Brussegem: Erik Limbourg, the “wonderboy” from Brussegem keeps on doing it. He keeps succeeding in breeding top pigeons. The art to find every time again new blood that perfectly fits his own basic lines is his own. This is also the story of his last new topper “Creone Roeper” who became 1st National Ace Pigeon Great Fond yearlings KBDB in 2020. When top fancier Wolfgang Roeper decided to have a total sale, Erik was right there with him. Erik knew that Wolfgang had top material on his loft with a lot of genetic material from fanciers like Heremans-Ceusters, Gaby Vandenabeele, Rudi Diels, Gebr. Janssens, Karel Schellens and that he bred without hesitation one Olympiad pigeon after another. After a phone call towards Germany asking which one, he would now take as the best acquisition for his own breeding loft they ended up on “Der 593” and so it happened…Erik became the new owner of ‘Der 593’ at the end of 2016.

“Der 593” (DV01274-09-593) was in the loft of Roeper a real topper and on his palmares were among others following top results: 
4th National Ace pigeon Germany 2010
1st against 564b
2nd against 1,348b
4th against 1,190b

“Der 593″ is a half-brother of “Olympia 44” (“Olympia 44” won the title of 1st Olympiad pigeon short distance 2009) and is a grandson of “Wonderaske” (Heremans-Ceusters).
In Germany “Der 593” became father of at least 25x 1st prize. Erik didn’t hesitate for a second and followed the internet sale which was organized by the Herbots family. He hit the right moment and a few days later “Der 593” was on the breeding loft in Brussegem. There he was paired with the best breeding hens like “Sister Playboy Gilbert” BE14-2151099 (daughter “New Gilbert” x “Sister Chipo”) and they became immediately the parents of the beautiful hen “Laurence”. “Laurence” BE18-2053885 which is not only a “beauty” in the hand but also knows how to find the head of the result perfectly, won: 
2nd National Ace Yearlings KBDB 2019
1st National Aurillac 1,009d (684km)             
2nd National Aurillac 3,854d
2nd National Z Limoges 3,418b (641km)
12th National Limoges 10,783b
13th Noyon against 4,726b (177km)
50th National z Bourges 2018 against 7,514d (449km)
155th National Bourges 2019 against 17,818d (449km)

The tone was set, and Erik also paired his new super breeder ‘Der 593’ against “Super 245” BE14-2151245. As a daughter of “Super breeder Eagle Eye” x “Magic Slimmen” she already had the right blood running through her veins and her breeding references were also to be seen. Some of her children won
5th National Bourges 23,190d
29th National Bourges 19,133d
29th National Gueret 8,517b

2nd Provincial Ace Young Pigeons KBDB 2016
14th National Acehalf Distance Yearlings KBDB 2018

In 2019 the “Bulls Eye” was hit. “Der 593” x “Super 245” became parents of “Super Creone Roeper” BE19-2008603.

“Super Creone Roeper” won:
1st National Ace Fond Yearlings KBDB 2020
11th National Ace Middle Distance Youngsters KBDB 2019
4th Belgian Olympiad pigeon Olympic Hope Cat. D KBDB 2020

6th National Limoges 9,756d 640km
8th National Brives 4,238d 670km
66th National Argenton 23,258d 525km
207th National Chateauroux 22,476b 496km

The widowers

Erik started the season with a team of 68 widowers, which were played on the classic widowhood system. The first pairing took place mid-February and after 10 days of breeding the nest was broken. We never breed youngsters from the widowers. A second pairing was planned at the beginning of April when the widowers were trained. When the weather is good, the cocks are driven 4 or 5 times to 50 km. At the arrival of the training flights, the hen is always waiting on the loft. After that it is Quiévrain or Noyon.
We train twice a day and the way we train is very important. The cocks must be constantly in motion and there must be speed in their flight.
When basketing for the speed races, the cocks do not get to see their partner. The hens are shown when the big middle-distance race is on the program. In the beginning, the reunion is short but at the end of the season, it can be half a day.
A lot of work is done to motivate the widowers. When the pigeons are basketed, another pigeon is put in the loft. The lesser gods disappear from the racing team and sometimes those living boxes are put open while the previous owner comes to the loft and that brings life into the brewery.
Every year the widowers move to another loft. The yearlings are brought together on 3 lofts and the old pigeons on 2 lofts. Old and yearlings train together and sometimes they walk into the wrong loft where they had a living box as a yearling and that provides extra motivation. Erik makes sure that there is no fighting.
Erik says that all the big prizes were won with pigeons that were extra motivated. But a strongly motivated pigeon that misses the right train can very well fly lost.

