One day last winter we were drinking coffee with Joost De Smeyter. Everybody remembers the phenomenal result on Perpignan. There was clear weather the entire race trough. Not a lot of wind, slightly in favour, took care of a lot of early arrivals in West-Flanders up to the province of Limburg. The pigeons with a good form needed to be there. In Melden, they came home like a train: 20h02, 20h06, 20h07, 20h07, 20h07, 20h08, 20h14 … Phenomenal clocking times on a distance over 900km. But the results fitted in the row of super results of the super season of 2016. Our gathering was as always very warm. After asking a lot of questions about the colony, the caring, the system and some other topics, Joost asked me a question. ‘Where are the best long distance pigeons from 600 to 800km?’ A bit run over by the question, we did manage to consider a few renowned pigeon colonies in Belgium, Holland and France. I did wonder where this question came from. ‘Well, I would like to reinforce my colony a bit more. My goal is to become champion of Belgium on the long distance again.’ It seemed they were thinking about this title in Melden already for a bit longer as at the end of 2017 we had a look at the list of champions of Belgium and the first name we see when we looked at the list of champions long distance old birds Belgium is Joost De Smeyter. It didn’t took long before we could go and drink coffee again in Melden to congratulate them with this new title.

1st Champion Long Distance Old Birds KBDB 2017

As we write it down like this, it does look very easy, but as you know it is everything but easy. Everybody aims for this title and the competition is killing. To win it you have to gain 4 top results from the 1st and 2nd given pigeons. So you need pigeons that can race early on the national races and be reliable as well. The title was won with underneath results:

  • Brive (645 km)
    • 1st given (4063084/14): 244st/9,132b
    • 2nd given (4270672/14): 1,273st/9,132b
  • Cahors (718 km)
    • 1st given(4240623/14): 17th/1,128b
    • 2nd given (4088179/15): 458st/5,639b
  • Limoges (611 km)
    • 1st given (4240737/14): 3rd/2,082b
    • 2nd given (4240510/14): 27st/2,082b
  • Libourne (717 km)
    • 1st given (4240510/14): 4th/3,927b
    • 2nd given (4088397/15): 91st/3,927b

8th Champion Extreme Long Distance Old Birds KBDB 2017

But that wasn’t the only achievement in Melden. Also on the extreme long distance, the natural habitat of the ‘De Smeyter-pigeons’, Joost won the 8th place on the national championship KBDB. He had to score 3 times with his 1st and 2nd given. And also here he had to clock early with reliable pigeons. Next results were being put to win this title:

  • Pau (826 km)
    • 1st given (4200497/13): 126th/2,135b
    • 2nd given (4285959/13): 352nd/2,135b
  • Agen (769 km)
    • 1st given (4063084/14): 343rd/4,405b
    • 2nd given (4270664/14): 341st/4,405b
  • Marseille (875 km)
    • 1st given (4282947/13): 82nd/1,764b
    • 2nd given (4263812/14): 71st/1,764b

Best Belgian Old Bird over 3 International races

And next to that Joost won also some nice titles as for example: Best Belgian Old Bird over 3 International races when we keep the international results into account or the 2nd best when we look at the national results. The pigeon that won this title is ‘Carrera 911’ (4240911/14).

  • Perpignan international 2017: 110th/14,851b
  • Sint-Vincent international 2017: 122nd/11,515b
  • Pau international 2017: 900st/11,285b

Breeding loft as pillar for a strong colony

The base for the yearly clocking of top results is without a doubt the phenomenal breeding loft that was being built over the last few years. Joost invested in new blood. Within these are the collection of national ace birds and winners the top of the icing that can be found on the loft. First of all you have the national ace birds from his own base out of the strains of the ‘Joost’, the ‘Narbonne 1’, the ‘Grand Cru’ and the ‘Schone Sous’ or in other words, the factual base breeders of the loft. There are ‘Elsie’ and ‘Peggy’, two hens who won the title of national ace bird extreme long distance. With ‘Laval’ he has the best Belgian pigeon over 3 international races on his breeding loft. Maybe nice to know that he also became 2nd national ace bird with a coefficient that would make him win the title many years. Another pillar is ‘Cas’, the international winner on the extreme hard Pau race and next to this a phenomenal palmaris. Next to these 4 winners, there are a lot of other top pigeons who knew to classify themselves within the national top of the ace birds like for example ‘Super Barca’, ‘Equilla’, ‘Zus Cas’, ‘Quatro’, … With his own raced pigeons there is only one rule that Joost keeps: ‘No top pigeons are being sold!’ And again, these are the real top pigeons, with next to them other very good pigeons that managed to race an impressive palmaris. Also they are to be found on the breeding loft.

Next to these racing wonders, Joost went to get several different top pigeons and we especially think about the collection national ace birds. This is how ‘Red Ace’, national ace bird extreme long distance KBDB 2016 from Kristof Mortelmans, was being transferred to the breeding loft from Joost. Also ‘Serpent’ from Freddy Van Acker, the best Belgian pigeon over 3 international races 2016, reinforced the breeding loft. With ‘Witpen Rivaldo’, ‘Pierre Mistral’ and ‘Nico’ there are another 3 national ace birds on the breeding loft. Recently another superb one was being added namely ‘Thjeu’ (NL1350772/14). He became the best European pigeon over 2 international races 2017 and moved to Melden. At M. Cox this illustrious pigeon won in 1 year time the 11th international on the extreme heavy Barcelona and a few weeks later another 8th international Narbonne. This way ‘Thjeu’ realised the sharpest coefficient of the last decade. Everyone who can read in between the lines, there is only place for the best of the best on the breeding loft in Melden….


