A lot of “pigeon history” has already been written in the region in and around Putte. Famous names such as Engels, Van Hove-Uytterhoeven, etc. have been putting Putte in the spotlight of international pigeon racing for decades. Since 2018, another “world star” has joined Putte and we are talking about Kris Cleirbaut. Kris learned the pigeon business as a young guy on the vitesse. “The tricks of the pigeon sport you have to learn yourself” begins Kris “with a lot of trial and error and especially falling.”

For anyone who follows pigeon racing a little, the name Kris Cleirbaut does not sound unfamiliar to their ears. Kris has been at the top of Belgian pigeon racing for many years and at various venues he has impressed friend and foe alike with top results. “Oh well” says our interlocutor “we are not going to exaggerate too much. My pigeon career can be divided into 3 periods. First period up to my partial sale in 2008, the figurehead then was my hen “Lady Dolores”. After my sale, the 2nd period began. I still played with the pigeons but was no longer motivated weekly to go to the extreme, although a 4th and 5th nat. Bourges in 2009, a 1st Nat. Argenton against 19,781 yearlings in 2011 (fastest of 30,690d) can certainly be seen. My 3rd period takes place here in Putte and played in Bonheiden. Here in Putte I look after the pigeons together with Jens Goovaerts and in Bonheiden Erik Samson were in charge. In Putte the focus was on youngsters and hens, while in Bonheiden the focus was on widowers. The results in Bonheiden were more than impressive with a 2nd National Tulle against 4,993 yearling birds as the highlight. However, on July 13, 2023, the loft burned down completely. Not only the loft but also the pigeons lost their lives. We tried to save the pigeons but the heat was so overwhelming that there was no way to save them. We are still not well. There will be no new restarts in Bonheiden, so Erik will now take care of a loft of widowers in Putte for the 2024 season.

To make the whole picture clear, in the 2024 season, Putte will race on 2 names. On one hand my name is Kris Cleirbaut with 150 youngsters and 42 hens. On the other hand my name of Cleirbaut-Goovaerts with 50 youngsters (managed by Jens) and with 20 yearling widowers (managed by Erik)”.

Indeed, as a reporter, you sit there with the 3 “gladiators” at the same table and you can so feel that one is motivating the other to make the most of it.

“They didn’t see us on the middle distance races again”

How we look back on the 2023 season? The overall game was super and if I can say something of “negative” it might be the fact that we used to be able to put a bang on paper once with the youngsters and we didn’t really do that in 2023. But again… what our yearling and old pigeons shook out of their wings is pure enjoyment!

1st National Champion year birds KBDB Fond
1st World Best Pigeon Fond
2 Olympiad birds at Maastricht
2nd National ace KBDB All round old + year birds
3rd National ace KBDB Fond year birds
5th National ace KBDB Fond year birds
5th National ace KBDB All round old + year birds
5th National ace KBDB great middle distance young birds
8th National ace KBDB All round old + year birds

Especially the several “ace pigeon nominations” prove that we are doing well. Speaking of ace pigeons, many fanciers ask us if we played specifically for these and our answer is “no”! We certainly did not play specifically for this. Listen; let’s call a cat a cat. Pigeon racing in the small middle distance here is a disaster. They are in the basket as long as for a national great middle-distance race with the big difference that the pigeons from the small middle-distance race come home “broken”. Consequence… they no longer saw us at the basketing table of a small middle distance race. Result; from 17 June to 7 August our hens flew one week a great middle distance race and the next week a long distance race. Normally, the hens fly a small middle distance race in between 2 great middle distance races but due to the poor transport on the small middle distance race, we deliberately chose the “heavier work” and apparently hens in condition can handle much more than what we all think. The program was well filled with Vierzon, Bourges, Vierzon, Argenton, Limoges, Argenton, Aurillac, Chateauroux, Souillac or Bourges and Tulle and Bourges.

But, and here’s the thing, if the weather reports indicate temperatures above 30 degrees, pigeons will fly a speed race instead of a national race. Pigeons can fly in the heat but, in our opinion, transport with such temperatures is the “killer”.