The racing teams

There is also a team of 40 mainly yearling hens played. At the end of February, 20 of the 40 hens are paired and after 10 days of breeding, the nests are broken. Then the second series of 20 hens are paired with the same cocks on the same loft. They also breed for 10 days, and the nest is broken.
Then the 40 hens are put back together in the loft. This loft is equipped with special housing boxes where the cock sits in the middle and on both sides, there is room for a hen. The one that comes home first from a race can stay with the cock while the other hen watches. Later, the other hen may also join the cock.
The hens are trained twice a day and are trained in 4 to 5 stages and then they are basketed for Quiévrain or Noyon. When the cocks and hens are basketed, they only come together for a short time. As the season progresses, the period of being together becomes longer but certainly goes up to half a day.
100 youngsters are bred from the breeders and Erik starts the new season with about 60 youngsters. The youngsters are weaned at the age of 20 days. If the condition allows it the intention is that the youngsters fly four national races.
The youngsters are darkened from the end of March until 15 June. Lighting is provided from 1 July to the end of the season. Rearing is started, depending on the condition, in the month of May. The youngsters are transported 10 times to 50 km. During the season they are transported weekly to 40 km. Two weeks before Bourges, the sliding door is introduced but for the first national race from Bourges, cocks and hens are not yet together. After that, for every national race, they come together for 1 hour before they are put in the basket. Furthermore, the motivation of the youngsters is not changed much because the further career is important. In 2019 the youngsters have performed very well.

Feeding, medical and other care

Erik Limbourg is the fancier who feeds by feeling and letting the pigeons eat until the day of basketing is a must for young and old. Most of the pigeons are played every week.
When the pigeons arrive from a speed race, they are fed Beyers diet (Gaby Vandenabeele) from Saturday till Wednesday. On Thursday, it becomes 50% diet + 50% “Super Widowhood”. On Friday, it becomes 100% “Super Widowhood”.
For the big middle distance, from Saturday till Monday morning, it becomes 50% diet + 50% “Super Widowhood”. From Monday evening till Thursday, it becomes “Super Widowhood”. The last days they will feed some extra corn on the ground instead of in the nest box.
When you play every week in the long-distance, it is 50% diet + 50% “Super Widowhood” till Monday morning. When you play every fortnight, the 50% diet + 50 “Super Widowhood” till Thursday.
When they play every week, from Monday evening till basketing, 100% “Super Widowhood” is put in the feeder. When the pigeons are basketed every fortnight, they are fed with “Super Widowhood” from Friday till Wednesday. Also, here the last days are fed with corn and “Super Energy” after the normal feeding. After returning from a race, Belgasol and Recuply Boost (sugars) are also given. Before and after the season, they are treated against paratyphoid for 8 days. After the treatment before the season, the pigeons are also vaccinated.
At the first pairing a 4-to-5-day treatment against trichomonas is planned. When the pigeons don’t look perfect later, there will be a 3 days “cure” against tricho and against respiratory infections. Both medicines go together in the drinking bowl + probiotics “Darm en Kop” of veterinarian Geeroms. When the pigeons show a bit less appetite and the condition is less, they are treated with Amoxicillin for 3 to 4 days.

The old pigeons are vaccinated once, and the youngsters are vaccinated twice against Paramixo. Also, adeno appears every year and then the youngsters don’t get any food for two days. The water is acidified and Cosumix is added to the drinking water. In that period, the pigeons are not released.

The passion of breeding
On the breeding loft, the 42 breeding couples are often re-paired and at the end of the season, family breeding is also done. At the selection of the breeders the achieved results in the racing career, the pedigree and the hand inspection are important. Always compensating couples are used to make deviations from the norm disappear. There are also 13 boxes where the toppers of the breeding loft are coupled. And when asked what the ideal long-distance pigeon looks like to him, Erik answers: “First of all, it must be a balanced pigeon and a pigeon in one piece. In addition, it must have a soft plume and it must be well plumed under the wings. Erik prefers the hen to be a bit bigger. A long wing and a short rear wing are preferred. A strong back and a firm carcass are good qualities. An expressive head and a well-pigmented eye are also appreciated. Of course, the results achieved play an important role in the selection. The pedigree does not determine everything, and top prizes must be won. Pre-flyers are highly regarded here.

New start 2021
As everyone knows Erik had a total sale in 2020 and has now started all over again with a team of yearlings from 2020 and a team of youngsters 2021. All top breeders and top racers are gone, and everybody knows how difficult it is to get to the top let alone when you must start all over again. Nevertheless, we’re talking about Erik Limbourg who’s not at his first try and who proved before that he can do it. Caution is the order of the day and Erik doesn’t want to make any statements but if he’s not there this year, he will be next year.