Anyone who has ever spoken to or visited Kurt Platteeuw will not deny it… Kurt is a super motivated fancier. Kurt’s ambition drips from him as a fancier who “stands out” in all respects. His way of pigeon racing is not like many of us. His approach to pigeon racing knows no limits and is so tough that only the strongest can and may survive. Many raise an eyebrow when they analyse his approach to pigeon racing but when results have to be laid openly on the table, almost everyone has to acknowledge their superiority in the top performances of the Platteeuw pigeons. Once we heard Kurt say, “They laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at them because they’re all the same”.

Speaking of “different”, let’s go back to 22 October 2021. Kurt Platteeuw’s voice was heard on the Belgian national radio station “Radio 2” and immediately the volume was turned up in our car. It was an interview in which not the performance of this West Flemish loft was put in the spotlight, no, it was an interview because Kurt gave away 100 pigeons for free, and indeed you read it correctly, 100 pigeons for free to young and starting fanciers. A super nice gesture, “I do this to support youngsters and beginners in their hobby” begins Kurt “We had posted a message or Facebook and asked for motivated e-mails. As many as 750 emails ended up in my mailbox. Far more than the number of pigeons available, which is why we were able to make only 100 fanciers happy via a tombola. The winners also received an additional gift and hopefully they will be successful with their “Flat Pigeon” and this will encourage them to pursue our beautiful hobby all their lives.”

1st National ace Allround “Melissa” B19-3119219
The Kurt Platteeuw system demands a lot of energy not only from the pigeons but also from the fancier. It is a system where every detail is important and mistakes are punished mercilessly. But this system results in great successes. Also in 2022, it was “bingo” again with the absolute topper being hen “Melissa”.
Kurt says: “Melissa” is one of the most beautiful hens I have ever bred. The fact that she then performs so super completes the circle. “Melissa” is a true all-rounder. On her first “real appointment”, Argenton (495km), she immediately won 1st provincial against 4,294 pigeons. The following week it was on to Limoges (615km) and again she hit rock bottom with 3rd provincial and 13th national against 17,356 pigeons. A week later it was Argenton again and “Melissa” missed the result. She only came home in the evening around 10pm. As already mentioned, many frown at my approach in pigeon racing and here too, many colleagues will have had their doubts because only 4 days later I basketed “Melissa” again for Tulle (607km) and she shone with the 25th prize national against 9,763 pigeons. And still it wasn’t over for my topper because a week later “Melissa” was on the release from Brive and scored the 162nd National against 6,117d. To be sent one weekend later to Souillac (682km). Yet here my future national ace pigeon failed. The provisional balance was drawn up and then I saw from the various rankings that she was super ranked for both the national ace pigeon competition All-round and long distance. For the national ace pigeon competition All-round only Bourges (433km) still came into consideration and for the national ace pigeon competition Long Distance it was Libourne. Because of the more easterly direction of Bourges, this flight is not the ideal race for West Flanders to score early on national level. Especially because on the race day some west wind direction was predicted. But I took my chances and went to basketing with “only” 2 pigeons. But on the day of release, the wind turned out to be calm for several hours and “Melissa” did a stunt my father and I never dared to dream of. She won 1st national against 7,610 old birds and with a speed of 1348.78 m/m she was also the fastest of all 41,816 Bourges racers.
Unfortunately, I missed her arrival. Due to “job expectations”, I had stayed a bit longer in our shoe shop. I was on my way home when my dad called that “Melissa” had been clocked. “Melissa” provided our 9th national win in our pigeon career.”

