigeon was coming. Unfortunately, that too is over because I cannot even recognize my pigeons as they sit on the loft. In the loft I can because I have day light bulbs. Because of the loss of 8 of my birds and my physical condition I can afford it hardly to take care everything into perfection. On the other hand I must not think that I have no pigeons anymore. At the moment it are really hard times for me.
As the years more and more count I had last winter decided to keep less pigeons. With 12 racing couples widowhood with cocks and hens you have good come along. That worked fine because after five sprint races I'm in the district with 120 fanciers on the 3rd place. It could not better but then may happen nothing crazy. Such an irresponsible discharge as last Saturday has brought my hobby into disorder. In hindsight it was definitely not been necessary. Our national organization had been warned not to unload too western because of the heat and the southeast wind which blow the pigeons over the North Sea with all its consequences. It has happened and the sport continues. It is like the Tour de France there’s wait for no one. There you sit as a little fancier with 14 pigeons to play while there is certainly still 14 games to go, so it will never work. Perhaps the youngsters will provide a surprise. Currently I have 35 but of them I will almost certainly get a third lost. That has been the general trend, not only by me but everyone and there are who have to hand over 50%.

As a fan of many sports I was looking forward to last weekend. There was at first on Friday the start of the Tour of Italy, the first three stages were held in the Netherlands. "Our" Tom Dumoulin picked up on day 1 direct the rosť jersey and went three days in that sweater. On the third day he had to give way to but he might attract him again the next day on Italian soil. So feast for Hollande cycling fans. That Sunday also attacked the decision as to which football could call itself champion of the Netherlands. My favorite club for many years Ajax let lying on the final day and give the title to their competitor. Many Dutch soccer fans in mourning! Then a flight with enormous losses. It could well be that there ended up many Dutch pigeons in England. I would say; SPORT FRIENDS DO YOUR DUTY and make sure the pigeons are well cared and that they can to the Netherlands on transportation. Let fly back to the Netherlands is not a good option because most of the birds have lost the plot and do not like to fly over the sea. They are after all no ducks!

Yet like to look back first I do for cycling. The spring classics with highlights the Tour of Vlaanderen and the boulders classic Paris-Roubaix. Wonderful cycling we have seen and now the stage races have their turn. Both have their specialists. The Netherlands are this year the country where the Giro or in other words the Tour of Italy begins. Friday May 7 is the day. Then start 198 riders in the prologue of 8.9 km from Apeldoorn. The 2nd and 3rd stage will be held in our country and then move the whole caravan to Italy for three weeks. A similar picture we see in our sport. Also here the cold and whimsical spring games are over. It is now May, the temperatures rise and the distances become every week longer. Next week we start the middle distance races with distances over 300 km and a few weeks later the first day long distance race are on the program. From that moment there is for every fancier something. Pigeon starts to run at full speed and there is already some drawing in the struggle that is going on from the first weekend of April. We see many of the same names come forward that have previous years call the shots. For the sport it would be good there arise some new names surely names of young fanciers. It keeps the competition up and makes the game more exciting.

Now we are a few weeks underway come back stories. If you listen at the fanciers properly they all have already won at least minimal a first prize. You know them all those excuses stories, the neighbor had laundry hanging outside, neighbor children shot the ball over the hedge, the other neighbor has just launched a motorcycle when the first bird arrives, the rear neighbors were at the exact moment that the first pigeon would drop water the garden, were somewhere else two dogs barking at each other, the fancier was sick of his wife ever had to call the coffee was poured while every moment could arrive the first bird, a boy from a little further was with open bedroom windows a new sound installation testing and so there are more of those stories. Nice to hear, but you have to take it with a big bag salt. Then there was Dirk. He was not satisfied with the performance of his pigeons. We had only four flights behind us and every time he played a pigeon inside the first ten. It had to be better but that’s nothing new for most want. His pigeons fly every day one and a half hour. He visited the vet but he could see nothing. They eat well, listen and behave well. Dirk said what do you still want more? Purchase better pigeons said another fancier. Dirk did not like because he thinks he's one of the strongest players of the club. Luckily he made the day after a good result and now everyone is looking forward to Friday again wondering what he has to whine again.

A good friend of mine plays this year, together with his son, traditional widowhood with only cocks. However it is not as he expected. Last year they played only with hens which was a record year. You may wonder why they switched to the game with cocks. It is mainly lack of time. If you double widowhood play you have to let at least once a day training the cocks and hens, and that possibility is not there now. The father has nearly three years ago suffered a stroke which he is paralyzed on one side and his speech is gone. The son has a busy job and a young family plus he is still playing in the first team of the local football club. Then you have to make choices. Afterwards it had be better to play only with the hens I presume. They recover more easily, they are happy if they may once a day in the loft with the breeding boxes and they train harder. Training widowers might be better to look at, but ultimately it is the result. In my opinion it is not too late to turn the hens. So you see what can happen if the expectations are too high. Now the fun gets a little way and emerge the excuses of busy, busy, take the kids to swimming lessons, the children play football and have to train, father soccer, the lady of the house also has a full time job and then there remains little time for optimal care of the pigeons especially when father and son live 8 km apart and the pigeons sitting with father who can’t do anything. Everything comes down to the shoulders of the son and if it does not go as in previous years there will be irritation. Would be a great pity if there would be an end to this combination that go a long time with the better players in our territory.

He would move from the head of North Holland back to his homeland so he had already in 2015 a number of young birds fly behind the home of his girlfriend. They have only participated in the last five sprint races of 2015. That kind of races they do not learn much and they had also pitted against all the experienced old racers. A tough selection process we could not apply because there would too few pigeons remain. Beforehand I warned him several times not to impose the performance bar too high. In any case, he just had to go play with his yearlings. Dad was immediately put in his shirt because the first the best race he played the first and so was papa beaten by his son. His 18 pigeons are doing better than expected and as you see, good pigeons are born and cannot make. At his 18 pigeons are sure 9 where he will have fun with. If only it were true that 50% of the pigeons at the end of the season get a sufficient. Youngsters he has enough and when he keep them healthy it could be a fun summer for him. He must first defeat his father and that will not be easy because he this man has evil plans. We’ll wait and see.

If there is within the pigeon sport talked about something then it is the weather in particular the wind. At the sprint races playing wind and location an important role. Many theories about it but practice shows that the birds determine the fly line. It is not obvious if wind breeze from the west the eastern fanciers are in favor but the reverse is also true. The last four races have proved that once again. Regardless of the wind direction turned the westernmost living fanciers have little benefit. Probably plays the coast a very important role. Hours and hours is about these situations discussed but at the end of the season are still the better fanciers of recent years on key positions. So, no longer nagging, which helps nothing, keep confidence in the pigeons, continue to provide good, do not panic and then come the results. If the weather become more constant will be also comes form on the colder garden lofts.

We have been looking forward a long time for the start of the new racing season. A winter that was more like a mild autumn, followed by a beautiful month of March with a few days the possibility to take place out of the wind in the sun on a terrace. It all looked very hopeful. Usually it is so if we do not have a real winter we do not get a nice spring and that’s right up to now. It is far too cold for the time of year. This week is completely awful. Frost, rain, hail, daytime temperatures below 5 degrees. This morning I left at 7 am my hens outside with temperatures of 2 degrees above zero and in the loft it was just as cold. Then you are not for fun cleaning the lofts. Actually it's not a good temperature to release the pigeons. Despite the cold they still flies a full hour but once it starts to hail you see the birds draw to a place where it is dry. At the behavior of the birds you can hardly see that they suffer from the cold. If I do well to let the pigeons train in this weather I do not know. When I was younger and fanatical I would certainly not let them out. Today I'm a lot easier, you do not have that far to look ahead at my age. Future is gone, it is now a matter of enjoying as much as possible. No, I do not throw the hat. I still do my best to play at the highest level. Frankly it’s not going as it should but I’m not discontented and grumble I certainly do not. Now we have three races behind us it has been no real pigeon weather yet. Temperatures of 15 degrees, beautiful bright blue sky with large white clouds, so bright that you can look to speak all over the world. Sounds nice but in Holland we have unfortunately not many of such flight days. But my experience is that the Dutch pigeons can stand better the cold then extreme heat. Ideal pigeon weather is also ideal for the boss. Then it's fun to wait for the pigeons. To date this is not yet the case. By contrast the flights went well and smooth and the losses are small. The Dutch weather let us pretty down. Because of the many low temperatures are fanciers with garden lofts at disadvantage since the form is still hard to find. There is always something luckily that counts for all of us.

The Dutch lofts are all constructed and isolated at a way that we can use the sun and can keep the temperature as long as possible. The more constant the temperature the better. We also want a good circulation of air because oxygen is the best and cheapest medicine. Therefore we have a lot of glass in front of the loft facing, if possible, to the southeast. Hereby you grab early the first sun and in the heat of the day the sun shines on the side of the loft which has usually a tiny window. We are very dependent on the sun. In my loft has every department a roller blind to keep out the sun at the few tropical days that we have in our country. The blinds are also easy when there is going to be darkened. Today most Dutch lofts have an open aviary at the front. Often this is seen as an ideal situation and that it is not in my eyes. I go for an aviary with only an open front and closed sides and a closed roof so that wild birds can’t do their feces which increases the risk of infection. Some fanciers keep their pigeons in the cold winter months the entire day in the open aviary and calls it a breath of fresh air. The pigeons get then a so called Spartan training and would become "harder". I do not believe that. Just as an Eskimo will never be a Surinamese and Surinamese never an Eskimo. You are born as you are and nobody can change that. So come pigeons to the world, the quality and capabilities have been established before birth. We can only improve the condition through proper nutrition and care. We can give them anything like grit, vegetables and a bath and ensure that they lack nothing. At the races the pigeons will show what they are capable of. Please note, it is always the same pigeon that compete for the top prizes and only those are worthy to stay one more year in the loft and in order to breed. From their sisters and brothers who have done nothing you do not even expect breeding results. We'll not talk about exceptions because how you look at it only from good comes good that’s why only the best are worth to keep, it’s as easy as that.

So do not be fooled by all kinds of interesting but meaningless marketing texts. The period of the many Internet auctions is almost over. Some of these sites do not know when to stop. For them it is "big business" and just then be careful. I cannot warn enough. Their product is the best there is currently for sale. The most beautiful stories are devised in order to bring to the man but if you read the text correctly it’s only nonsense. All performances mentioned are achieved by siblings or grandparents. Even from cousins or grandchildren one dares to put on paper, from the pigeons or his parents is often nothing mentioned. I also made a huge blunder this year, I could kick myself for my head. How stupid can you be. In such a sales site I saw a photograph of a beautiful hen with a pedigree that appealed to me enormously because I also own lines and thus am very successful. I have bought the pigeon and had certain expectations. One day the pigeon was delivered and I immediately opened the box and viewed the pigeon. They had better give me a slap in the face who had not arrived as hard as the construction of the hen. What a rag and still besides that she is terribly shy, a complete waste of money but if you read her story, so beautiful, so wonderful, but it's three times nothing. That I, after so many years have fallen intro this trap is incomprehensible and I just always write "never buy a pigeon from a picture."

