Jelle Roziers/ “Queen L” Rules! Part 1 of 2

May 1, 2018
By
August 2017 Roziers – Xiang, Itegem, Belgium – 1st National Bourges revenged is a dish best served cold. In 2016 the Roziers-Xiang partnership lost National Bourges by 13 seconds and in 2017 they were 1st National Bourges against 38, 455 birds and their winner “Gust” was actually the fastest of 59,243 birds!  L-R Xiang, Jelle Roziers holding his son Gust and Luc Houben.

L-R Mr. Xiang, Jelle Roziers holding his son Gust and Luc Houben.

  ©2018 by Silvio Mattacchione BA MA

“…success in life does not come easy. It is fraught with pitfalls, obstacles, failure, and mistakes. Success requires persistence, mental    toughness and emotional toughness in overcoming these pitfalls. Its pursuit pushes you to the edge emotionally and physically. You must grow a thick skin and become accustomed to struggle if you hope to succeed.” ~ Tom Corley

Andy Laranzakis or “Big Andy” as he is known throughout the racing pigeon world is a long-time friend of mine. I first met Andy, together with another Canadian fancier Frank Muscat at my home loft in Pickering, Ontario almost 30 years ago. Andy was pigeon crazy and they had come to visit my small collection of Spanjaards Janssens. Over the following years I saw Andy only occasionally, usually at open races like the Englehart Classic in Hamilton, Ontario. These were the days prior to the advent of One Loft Races. It turns out that Big Andy has some uncommon ability to ferret out really great upcoming racing and breeding stock before it becomes the fashion. I saw him do this many times. The De Rauw Sablon were quietly being collected by Big Andy several years before others became aware of their importance and soon to emerge popularity. In time this line generated some staggering prices at public auction…

Well it turns out that Big Andy and Jelle Roziers are close friends and over the past decade or so I was oblivious to that friendship as well as the incredible results that were being accumulated by Jelle Roziers and his “Queen L” line. All of this is even more surprising given that in 2010 I had been involved in producing a book for Big Andy entitled “Big Andy Presents Global Champions 2010”.

Why do I say even more surprising? Well in that new book that my company designed and printed for Big Andy there was a two page spread that I had totally forgotten about until just a few days ago.

Big Andy Presents

During a recent conversation with Big Andy, I told him, that I had paid a visit to Bill Weima and Dan Horner in Guelph, Ontario with my good friend Ben Vettese. I had gifted Ben several Spanjaards Janssens which he proceeded to mate together and out of which he had bred two entries to Bill Weima’s One Loft Race “The Silvercreek Quad”. It was an average speed race and Ben and I had gone to the loft to pick up the youngster out of my gift pair that had scored 3rd Average speed overall for Ben and his partner.

Ben asked Weima if it was possible to look at and handle some of his excellent pigeons and he handled a blue hen, I believe her number was “770” and poor Ben fell in love with this hen, clearly “smitten”. Ben was a boy again, in love with this incredible hen, not just any hen but a performance hen that was not only a lovely handling pigeon, it had soft supple muscle, moist flesh, feathering that was soft and lush and she had already proven  very successful racer including taking 2nd place at the Oshawa Gold Bond race ( Bill Weima and Dan Horner also that day took 1st) in 2015.So what was this hen, I asked. Bill Weima chimed in “It was a Jelle Roziers from his “Queen L line”. I drew a blank about Roziers but the “Queen L” name struck a chord but for the life of me I did not really remember why? Well not long after I recounted the story to Big Andy who said “Silvio, you must be getting old, do you not remember Queen L and Roziers were in my book that you produced”. Well that evening I went into my archives and low and behold there was indeed a two page spread that I had produced in mid 2010 entitled “Queen L”. Included in that spread were three birds “Brooklyn”, “Havana” and “Bumie” as well as a photo of Jelle Roziers, his grandfather August and his father Paul. In that spread “Queen L” was 6 years old and in hindsight I should have paid a great deal more attention as a “pigeon man” but at that time it was my “book publisher” identity that was in control and I needed to complete the book and not get distracted from the task at hand. So the reality is that Jelle Roziers path and my path had crossed almost a decade ago and that is why subconsciously Weima’ s reference to Queen L sparked a distant memory.

