Marnix Leutenez (Kruisem)

1st National Champion Extreme Long Distance KBDB 2019!


When I meet Marnix I’m always a little bit jealous in a positive way. He looks very brisk, cheerful almost Spartan. To say it in a different way ‘he excels in most everything he does. This is also how he is; he stands positive in live, is motivated, takes care of body and soul. He used to take care that society was ok to live in as a rural policeman and this gave him a lot of live experience and wisdom. Marnix likes to observe and evaluates how a living being behaves and adjust to certain circumstances. Marnix was also the guy that had long distance running as his relaxation and held his own condition high

This is also how Marnix is in his favourite hobby, pigeon sport. He doesn’t have anything to proof anymore, in the past he brought several top classifications to Kruisem and this leaves him at ease, without a lot of pressure to go to his loft. Is this a part of his success? Probably, as his most favourite distance, the extreme long distance, is forcing things not done. Those who forces and don’t judge the condition of the pigeons in a correct way loses pigeons at the battlefield. One thing he stated during my former visit and kept on running through my mind is ‘a pigeon almost has to ask to race on the extreme long distance’. This behaviour is the sign for Marnix that they are ready for the upcoming race.

As conclusion to this intro a proof that Marnix mostly just takes care of the pigeons and observes and yet we can state based on his results that this is a good and proven way to success!

Quality, quality, quality, quality

Choosing the extreme long-distance races is choosing quality with a big Q. They must be able to do it. If you don’t have pigeons with the talent for this heavy work than nature will select for you…as they just will stay behind from a race.

Marnix has known this already since decades and from the start of the composition of his team he looked out for pigeons who were able to do this. From the moment he started racing pigeons (the eighties from the former century) he knocked at the door of Rene De Meester in Ouwegem. Rene had a long-distance loft mainly based on pigeons of Gerard & Michel Vanhee from Wervik. At Rene, Marnix got his Marseille (an injured pigeon from Rene) and he became straight away a good breeder. This was being accomplished with pigeons from the long-distance top fanciers Santens Brothers from Oudenaarde and Georges Carteus from Ronse. The base was laid, and a few provincial victories and national top results were set. In a more recent period he had success with pigeons from Frans Balcaen from Nokere, and Patrick Houfflijn from Wortegem-Petegem, Jean Pijcke from Ronse (strain Delbar), Roger Debusschere from Lokeren (pigeons Chris Hebberecht), Johan De Meulemeester from Zulte and Luc Bafort from Temse.

When you cook with the best ingredients…and if you are able to cook a bit (read ‘if you are a bit of a fancier’) than the results will taste very well and sweat ! And this is how ‘Eurodiamond’ was bred who won the 4th International Perpgignan and won 4x on Barcelona. He turned out to be a good breeder afterwards as well. Coupled to ‘Nina’ the top pigeons followed easy out of Perpignan, Barcelona, Agen, Narbonne and so on……

These pigeons get the time to grow out and to get experience. But once grown up they must perform and the though races will do their selection.

Perfect organisation and care

Marnix is the guy of a strict and good care and organisation. The focus is on the extreme long-distance races and a few long-distance race for the year birds.

He breeds out of about 15 to 20 breeding couples, who were placed recently in breeding boxes. Coupling around the 6th of December and about 45 youngsters are for own use. The youngsters are being trained thorough but don’t have to go further than 200 to 300km their first year. The selection is being done by hand and pedigree. The youngsters will go in the training basket and results are of no importance. Grow out quietly is the message. The pigeons only will do fully at their grown-up age of 2 years.

The racing team exists out of 32 old pigeons and about 20-year birds. He doesn’t race hens, only cocks on the classic widowhood system. The pigeons reside on a spacious garden lofts with very few pigeons in one loft. Marnix has the space to double or even triple the team, but this isn’t something he likes to do.

The racing team is being coupled on the 2nd of February and can breed for a few days. Afterwards when the weather circumstances are good enough to train, there will be another coupling of a few days. After the season the racing pigeons don’t breed. So, it is perfectly normal that a 5-year old racing pigeon never had to raise youngsters.

The year birds are being trained very good as well and have to race towards the end of the season races as Limoges, Libourne, Tulle. The old pigeons are being raced on the extreme long distance and must do normally 2 international long-distance races.

Shiver at the start

Marnix holds his hart every year when training his widow cocks. It happened to him more than once that on tosses from 80 to 200 km he loses very good pigeons. He doesn’t have an explanation for this but guesses it is something like nothing being trained enough, crash, fly over the loft…but you don’t get pigeons back with excuses. Marnix lost this way beginning of 2019 with the 1st training race with the club a very good top racer.