The speed players currently enjoy themselves. Too bad the first races are run very rapidly. The blame was the strong south east to southwest winds. Every week speeds over 100 mph are not exactly the most beautiful flights. From me they may have this direction when we come over 600km but not everyone will agree. Especially the long distance players do not. They prefer to talk about sweltering weather and head wind. Easy going reasoning from your lazy chair in a shady spot with perhaps a nice cold beer and a big cigar. With this note I show immediately not to be a true fan of the long distance. True, but most are not! Just look at the number of participants in the races to 600 km and compare it with the men of the heavy work. It’s pity that especially these group getting so much attention compared to the thousands of participants for example the middle distance races. Please do not misunderstand me and not see me as an opponent to the long distance. I very much appreciate the birds that stand on those flights. However I have no appreciation for those men who carry out with baskets of pigeons in the hope there’s one in between which perhaps could win a first national. Believe me, that is never won by such a fancier. The law of large numbers is very often on but not when it comes to a national victory. These are special pigeons and you don’t have soon a loft full of. These are pigeons with great perseverance and stamina, better known as "mordant". Those men must have patience, their corn flourish. With regard to the preparation they are relative to the speed players substantially in the advantage. They can give their pigeons every week to bring them into fly rhythm and better condition while those who now are busy with their main game often had no opportunity to do that. The reason is the cold erratic Dutch spring weather. Fortunately, we cannot complain this year. The flights went well, few or no losses. Every week we go a little further and soon we have already got the first middle distance race.

These first flights shows clearly that the men who excel each year at further flights have their team (deliberately) not top yet. Some of these fanciers playing with a lot of pigeons and can’t break in their club any pots. Is that because of the high speeds? Or, if you play with a lot of birds you get with the short flights usually too many birds at once at home which would sometimes stop each other and stay longer flying around. The clock is ticking simply by and you forfeit precious seconds. Perhaps especially the long distance players prescribed mandatory rest, it remains guesswork. It is certain that when it is for real the same names often come forward and again remarkably play strong. It is formidable how these men at important races always have a bunch of pigeons "sharpe”. Do they have such a wonderful system or super method, or are they really super pigeons or .........? Especially on the use of doping is a lot of communication off in Belgium. There is a doping regulation but still not complete. There are too many possibilities which fanciers have no grip on. For example, long distance pigeons on their way home make occasionally a stopover. Who knows what they can pick up for rottenness? That may even be something that is on the list of banned substances. Last year two fanciers were positive in Belgium and get a heave penalty. Rightly or not, they are punished very severely. Why so heavy? Is that arbitrary or they stand as an example. In short there is still no water proof doping regulations and research as happens now is also questioned. In Belgium doping is the talk of the day, in the Netherlands it’s very quiet from the central management. Nevertheless there are increasing more rumors that we work with (illegal) means to have the pigeons at the right time in top form. The period of frequent use of cortisone is already far behind us. In that period there were quite a lot fanciers that came with that means, especially with youngsters, to inimitable performance. Then it was quiet, cortisone should absolutely not be used anymore. But just as in other sports is search for other stimulants and this are often not natural products. Would it not be wonderful if this subject would be completely eliminated. Just nice weekly crystal-clear play against each other and further no more bullshit.

I started with 12 widow hens. Unfortunately my best from previous years remains right on the first best race behind. Now we are a few weeks further I have four hens who fell in love with each other and that it is very early in the season. I have no bad experiences with that, they are often my better hens. But their cocks notice it and make in duration no longer a rush to get home. Two other hens fell in love with me, yes you read it right, in love with a man of almost 80 years. When I enter the loft they do not know how fast they have to fly on my shoulder or my cap. They fight just to have the best spot and that's on my cap. I am not so happy with that, it's nice, but they do not need to be so tame. Last Saturday yielded a problem. One of the ladies was my first bird and what I did, she did not go inside. She flew at me and then back at the door, it took me almost more than half a minute and thus she lost the victory, now she won the 9th against 1.819 pigeons. The other lady was my fourth pigeon and did exactly the same, prefer the cap from the boss than go woo with her husband. You can grab such a horny lady and push over the arrival plate but what does she do the coming weeks? If one of those ladies arrives as your first pigeon you have a problem. The coming time I will gently try to unlearn pet-fly. There is every week something new to experience and that will not be only in my case. Success!

As for the weather we could not wish a better season start. Real pigeon weather, only in terms of wind direction have been divergent opinions. Everyone knows how it goes in pigeon land. One wants wind on the tail, the other loves headwind. Also about the location one becomes not stop talking. Competition always has a privileged position as it was and as it always will be. Each fancier will have to ensure that we read his name weekly in the top of the results. How do you do that? There are several methods. At sprint races the wind is very important. Therefore we get other winners and that's good for the sport. Everybody wants to win every flight but know in advance that such a thing is impossible but yet there is a weekly battle. In that respect are fanciers optimistic. They think "if it fails today then next week maybe" and that is a good sporting attitude. Despite the beautiful flying weather there remain any flight some pigeons behind. It is easily said; then the wheat from the chaff is separated but it does not work like that. It are not always bad pigeons that not return. You know what happened to me on the last training flight, my very best hen away and still. Pigeons that are not well prepared stay behind, insufficient experience is usually the cause. This year we had a start to the season with good weather. Many years I have seen that it was far too cold at this time of year. That usually cost pigeons, especially the late youngsters fail. That's why I do not want late youngsters. If you have a loft with pigeons that runs well late youngsters get in the way. It's different when you purchase late youngsters from an excellent pair to bring in some new blood. For beginners or new start-ups it is attractive to start with late youngsters because you can often buy the best. In this time of year fanciers need the youngsters of the better couples themselves desperately. Nevertheless there come every year more fanciers that play with late youngsters and achieve good results. That's not for me anymore because I can no longer afford to provide a loft with late youngsters. I never liked because you can still after two years breed youngsters that can participate in the program.

Also this weekend I had again to do with bad luck. I had brought in my first five drawn into the clock on the wrong flight. That meant that they could join but with a rubber ring and then you find out how big the difference is between manual and electronic clocks. I clocked electronic 12:29:01, 29.03, 29.10 and 29.20, four very early birds. According to the electronic clock I would play 2-4-5-6 against 428 pigeons. Hand bells takes plenty of time. My first was now 2nd (behind my son Marco), the second was 11, the third 20 and fourth 32. Nearly 2.5 minute I needed to clock the rubber rings. I do not understand there has never war broken out in pigeon land because of manual clocks. Incomprehensible that there are in my club still 5 fanciers with manual clocks. Stubbornness, unwillingness, I do not know. Already in the last century we started with the commissioning of the electronic clocks. Nobody can tell me that you can get together money in the years to buy a modern clock. Currently they are coastal and label equipment for sale because there are unfortunately stopped a large number of fanciers in those 16 years or are no longer among us. In every club manual clockers are an inhibiting factor. Their clocks must be read (with a chance of typographical) plus those times again must be manually inserted into the clock. That's not something of this time. Come on, the sport has been modernized in many ways and yet there remain those stubborn figures clock on a prehistoric clock.

The above adage is applicable to the management of the department in which I and another 1100 fanciers weekly battle with each other. This time the topic "transport" is central. One of our regular carriers have full satisfaction more than 40 years carried the North Holland pigeons, usually together with two other carriers. The containers (pigeons cars) are owned by the fanciers only the trucks are hired. The new board is immediately started to see what could be done cheaper and better. That you often have with new directors, the men go in good spirits reinvent the wheel. They managed to organize cheaper transportation. It would in my game area at least 10,000 euros cheaper. It is not yet known where that money is going to. It is true that the carrier after 40 years of loyal service may not transport the pigeons anymore. Ah, do new drivers know! It's all about the price, that's a nice story to the fanciers. About quality was not spoken and our old carrier has not even had a chance to make a new calculation adapted to the needs of the newcomers who now form the provincial government. Every beginning is difficult, we all know that, but if drivers should collect pigeons by clubs while they have never been there before (which are usually located in retrospect) then this becomes a time consuming task. We should also remember that many years ago, when there were many, many more clubs, a fine schedule is put together by experienced drivers. Now that's all forgotten resulting in a very amateurish scheme and much improvised. I do not want too much into detail, but it's ridiculous. The first flight the pigeons were five minutes to early released and the week after a bunch escaped at 11:13 pm while the discharge time was 11.15 so again an emergency landing. It's a good thing we know not all of the weekly releases. No, I have no good word about it and I wonder what the situation is about four weeks, I think this new managers not eat a bag of salt. In other words there could be interim be a changing of the guard. Sin, because it was well organized and about the expertise of the current directors I have my doubts. Those guys do their best for sure but whether they are capable managers I doubt. In a few weeks we will know more. To be continued!

In Belgium they play for several weeks the sprint races from Quievrain and that is for the most about 100 km. During the Easter weekend it went very fast, concourses closed within 4-5 minutes and speeds of more than 2200 meters per minute (132 km ph.) were reached. In the Netherlands it began a week later. Because of the short distance, the southeast wind and incorrect passed discharge time many fanciers were surprised. Also I belonged to the victims but finally it was not too bad. The average distance was 71 km and the passed discharge time was 12.00 hour. I expected the pigeons near 12.45 hour. Before they arrived I looked with my new loupe at the clock to see whether I could read the text on the display well. While I was myself testing I heard a number of "beeps" in rapid succession. Already pigeons? flashed through my mind, it cannot be. There appeared to be a stiff south southeast wind (that's for us wind from behind), and the pigeons were not at 12.00 but at 11.55 unloaded and that is a big difference on a flight of just over 70 km. It was eventually against 1372 pigeons; 24-25-26-27-28 etc. Whether these 5 birds are equal arrived or the first sit on the loft already I will never know. It were at least five early birds and that feels good for next week as the first official flight takes place.

After the surprising arrival I got to handle a huge disappointment at the end of the day. My best hen the "Blue Champion" was not home. As a young champion in 2014 and a year later champion pigeon sprint. That's a shock. It is now Tuesday four o’clock and she is not there yet. Then I have to assume that she was killed otherwise would such a class pigeon certainly have been the day after the flight on the cover. She belonged of course for 2016 again to my favorites and if you're playing for a good finishing position you cannot miss such pigeons. Especially now that I have only 12 pairs of racers you are vulnerable and it now turns out. Fortunately I have four youngsters from her, last year I did not breed from her. It was a yearling and I did not know she would perform just as well at that age as when she was young. For the next year I had booked into the breeding loft a place for her already. Unfortunately she is almost certainly killed on the field of honor whether there should happen a small miracle. Pigeon racing is a very fun hobby but if you lose before the first official race your best hen you throw in first sight immediately the towel in the ring. However a good sportsman knows to overcome disappointments, I am luckily not dependent on one pigeon. If you play with pigeons you know you run every week the risk there remain a pigeon behind also one of your better. You can lose them also at home. It is unavoidable or you should never let them out again but that is not the aim of the game that we all love to play.