“Queen L” "was featured in a two page spread in Big Andy Presents Global Champions 2010"

“Queen L” “was featured in a two page spread in Big Andy Presents Global Champions 2010″

Weima and Dan, Ben and I went to lunch that afternoon and Bill Weima continued to tell us all about Jelle Roziers and his Queen L line. That afternoon I decided to look into Jelle’s story further with the intention, if it was warranted, of writing an article. I am glad I did.

Breeding (successful breeding that is) is much more complex than most fanciers will ever appreciate. A bird or animal of any variety is the sum of many, many traits, and, each is influenced by varying degrees of genetics and we won’t get into environmental factors. Success in breeding is more than the ability to acquire expensive birds. Expensive birds do not necessarily guarantee success. Successful breeding is so much more than science it truly is an art and as we all know “great artists” are few and far between.

As fanciers we all need to be careful and focus on producing a whole pigeon. “An honest, hard-working,” racing pigeon should be the goal. That, I assure you, is easier said than done. The vast majority of racing pigeon fanciers are not up to the task. Even when they are provided with superior genetic stock they somehow lose their way and fail to maintain the quality as it was originally received. Stock sense is essential!

Having said this I must also quickly add that, there really are some people who do have a gift with animals. These are the past giants of our sport. Very few have created a line that impacted, locally, than nationally and finally internationally. But some have! Those that have, had a gift of recognizing real quality in animals (and the ability to perpetuate it for generations and generations) is called stock sense. This talent, in most cases, cannot be taught; you are born with it or you do without.

Stock sense stacks the probability of potential success much more in your favor than in that of someone with no such stock sense. Bottom line is that the vast majority of racing pigeon fanciers don’t have it! That is why I am fascinated when I discover this rare “gift” in someone at a very young age. It would now seem to me that Jelle Roziers does indeed have this rare gift!

Jelle Roziers was born August 4th 1983 (in Lier, Belgium) so he is not quite 35 years old as of this writing .Jelle  spent an enormous amount of time at the home of his grandparents (August Roziers and Eveline Busschots) with whom he felt very close. Jelle remained within the local school system till the age of 16 (approximately 1999).He, like most Belgians, loved soccer till the age of 15 and from that  year on his life can be summed up in three short words “pigeons, pigeons, pigeons”!

When I was 4 years old, I used to climb the ladder to the pigeon loft all the time, and was afraid to come down again. When I was 10 years old, I was even more fascinated by racing pigeons, because of my grandfather, August Roziers.”~ Jelle Roziers personal communication

After leaving school in 1999 Jelle, who was not afraid to work, immediately sought employment initially in landscaping, followed by a variety of endeavors including the building of swimming pools, security assignments, and yes even a stint in local governance.

Raised to a great extent by his grandparents it is easily understood why pigeons became Jelle’s fascination, correction, no not fascination, more than that, his obsession. However Jelle’s natural inheritance of pigeon genes originated from both sides of his personal pedigree that is from both his maternal and paternal line. On his paternal side Jelle’s father loved pigeons as did his uncle, his grandfather and his great grandfather and from his maternal side his uncle and grandfather. That takes care of the “nature” side but it goes beyond as well to the nurture side to include distant relatives like the “Jeff Houben” clan and others.

Grandfather August Roziers with his grandson Jelle Roziers.

Grandfather August Roziers with his grandson Jelle Roziers.

However, I think it safe to speculate that most of what he inherited, in the genes, as well as by a process of osmosis was, without a doubt, from his beloved grandfather August Roziers who was a successful, knowledgeable and very intuitive when it came to both breeding and successfully racing.

Mostly my grandfather, August Roziers. He was one of the best in our area in the seventies-eighties, and was even beating lofts like “Houben”, “Engels”,… Because he had a small number of birds, he was not that commercial. That period, Jef Houben was even asking him how he was beating them.”~ Jelle Roziers personal correspondence

By 1995, at age 12 Jelle began on his own with a loft of some 2 meters by 2 meters and the birds that he cultivated in that tiny loft were those of his grandfather August.

I have already advised that both sides of Jelle’s ancestry were pigeon fanciers, however it is interesting to discover that Eveline Houben the loving wife of legend Jeff Houben was a niece of Jelle’s grandmother, that is his Father’s Paul’s mother so it is not really a surprise that in 1997, when Jelle was 14 he decided to make direct contact with Jeff Houben and the Houben clan. Jelle took the initiative and called by telephone and spoke to Jeff Houben, explaining who he was and how they were related.