Thorough care of the athletes


But nowadays everybody knows what good pigeons are and you can’t get around it that racing pigeons is also top sport. Top sport is to be found in training and caring of the pigeons. Joost has his advantage as he was a top sportsman in the past himself. He knows like no one else which nutrition is needed to set top results, but also to be able to recuperate very well after a heavy race. The view of Joost is well included in underneath vision:

‘A big misunderstanding amongst pigeon fanciers is to make it more difficult than necessary. Some have an endless search for products, specialties …But most of the time the key is the fancier himself. You have to be prepared to do a lot, but also to leave a lot. Caring is more than let them train, clean and giving them food and water. You need to look at your pigeons and found out what they need. Medication is a part of it, but in fact only a small part. It is also important not to think too much and to doubt a lot, but just to do it. Afterwards you have to be able to see what was good and what was bad. It can’t always be a bad release or the wrong basket in the truck. If others can get them home and you can’t, you have to think about what could be the problem. Learn out of your successes, but especially learn out of failure. The second hard thing to do is to repeat the successes. To repeat exactly the same thing within pigeon sport is nearly impossible as you can’t manage all the circumstances. The weather, the releasing of the pigeons … are things you can’t manage and which can influence the form of the pigeons. Supporting the pigeons is very important for me. I don’t have a schedule that says today this, tomorrow that. No, you have to learn to feel what your pigeons need. A pigeon that gets home really quick out of Noyon shall need other things than a pigeon that only gets home by nightfall. Rule number one; see that the pigeon has its basic needs. And that is: daily water, corn and fresh grit. And this last thing is something that is being forgotten a lot. For the feeding mixtures I depend on Versele Laga. Especially the ‘Black Label’-gamma is being picked up very well during the season. I also give a lot of products that will support to keep their health, especially the ‘Belgavet’-products. Three essential products are ‘Recovery Total’, ‘Twister-oil’ and the ‘Joost-mix’. ‘

Results 2017

As you could read above, 2017 gave again new top pigeons, ace bird titles and national titles. They scored on the extreme long distance and they scored on the long distance. We don’t want to give you an extremely long list of results. We choose to place the pigeons that took care of the national titles in the spotlight. So we can also have a look which origin is to be found in these pigeons. And in this origin you can clearly see the breeding strategy from Joost. The base has always been his strain. He likes to inbreed, but also not too much. Against his own strains he couples other top strains. And this takes care of the firework in the results.

‘Carrera 911 (4240911/14)

This Best Belgian pigeon over 3 international races listens to the name of ‘Carrera 911’. As a three-year old pigeons he succeeded in getting underneath results on 3 international races:

  • Perpignan international 2017: 110th/14,851b
  • Sint-Vincent international 2017: 122nd/11,515b
  • Pau international 2017: 900th/11,285b

‘Carrera 911’ isn’t’ a stranger if we look at his origin. On fathers’ side he has as grandfather ‘Perrati’, an inbred product out of the wonder ‘Joost’, coupled to his own sister and super breeding hen. Grandmother on the other hand comes out of the top pigeons from Luc Van Coppenolle. On mothers’ side you can find the best of Wijnands with as grandfather the ‘Blauwe Vanoppen’.

‘De Super 737’ (4240737/14)

Second in line is ‘De Super 737’. He raced very well in 2017 with twice top 100 national. He became the 22nd Limoges national, the 75th Brive national and on Libourne the 91st national. In the former years he already won a 64th national Limoges and a 124th national Brive. When we have a look at his origin we see one of the founding breeders popping up as a grandfather namely ‘De Grand Cru’. He was coupled against an inbred product out of ‘Crionne’ from Luc and Hilde Sioen. On mothers’ side we see a sister ‘Wiho’, one of the best long distance pigeons that ever flew around in Melden. ‘Zus Wiho’ comes out of a son of the national winner from Tuurlinck Roger coupled against the top breeding strains from Vandamme-Boddaert.

‘Beauty 510 ‘(4240510/14)

Third in line is ‘Beauty 510’, a marvellous racer that managed to clock within the absolute top in 2017. He won a 4th national Libourne and a 168th national Limoges. Also in the former years he managed to win a 41st national Cahors and a 67th national Libourne. And also he has a noble origin. His mother is an inbred product out of the superb strain of the ‘Sous’. He is one of the base breeding strains on the loft of Joost. The mother named ‘Daughter Sous 445’ is also mother of other top pigeons on the loft. The father comes from the loft of Vandamme-Boddaert. We see a crossing out of the founding breeder ‘Jefke van Mortier’ and a hen out of the Marseille-strain from Jos Joosen.

On to 2018

In the meantime the last direct line towards the season of 2018 has been started. The pigeons had a calm winter and calmly the training is being built up. Again they’re aiming for the national long distance and extreme long distance season. To deliver the racing team in a perfect condition for their national exams is the goal. Then it is all up to the pigeons themselves. If we have a look at the quality that we can see amongst the racing team we are ‘slightly’ impressed. When it all will fall together on the national races, they will have great results in Melden. We will follow the results on the national and international races closely… We would also like to wish Joost and his faithful helpers a lot of success for the coming season.