About the total sales one of Curt Platt Century (Belgium) go the strangest stories. He would together with several accomplices have rushed the prices. Why? According to his own words not for the money, because he is not waiting for. Why then? Is it for the glory of himself so he can say that his pigeons have raised a record amount? There were strikingly same bidders is claimed. For an expensive pigeon of 17,000 euros had to be paid half and so there seems to be more examples. Since the commercial within our sport prevails happen the strangest things. As were Hans and son Evert Jan Eijerkamp rebuffed by a pigeon land very well-known internet marketing organization with which they did very regularly business. Now it seems that the pigeons brokers are padding sick because they do not tolerate that this furniture and pigeon giant do business with another, it should not be crazier! In the Netherlands were father and son Verkerk in the first race of the new season with 226 pigeons at the start. In itself nothing wrong, a lot of work for the volunteers at the club and a number of pigeons which many fanciers discouraged. Not good for the sport! Then go back to Belgium where Jos Thone once again holding a big internet marketing. This time ALL old birds go away, to be precise 211 pieces. Another fancier less you think. Of course not. Of all the old pigeons are certainly bred one or two rounds and Jos will join again. Perhaps it is just as if one of the previous occasions when there had bought a man on the other side of the world twenty pigeons from Jos for a lot of money. According to Jos wanted the buyer that they are kept at him and he was allowed to breed as many as he wanted. That he has done and all the youngsters were again sold on the Internet with an embellished story at the end of the year. Where the hell remains credibility?

When work is being done it’s lovely to stay for a while in the loft, just relax among the pigeons. Just be yourself, enjoy your hobby and forget the worries, stress or adversity that day. Talk to your pigeons and occasionally take one in your hands that’s hobby. I always have a few peanuts in the pocket of my duster. Once they are used eating peanuts they become addicted to. I teach them at an early stage the sounds of a rattle manger peanuts. If they know that noise you see how willingly they'd come to the boss, they are just kids who get a candy. By doing so you create a bond with your pigeons and this delivers benefits in all respects. Pigeons that have no confidence in the boss and the environment in which they live will never perform optimal. It turns
just about this apparently unimportant things that make a difference. Especially since the differences in arrival times are often very small. It’s going about seconds yes or not the first prize. Therefore the interplay between boss and pigeon is of great importance.

When winter and Easter are beyond it’s spring. Nature gets going which is regarded as the birds are busy making their new nest in order. There is new life approaching, the bulbs sprout and very soon we can enjoy the beautiful colors as we drive along the flower fields in the Netherlands. The temperatures go up which is important at the first speed flights. As it stands now we have the last training flight temperatures of 16 to 18 degrees, that would be fantastic. A week later (April 9) will kick off the first official contest. In all 12 departments with more than 18,000 fanciers in its totality the first flight takes place. Especially fanciers of speed are eagerly looking forward to. With them the breeding season is over all attention now goes to the races. In early April thousands of pigeons will split the Dutch airspace. The sprint races know a vast majority of participants and therefore a huge number of pigeons. Because the sheer number of pigeons will also a large number of fanciers waiting with clenched buttocks on the first arrivals. There are fanciers who do not make it as pressure to the first gain. I've always been someone who wants to race in the picture on the first flight. I wanted soon leave my mark indicating that the competition consider me. This year probably will be a bit different. Despite my less pigeons I feel certainly not without a chance. I already know that I cannot win from the mega lofts, the law of large numbers will always play an important role. That does not mean that all fanciers that play with small numbers cannot beat the big guys. Verily so! The big men have also a few good pigeons in the loft, look which they extract. It always goes to a single pigeon that makes the weather. Also on small cages are good pigeons, percentage even more. The point is the cooperation of the weather conditions on the first flights. With real pigeon weather anyone can grab an early bird. However when it is Dutch spring weather with rain and occasional snowfall then it will be "lucky" flights and then are those with large numbers in favor. Still counts; "The more lottery tickets, the more chances." Such flights have little or nothing to do with the sport. The problem is that they do count for the championship whereby several fanciers directly get a though whirl to their ears. Thing is that the pigeons are well. The super-shape is yet to come on all lofts, it’s still too early for now. It's now about healthy birds that are well prepared. Be wise and place in the beginning not the performance bar too high. The greater the expectation the greater the disappointment!

I also started, they are now from quarter to eight in the evening until morning at a quarter to nine darkened. They molt plenty of small feathers and no one has thrown a quill. I continue to darken until the first week of June, then I have three weeks before their first real race. My experience is that shortly after you stopped darken you have the chance that there will be a coli outbreak. One year you have practical no problems, the other years some significant and there have been years when they were really dead and dead sick, so much that I had to finish some and some died of itself. Whether it was coli or adeno I do not know, I guess adeno because coli infection is with a course of dr. Van der Sluijs in days past. I keep it on that you get coli by vaccinating against paramixo combined with darken. But if you want to play youngsters with a "full wing" then you will have to enlighten or darken and you run the risk that you will get the "youngsters disease". Currently the youngsters look fine. By some the neck starts to color and the cocks begin to coo nice. Every night I fight a bit with them, I walk along the stretch and pull equally on their beak and shove my finger a little to them so that they start beating himself. This avoids that they fly away from their seats when you come into the loft. Previous years I had three sections for my youngsters now only one which means that you regularly have to put a youngster at. There are usually some couples where you want to have at least four youngsters. I do not like to put occasionally a youngsters but now I have to do forced. If it has a bad influence I cannot say. It seems better to me to place the first round in a department and then the second round in their own department. The third section I used to put occasionally one. Once they all flew well around the loft the doors opened and sat the whole platoon together.

I often get questions about feeding. Again there are many roads lead to Rome. In other words, there are different methods. Each bird eats about 30-35 grams per day. It's up to the fanciers to decide when they should have less (breeding season) and when more (longer flights and big youngsters). Whit big youngsters in the dish I feed them three times a day because they need it. In four weeks they grow from a helpless creature into a full-fledged bird. Pigeons that have to perform you should not suffer hunger. Make sure the birds have some reserves also in the sprint races. Pigeons coming bad from a race you cannot change by giving them with an empty crop. I give them on the day of basketing in the morning plenty of food and in the afternoon they get extra candy seed. I am in favor of small seeds I think I give them more than others. Furthermore it is good to provide at least once a week fresh vegetables. Regular fresh grit should not lack in the loft like minerals. I also have always a little salt in the loft. Salt dissolves mucus and the pigeons pecking it when they need it. The food that I give them they get through the year, so always the same versatile mix. I assume the more versatile the better. Now that the season begins the racers also get some peanuts every day. They love it and it's also good for them. Every morning and afternoon 2 peanuts by feeding turn. For longer distances, 350 km and beyond, I'll double that number. Very important is regularity, all at fixed times. The condition and the performance will be better. Do your best and good luck!

For a week the Dutch Homing Pigeon Organization (NPO) has again a full board. The 7-person board, chaired by Maurice van der Kruk (47), has like many of their predecessors in any case the best intentions for our national sport. That sounds positive, moreover noticed that Maurice used the word positive very frequently in his introduction speech. Unfortunately he didn’t talked about any concrete example that would improve the sport in short term still less that he used the word innovation. Also on the method of approach he told nothing. However he mentioned that the non-positive members our sport had to say goodbye as soon as possible and that was not so smart of him. Within a transparent organization it should be possible to make positive of negative members. New drivers can by their way of governing bring members to other (positive) thoughts. Our group is not so big any more so the more or less 18,000 members (Belgium has only 2000 more) we must somehow try to retain for the sport. To keep things exciting and affordable we need each other. It is to be hoped that the new directors are calculates on their far from easy task. I've been through various boards and directors who began full impetus to their management position and pulled out again in no time. In that regard seemed our Head Office in Veenendaal on a pigeon loft, administrators flew in and out. Fortunately we are now at war strength again and start with seven well-meaning people to the 2016 season. There is plenty of work to do for the organization. The financial picture looks compared to 2014 very unfavorable. A lot of money flew out the cash because there was a lot of bickering and that cost us (unnecessarily) a lot of money. Hopefully we are now entering calmer waters so that directors, committees and members can engage for the full 100% to the sport. As we first once again been busy with the matches. Everyone has his hands full and there is no time to make trouble. Which come in autumn turn again when nationally is evaluated what all could have been different and better. Let's start to wish the administration much wisdom and perseverance.

The sprint players are on edge, they should stand on April 9. They hardly had time to prepare the pigeons no time for excuses. In the first weekend of April it should happen and you know; pigeons play is a second game, a trip around the loft takes some places in the result. The real speed players have their pigeons so conditioned that they know what is expected of them and that is not only fly as quickly as possible the shortest route home but also dive into the loft with high speed. The game speed is one of the basics of the sport. It used to be said that you first have to reach good results at short distances before you go to the middle distance or even further. This tendency you see still in Belgium. In reports you regularly read that there first a few years only participated in the flights with the shortest distances. It was the game for the little man who on such flights could earn money with which he could pay his hobby. The money game is as good as gone, certainly in the Netherlands. I think that is still very bad, no not about the money. I never waited on money, but on my pigeons. The amounts were not so high. With that money game some fanciers won 25 guilders and could pay feed and other matters. What I liked the most important of the money game is that you were doing with your pigeons on an even more fanatical manner. You learned them better known because to put money on half of your pigeons was not so hard, it was a matter that you got in front the pooled pigeons. You looked at a pigeon a number of times before you set up money. Now it's more about the game. Champion pigeons, championships and good results that's the main thing. Especially for professionals who MUST perform and in the commercial world are there more and more. They should be able to unpack on sites their often inflated results. It's unbelievable what nonsense is written by crafty marketing managers, mostly hot air. But it's all in. Fortunately there are still fanciers who have pigeons as a hobby. A couple of times an early pigeon and the whole year is good to be sure to do it again next year.

National, provincial and regional championships in whatever form they are for fun players not the main goal. For them counts in first instance the club happen. There they find the atmosphere where they speak weekly their sports friends and is discussed the probability for the next flight. In our club you can for fifty cents guess at what minute the winning pigeon is clocked so on every flight you can win 30 euros. Also can be guessed who the first three fanciers are in the rash and who has the first nominated pigeon in the list. Furthermore will be drawn which three fanciers together form a trio. Therefore the members are divided into three groups (A-B-C). The trio with the highest meter speed wins the stakes. There is a price for the last fancier in the list and each week one of the members made a price available. On basket evening the donor makes known which pigeon fancier will be awarded the prize. Of course the winner goes weekly with a bouquet of flowers home. Several times a year the club has10 prizes available. For example; on Father's Day, Mother's Day, Easter, fair and the first young bird race. We could also give two ring numbers from our two favorite yearlings and our youngsters. Those who have performed the best in the overall ranking can obviously win an attractive prize. In this way we try to make it cozy in the club. On race day only awarded the victory flowers, other prizes a week later. After the birds have been retrieved the prizes are delivered with an appropriate speech.