In 1997 I called Jef Houben and told him who I was. I asked him if it was possible to get a bird from him. Few weeks later I could go to his loft and got 2 brothers that were ready to wean.”~ Jelle Roziers personal communication

Jeff Houben Jelle and Nadia in 2005 handling youngsters from the joint breeding of Pinocchio X Queen L.

Jeff Houben Jelle and Nadia in 2005 handling youngsters from the joint breeding of Pinocchio X Queen L.

It was not long after that first telephone contact that Jelle was spending as much time as possible with the Houben clan. He was, initially, allowed to scrape the lofts. Jelle became a family member and made it a point to listen intently to all of the daily conversations, their plans, their philosophies, their strategies, there protocols, their theories, their breeding insights and little by little young Jelle internalized all of this information and of these insights. The universe had delivered to this youngster a gift not just an education of sorts but truly a “pigeon university” undergraduate degree and then straight to a post graduate degree. Jelle handled the truly great Houben champions of the time, learned to recognize the finer points, muscle, flesh, feather and so much more. Everything was important and he, young Jelle was given an unheard of opportunity. He had become, little by little, a member of the Houben family. Money could never have paid for the education that on a daily basis unfolded before his eyes. Jelle the student and Jeff Houben, Nadia, and Eveline the professors. All of this began because a young boy dared to make a single telephone call to a distant relative who happened to be a superstar in his field!

I do not believe that I or for that matter most North Americans can fully appreciate who the Houben’s really were, what their reputation really was and how they were viewed by so many in their own county, the level of respect that they had earned globally.

200-250 fanciers would camp out behind the Houben home lofts waiting patiently to see the returns of the internationally famous Houben racing pigeons from Bourges.

200-250 fanciers would camp out behind the Houben home lofts waiting patiently to see the returns of the internationally famous Houben racing pigeons from Bourges.

The continuous success that they had attained, the desirability of their stock. This one old photo tells an incredible story. Imagine 200-250 people showing up, with lawn chairs and lunches and drinks, waiting patiently to see the return of the Houben team in these major national races that garnered them such international notoriety. I had no idea. I now, personally view the Houben’s and their birds in a different light. I more fully appreciate why American Mike Ganus purchased Houben’s very early on, and why David Clausing had so often visited  Jeff, Luc and Nadia, why the Clausing’ s and Houben’s raced in the big European One Loft Races together and  why David had so often  purchased direct Houben stock. Imagine young Jelle being witness to this type of international notoriety and being part of events like National Bourges but not from the outside on the street, but rather from the inside of the Houben home  pictured below at  number 12!

#12 the address of the Houben home that Jelle first visited at age 14 in 1997.

#12 the address of the Houben home that Jelle first visited at age 14 in 1997.

When I first ran across the photo (see Figure 4) I contacted Jelle to ask what I was seeing. What were all these people doing in the street behind the Houben home? He responded as follows”

“People were waiting when the birds came home from Bourges national. 200-250 people…I remember the Houben were always burning candles at home and in the place of pilgrimage Scherpenheuvel especially for this race from Bourges. That’s why Bourges was and still is THE RACE in my family”~ Jelle Roziers personal correspondence

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Our_Lady_of_Scherpenheuvel )

Jelle the attentive student  in the 90’s was to become, by a strange twist of fate, the teacher helping Luc Houben after the demise of both Luc’s father Jeff Houben as well as his beloved sister Nadia, in 2007. After the passing, with Jelle only 24 helping Luc Houben with the care of the entire Houben colony.

All that Jelle had learned from his mentors Jeff and Nadia Houben had earlier been put to the test in 2004 when Jelle, then only 21 had the unique opportunity to become the official loft manager of Jeff Houben’s brother in law Mr. Hubert Schroyens and in 2006 Jelle partnered with Chris Cleirbaut racing as Cleirbaut-Roziers and raced at the top of the national races. By 2007 Jelle had already held the loft managers position at two facilities and he became even more serious as regards the management and the expectations regarding his own colony. Jelle had seen and essentially been groomed at one of the most successful colonies of racing pigeons in the world. He would always remember what true Champions were. Jeff, Eveline, Nadia and Luc true Champions who loved each other, their family, and their pigeons in that order.

Jeff Houben with Jelle Roziers. Jeff the master and Jelle his prize student.

Jeff Houben with Jelle Roziers. Jeff the master and Jelle his prize student.

