Belgium Trip 2017 – Day One

October 9, 2017
By
Saint Lambertus church and vicarage of the village Gestel, part of Berlaar, Belgium.

Saint Lambertus church and vicarage of the village Gestel, part of Berlaar, Belgium.

My friend Ulrich Lemmens invited me to visit him in Belgium once his new home and lofts were completed so when he told me he his house warming party was going to be Saturday September 25th I booked my ticket.

I arrived at the Brussels airport at 9:30 am, Belgium is 6 hours ahead of Washington, D.C., found my way to the rental car pickup – not an easy task and headed for the village of Itegem in the province of Antwerp and home of my other buddy Jelle Roziers.

Jelle lives in the country on a picturesque farm surrounded by beautiful herds of cattle and sheep.  I wasn’t at his house long before we were off to meet a friend of his in the village of Nijlen.

Friday – Day One

Peeters/van Crombruggen – Nijlen

Paul Peeters races in partnership with his better half, Lut van Crombruggen, and together they have achieved remarkable results with their pigeons in the powerful Antwerp Province. In 2016 alone they were:

Championships 2016

  • 1st General Champion LD club Bevel
  • 1st   Ace bird La Colombophile Belge Old
  • 2nd Provincial champion Antwerp MD Old
  • 4th   Provincial champion Antwerp GMD Old
  • 14th   National champion K.B.D.B Youngster GMD
  • 17th   National champion K.B.D.B Old MD

Paul greeted us in this backyard and invited us into his beautiful home and he offered us something to drink. Paul’s English is good making it easy to chat about pigeons. Jelle asked if we could see a couple of pigeons and soon enough we were holding “Roger Rabbit” (BE 14-6107583) a blue bar cock half-brother to “Blue Princess” winner of 3rd Ace Pigeon Fond Club Antwerp, 5th Ace Pigeon Superduif, 456th National Bourges against 33,524 birds, and 562nd National Argenton against 25,949 birds.  “Roger Rabbit” descends from “Prins Charles” (BE 96-6381687) – a foundation sire in their loft having bred many toppers during his breeding career.

Paul Peeters and Drew Lesofski holding one of Paul's top national racers.

Paul Peeters and Drew Lesofski holding one of Paul’s top national racers.

Next he showed us “Winnetou” (BE 13-6290303) winner of 1st Souppes 719 birds, 1st Souppes 146 birds, 3rd Sourdin against 491 birds, 4th Souppes against 1,418 birds, 17th Gien against 2,231 birds, and 43rd Noyon against 1,975 birds.

My favorite was a blue bar BE 17-6230797 from “Roger Rabbit” and Paul’s “Frakkes Best” sister of “450/11”  winner of many prizes including 3 x 1st,4th , 6th, and 9th in her respected contests. This pigeon was absolutely amazing in the hand.

"Roger Rabbit" absolute topper for Paul Peeters and L

“Roger Rabbit” absolute topper for Paul Peeters and Lut van Crombruggen Nijlen, Belgium.

They have two lofts in their back garden, one for widowers, hens, and breeders and the second loft strictly for the young birds.  They race 30 old bird cocks on traditional widowhood with one small twist. They darken them from 5 pm until 8:30 am from the beginning of February until the middle of March.

Peeters - van Crombruggen loft in Nijlen, Belgium.

Peeters – van Crombruggen loft in Nijlen, Belgium.

About 100 young birds are raised each year to fly on a separated sex system, similar to double widowhood but for young birds. The first and second rounds are darkened from with the first round being darkened from February 1st to the 10th of June and their second round being darkened until the 3rd week of June.

Peeters - van Crombruggen Young Bird loft in Nijlen, Belgium.

Peeters – van Crombruggen Young Bird loft in Nijlen, Belgium.

I asked Paul about his opinion on medicating pigeons and he said he follows the advice of his vet, Raf Herbots, and does not blindly give medicine. This is a theme I heard through my visit that treating pigeons preventively on a weekly basis is not good and can lead to major setbacks down the road.