Especially if there is a big pigeon event is coming up the specialized newspapers and magazines are full of attractive offers. All of this with the aim to attract the audience to the show and to bring as many items as possible to the man. It’s striking again and again that the stands where the crew walking around in white coats getting the most attention. This time I deepened me again in the offers of pigeon food. As a layman you can then easily see the difference in mixes because the feed suppliers have their vendible’s in open bins. You can then have some food take in hand to see. Mostly it shines which makes you think it's better quality. That shiny they do at the factory where the food is mixed. That the food looks nice says nothing at all about the quality. With much interest I looked at all those mixes. I noticed very quickly that the cheapest mixes looks very different than the more expensive varieties. More I could not discover. However, I wonder why the price difference can be as large. Each food manufacturer has its own recipe and it does not much matter whether you watch sports mix A or B. So I am soon stopped to choose a particular type of feed. I'm keeping my old position, which is that major self-respecting manufacturers cannot do others then bring a constant mix on the market and each mix has a price tag. How versatile the mix, the higher the price. It struck me that the cheapest deals are made up of very few species. I once bred a round with cheap food, on the bag was breeding mixture but it did not even satisfied as chicken feed. The breeding results compared to a previous round was downright depressing. It was as if the youngsters had run short, the manure was not good, the springs were not beautiful (several birds with tubular pins) and when I removed the youngsters from the parents they felt limp and mushy on. I cannot scientifically justify but when the youngsters from the first and second rounds were gathered and I had a coli outbreak were nearly all youngsters of the second round violently ill while from the first round some got sick, fortunately not so many. The first round quickly restored after a course of Dr. van der Sluis but that was not the case with the youngsters of the second round. Perhaps that age played a role, I cannot prove. From the youngest group I had to do several away because after this coli infection they were not optimal. You could clearly see that they had something flawed. Unfortunately I have not tracked how the flight performance was because I attach no great importance to performance of youngsters. However, when there was a very good one between I certainly remember. To have a good breeding you not only need healthy quality pigeons but also a very versatile mix, I assume that my provider (Mariman) put high quality cereals etc. in the bags. Furthermore I know that in our country and neighboring countries Versele Laga is the largest in the field of animal feed. All other renowned brands buy in many cases their grain to the said firm. It could very well be the case that many mixes are made there, only they are not all packed in bags with the same company name on it.

Pigeon racing collapse. You not only hear otherwise you noticing it at first hand. A little more than 18,000 members in our country. That seems a lot but unfortunately is a little. During the spring fair there was a lot of visitors. However not only Dutch who visited the fair. Fortunately many fanciers beyond the borders bother to come to our country. Thus it appeared that our sport is far from dead. I sincerely hope that it will never come this far. However we should face reality because it does say they all play. I dare not say how many active members there are. I know there are people who do not play pigeons anymore but still remain a member of their club. That's nice for the club and also for those who no longer participate because they remain involved in the sport. All energy and costs incurred to gain new members have nothing completed. Waste of money and that's a shame because we so desperately need the money. Youthful new starters we need, it's like that is a dying species. Yet in Belgium two young fanciers who dare to stick their necks. They want at all costs go through pigeon's life as full professionals. I dare say helped by the internet. They belong to the core of the largest sales site and if you have that benefit you well on the way. Ulrich Lemmens from Bale is busy building. Brand new lofts with also a guest house for those who come from far away. This little guy is hammering for several years on the road and makes a lot of advertising and put himself in the spotlight. The game is less important if you ensure that your name is read much. The man dares to offer a lot of money for pigeons with beautiful pedigrees and nicer names. That turns out to be not wrong because he is internationally, despite his young age, certainly no stranger. That the Internet has much more influence than many years of strong play shows once again. The other new full professional is Stefaan Lambrechts from Berlaar. This young boy who cannot get along with old birds (his own words) plays all the better with the youngsters. A well-known flying dentist from the Netherlands achieved with this type good results. It is this man who has made wonderful advertisement for this young professional by also making others enthusiastic. Stefan, father of three children and a new girlfriend is for 2016 completely sold out. You know how many rings he ordered? You never guessed it probably, It been 850 and then the beginning of March already sold out thanks to the internet and strong play with only youngsters and to think that results of youngsters are not conclusive to me. So everyone has his hobby. Fortunately!

For several years fanciers from Germany and Belgium play along with the Dutch league. Our national association NPO makes no secret of it but even encourages. Belgians and Germans are welcome at the NPO. That this is possible would have to do with discrimination. Nowadays everything falls under the heading of discrimination and I am sickened. Everything what is currently happening in the world is horrific. All those people, adults and children who are fleeing the violence of war, it grabs me again every day. For me it is the most normal thing in the world that these people must be helped. Easier said than done but it has to happen anyway. That there are no identical views within each border is very unfortunate because therefore there are new problems. It’s up to world leaders to bring this human suffering as quickly as possible to stop on the way to world peace. For always away from all hatred and envy. It is not to compare what I'm going to tell you. I'm going back many years when our country has still 90,000 fanciers. In each village a pigeon club and every city more than three clubs. Each club had its own region and to keep the game as fair as possible there were no members adopted outside the region. That has nothing to do with discrimination, it was fair game. This situation was for many years the image of the Dutch pigeon racing until the number of members visibly declined. The sport began to aging and therefore the associations were increasingly more difficult. They had no right to exist. Clubs were forced to merge but that did not stop the decline of members. Competitions with large numbers of pigeons disappeared. By specialization even more fanciers unhook and the number of pigeons that joined became less. The decline of the sport is still going on and therefore perhaps came one of the Dutch bosses on the brilliant idea to win souls in our neighboring countries. Fanciers from Germany and Belgium are welcome in the Netherlands. Something I definitely disagree. I would be able to agree if pigeon racing would be not possible in those countries. Nowadays you can almost in every country race with pigeon and we are working for a long time in the Netherlands with fairer game attract our union people outside our border. That's something I cannot understand this will make our sport not more attractive. This works more displeasure in hand. This emergency measure is doomed to fail. Again, nothing against German and Belgian fanciers but let's not make it more difficult than it already is.

Once we had a stop at our club members. Our club was of a certain size and the influx of people was so great that we could no longer accept new members. Now it's for several years that many clubs no longer exist (also my old club is defunct) and the clubs that are still there are screaming for new members. In the good years we played in my flying area with 450 fanciers, now just over 100 from which 75 really race. With 450 participants could be everywhere early pigeons clocked. Now the law of large numbers will play an important role. At places where most birds join will also be the migration of the birds and will be also most early birds clocked. If the wind blows from the right direction it’s difficult to play against the masses. That same problem they know along the German and Belgian border. By adopt members outside the country the fly areas become larger and that is not conducive to fair play on flights up to 500 km. My view is to leave it as it is. Perhaps there is still some room to organize more international competitions in the marathon. In that respect I say do because "sport brings people together."

We had no winter in the Netherlands. Pretty soon the winter is over because March 21 spring begins and two weeks later our new season. It begins to itch with the fanciers that was noticeable at the Spring Fair which was held in Houten last weekend. Especially on Saturday you could walk over the heads. At such events you would not say that the sport gets fewer members. When I was on Sunday afternoon walking along the stands most were empty and that was on Saturday afternoon already the case by the stands where youngsters sold. The weather also cooperated because on both days it looks like spring thence the name "Spring Fair". Also during the winter breeding no severe frosts, for the time of year there was a mild temperature. When the winter youngsters for the first time were able to go out the circumstances were fine. Meanwhile the winter youngsters fly that is a real delight and in the loft it looks occasionally if it’s snowing so many small feathers the youngsters currently covered. Advantage of winter youngsters is that they have shed the small feathers and not the primaries. In order to prevent the youngsters will be end of this month darkened for a period of three months. My thoughts wander occasionally down to the first flights. How will the weather be like? Pigeons can handle better low temperatures than tropical heat. I can remember spring flights that the pigeons on the way get to deal with snow showers. They stayed away longer than we expected but the arrive proceeded smoothly for everyone. After such a bad winter we could get a bad spring or a bad summer. It's looking a little coffee. Still I hope for everyone that we get a good season start, smooth competitions and no losses, that’ important for the motivation until the end of the season.

My youngsters are as long they are away from their parents cared at times like summer time.
The 12 old cocks and hens that participating in the races are on widowhood. Now they come off once a day and that will change as soon the weekend of 26/27 March enters the summertime. Then go the dots on the “i" and will care until the end of September always happen at the same time. A week before the start of the summertime I will start to bring the pigeons every other day away but never further than 40 km.

Because I'm not quite comfortable in my skin I'm currently with respect against the pigeons too easy. I would remove the hens when the youngsters are about 16 days old. I have not done, the youngsters lay so beautiful that I thought "I leave them lying around for a few days", while the cocks already started to hunt a bit. Maybe stupid or negligent because there are some hens that have laid for the second time which was not the intention. I actually plan the hens to play all year, so from the first weekend April to mid-September. Taking turns they occasionally get a week of rest but they should race as much as possible. Also on the day Long Distance races I will participate. My pigeons can. At other lofts are with the same kind even achieved very good results at national level. I was intended to pair the pigeons once again and remove the hens after five days. It has become a little different. All hens are now waiting in the widow hens loft on the things to come. I'm currently not sure whether I'm going to pair again. That would be easier because you can toss cocks and hens together every day. If I do not re-pair them I do not want them joint training flights because I want to prevent they seeing each other daily. Yes, repentance comes after sin and now I have a little problem. If you pair them for the second time they always sit together in their breeding loft and then you can tackle them without any problems and stabbing in the basket. As long as they are separated they are something less quiet so I cannot so easily grab them and I hate to catch or chase them. If I do pair them I have still two weeks (today is March 2) to think about it because I want to arrange things so that they are breeding on April 1st 4-6 days. That means they have to be together March 15 again which means that a number hens laying eggs for the third time. I will possibly regret because they certainly start to molt earlier. Is that bad or not? If they sooner let fall their first pin I’m not be able to play until mid-September. In itself not a big problem because then I only play the youngsters in the last five sprint races of the season and the hens get more rest.

We should not make the sport too complicated especially if you are over a year eighty. I would very much like to play along with the best but then in a simple way. The years that I really did everything to belong with the best is a long time behind me. As strange as it may sound, when I look back to the years that I performed admirably with 16 widow cocks the care method was simpler than the last 15 years. Then I'm going to keep more birds and I continue to play well but I bred less real cracks. The years before I had every year several champion pigeons but the last 15 years I bred more first prize winners. It's just what you like to see. You can have a champion pigeon that has performed well unremarkable. I prefer a pigeon that in great participation two times reach the victory (preferably three times) because such victories are comparable with a winning stage in the Tour de France. I say that because pigeon and cycling sport are for me the most appealing sports. The cycling season has started with two beautiful Belgian classics. In Belgium pigeon sport begins the weekend of March 6 and it runs through to October with even more races in one weekend. In the Netherlands more and more fanciers choose to start later and stop earlier. What is the best I dare not say, but I can say that in both countries the number of pigeon fanciers declining significantly every year.

In both countries the organization runs not really good. Last year the NPO had to add more than 400,000 euros and I am not even talking about the 100,000 in legal fees. On March 13 is the general meeting where these issues are discussed. Former president De Jong has candidacy again now chairman Buwalda (both Frisians and they are called in our country "stiff heads") let know he has no sense anymore. It is hard to imagine that De Jong is again the national president because he is also held responsible for the huge losses of recent years. The Belgian national government was proudly announced that they had made a profit of more than 12,000 euros. Pretty you say. It however means very little if we know that there are sold more than 1.2 million rings and there is received 500,000 to fee. Belgium has also the 3% rule. That means there had to be paid to the KBDB 3% of every sold pigeon. That added up all together is a nice amount and then you can ask the question; "How can it be that their only 12,000 euro remains?" In 2017 Belgium organizes the Olympiad in Brussels. How they intend to finance this? We call for help and wait!

This time a big compliment to the organizers, Jan and son Rik Hermans, of the 35th International Golden Pigeon competition. Saturday February 27 a thousand fanciers were together who witnessed a truly grand ceremony of the winners of this competition. I don’t know a country where meet so many fanciers. Most visitors of course came from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany since these three countries participate in the competition. To finish high you should have at least once a month the three first nominated pigeon in the top of the results and that is not easy. I think it's 25 years ago since I was there for the first time. I then had five "permanent" pigeons and then it becomes a lot easier. It looks as if it is not at all difficult until you really try. This year it succeed once again. From the Dutch participants I was 3rd in Belgium they call it 2nd successor. No matter what it's called you get a homage as if you become world champion. After each country honoring the National Anthem was played and there you are as nearly 80 years. I really greatly enjoyed with my son. Many pigeon friends talked in an atmosphere that is unprecedented. You would not say that jealousy and envy in our sport is so great. Next weekend our National Spring Fair and then we will prepare ourselves for the start of the new season.

Are we going to set the bar higher than last year or are we trying to continue the results. In fact it stops once to improve each year again the results. Those who already play well for several years have enough work to maintain that level, after all our sport has more losers than winners. Pigeon racing is a simple game, just ask the person who ends every year with the champions. To get this far is for many still no easy task. Playing well depends on several factors. It is not just about good pigeons. A good system still seems to me important. In a good system is everything and that system counts not only during the season but throughout the year. Only about that can be written a very thick book. The older experienced players know that book almost by heart. For them strong game is just simply because they are almost a robot itself. Their pigeons are not only conditioned, they also have conditioned themselves. Everything goes by itself like a robot and then it becomes a lot easier. Perhaps it is now easier to understand why these men breed more good birds each year than the average fancier. They know in advance which pigeons can and cannot stay, which birds move to the breeding loft and which need to disappear. They have feeling to compose breeding pairs that give useful pigeons more than in other lofts is the case. They dare to do away pigeons even though they are from excellent parents and have good performing siblings. They know how much food need the speed pigeons and how many extra need long distance pigeons. All that stuff they have developed themselves by reading and listening. It is also a matter of daring to play pigeons. All pigeons can handle flights until at least 600 km. The fancier must understand that pigeons that have to fly 100 km be otherwise supervised than pigeons that 5 or 6 times a year 500 km and more have to complete. Currently more and more fanciers stabbing all their pigeons every week in the basket. Whether it is a good system I cannot judge because it is not my system. In practice a lot of pigeons can handle, especially hens. That is truly think the reason that there are so few old birds appear in the results. Many fanciers who play this system let their racers become not older than three years and then the candle is completely burned. Their breeding value will be preserved so they have a place for a few years in the breeding loft, at least three-year-olds who have excellent compliance. Personally I'd rather not breeding from pigeons that have been played completely destroyed. Breeding out good but especially vital pigeons is very important to me.

Now we've got the month of March it goes tickle by many fanciers. Especially when the breeding has succeed many fanciers know that it is also good with the health. Pretty soon the speed players again set off with their favorites. Are they favorites because they have performed well as young or the one and two year olds who already showed they are made of the right timber. Youngsters who have performed well as a yearling can sometimes be disappointing. It is not often that a champion pigeon by the youngsters also as a yearling is able to play with the better. It does happen, I have such a hen. I called her blauwe kampioentje. In the first place because one of her ancestors had the same name and secondly because she became as young champion pigeon and as a yearling she was again champion pigeon, now on sprint. Over the entire 2015 season she was even my best pigeon. I count her again this year with my favorites. I have more, but I still know little or nothing about. I have 12 pairs of racers, 11 of them are males from a year, from the 12 hens there are 4 one year and the other eight are 2 years old. In males the "100" is my biggest favorite, he has everything a good racer must have include a very lively eye, nothing escapes him that happens in the loft, superb construction, strong bounce legs, silky plumes, thick forearm, light blue in color which I like to see, beyond a very nice type, a real man to see. By the hens the "137" is one where I expected something, a real fly type with a bow on the chest and from that line I have bred more with a bow who won several first prizes. Not by the bow but mainly by its size and appearance I assess her very high. 2015 was the "083" my best youngster, blue with white pins in her wing. She is an ideal built hen, very beautiful construction and never too heavy. On the nest she is very fanatical, but soon she should show her skills as a widow hen on double widowhood system. Also from her I expect some top finishes. Although I can see bad I still like to sit with my pigeons. I take them now more in hand than before. Now I can see only good if I keep them close to me.

I would not so much and I have not so much yet. The 13 early youngsters sure look beautiful, already well built and what I like to see is already pretty solid closed tailbones. For me one of the characteristics of a good pigeon. They are now twice been outside all day. After the old birds have flown their daily rounds, they may out. They may all day pass on, that's because last year and now I don’t have problems with birds of prey. However it teeming with me of "Jackdaws" (small kind of crow) and magpies. I was told they holding the prey away. That is why I dare to take the risk to let out the youngsters all day. Just over a week there are 12 more and then another dozen so that I have a number 30 in its totality. Yes, it is different from previous years. Still I hope to be many times faster than the competition. In this period before the new racing season come in every loft some ideals upwards. Each fancier will dream of new achievements and not only dream but also make the necessary preparations for making good results whereby fun in the sport will prevail. I hope this also will be the case with you.

It is mid-February. This means six weeks to go before the new racing season so that there can still be checked for health. In our club the old birds are vaccinated against paramixo this week. We could also hand manure and do a throat swab. The latter to see if trichomoniasis (canker) is present and in the droppings can be seen or paratyphoid coli, coccidiosis or worms are present, very important to know! There is still plenty of opportunity, if necessary, to give medicines. Every year we have 3 times such an joint investigation. Besides that there are opportunities to visit the veterinarian if necessary. As we begin it's important to know that all the members of the club appear at the start with healthy pigeons. Such an investigation is only a snapshot. It does not say if they are healthy at the start they continue throughout the year. Precisely during the racing season the risk of infection is great. Pigeons from different lofts come together in the shipping boxes and into the car where more than 200 boxes can be loaded (5,000 birds). It is actually a too small space for so many pigeons. The chance that they incur an infection is present especially if they need to stay more than one night in the boxes. In the interest of the sports experience, fanciers and pigeons we cannot seriously enough deal with the health of our birds.

Unfortunately there is within the modern pigeon sport far too much talk about all sorts of diseases. That's unfortunate because it puts our hobby in a bad light. I suppose anyone has ever visited a forum containing a veterinarian. Almost every question then goes toward the pigeons doctor. You will be eerily of how much off chatter about medications. Our sport does not consist of diseases and fighting it. It is excellent that there are vets and even highly skilled. Those guys are there to cure sick birds and that is very different than making BETTER. You can’t make a pigeon better than he is. You'll have to give all fanciers the costs that think the vet can prescribe medications which make pigeons perform better. Would otherwise not all pigeons doctors play the stars of heaven? Dear readers use sometimes your mind. Dare now once to select very strict, especially on health. There is the opportunity for now. We're in the middle of the breeding season and do now for once and for all away what is not good. Deformed eggs, eggs with a rough scale. Breeding pigeons with egg-binding. Breeding pairs who have not given a useful young for three years. A young that remains over its nest mate. Frequent wheezing youngsters. Small once that stand soon or with too watery manure. A young set next to the dish, which is usually not a coincidence that young are pushed by their parents. Two youngsters in the same nest, both must always lie with a full crop, has not, you know what you have to do. Youngsters with pipe pins are not the strongest, there be a problem with and because it is already so difficult to breed real good my advice is to clear such youngsters. Come preferred with 20 youngsters at the start that can stand the test of criticism than with 40 of which 20 not as they should be.

For 20 years I depend on my left eye, the right does almost nothing. The problem is that my left eye now exhibited the same symptoms as my right one. I walk from one trial to the next and this week started with a first treatment by an eye jab. The problem is that there is fluid between the choroid and retina. Therefore I see very blurry and that became worse after I had pneumonia in December. The newspaper I cannot currently read and the e-mail subject the same. In my loft I can see the birds walk but do not know what who. You will understand that I’m pretty depressed. I try to stay positive and have faith in the doctors who will treat me. Until May I have to get an injection every month. I have been told that there is good results achieved with. My eyesight to read close is still very poor, in the distance I can see pretty well in my opinion. It is important therefore that there is improvement in my left eye, not only because my pigeon hobby compromised but especially what the future for me and my wife Cora is going to look.

Dissatisfaction among Belgian fanciers is partly the reason why Belgium has just over 17,000 playing fanciers. The university of the Belgian pigeon sport was the province of Antwerp. The one who played there strong or became champion were the best in the country and was looked at with respect. Now there is every grade, but someday when Belgium was pigeon country number one was almost home played home with pigeons. Now there are only 4,000 across the province which is nothing compared to the past times when competed every week thousands of fanciers. That was pigeon racing at the highest level. It cannot be argued that it represents nothing more but It is true that the sport has changed tremendously. There are too many rules making it fun is completely lost. The board will not listen to the fanciers. The board determines and draws its own plan. Doping is there still be a huge problem and the more and longer is discussed the more examples come forwards were the board nothing attract. In the Netherlands it organizationally still not for the wind. The organizational structure is to blame. Capable people, if there are, do not want a government function anymore. In Belgium they have still complete national governance but as far as the members will heads roll. Provisional does the board if they were Indian deaf and the world just running. About 4 weeks with our southern neighbors fired the starting gun and two weeks later we turn. It is high time that we go weekly with our pigeons to the club. Who knows pull the gun smoke in and we go have fun with our feathered friends. We remain optimistic!

In the Netherlands there’s a lot to do about the unlimited use of the number of pigeons per fancier. As long as I have pigeons, and that is for long time, every fancier is still free to use as many birds as he wants. We are now in a situation that we lose quite a few members each year and the number among the group "go-getters" that begin to shout that the sport is not fair increases. For years I have never heard this kind of screams. I think this has to do among other things with the specialization promoted by the NPO. Fanciers do not play anything more. One plays only youngsters, another marathon, others concentrate on the sprint races and so on. Because of this more and smaller numbers of birds competing. The phenomenon of "training pigeons" is also the reason that the competitions are getting smaller. For years, everyone played all his pigeons, great fanciers there were not many and if there was a major then he certainly came with no more than 50 birds which were against the thousands of pigeons not stand and by manually clock needed a man still a few minutes before he had clocked ten. In this electronic age it’s the most natural thing in the world that some are clocked in the same second. Because we are with less fanciers the number of participating pigeons runs more and more back. For cost reasons fanciers keep less pigeons and then it works frustrating when some come with 100 – 200 - 300 or even more. That does not mean that those men roll the shows every week, it comes to feeling. If you know that you have to play football every week against 22 players you maybe make a winning goal but you never win. So it is within our sport. Against the big guys you've surely win sometimes a top prize but generally you get a lot more spanking and who will experiencing fun by that year after year? Personally I have not much faith in the sport in the long term as we have known it for years. It is important that something is going to change in the competitions in which at least 80 to 90% agrees. A number of prominent fanciers is asked in the interest of the entire pigeon sport to give their opinion. I have by the questioned no unanimous opinion could discover. Probably it’s going to be the case that in some departments be started to play with 30 against 30. All fanciers should before the start of the new season 30 pigeons indicate that they are going to participate in the different games. So for speed, middle distance, long distance or marathon may be given 30 other pigeons. Get all the fanciers equal opportunities? Definitely not, there are several snakes in the grass.

