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NATIONAL WINNER LA SOUTERRAINE 9.815 YEARLINGS
FASTEST AGAINST 16.449 PIGEONS
By Stefan Mertens
Holsbeek: The National race from La Souterraine is flown and for a lot of participants it was a race they will not forget very fast because this race knew a lot of losses. The fastest of all La Souterraine racers was the yearling hen “Nadetta” of the famous combination Herman Jespers and Johny Vanderwegen of Holsbeek.
The tandem Jespers-Vanderwegen is well known for their chain results and this as well on regional, provincial as on national level. The results of which many among us only can dream about. Herman and Johny have a lot to thank to their basic pair “Kleine Dirk” (strain “Kannibaal” Dirk Van Dyck) x “Fleur” (strain “Ace Four” Ad Schaerlaeckens). Their children and grandchildren almost all score with super results. The last 2 years, they invested a lot in the pigeons of Vandenabeele Gaby … and it seems to be bingo!
Herman: “In fact we only race the last 2 season on this loft. Last season, we only raced the yearlings but this year, the game with the old- and the yearling birds are on the programme. Already from the beginning, we choose the system of the total widowhood and here for we use 22 pairs.
There’s no winter breed on the programme but the pigeons were paired at the beginning of February. Our intention was that all birds breed for a few days but it didn’t seem to work well. The birds stayed together for 3 weeks and then the sexes were separated. Because of the very good weather in spring, the training flights started soon.
The loft of the cocks and the hens are next to each other; on the left, the compartment without boxes but with an open aviary for the hens and on the right, the compartment for the cocks with boxes and no open aviary. On the day of basketing, the sliding door that separates the two compartments, is opened and they birds can spend some time together. It really is only shortly because when the first pairs sit together, they’re put into the basket. After the race, they can stay together till the evening and sometimes till the next day but that’s exceptional.
Normally all pigeons are put in on the same race but sometimes, the cocks can stay at home but the hens don’t. For example on the national race from Gueret, only the hens were put in and the cocks had a week of rest.
As well the cocks as the hens train once a day, always in the afternoon because in the morning, it’s training time for the youngsters. First the cocks get to train and then the hens.
When it comes down to the food, I follow the schedule of Matador and I also use a lot of natural products that my wife sells in her shop. Products like red beet juice, garlic powder and beer yeast I use a lot.
For the medical guidance, I regularly consult my vet Guy Mertens (Herselt). Our team of old birds started the season very well but after a while, they had a little dip. After a control of the vet, they seemed to have coccidiose and when we did the necessary, their results became well again.
Herman and Johny, congratulations and we’re sure you don't have to wait very long for your next national victory.
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