Jelle paid very close attention to his mentors:

I was very attentive to what my mentors, Jef Houben and August Roziers, told me. These old timers had a lot of experience….I tried to stay steady, and never gave up. And that’s the only thing that brought me to a higher level. But, I always told myself, I wanted to be like Jef Houben. Building up a family of pigeons that was doing good, for other people also, and not only for myself. It’s all about common sense.” ~ Jelle Roziers personal communication

Entire rooms of the Houben home were filled with trophies won over the years.

Entire rooms of the Houben home were filled with trophies won over the years.

After 2007 Jelle became very serious about his future. Along with the Houben family he also learned a great deal from his grandfather August and his long- time friend Eddy Noel:

I was very fascinated by the Houben’s way of line breeding to “Young Artist”. Also my relationship with Eddy Noël, who was at that time working for feed company “Matador”, gave me a better view of how I had to feed my pigeons. Basically, my grandfather had the same way of feeding, but now I had the opportunity to work with more modern types of feeding mixtures.”~ Jelle Roziers personal communication.

The Jeff Houben Family portrait. They loved and respected each other and together loved their birds and built a dynasty that continues to win to this day.

The Jeff Houben Family portrait. They loved and respected each other and together loved their birds and built a dynasty that continues to win to this day.

So the most conscience re-cap of the actual family connection in Jelle’s own words:

“The Houben family: The wife of Jef Houben was a niece of my grandmother. Luc Houben’s wife, Monique is the godmother of my youngest son, Mil. The Houben family was on the top of the game when I was a kid. I loved going there, to learn more and more. I helped cleaning lofts, training pigeons on the road, co-breeding… Now, Luc Houben finished his pigeon sport, and he’s still helping me, when needed”. ~Jelle Roziers personal communication

Jelle you will recall had made his first phone call to Jeff Houben in 1997 at the age of 14 and in 2004 when Jelle was 21, Jelle’s father Paul Roziers bred what in hindsight just may be the most import Foundation Hen ever bred in Belgium. She , “Queen L”  was bred by Jelle’s father Paul, and she was raced in 2004 as a youngster in partnership with Tom Guldentops, racing as Roziers/Guldentops) and winning 1st National La Souterraine destroying her competition against 16,000 plus birds. “Queen L” was a daughter of “Angelo” X “Nathalia” and her band number was BE 2004 6277729 BC hen.

Queen L was 1st National La Souterraine against 16,297 birds for Paul and Jelle Roziers in 2004

Queen L was 1st National La Souterraine against 16,297 birds for Paul and Jelle Roziers in 2004.

The strain cultivated in the loft of Paul and Jelle Roziers was that old line of August Roziers. Paul selected a cock of this old Roziers line called “Angelo” mated to a hen of the line of Theo Yskout called “Nathalia”. Given that “Queen L” received her mtDNA from her Dam “Nathalia” it would be interesting to research this Theo Yskout hen ( which I have not had the time to do yet) to better understand the incredible ability of Queen L as both a performance pigeon as well as priceless breeder. What follow are the results of Mr. Theo Yskout’s birds in 2003 the year before “Queen L” was bred by Paul Roziers. Now clearly these results do not reference Nathalia but they clearly reference the level of overall quality that existed within the Yskout colony at the time.

YSKOUT Championships 2003
1th General Champion “Neteverbond Hulshout”

1st  Champion “Old Birds”
1st  Champion “Yearling”
1st  Champion “Youngsters”
1st  General Champion “Noyon Neteverbond”
1st  General Champion Middle Distance “De Tamme Duif”
1st  Champion Yearling – Middle distance
1st  Champion Youngsters – Middle distance, Winner “6 Days” Noyon
1st  Champion Old Birds, “H. H. H. Zuiderkempen”
2nd  General Champion “H.H. H. Zuiderkempen”

1989: 6th  National As-pigeon Middle Distance K.B.D.B.
1991: 8th  National As-pigeon Middle Distance K.B.D.B.
1993: 2nd  National As-pigeon Middle Distance K.B.D.B.
1996: 3rd  National As-pigeon Middle Distance K.B.D.B.
1996: 6th  National Champion Youngsters K.B.D.B.
1999: 1st  National Zone B Argenton 1124 Yearlings.
1999: 2nd National Argenton 3259 Yearlings
2002: 5th National Champion Youngsters K.B.D.B.

So we can see the outstanding quality evident in these results of Yskout and why Paul Roziers would have chosen the hen “Nathalia” of Yskout to breed to “Angelo” of the Old August Roziers line. Inspired? Yes and Inspired mating!