30 to 30 seems in itself very honest but how many fanciers are able to give each part 30 pigeons? Okay, that's not really necessary. Then there is proposed to make two results. One where only the 30 predefined pigeons come and one where 25% (1 in 4) of all participating pigeons are included. That would be to calculate the champion pigeons. With what results will the commercial mega lofts go on the road hammering do you think? A Guess! Those 30 entered pigeons count for the championships which means nothing for the big boys. Look at ads or Internet sites, it is up to national victories. In the Netherlands we have only one, in Belgium it crack off. With me never purchased somebody pigeons for championships but because good performance in speed or with the youngsters and they wanted especially pigeons from the winners or champion pigeons. For that kind of birds you should be at home with the fancier. On the Internet they think of the bestselling stories and if you read it correctly there is just nothing written. Yes, nonsense but that is only interesting to people who understand still nothing of the sport. There are several things that play an important role as location, total number of pigeons, housing, finances. Because of this we can never come to a pigeon sport with equal opportunities for all participants and what we certainly cannot forget; FAIR PIGEON SPORT HAS NEVER EXIST.

Recently held for the umpteenth time the ONE MILLION DOLLAR RACE in South Africa. The winning pigeon is owned by Ganus Famely Loft, in itself a great achievement, but one with a caveat. The information from this one loft race is always very extensive so every year countless fanciers enroll some pigeons. In itself costly, no not for all participants because there are (also Dutch) who shamelessly use 50 or even more. What matters is that this race may be the most attractive in the world. Just as important is the number of pigeons which ultimately participate in the final race. Most one loft races have a minimal loss of 50%. This time I could not easily discover how many still participate on this 540 km long race. I read that the temperature was 21 degrees and the pigeons had to deal with a slight headwind. So at first glance, ideal weather conditions. Nevertheless there were on the day of liberation only 43 back. A few hours after the winning pigeon arrived on the 34th the first Belgian pigeon. The other big men stood still peering into the air. At present there is no information about the Dutch. It would be nice if the FCI would pay internationally extra attention to this kind of pigeon abuse. Given the large numbers of birds that remains before the finale's to me it’s more pigeon abuse than sport. Scandalous that there is still prominent Dutch people continue that participate in large numbers. In our country such races are for several years not allowed. Perhaps we are (some after) real pigeon fanciers.

For most of us are the races with pigeons most importantly, however it is not wrong to look beyond your nose. It's nice when you own a loft with pigeons which regularly makes good results. It is extremely important to ensure that it remains so. In addition it is very difficult to stop birds that every week provide fun. Because we have not so many pigeons in the loft which manage a few times a year win early prices. There are those who actually can and that usually happens at the same fanciers. Do they have a better idea, are they smarter, do they use stimulants or have they a secret. The latter is certainly not the case because secrets in the sport does not exist. There are some athletes who cheat, unfortunately happens that, not only within pigeon sport. There are always those figures that at all costs want to be the best and therefore try everything. Sport must be crystal clear is a slogan often heard but let's just assume that there never a "clean" sport will come anymore. Let the authorized as much as possible hunt and as many cheaters catch so they can be severely punished. For us it’s much better to work gladly with the pigeon game. If we had February and March it's been so far. The speed game is about to begin and that's still the game which compete most fanciers. For now we are still busy breeding. Winter breeders have their young all out and have enormously luck with the weather. By me this week the first youngsters went away from the parents and that same weekend the youngsters from the racers hatch. From some breeding couples I take two youngsters and from most racing couples I take only one, then I've had enough because if I cannot win with 35-40 I cannot with 80, or so I think! The point is again to breed a variety of useful youngsters that we can use at the end of the season to fill the open spots. For we all play so strong there are always some pigeons that do not comply. When the pigeons have come on time on eggs and are beautiful in shape, and if only a single egg is not fertilized then we can confidently life towards the racing season. Or the quality of the young born is liable that they can play the competition under the table also depends on the quality present in the breeding loft.

To get good birds we have to breed a lot and also have to play a lot of that youngsters. A flight of 500 km should not be missing. What youngsters learn in their birth is very important for their sporting life. At many lofts the pigeons do not have it so easy. As young is much expected of them, as yearlings they have to realize that they again one year may participate and when they are three years old, it is for the most ready. So hard is our hobby! Three year old pigeons who have done what the boss expects may have a few years show their skills in the breeding loft. The one who act like that will definitely belong to the better players. If you are good for your pigeons you may expect good results, even demands. What could be better than breed pigeons that care at the races for fun. Which can! It does not always have to cost much money, our hobby is expensive enough. It has been written many times, not only by me, close to home are often good birds for sale at a reasonable prices and what's so important they are in most cases also of good quality. They might not have such a beautiful name or impressive descendant. If the pigeon perform well they also get a name and as the performances strikes the strain becomes automatically interesting. To get that far (all strong players started like that) will not only to be strict selected, there will have to be worked 365 days a year. Not everyone can afford it. There are many fanciers who are satisfied with a lesser performance but still experience plenty of fun to their hobby. There are some who are little or nothing interested in the performing of their pigeons. Those are the coziness players and we also needed. Maybe that category experienced the most fun with their pigeon hobby. Pigeon racing is like other sports in different categories to classify and each category experience the sport at his level. Fortunately we are not all that sharp rascals.

Actually it doesn’t make sense writing about it. There has been so much to do about it and still most start wrong. If you're going to sport you do not come directly into the top team. That takes time, it appears that there is talent, or there is progress, only then come some opportunities to go a step further. You come up with better athletes and by doing at a higher level. There are those who have so much character that they are only satisfied with the very highest. So it is in pigeon sport. Easy start does not necessarily mean that it is not the right method. Try to get In your own region by a strong player at the end of the season some eggs from the better racers is not the most expensive method but one of the better ones. That youngsters undergo a strong selection process and only the six best are worth to breed from. To hatch the eggs can be a number of "scavengers" be purchased or borrowed by a local fancier who has too much pigeons. Which can often take and when he wants he can get them after a few weeks back when the youngsters are big enough. There are also other methods, the bursting of it. The point is that if someone wants to start with pigeons it definitely no need to be an expensive hobby. It would be nice that our managers would pay even more attention to it. Who knows?

The youngsters from the breeders come into the feathers. I am I always curious how they will look like but unfortunately it is currently not easy. After ten days I was cured of pneumonia suddenly my eyesight was deteriorating. I have not such good eyes but suddenly I could not read the newspaper. Incoming e-mails I read with my nose against the screen and still then I struggled to decipher them. A very strange sensation that I'm not comfortable about. I have an appointment with the ophthalmologist and assume that he know what to do with my problem. For now I am quite tense. In the loft there are the same problems. I see the pigeons but not the heads and eyes. With the rings I started on time so I did not hurt the youngsters. Other years I waited until they were older and bigger, I was then assured that the ring would not go out of the leg. Sometimes I waited too long whereby their leg was actually too big for the ring. Because I have mainly blue pigeons their youngsters are of course blue too. I look for little features whereat I can recognize them later. Before I knew from the moment the youngsters went out from their parents from which couple they came from but unfortunately in recent years no more. Now I depend on a speck in the eye, a bow also called cross-chest, one or more white feathers on the wing or tail. Once the youngsters are in the youngsters loft I hang up a list of the ring and pair numbers so I can instantly see who the parents are. From the beginning I take regularly the youngsters in hands and check each time the ring list, in that way I do know some pretty fast out of my head. It also happens that I see a beautiful young and then I want immediately know who the parents are. Do not laugh but sometimes I have such a pigeon three times in my hands. There was a time I did a ring around the youngsters who had the same two final grades as his good father or mother, even I do not. This year I received a series of rings with the same two final grades as last year and I'm not really happy about it. You get too many pigeons with the same end numbers. That's why I started this year in a different order, the highest number first so that I do not suffer from similar ending ring numbers. The last rings of my series usually go to another so this year's first stakes. The first round of the breeders is growing fine. They lie look lovely, well-stocked throats, no brawler and beautiful solid manure. The racers are all brooding and today I started with the traditional six-day drinking water treatment against cancer of vet Hans van der Sluijs.

Again such a thing of the past few years. The cause must be sought in the prolonged retention in connection with the problem of prey. Many fanciers have been forced to let their birds indoors directly after the competition season. For many pigeons this means that from mid-September until at least mid-February they are under house arrest. The housing plays an important role. Are there too many pigeons in a small space than they have inadequate freedom of movement and it's likely that they get problems with the wing muscles. If anybody has this type of housing problems then cautions. Pay particular attention to hunting cocks, they would sometimes go quite carry on when they come out so they have a greater chance of injury. Many fanciers do during the winter months using a fully open aviary, some even say that they will give their pigeons an oxygen cure. The pigeons would become stronger from it. I do not believe that. A strong pigeon is a strong pigeon and a weakling remains weak. But I know from experience that pigeons with a wet eye in an open aviary heal faster than with any medicine. If not I will assume that it is chronic and I do the pigeon away. My preference goes much more in an aviary with only an open front. Currently I leave everyday my racers an hour outside. In the Netherlands we currently have spring-like weather, it seems even remotely not in winter. It is as if winter has ceased to exist. We used to have four seasons (for now) but it's like we have three seasons of four months each. I know global warming could cause major natural disasters in the future. The mild weather seems to me fairly well but so I cannot argue. To give an example in the weather; yesterday and today my wife mowed the grass on our garden. This has never been shown that late January mowed grass in the Netherlands.

When I went to pair the breeders I thought; "For now I still have plenty of time to make the loft for the youngsters in order." It's quite true but sliding on the back burner and 14 days sick nothing has happened so time is running out. Many do not have to happen but it has to happen and you have to start there with pleasure. Precisely that's missing me because I am currently sitting in a slump because of the less becoming eyesight. Let's first see what the ophthalmologist says thereof. In the young pigeon loft can accommodate 35 to 40 youngsters but I doubt if there are so many. For the first time in years I do not take from all racers two youngsters. Otherwise I get way too much. I have breeders for breeding and racers for the performance. From some racing couples I do have two youngsters of which one is brought up by another couple. The racers came almost simultaneously on eggs, I'm quite happy. The first days of February I will see if all the eggs are fertilized. The breeders of my son Marco sit with me this year. I thought I would get quieter but that is not the case. They are paired the 19th and this morning (the 26th) I saw the first egg. There too not a single brawl and within days all the couples knew where they lived. Everything goes so far as desired I hope for you too

Who are a little engrossed in our sport in general will certainly understood that’s not going in the right direction. In the only Dutch pigeon magazine writes the editor in chief of the new approach to reporting; from all ceremonies from high to low can no comprehensive report more be done, that's the good news? He also says that the number of subscribers as well as remained the same. This is not surprising as there only one is issued. Sometimes I have the feeling that I am reading a church paper. In the season every week a dry list of results that we all know for long, what do you figure that? Bring striking news, readers want to know what is happening in pigeon land. It should not happen that a regular columnist his article not submitted on time because he was late home. The official reports from our national association the NPO is very poor and is sent by email to the members. I know it’s not easy when you're national board consisting of only three people. In such a way you can’t lead an organization that unfortunately only consist of at most 16.000 lofts. The number of members may be slightly higher because it is common that two or three people are a combination and play from one loft. Our union can proudly tell you that there are still around 20.000 members, it is partly because at the membership lists are still names of people who are members of the club but have no more pigeons. A well-known super commercial American fancier today still advertise that he was champion with his Dutch satellite loft against 55.000 fanciers but that is a very long time ago. The NPO mentioned the number of visitors to the Autumn Fair was higher than last year. Sounds good but two-thirds of the members was not there and that's another story. There are also problems with the removal of the champion prizes. Throughout the year are fanciers busy to perform well and if they then have won a trophy it’s too much trouble to pick up his prize. You may wonder what the organizations it all doing for. I have for years enjoyed the sport but it is nevertheless clearly different. Much less associations so many fewer members and fewer members means fewer birds competing. Fewer members also means a very different distribution of pigeons. There are fly zones with only 70 members where there were years with 400. The short distance is no longer a honest sport. The fanciers live too far apart. On the long distance races join many positive minded fanciers but if you look against how many pigeons they play in their own region is woefully low. It does not represent much more. Many fanciers among us still know the time with the large numbers of pigeons on the long distance and if you ever won once Orleans (for me 550 km) than anyone there spoke respectfully about. Now everyone gets his shoulders if you play first not even against 500 pigeons and so the spiral continues to make an increasingly downward movement.