Walter de Rijck – Nijlen

Next loft we visited was that of Walter de Rijck also in Nijlen. Walter is a household name in the Far East and has been to China over 30 times visiting friends and attending shows. His family of birds centers around the silver cock “Den Derby” (BE 85-6468231); son of “Kleine Rode”, grandsire of 1st National Bourges against 25,179 birds, 1st National Bourges against 12,682 birds, 1st S. National Argenton against 11,034 birds, and 1st National Bourges against 13,007 birds!

Lofts of Walter de Rijck from Nijlen, Belgium

Lofts of Walter de Rijck from Nijlen, Belgium

Some of Walters, and I mean some, of his top performances:

  • 1st National Bourges – 481 km,  25.179 p.
  • 1st Limoges – 642 km, 807 p.
  • 1st Brive – 707 km , 614 p.
  • 1st Chateauroux – 530 km, 1.134 p.
  • 1st Poittiers – 600 km, 416 p.
  • 1st Etampes – 352 km, 4.628 p.
  • 1st Bourges – 481 km, 5.672 p.
  • 1st Argenton – 557 km, 1.707 p.
  • 1st Union Bordeaux – 804 km, 516 p.
  • 1st Blois – 465 km, 2011 p.
  • 1st Chateauroux – 530 km, 1153 p.
  • 1st Semi-Nat Chateauroux – 530 km, 2.448 p.
  • 1st Bourges – 481 km, 5.471 p.
  • 1st Union Bourges – 481 km, 1.699 p.
  • 1st Union Chateauroux – 530 km, 1.196 p.
  • 1st Union Bourges – 481 km, 1.463 p.

We knocked the famous door at J. E. 38 Claeslaan and Walter invited us to join him in his back patio area to chat before heading into his breeding lofts. He offered us something to drink and we chatted a bit about his family of birds, his many trips to China, and the success his bloodlines have had there for many fanciers. You could tell he was very proud of his birds and showed me a picture album he made with pictures from every corner of the globe. I flipped through it and saw several faces I recognized and many that I didn’t, but the biggest thing I noticed was that Walter was always smiling in the pictures and so was everyone else.

Famous number 38 door on Claeslaan Street in Nijlen, Belgium.

Famous number 38 door on Claeslaan Street in Nijlen, Belgium.

Walter’s breeding loft is attached to his home in the back and has a narrow hallway running the length of it. On either sides there are individual pens for his breeders or almost every pen had at least one red pigeon in it. His red line is in such demand in Asia that he can barely keep up with demand and every pigeon in the nest was already spoken for. If my memory serves me correct he only had about 12 to 14 individual pens that he was breeding from.

Walter de Rijck, Jelle Roziers, and Drew Lesofski inside Walter's breeding loft Nijlen, Belgium.

Walter de Rijck, Jelle Roziers, and Drew Lesofski inside Walter’s breeding loft Nijlen, Belgium.

We handled some exquisite pigeons that were a bit bigger than medium with fiery eyes, strong backs, and supple feathers. Each one we handled was as good if not better than the last.

Another top pair of pigeons in Walter de Rijck's breeding loft in Nijlen, Belgium.

Another top pair of pigeons in Walter de Rijck’s breeding loft in Nijlen, Belgium.

We had come to Walter’s loft at the advice of a close confidante of mine and Jelle was happy I asked about Walter because he needed to go there to pick up a hen he had purchased. I was really impressed with the hen and Jelle really liked her pedigree too being right down from the “Diamond Pair” and the “De Derby” lines.

"De Derby" - famous breeding cock for Walter de Rijck Nijlen, Belgium.

“De Derby” – famous breeding cock for Walter de Rijck Nijlen, Belgium.

His racing lofts are situated in his back garden and used to fly widowhood and young birds. Everything about his lofts was typical and what you would expect from a top Belgian racing loft.

Walter de Rijck and Drew Lesofski admiring a grandson of Walter's "Den Derby".

Walter de Rijck and Drew Lesofski admiring a granddaughter of Walter’s “Den Derby”.

After we left Walter’s we headed back to Jelle Roziers loft and my visit there is worthy of its own post so say tuned for Day Two, Jelle Roziers, and my visit to Ulrich Lemmens.

Drew Lesofski

icon2

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement