Anyone who, as a “small fancier”, can write both the national champion ½ middle distance young pigeons and the 1st national ace pigeon KBDB Speed yearling on his record of achievements in the space of six years, can safely pat himself on the back and say that you are doing more than good. But then you don’t know Rony Calus from Heist Aan Zee. Despite his pigeons having such a record, he is not the man who is going to explain. No…Rony, a retired crane operator, prefers to stay out of the limelight. “Let me enjoy his pigeons” he says. Mentioned in passing, should the national KBDB championships not be filled in automatically, Rony would never have filled in a participation form. This year, everything was calculated automatically by the KBDB and even when he won the national KBDB ace pigeon speed, it was friends who filled in all the necessary formalities.

Going back to 2017 for a moment…in that season, like every season, the battle for the national ace pigeon title of speed was one of cutting edge. It is a cut-throat battle where at the end of the season Rony’s “The Cannibal” (B16-3046631) took the sheet with top prizes being 1st Clermont 567d. – 1st Clermont 282d. – 2nd Clermont 1,063d. – 2nd Clermont 738d. – 3rd Arras 694d. – 3rd Clermont 636d! “The Cannibal” …he was described as “a pigeon of mediocrity in model, with a bright and lively eye, a soft plume and a wringer in the hand, but above all…a champion racer!”

It was then for many of us the first time they heard the name Calus mentioned but the class of the Calus pigeons had already been noticed by other fanciers and we are talking about Kurt Platteeuw, among others.

For the 2nd time, we go back in time and more specifically to May 17, 2014. On the race calendar is Tours Provincial. In West Flanders the preparation race for the first national race from Limoges with the old pigeons.  The top lofts consider this race as the value meter for the upcoming one-day long distance season. Whoever wants to be there has to compete for the top prizes anyway or it will be a bit of a struggle. It is a tough, but fair race. It became a spectacle race, with everyone praising the stunt of the De Saer loft from Ruiselede. Out of 6,400 old pigeons, Rudi De Saer won 1, 2, and 3 with a top speed for the win of 1,188 meters per minute. But……among the yearlings, Rony won 1st prize from 2,964 pigeons and with 3 pigeons in the race with his 1st nominated at a velocity of 1,196.63 meters per minute.  The fastest pigeon from 9,364 pigeons, named “Abo Volo”, was on the loft of Rony Calus. He won the first prize ahead of Gino Clicque (2 & 3), Rudi De Saer (4), Rik Cools (5)…must there be sand? In 2015, Rony also won 1st provincial Chateaudun this with topper “Sea Biscuit” from 3,601 pigeons. Spicy detail… “Sea Biscuit” is a full brother of Tours winners “Abo Volo”.

Of course, a number of fanciers in the region had not failed to notice what Rony’s pigeons were doing and well-known fancier Kurt Platteeuw was the first to visit Rony Calus for coffee. It is well known that Kurt makes a sport of stepping into unexplored territory.  He does not immediately look for new investments among the sounding names. It became a very pleasant chat and because Rony does not have the space to house more or many pigeons, a nice and correct agreement was made between the two lofts. Platteeuw got a round of late youngsters from the breeders and racers in 2015 and it was instant bingo as in 2016 Platteeuw took the national victory at Chateauroux with hen “Emmanuelle”, also the fastest of 29,591 pigeons. “Emmanuelle” is a direct pigeon of Rony and flew the 2015 national victory as a late youngster at less than a year old. Afterwards, Rony’s best pigeons moved to Kurt. To this day, Rony can still call on “his breeders” who are homed at Kurt.


No flashy names as a base

Rony became a pigeon fancier alongside his father Raymond, but he learned most from his father-in-law Medard De Groote, with whom he raced in combination from 1975 for about five years. Afterwards, Rony said goodbye to pigeon racing for a while, but has been racing on his own account since 1984. He raced with varying success, but since his retirement in 2008 his results have improved dramatically.
The basis of the Calus colony was formed by pigeons from fellow fanciers Gustaaf Standaert, Medart de Groote, Omer Goethals, Emiel Persijn, Albert Deschroder and Brauwers-Monte.

Difficult start with the youngsters in 2024

For years there has been room for eight breeding couples and 48 youngsters are bred for home use but this year things are not going as desired. Rony sighs deeply once, bows his head slightly and says “this year, things are not going well with the health of my youngsters. Despite having done the same preparations as previous years, my youngsters don’t want to fly at all. When I release them, they usually go towards “Hero Tower”, an apartment building where there are also some feral pigeons. During their first races around the loft, did they ever go “neighboring” there and get some kind of infection, I don’t know. I contacted vet Lesage and he prescribed a course of antibiotics. My young improved, but a few days later it was the same thing. I contacted vet Lesage again and now I have to treat my young individually as he suspects that due to the cooler weather the young have not drunk enough for the antibiotics to work effectively. Hope springs eternal they say… who knows what good things will come next.
When the youngsters train very well, the training baskets are taken out of the attic and in small steps it goes from 3km, 5km, 10km and up to 40km.  Afterwards, the youngsters join the local races. During the season there is no more racing.
The youngsters are motivated according to the sliding door system. They are darkened until the end of May at the most. There is no question of additional lighting.
Rony “My youngsters train twice a day for half an hour. For me it doesn’t have to be much longer than that. My system is such that both young cocks and young hens enter via the same sputnik. When one is outside, I drive the other to the other loft and so they never see each other during the week. On basketing day, they do get to cuddle each other – usually around noon – for about 2.5 hours. Afterwards, they are separated and given a good portion of feed.
Speaking of feed, the daily menu consists of ¾ Moulting Mix and ¼ Depuratif (both from Versele-Laga). The last days before basketing, this is enriched with a large portion of Maize.
At arrival, beer yeast and garlic oil are added to the feed and almost every day I make fresh Colombine Tea with electrolytes mixed in.
The young cocks are race on the short distance, while the young hens are raced weekly on the small middle distance.
Before the start of the season, I consult the vet and, on his advice, I either vaccinate or not. Usually, the medicine cabinet can stay closed and I only use the “yellow drop” against tricho every week.

Eye drops are only used when youngsters suffer from “one eye cold”.

They won the national championship KBDB 2023
You don’t win a KBDB national championship title overnight. You need some clappers under your belt for that. The following 2 youngsters had a very big part in winning the national championship

Thus, the little hen ‘De 652’ flagged off as 4th national ace small middle distance youngsters KBDB and 1st provincial ace small middle distance KBDB West Flanders. They succeeded with the following results:

5th Fontenay 1769 d.
6th Orleans 3062 b.
27th Fontenay 2231 b.
8th Chateaudun 980 b.

Rony got this hen before the season from Johan and Nadia Demon. Her pedigree is already laced with noble races. On the fathers side, we see a cock from the crossing Anton Ruitenberg x Broeckx Niels. In his pedigree the ‘Bliksem’ line of Gaby Vandenabeele crossed with the toppers of Niels Broeckx and Bart and Nance Van Oeckel. On the dam’s side, the ‘Pitbull’ line from with Dirk Van Dyck appears. This is crossed with the noble blood of Rik Hermans. Good x good rarely lie. We got proof of this once again. That ‘De 652’ was given the right gene packet proves her results!


The second topper under the pans at Heist is ‘Het 351-tje’. This blue hen comes from the heart of the Calus colony. Her father was an excellent racer himself on the speed and small middle distance. His sire ‘064’ did even better with 4 primuses Orleans, Arras, Clermont and Le Mans. The mother of ‘Het 351-tje’ herself flew to a 3rd place at Chateaudun. Two absolute top pigeons appear in her ancestors with ‘Sea Cove’ and ‘Abo Volo’. In other words, ‘Het 351-tje’ is one of our own breeding. We take a quick look at her results:

2nd Fontenay 155 d.
3rd Fontenay 1769 d.
6th Chateaudun 950 d.
8th Fontenay 105 d.
10th Fontenay 210 d.
20th Chateaudun 281 d.
38th Chateaudun 1850 d.
55th Fontenay 2231 d.

With these results, ‘Het 351-tje’ piloted itself to 4th provincial ace pigeon small middle distance youngsters KBDB West Flanders and to 16th national ace pigeon small middle distance youngsters KBDB. 

Stefan Mertens