The pigeons must train (with the flag) for one hour and when the weather gets better this will be twice. They must dixit Marnix train their own condition and get kilometres in their wings. Something that stroke Marnix was that the pigeons weren’t gasping for air last summer with the high temperatures, but due to the intensity of the training didn’t suffer too much from the heath. This was a sign that the form was present and that they were in top health.

At basketing the year birds get to see their hen to get to know ‘the game’, but the old ones don’t. They only get to see the nest dish.

Marnix recognizes here that he made mistakes. On Barcelona he showed hens and the results wasn’t good. The hens weren’t hasty, and this demotivated the cocks more than that they were motivated…what he figured out afterwards.

The eye of the master….

Marnix is an observer. He tries to read behaviour and health, but he isn’t too naïve and will go for a check-up before the start of the season to a vet. In the month of March, it is time for a check-up and if necessary, still time to interfere.

Next to the obliged vaccinations he doesn’t give normally any cures before the season unless this is necessary after the check-up. After the season they will get a cure against paratyfus via the drinking pot.

During the season they get three weekly a cure against trichomoniases by giving an individual capsule. Garlic oil, brewers’ yeast are weekly ingredients. The past season he used Daflor as intestine conditioner.

The day after a race the eyes are being disinfected with classis eye drops.

Also, since past season he uses Hip 100 from Vanrobaeys as a recup at basketing and arrival.

Feeding is an art, but you don’t have to say it is sorcery. One rule of thumb is not to feed too heavy. The pigeons must be as agile as an eel. Marnix is an enemy when it is about peas and beans…he even dares to state that this is poison for racing pigeons. Feeding happens with a spoon and half an hour later everything must be eaten. The pigeons get a light racing mixture before the race and at arrival. In the days in between this is a diet mixture. Towards the race they get extra candy and a lot of corn. Three hours before basketing they can eat all they want. Marnix is convinced that a long-distance pigeon must ‘fill himself up’ before a race in the basket.

Did we learn anything new out of this? Yes, we do, namely that the most important observation is the one early in the morning when you enter the loft. Marnix takes his time to have a look at the pigeons on an individual level (behaviour, freshness, manure,). This observation teaches him a lot about their condition, recuperation, readiness for the next races and so on…

The lofts are garden lofts with a lot of light and space. By rosters above the hallway in front of the lofts and by ventilation shafts under the sputniks there is enough oxygen and fresh air but no draft. When it gets hot during the day the curtains in front of the windows are being put down to avoid warming weather.

The eye of the pigeon…

Marnix likes a pigeon that is not too big but with well closed vent bones and well build. As he only breeds out of his best racing pigeons as from the age of 7 years old it is also an art to discover good breeding pigeons out of after breed (so not rated) and also a form of inbred. The best inbred products are being kept and youngsters out of these are being tested. Marnix is an eye guy. They must shine, must has a lot of pigments and if possible, have as much lines as possible within the colour circle. This is according to Marnix vitality and strength. When he must select young cocks and yearling cocks without results these are his decisive selection norms.

Season 2019 overloaded with titles!

The most beautiful coronation of this all is off course the title of General Champion Extreme long distance KBDB 2019

This title is the Super prestige amongst the long-distance championships and is seen on a national and international level very high rated. Marnix saw that his pigeons were able to win this, but even then, you must be a specialist to be able to give the right pigeons as 1st and 2nd given. Luck? Probably a bit, but it isn’t so that big champions have more luck then others, is it?

This title was won with underneath results:

  • Pau
    • 2nd signed B15-4071462 “De Perpignan” 23rd         2797 b.
    • 1st signed B15-4071469 “Superman” 161st 2797 b.
  • Vincent
  • 1st signed B15-4071462 “De Perpignan” 86th         2949 b.
  • 2nd signed B15-4071469 “Superman” 109th 2949 b.
  • Narbonne
  • 1st signed B16-4151581 “Damiaan”             4th           3873 b.
  • 2nd signed B16-4151506 “De Libourne” 116th       3873 b.

Other titles that were won in 2019:

  • 1st Champion KBDB East-Flanders Extreme Long distance
  • 2nd Eurodiamond Extreme long distance
  • Knights club
    • 1st Marathon
    • 1st Vice – Championships
    • 6th International prize Herbots family

A conclusion of all the above is that you don’t have to have a big loft to be top of the class. You must choose a discipline, have the necessary patience and work constantly on your strain. Here at Marnix’ place the slogan is ‘when a fancier puts in as much effort as his pigeons do on a race, then there is a chance to success’. Nice man, proud winner!!