Roger and Nick Thys – Hallaar
1st National Argenton 14,787 old 2021
1st National Champion KBDB young birds’ Great middle distance 2021

Hallaar: The formefee waved the baton on the lofts of Thys Roger and Nick in 2021. Not only did they win with their widower “Sparrow” the 1st price national Argenton against 14,787 old pigeons but their youngsters also won the national championship KBDB great middle distance. A championship that is played on the national races. When we visited them on the occasion of their national victory on 19 July, Roger’s first words were: “Don’t ask me how it happens, but from the start of the season, they come home very strong. Only during the weekends when the weather was dominated by rain and a strong tail wind, the results were a bit less, but once the race was over, they continued on their previous pace, and they made nice results. Also on the first two national flights, they scored as never before:

Bourges Nat (z) 4,514 old ones: 26,77,101, 322, 7/10
Bourges Nat (z) 3.333 yearlings: 1,3,4,24,41,52,58,185,203,215,264, 287, 18/20
Chateauroux Nat (z) 2,777 old birds: 22,26, 50, 6/7
Chateauroux Nat (z) 2,441 yearlings: 5,16,18,42,84,115,147, 189, 13/18
Chateauroux Nat 24,617 old birds: 89,119,208, 7/7
Chateauroux Nat 22,196 yearlings: 13,50,62,172,403,502,746,1001, 1387, 14/18

Man of few words

Whoever has ever visited them will agree. Roger and Nick are not people who like a lot of words but answer with results. For a reporter, it is of course not so easy when there is little “special news” to pick up and the answers are shorter than expected. But all this is to their credit and makes them special in their own way.

The loft is important

Roger did not say it in so many words, but you can feel that he attaches significant importance to a good loft. A good loft is dry and must be perfectly ventilated. And they worked a lot on that in Hallaar. They race on 7 m lofts for the youngsters and 7 m lofts for the old pigeons and they limited the glass surface in the roof. In the past, there were a lot of ventilation possibilities at the front of the loft, but they are now all closed. Also, the ventilation in the ceiling has been screwed back and now there is only a ventilation gap of 80cm. In the ceiling there are slides so that the open part in the ceiling can be closed even more. Only when temperatures are high, windbreak netting is put in the windows. In front of the lofts of the youngsters, there is a fully screened aviary with windbreak netting. In front of the other lofts there is a small aviary.

In the loft of the youngsters, there is a sliding window that is open practically all day. The ceiling of the loft is completely closed, and ventilation takes place through the open ceiling in the corridor in front of the lofts. Outside there are four air inlets (5 cm x 1 m). The youngsters spend a lot of time in the aviary.

The lofts are scratched twice a day, in the morning to perfection and in the evening only the nest boxes are cleaned. Every day, the pigeons get a fresh drinking bowl. One drinking bowl is on the loft while the other one is drying. Young and old also get fresh pink minerals, picking stone and grit every day.


Small but nice

Roger tells: “In 2021 we started with fourteen widowers on the classic widowhood. They bred early and raised one round of youngsters. They were raced on the great middle distance and their season was till Bourges II (last weekend of July).
The widowers train twice a day. When they are being tossed, they are driven four times to 10, 15, 20, 25 km. When basketing the widowers they never come together with their hens. After arrival of a race, the cock and the hen stay together for about 2 hours. There was no “extra motivation” and the cocks performed well. After the racing season, they did not breed any late youngsters either.
There were sixteen hens raced on the classic widowhood with the cock at home. The old hens were coupled at the end of December and raised one round of youngsters. The hens are trained twice a day and like the cocks, they are tossed in four stages. When basketing a race, the ladies do not see their cocks, but the hens are basketted in the loft of the cocks. Before the last race, they did get the nesting bowls in the loft. After arriving from a race, they stay together for a few hours.
During the day, the hens are in the aviary in front of the loft and in the evening, they come inside the “sleeping” loft. With the mutual mating, there are few problems. Last season, there was a couple of hens that mated but Roger and Nick just left it and that didn’t cause any problems. If they have to choose, they prefer to race with the hens than with the cocks.

Care taking

Since 2021 Roger and Nick put their trust in AIDI feeds and followed the feeding schedule of AIDI. After returning from a race, they feed AIDI Mix III (sports mixture). On Sunday and Monday, they get AIDI Mix I (lighter mixture). On Tuesday AIDI Mix II (a slightly heavier mixture) is put in the feeder. On Wednesday it will be AIDI Mix II in the morning and AIDI Mix III in the evening. On Thursday it will be 100% AIDI Mix III (mixture rich in fat). The last day before basketing peeled sunflower seeds are fed. There is also probiotics on the feed. When they come home, Belgasol (De Weerd) is in the drink. Condition Booster AIDI is given on Wednesday.
In Hallaar, there are few problems with trichomonas. In 2021 the old pigeons were given one times tricho pill. The youngsters were treated for three days at the beginning of the season. Against respiratory infections, nothing was done. With the youngsters, they had to deal with eye infections. A medicine powder was put in the drinker and the pigeons were dropped in the eyes. Both products came from the vet.
The youngsters were vaccinated twice with PMV-Rota. The old pigeons were vaccinated once against PMV. Adeno did not cause any problems in 2021.
Furthermore, the products of veterinarian Mariën are used. Condition powder is given once or twice a week, vitamineral goes in a jar on the loft and the syrup was given a few times.

Also, the youngsters had no mercy
The national championship long distance is disputed with the first two nominated youngsters (ranking per 5) on three races from the following national races for youngsters: Bourges – Argenton – La Souterraine and Chateauroux. Both national, zonal, and provincial results can be taken into account.

Roger and Nyck scored the following top prizes:

Argenton National: 11,223b.        24 (1st nominated)                        301 (2nd nominated)
La Souterraine Zonal 1,633b.       58 (1st nominated.)                       1 (second nominated.)
Issoudun Zonal 2,831b.                  185 (1st nominated.)     52 (2nd nominated.)
Chateauroux National 10,442b.  1,498 (1st nominated.) 26 (2nd nominated)

Good for a coefficient of 16.81%. This puts them on the highest place on the podium with next to them Serré Rudi (28.88%) and Brugmans Sabrina (30.53%).
And here too, as a reporter, I remain hungry to discover special methods or systems. Back again, “keep it simple and don’t make it too complicated” is the advice I was given.
There were 110 youngsters bred from breeders and racers and they were weaned at 23 or 24 days. They were darkened from the beginning of March till the 15th of June, and they got extra light from the beginning of July till the end of the season. The extra light started from 6 o’clock in the morning till 11 o’clock in the evening.
The training tosses of the youngsters took place in eight stages of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 (2 x), 30 km (2 x). Once they had been trained, they were tossed a few times to Ittre (60 km).
The sliding door was introduced mid-July but there were no “motivation boxes or places” on the loft. At basketing, the youngsters only saw their partners for 1 hour. The other times, they were taken from the loft without seeing a partner and put in the basket. After arrival from a race the partners stay together for a few hours.
Roger believes less and less in extra motivation. The youngsters showed little appetite for pairing, but they still performed well.

Pithy detail: In 2015 Roger and Nick also won this title…so for those who still doubted… “coincidence” could be excluded anyway.

Basic pigeons

Father-in-law Alfons was a pigeon fancier, but it was Nick who, as a 10-year-old boy, started helping grandfather with the pigeons. When he was 12 years old Nick started on his own with pigeons on a loft in the back of the garden. It is actually his son who persuaded his father to help with the pigeons. When Nick turned seventeen and going out and the girls became an important item, father and especially mother took over the pigeon sport. After a few years of enjoying the pleasures of life he became a one hundred percent pigeon fancier again.
In 1995 there was a boost in their pigeon hobby with the introduction of twelve pigeons from Geert Lambrechts, Hallaar. In 2000 pigeons from Jozef Goovaerts, Berlaar-Heikant better known as the “Kaasboer” were introduced. In 2008 there was the contribution of Dirk Van Dyck, Zandhoven. In 2015 Gaston Van de Wouwer, Berlaar, came in. In 2018 Roger and Nick were at the doorstep of Jos and Jules Engels, Putte. In 2013 there was co-breeding with Vermeerbergen-Wilms, Mol. They also bred together with Frans and Dirk Maris, Berlaar and some pigeons came from Wim De Troy, Berlaar.
The breeding loft accommodates 15 couples of breeders. The breeders are coupled on 1 December. After each season almost all couples are re-paired. Close inbreeding pairing is not done. However, we do remove inbreeding.
The breeders get 2 to 3 years to prove themselves. And there is a very sharp knife ready. In recent years, few pigeons have been bought, at most 1 or 2 pigeons. However, they do compensate pairing. Fourteen days before pairing, the pigeons get light. There is no pre-mating.
The ancestor of the colony is “De Witte 6” B11/6217606 out of the “Portier” B06/6111039 x “Stamkweekster” B06/6111045 (Lucien Salien, Beerzel). In almost all pedigrees of the colony Thys, one can find his name.
One of the basic couples is without any doubt “B14-6274403 Thor” x “B15-6285010 Gaston Van de Wouwer”. They became the parents of:

B16-6255562 with 71st nat. Argenton 19892 b, 12e nat. Chateauroux 14762 b, 17th zone Bourges 4831 b, 1st Chateauroux 336 d/96th nat. 26241 b, 10th nat. Argenton 11506 b. Was 6th nat. ace 2017.
“White Nose” B20-6185783 with 35th nat. Bourges 28551 d, 238th nat. Argenton 23280 b, 158th nat. Chateauroux 15322 b. Was 19th nat. ace KBDB youngsters.
“Brother White Nose” B20-6185782 with 41st nat. Bourges 28551 b, 158th nat. Chateauroux 15322 b, 159th nat. Issoudun 14758 b, 214th nat. Chateauroux 10317 b, 104th nat. Bourges 11952 b.
“De 17” B19-6036717 with 8e Chevrainvilliers 1532 b, 185 prov. Blois 2752 d, 86th prov. Vierzon 2195 d, 38th nat. Bourges 22506 d, 11th Noyon 864 d, 44th Noyon 1299 d, 11th Noyon 554 d, 91st Sermaises 1393 d, 26th zone B3 Bourges 4514 d.

If you ask us, you can easily classify this loft in the folder of the “fine fanciers”. Fanciers who know very well what they are doing and who have a strong strain of winning pigeons. On the selection bar, there’s one word and that’s “performance”…all the rest is nonsense, Roger knows.