The pigeon market in Belgium Begijnendijk does not go through because of increasingly stringent regulations. Pigeons still seem to belong to the group of poultry and do not fall under the group of birds. Problems within the poultry industry (mainly chickens) are simultaneously problems within our sport. Think about such as transportation and discharge permits. How will it deal with the pigeon market in Lier? Is there also disappear a folklore in our sport forever? In Belgium the number of members decreases significantly. In the southeast of the small country are still 3000 and in the pigeon mecca Vlaanderen still 16,000. Ones there were more than 150,000. Then the use of stimulants or in other words doping. Much is there to do about in Belgium. According to the KBDB last year Patrick Vervloesem from Rymenam (B) has caught using banned substances. The KBDB gave a penalty of 15,000 euros. A complete family drama it became and the soap opera is not over because January 18e there was a raid. At the time of the invasion there was no one at home but when Vervloesem and his wife came home there were policemen in the house plus a few people who were qualified to work with the raid. The precise is not known at this time. In a little while the sport is in the list of football, cycling, athletics and since very recently tennis. It is only about money and not about pure sport. Match-fixing, doping and written up pigeons plus their bosses. More and more mafias, actually the sport has long been not fun anymore. Idiot high prices for paper pigeons discourages many fanciers to continue any longer. There is be said that sellers and buyers cannot help that there are such ridiculous amounts are offered for pigeons that have never been in the basket. What about so-called great champions who advertise with pigeons that have achieved their performance on another lofts. That's showing off other people's feathers and profiteering. All these things make the sport broke. We live only in the first month of 2016. The flight programs are known, the last tributes have yet to take place and then we'll start again. Should the manure still being investigated in South Africa? In the corridors go for quite some time rumors that the investigations are by far not waterproof. Too bad the sport is no longer the cozy casual hobby for the working man. A solid group of professionals (rather would I give it a different name) playing each other the ball, they enrich each other at the expense of our hobby. Too bad there are so many bad people have penetrated our pigeon sport.

As a true pigeon freak I do not rather than talk about our hobby. Like in the positive and that also happens in your own environment. We can and must not close our eyes to all what’s happening in pigeon land. Maybe it's better that you're only doing your hobby and you know nothing about all mafias practices who play worldwide in our sport. I have no good word about it while I occasionally sell some pigeons. But never on the biggest site, they have insulted me deeply. After 70 years of pigeon racing and lots of successes these men will decide what I can and cannot sell while they themselves hardly know how a good pigeon looks. No, let's keep it in our own surroundings. Organize nice competitions where the weaker players occasionally go with a prize. International and national sounds nice, it means little. I often see a fancier gladly leave the room because he has played a price and therefore he received congratulates from all members of the club. The big money goes to a growing group of profiteers. The greatest pleasure you will experience in your club and the region. Fun in every sport starting in the association of which you are a member. The breeding season is now on going. End of this month you will see the first youngsters already scurrying around the lofts. Hopefully the weather gods be good to us. Today, January 19e the first race skating on natural ice. Ice skating is a real Dutch sport. That’s why it is so unfortunate that tomorrow again quits freezing. A few weeks of frost is not so bad, snow and fog are more dangerous for the youngsters that only just come outside. Hopefully there is a lot of snow falling but in the countries where many winter sport enthusiasts go into and that is not Holland. For snow go thousands each year to Austria or Switzerland. I would say a lot of fun there, I'd rather stay with the hot stove

not at home when the boss is already a half hour at home than we become nervous. The third training was one to be nervous. My wife has taken them away 40 km. It was cloudy and occasionally there was a mood, not ideal pigeon weather. The agreement was that my wife would call me first and then release the pigeons. After my wife had driven away with the pigeons I entered the loft without taking the phone. Because I feel it took quite long before she called me I called her. She said the pigeons were flying all because she did not contact me. While I had her on the phone it poured out of the air but where my wife was the sun was already a bit of a break. It took 75 minutes before I got two birds and then I had to get 44 more. An hour after the first two pigeons were home I had nine. I then went inside to watch the Tour. At half past six there were 28 and that feels uncomfortable. The 18 pigeons that were not yet home hung already 3.5 hours in the air something like that is akin to a spirited middle distance race. In the evening at half past nine was number 46. All home and especially the latecomers had turned off a jacket. They will undoubtedly have a thing learned. Two days later they had to be basket again. Saturday 8:15 am the launch sounded for a race over 110 kilometers. At 9.45 pm one pigeon arrived as a comet on his own at the loft and within seconds she was inside. Two minutes later three at a time and then it was over. When we went with the clocks to the club I had had 9 and finally 38 returned. Eight gone and my first pigeon of which I thought it was a very early was almost fifteen minutes after the winner. That cannot be, it should not and it shows that it definitely was not a normal flight. It took more than an hour before the prices were earned. There were +/- 500 pigeons and a with a price ratio 1: 4 there are 125 prize pigeons. Normally such a race is within 5-10 minutes closed.

There's been a lot written about staying away from particularly youngsters. No one knows the cause and certainly not a solution to this problem. At many lofts are after the trainings and first official race more than a third of the pigeons away. There are still eight flights to go and there must still be selected. I know fanciers who for several years had nothing to choose because they had so few birds left. I would certainly not keep all the youngsters after the season remaining. Then a bit less because I tolerate only pigeons in my loft which enabled me and the test of criticism can stand. So everyone has their own idea about the selection method. I know that I am very strict and although I still I have every year a number of pigeons that do not meet expectations. Fortunately it is true that at least 50% at my loft has been more than adequate. What is going on with the youngsters I cannot say yet. The first flight was disastrous for many fanciers including me. In the result I had four in the first twelve and is certainly not wrong. Now we have to go do anything to get them for the next flight back to normal. Rest is often better than the most expensive drug that's why I kept the pigeon Sunday and Monday inside. Tuesday everything goes as planned and again Friday night they go, if possible, all back on tour for a race over 155 kilometers. Currently it yet don’t look like they are at the end of the week in the right condition. I will give them some extra peanuts and also some extra candy seed. There are many seeds in with a high fat content and there turns the pigeon motor on.

Simultaneously with the youngsters we had a middle distance race over 350km for the old birds. The experienced old birds flew 20 km per hour faster than the inexperienced youngsters. The southeast wind was partly the cause. In the Netherlands the usually very dry southeast wind makes sure the birds are driven to the North Sea coast. Inexperienced youngsters do not drink in the basket and when the starting signal is given they go with thirst on the way home. Do also to that the high temperatures and then you'll soon discover that this kind of weather in our country are deadly for youngsters. The old birds flew over 100 kilometers per hour and were quickly at home.

Strange a weekend without a race in the middle of the season. The reason is the excessively high temperatures in our country. In the south of our country the temperature rose up to 38 degrees. These are temperatures where our pigeons have no immunity. Or so we think because such temperatures are in our country rare. However the opposite was proven once again. Dutch pigeons can handle much more than we think. For long distance fanciers were two flights scheduled. First there was the international flight Barcelona. Already on Sunday June 28th the pigeons had in the baskets and travel to very hot Spain where they would be unloaded Friday morning. Meanwhile the temperatures in the Netherlands were also tropical, postpone one day could but also for the next day tropical temperatures were predicted. It was decided to pull the baskets Friday morning 10:40. A pigeon from northern France knew that day to reach his loft, a nearly impossible feat. But if such a pigeon enter the loft you clock him. But what you do as organization with such an early arrival? If you compare the speeds of the two fastest pigeons you will quickly conclude that the first pigeon certainly could not have flown so fast. How it is going to end I do not dare predict. In the Netherlands is in the flight rules that a pigeon for reasons of "improbable early" can be removed from the competition. I wrote it more, you better win a contest with a few seconds difference than an hour or more playing loose. Soon the tongues wagging with stories such as fraud, doping, escaped or whatever. Always very unfortunate that these situations occur on such an important flight. In the Netherlands the national victory went all the way to the north of our country, in the "back flight" so as we call it. That too is an exception to a marathon flight of 1300 km. According to insiders it was not an easy but a very nice flight. That same Friday were also Dutch pigeons released in Bergerac at 10 o’clock. They came formidable, no high speeds but the competition was quickly closed. Further all Dutch flights were canceled due to high temperatures. In my eyes a good decision but afterwards it was not necessary. But that's hindsight and with us they say "hindsight you look a cow in his ass."

Here and there have been a few races with youngsters took place. The weekend of 11 July is the Netherlands officially started. The training flights are over but I have not competed once while I advise everyone to take part in training flights. The youngsters learn a lot from especially the massive discharges where thousands of birds at once set sail to their own loft. Always quite spectacular to experience such a release. This year I have not taken part because of the weather. I am very attached to my birds. I'll do anything to achieve good results and in such poor training flight you could lose just half of your pigeons, I do not think about it! Maybe I'm too cautious but imagine that you have to hand, after half a year dealing with your youngsters, in a bad race many pigeons. Horrible! Every time when I sit a bit longer with my youngsters I think more than once, "what will I lose, how much will I have left to select good and which will perform like a champion?" This year I have already heard so much misery I'm afraid to join these trainings flights. Certainly this has to do with my age, I have never dealt reckless with my birds but as I get older it's like I'm being too cautious.

If the game with the youngsters start also comes the end of the season in sight. Fortunately in the coming months still can happen a lot of nice things. Personally I am always happy when the first two flights are there, it is often separated the wheat from the chaff. The pigeons become attuned and from the third flight the rhythm is so good that the arrivals also are becoming more massive. I know there are many fanciers in Belgium where the game with the youngsters is more important than the old. In youngsters it turned primarely to health. Maybe that's more important than quality. Once they are yearlings it will be a different story. At the behavior of our youngsters we can read how it is with the condition. Beautiful white noses, dry eyes, gleaming necks, clean legs, no feather wrong, nice dry fertilizer pellets, train well, ate fast and listen good. If the flights are started it is usually over with migration. A very normal phenomenon and please don’t worry about it. Is also because the youngsters are about a half years of age and then a few want’s to mate. Please observe good because there you can take advantage of when it comes to motivation. Please note if a couple has just fallen in love she would sometimes fly the fire off their slippers to come home early. If the pigeons are not properly train or listen be careful with the medicine pot. Do not go blind cure because ultimately the pigeons not react anymore. Sometimes they get a little upswing and then it is weather as it was. If you want cures determine the vet what the ailment is so that he can launch a medicine that overcomes the disease. At any ailment or disease nowadays are medications, too many to mention. If one or two pigeons show signs of poor condition or perhaps a latent illness they are certainly not your best pigeons. So do them away then you do not annoy every day to that nasty nose or stuffed nose feathers. Get rid of that kind of pigeons, they spoil your mood, cost a lot of money and aggravation. Good luck and let's hope for nice flights and naturally beautiful results. Never forget to congratulate the winner because it belongs to the sport.