System hens

The hens were paired in early February and allowed to raise a young. When the youngsters were a good 2 weeks old, the nests were put on the ground and the cocks disappeared from the loft. As we like to have the top condition later in the season, the hens are darkened. This is done from early March to mid-May from 7pm to 7am. During the season, the hens train twice a day. Before the season we sometimes dare to raise the flag to keep them in the air for 1 hour, but during the season 20 minutes of training is more than enough. Note…the way of training is very important though. There must be power in the wing beats. The “power meter” must be in the red. When they come out, we are happy if they immediately disappear from sight and only reappear above the loft after 10-15 minutes.  As a fancier, when you see that you basket the following weekend with a slightly more relaxed heart.

Starting the season with pigeons in top condition is so important after all. Veterinarians Henk de Weerd and Norbert Peeters are good friends. I visit one of them every 14 days to make sure nothing is wrong. Their advice is followed but usually the medicine cabinet is allowed to remain closed. Against tricho, a “yellow drop” is administered weekly and Dr. Peeters’ “Stop Snot” is administered at home and on Wednesdays. “Stop Snot” has a similar effect as “Sliepzand” with spares the mucous membranes.

During the winter period, our pigeons receive “Daflor 3 in 1” every day. Our breeders receive it throughout the year and our youngsters from weaning until the first races. During the season, we have been providing Beute products since 2021. Before the start of the season they get “Clear Balance” for 8 days and immediately after that for 14 days of “LTW”.  During the season, “Electro Boost” (at homecoming) followed by” Belgasol” or “Clear Balance” and “LTW “are never far away. Olympic MG Mix is also provided regularly.


The feed is from Versele-Laga. Homecoming is a mix of Champion Plus and Energy Plus. On Sunday, we dare to feed Detox (Matador) to sprinkle Gerry Plus in the feeder on Monday. Tuesday we feed slightly heavier with 50% Gerry Plus and 50% Champion Plus, Wednesday 1/3 Energy Plus and 2/3 Champion Plus) and Thursday (basketing day) Energy Plus until 2pm!
The hens are closed up in “special hen boxes” (see photo) during the week.  In 2022 we had a lot of problems with the ladies mating among themselves, which is pernicious for hens. Therefore, I had Luc Daans make “special hen boxes “on the resting loft where the hens are locked up during the day. The hens are allowed to leave their resting place 3 times a day to have a drink.
Before basketing, the cocks are never shown. The hens are allowed into the loft with the boxes at the time of basketing but once they have flown into their box they are immediately put into the basket.”

Super Loft

Kris continues: “Success in pigeon racing lies behind many facets. Firstly, you have to have more than quality under your belt and we found this among others with Willy Daniels (his type is dominant in my loft) backed by pigeons from Stefaan Lambrechts, Carl Lambrechts, Juul van Looveren, Rudy van Reeth, Danny Van Dyck and top breeder “Olympic Jan” (a German Olympiad pigeon with a lot of Heremans blood).

Secondly, your care must be on point. Feeding, by-products every link is important

Third, and a factor not to be underestimated, is the loft. Nice anecdote here. In 2021, my daughters Alicia and Alina asked for a pigeon loft like their dad. For his children, a parent will do anything and they got their own loft. Against a wall, in a place where I would otherwise never build a pigeon loft, a mini loft with a corrugated iron roof and nine boxes was built. But, and here’s the thing, the pigeons flew super in that small loft. The condition of the pigeons present was always much better than in the other lofts. For that reason, I reworked the “mini loft” into a “real pigeon loft” and the hens continued to perform super on it. This is my best loft and I never want to lose it!

Young pigeons

The 50 breeding couples mostly house in breeding boxes. The first 2 rounds are for our own use and the 3rd round is for “vouchers”. Breeding has been very successful this year and we have more youngsters than really thought. All will get a chance but the selection bar will be a bit higher than usual this year. One that runs around squeaking too much and too long … for such guys it’s a strict regime.

Up to and including the moulting of the “little feathers”, they are fed breeding mix (Versele-Laga). Afterwards, the feed is lightened with Gerry Plus. During the first months, “Daflor 3 in 1” goes into the drinking water daily and they are vaccinated against paramyxo/rota, smallpox and parathyphoid.

Darkening is done until mid-June and after that, supplementary lighting is done until the very last flight.

The main objective of the youngsters is to finish the national flights.


Hereby we thank Kris, Jens and Erik for the pleasant reception. We wish them lots of success in 2024.