The system
At the Team Platteeuw home, the card of total widowhood is drawn. For this they have 120 hens and 80 cocks. Kurt says: “Many more hens than cocks and this because hens are much more jealous when new loves are formed. A cock falling without a hen has choice in abundance and sometimes there is even “partner swapping” which again provides the necessary motivation.
All pigeons, both breeders and racers, are paired in December and are allowed to raise a pair. In the racing team, the sliding doors are opened and “free love” can do its work. When the first eggs start to hatch, all pigeons that do not have a nest yet are taken from the loft to avoid fights and give the pigeons a certain feeling of peace. “
According to Kurt, food plays a more important role than anyone expects. Given his fanatical coaching, it is therefore not surprising that Kurt has created his own mixture. This “Platteeuw mixture” is commercialised by the company Van Robaeys. It is a basic mixture that can be fed to both speed and middle distance pigeons. Only on the last two days, the Platteeuw mixture is enriched with Cribs corn and peanuts. The racers are fed twice a day in a joint feeder and are all given the same menu. A portion of grit is not looked at and if vitamins or other by-products are given it is always done through the feed, never through the drinking water.
Medically, the medicine cabinet is kept closed. The old and yearling pigeons are vaccinated twice against paramyxo and the youngsters twice against paramyxo/rota. All pigeons are also vaccinated against parathyphoid. No other antibiotics are given.

They select themselves
Kurt responds in his well-known style: “concretely, my system consists of racing the entire national flight calendar. All pigeons are basketed as much as possible on the same races and when I analyse the individual palmares I come to the conclusion that they play about 7,000km per season. Pigeons that are raced so much select themselves and from these selected pigeons I annually breed about 200 youngsters. They also have to finish all national races. They are cared for in the same way and just like the old pigeons, they are sent towards 200km in 4 steps. Over the last 10 years or so, more than 50 national youngster races have been organised. Of these, only about 3 were won in West Flanders. Figures that speak for themselves and so the main task of the young force is to gain experience. Youngsters are darkened from 21/03 to 21/06 and then lighted.
Coming back to the old pigeons. As already mentioned, all pigeons are raced on the same flight as much as possible. When they arrive home on Saturday, food will be ready until Monday morning. After returning home, the pigeons stay together until evening. On Sunday, nobody comes to the lofts except to take away late hens to place in their departments. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings we train for an hour. On the day of basketing, all racers are unloaded at about 10 km and when they return home they are allowed to stay together for about 4 hours. The “chaos system” in the lofts ensures that they are basketed motivated.”

Challenge for 2023
“Breaking all records”, that is Kurt’s answer and we are convinced that with his motivation and the class pigeons present, he will be able to shatter a lot of records. When our conversation was almost finished I asked Kurt “challenge season 2023” and promptly he answered with the necessary ambition in his voice “a 10th national victory”.
This West Flanders champion did not have to wait long because on the 4th national flight of the season ‘23 it was already “bingo” and not just “bingo”, no… Like a true flat roller Team Platteeuw raced through the national result from Valence (681km). For those who missed it. Against 6,089 olds, Team Platteeuw’s name was behind the places: 1-3-4-11-13-27-42-70-85-91-112-146-148-160-180 etc.
Mentioned in passing, at Argenton national, raced the same weekend of Valence, several pigeons were also turned in the Top-100 national. What a pleasure it must be to race with pigeons like that

Named after mum “Andrea”
I named my national winner after my mum to whom I owe so much. Like all other Valence racers, “Andrea” finished Limoges national (615km) a week ago. I can already feel it coming that some will raise their eyebrows but for more than 10 years I have been selecting pigeons on this program and I can assure you, I too sometimes have too many losses but that’s my system. In this way, the racers select themselves and I create a certain line that can handle just that little bit more than the competition and have a mass of experience because anyway, every one of them has slept out before, but I see it all as a learning experience. As long as they are not hurt they will be basketed.
Whether “Andrea” had a prize at Limoges? She is not on the result and then there are two possibilities either her chip ring was not registered or the she came the day after.
“Andrea” took the 10th national win for Kurt and daddy Raf. Bourges was won twice and other wins were on different national races. “Maybe it will be a challenge to win them all once” Kurt motivates himself!

Stefan Mertens