Once talks about Barcelona everyone thinks at the star formation of FC Barcelona led by the little big man Messi. Millions of people he has treated several times on the finest football feats. We say Barcelona in the pigeon world then everyone gets captivated by this very tough marathon flight. Who these super classic manages to write on his name is immortalized in pigeon land. Saturday, July 4, it’s again so far. Past Sunday the pigeons are basket for this competition with the intent that this international community of 19,083 pigeons Friday may start their race over 1200 km. The international participation is as follows: 7835 Belgium, Netherlands 5182, France 3134, Germany 1295, Poland in 1276, England 331, Luxembourg 30.

This year we had no spring and then on June 21, when summer started, it rains. In sorrow we waited for better weather and we finally got. The weekend of June 26 we were dealing with a slight weather improvement. Sunday the 27th I stood an hour with the umbrella above my head. I was present at the National cycling championships and just during the finals it started to rain. Moreover a very exciting final. With 70 km to ride had seven breakaway riders an existing lead of 12 minutes and with another hour to go was the lead shrunk to 6 minutes. The big question was would the peloton be able to get back to the leading group. The roads became more slippery by rain, several crashes were the cause that many riders were cautious riding. In the peloton were some super pacers and the public went believing that everything would come together. In the peloton my big favorite Niki Terpstra who very attentive cycled along in the forefront and in the same peloton drove five professional cyclists of the club for which I have eight years ride and 10 years was president. It was for me as a former president a splendid finish. Dutch champion became Niki Terpstra who as 8-year-old started by our club, second was Ramon Sinkeldam also started as 8-year-old with us. Keeps an eye on him during the Tour de France, he is the man who must maneuver the rapid German sprinter Degenkolb in the last kilometers in a position to win the final sprint. By now quite wheeler minded Netherlands is upside down for July 4 because the Tour starts in our country with a prologue (short time trial) in Utrecht. A day later the riders depart from Utrecht to Zeeland, a ride of almost 180 km. Along the route we have a hotel so we could see the whole caravan again pass by. Monday the riders start in Antwerp (Belgium) to cycle to France. It will be July 4 and 5 boiling busy in Utrecht, many thousands of cycling fans are expected and also along the route towards the finish line will displace many thousands of people to catch a glimpse of the riders. Then resume normal life again. How it will fare in pigeon land is still a big question. Temperatures of 35 degrees are predicted, you would say that can never go well with all those cycling fans but also not with the pigeons, certainly not with those pigeons that have to bridge thousand kilometers or more. I have this weekend no birds with but there is a training flight for the youngsters but given the enormous heat (by our standards) I keep the youngsters home. I am now a half years working and be careful I lost
a whole bunch on Saturday within hours.

In Belgium the game with the youngsters is for some time going. Many are already gone, but what happened to a good pigeon friend of mine last Sunday is almost unbelievable. It was their first official flight youngsters with an average distance of 100 km. They were released Saturday morning at 8:30, my friend clocked two at once at 9.45 am, it turned out that the two were fastest, they had 13 minutes ahead of number three and then everybody knows what that means. I will not take too long sad story. There had to be clocked until Sunday, at 6 o'clock in the afternoon the prices were earned. That means that there was still 75% underway. Monday night he had 15 of the 71 home and Tuesday only one is added. If this happens to me I definitely throw the towel in the ring. I really cannot handle something like this at my age. I know very well what winning and losing is but these tragic situations are absolutely too much for me and probably for many others.

For myself ran the penultimate middle distance race outstanding. This year especially the hens make the beautiful weather with me, fantastic as they come! In the club I started with the 3rd place and had six in the top eight. In the Rayon (federation) I had against a small thousand pigeons six by the first twenty. You can imagine that I went whistling on the way to the national championships cycling. In the Netherlands it’s what concerns weather all or nothing. If you ask me I would cancel absolute all flights this weekend. But who am I, there are still 20,000 fanciers in our country and all have their own opinion.

The longest day is behind us, summer has started but it’s unfortunately not yet notice. Many low temperatures, rain almost every day, nevertheless flights go pretty well. A few times had to be postponed until the next day but by the predominantly west to southwest winds it were fast competitions whose price pigeons usually within 15 minutes arrive. The sprint races are finished. The first and the last flight were not good enough for me to earn a podium place. In the club was the first for me, but in the ZCC and the AREA was no more than the 6th place. Bit disappointing because I'm more accustomed, but I have no excuse. I have sold all the old birds in early spring and kept only yearlings. They did their best and I even got the champion pigeon. Last year she was young pigeon champion and now the best on the speed. It's a pretty checkered pigeon, slightly on the small side, good muscular with a beautiful smooth wing. She looks a little cross-eyed which I like to see by a racing pigeon. Her name is "Bleu champion". I gave her that name in the winter of 2014 because she became champion with the youngsters. I have also done so because her grandfather is a grandson of the famous "Blue champion" from Leo Heremans (bred by Jan Diels). It was one of his better breeding hens with two victories in big and a lot of good offspring. It is sought that far, but if the Blue champion of Heremans had not been there I would never be able to grow this pigeon. It was striking that on the last speed flight only one of the 12 cocks played price and only one hen of the 13 lacked price. A good result with the hens but the cocks were failing completely. In retrospect not too surprising. I'll tell you why. On Wednesday morning the manure was not pretty, not beautiful scoop and no fluff. As long as the pigeons are on widowhood both the cocks and the hens always had pretty solid dung balls which I could sweep with the broom. Now the manure was some watery, the cocks trained no more than 20 minutes and the appetite was not great. From that moment I have given them only a half ration feed. The intestines then get some rest and that sometimes help to bring the digestive system back on stream. It was the day after a bit better but not ideal. Because the pigeons all season came well I still give them, one night basket and a flight with a distance of 240 km. Not really strenuous so the men joined with the above result. My gut said, they are not top and if you think you can give 100 there’s not one arrive on time. I have so many years pigeons nevertheless you make occasionally this kind of mistakes and do something you really should not do. Fortunately all of them are back.

I stopped over a week ago with darken and from experience I know that you have a fortnight later risk of coli contamination, why I still do not know. Three weeks before the start of the racing season I have this trouble for the second time this year. The first time was a matter of a few days and I hope it is so now. It is such a horrible dirty affair to clean your loft if your pigeons suffer coli. When I see the pigeons be on the mend I start directly with the burning of all the seats and the floor. With coli it is often; they get it all, and suddenly there is a day that they are all back from his. This morning when I found that they had coli I did not let them outside and given only half the normal ration. Obviously coli treatment in drinking water and further rest and rest once more. Presumably my yearling cocks have also in light degree coli bacteria. So all the old and young racers have a cure in the water. The pigeons go again Thursday night in the basket so I will watch them well and if I see there's something fail they do not go along. The youngsters can be deployed Friday for the first training flight. I do not because after the arrival of the old birds, which have a middle distance race of 400 km, I quite quickly departed to the east of our country. This weekend be there, just as in other countries, held the national cycling championships and I want to be there especially on Sunday when the professionals ride. My big favorite is Niki Terpstra. He is as a boy of 8 years for us started in our club. A week later in Utrecht is the start of the Tour de France, Niki unfortunately will not be there. He rides this year the Tour of Spain. I will also miss the cycling festival in Utrecht. I HAVE NAMELY PIGEONS! That is sometimes a disadvantage.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to explain everything to the minutest detail how the digestive system works exactly. I compare it to human and all I know about it I've ever learned in school and that's a long time ago. As short and middle distance player I give the pigeons homecoming almost no food, all they get is a pinch of candy seed. The birds have more need to water. Because it are usually pretty easy races what distance concerned they have more interest in their partner and note once again, they usually pick up directly what grit. After the pigeons are two hours at home and still be together in the breeding loft locked I feed them a little. Water is from the moment they come home in the breeding loft. With me they always get the same food, but never the same amount. Broadly speaking they get the same daily dose and then the fancier will have to decide who get some more. That same evening, when the hens go to their own department, the pigeons get 20-30 minutes the opportunity to eat their crops full. Digestion is very important here stands or falls the condition. In the pigeon's body the feed is made so small that the nutrients end up through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. That's why I love pigeons that eat little food and keep in weight, they are often the best. The gluttons have too much work to digest all the food, the intestines are too busy and that’s at the expense of the condition. Pigeons who always are hungry and / or birds that only eat small seeds you have nothing. If you take the manure from these pigeons you see that there are quite a lot of undigested food in it. Sign of poor digestion. Important is versatile food. To have the condition quickly by arrow there must still what happen in such a pigeon's body and that can only reached with versatile food. Save never on food, especially when the pigeons have to perform. Remember that all the nutrients are very important. Why do you think I might give the expensive but definitely the most versatile food? Never guess more, check the results.

It is mid-June, in previous years we began the third week of June with the first official flight for youngsters. The majority of our members have secured through our national organization that they wanted to start later. Since the majority rules is now July 11 the date when the season for the youngsters begins, three weeks later than we are used to. The majority are happy with it and the proposal is adopted by a majority vote but there is also a group that does not agree with it. It is very difficult to get everyone on the same page. I had not such qualms but now it is June I think in the end it’s better to start a little earlier. Many fanciers do or did winter breeding. Pairing end November, the first youngsters will be born near Christmas and can be ringed per 1 January. Actually they are late youngsters they were born in the last days of the year and are therefore not youngsters of 2015. In the Netherlands the rings are issued since January and that is fine by me. If you do later there cannot be paired late November. When the youngsters during the Christmas season are born they are end of May 5 months old which is old enough to participate the competitions. The advantage of starting at the end of May is that we after 7 or 8 flights early August are ready. In our country begins in July the hottest period of the year which is disastrous for youngsters. High temperatures, inexperience, not drinking in the baskets, thirst, stress, poor orientation are all things that play lost work in hand. Now there is chose a later start our youngsters start exactly in the hottest period of the year. Start in July means the beginning of September end of the season. I cannot imagine the losses by the later start will be less and that is probably the purpose of this move. We will see it soon and experience.
Youngsters who have now got the correct form shall every day as they come out pull away. With me they come twice a day outdoors and just as many times they pull at least twenty minutes away. Then they fly their training laps in the area, sometimes they land here at the loft to a few minutes later with his all take to the skies. They do well and I am very satisfied. A light coli contamination they have behind which does not mean that they will not bother anymore. Now the darken is lifted I am very attentive to the behavior of the youngsters. They can from one day to another weather suffer from. Why? I wish I knew. We blame the mandatory paramixo graft and embezzlement. The inoculation they had when they were 6 weeks old and obscure I stopped on June 13. I was going to put them over the next two weekends to give a two-day prophylactic coli course but have decided not to do. The absolute minimum use of drugs I like very much. Given the performance of my yearlings (old birds I have not) should not be sought in performing pills, powders, bottles, or whatever else is marketed.