The first congratulatory call to Jelle, after the news of the “Queen L” victory at La Souterraine in 2004 (against 16000+ birds) was confirmed, was from Jeff Houben. In 2005 Jeff called and spoke to Jelle and asked Jelle to bring “Queen L” over to the Houben home. Jelle did as his mentor requested. Once at Houben’s Jeff instructed Jelle to go upstairs and to bring “Pinocchio” to him and again Jelle did as instructed. Once he returned they went over to one of the lofts and Pinocchio and Queen L were put into a separate section and the “Houben/Jelle” co-breeding partnership began in earnest!

“The basis of our birds was from my grandfather. After Queen L winning the first national of La Souterraine against 16000+ birds, we started co-breeding with the Houben’s. For me it was easy to get better birds on a cheaper way, because I had just had to drive to the Houben’s. Also the co-breeding with the Engels-brothers, and Queen L was successful for us and for them also. The last few years, I’m focusing more and more on pigeons that are based on a family of birds, where I know of that they can handle tougher circumstances. What I see, and Jef Houben told me, that it’s better to get birds from guys that are flying good with cock birds, and not only with hens”. ~Jelle Roziers personal communication

There were certainly many other co-breeding requests including the Engles brothers. These combinations of line-bred Queen L with the very best of others famous birds essentially form the basis of the Jelle Roziers colony today. Out -Crosses of the line Queen L blood have been successful with the birds of Geernick, Vercammen, Casaert, Heylen, Engels and Eddy Noel. All of these outcrosses proved very successful!

Jelle Roziers and Eddy Noel.

Jelle Roziers and Eddy Noel.

Jelle gives great credit to Eddy Noel as regards what he feels is his edge, nutrition wise in the feed mixes he uses. Eddy is also personally very close friend of Jelle and his family being in fact god-father to one of his children. Jelle spends many visits to Eddy’s home, discussing feeds, nutrition, and strategy, either in the unique garden setting or in front of this antique stove ( in the home of Eddy Noel) which no doubt was the ultimate foot warmer as they discussed all things pigeon on winter evenings.

At Eddy Noel's unique home garden where he and Jelle spend quality time together.

At Eddy Noel’s unique home garden where he and Jelle spend quality time together.

At this point in Jelle’s story I am going to make a number of points that I believe are absolutely essential to understand. The readers of this article can  I believe more fully understand the value of This young man’s line, I mean the true value only if you come to appreciate the following concepts and observations. These Jelle Roziers pigeons (especially the hens) just may be the most potent breeders you may ever encounter over the next 30 or 40 years. Here is why I believe this to be true.

As I research deeper and deeper into this unique Foundation Hen “Queen L” I can -not but chuckle as she is the perfect poster girl for an article I wrote a long time ago entitled “Mitochondrial DNA And The Significance of The Maternal Line” reference: http://www.silvio-co.com/pigeons/pdf/Mitochondrial-DNA-Explained.pdf.As such my personal belief is that genetically “Queen L” is actually priceless!

Professor Anker in his book confirms all that I have stated above and provides a real world example as well. Here is what he has to say on breeding “Best to Best” which he refers to as “Good with Good”

“The expression “good with good” is well known among pigeon fanciers in connection with mating. This expression is only valid in case of additive properties. You often miss the target with the non­-additive properties. When we study the previous text, we´ll quickly find the solution. Janos Horvath, a fancier in the thirties and forties, possessed a super flyer at the time. It was a Hopfner crossed with an American pigeon. He had a lot of vitality, was always in form flew many first prizes and usually finished with the first five up to a distance of 960 km. His power was not in the additive properties, but in his excellent organism, vitality, form properties etc. During 15 years, Horvath mated him with ever better partners, but he offspring was far below expectations. In connection with this subject, I remember that there lived a horse phenomenon named Gladiator in the sixties of the last century. He won  the  English  Derby  in addition to  the  French  Grand  Prix, a fete  accomplished  by  only  4  horses in  100  years. One of them was the Hungarian stallion Kisber. Why was it that he had so much class? Well, by luck his organism became a super organism. Such a super organism is being established by numerous factors which cannot be determined in advance. Just as unexpected as a card player receiving only trump cards. So, pure chance. But, this by chance ­created organism, developed from tens of thousands of threads, cannot pass on his qualities to his Page | 4 offspring at such level. That’s why  such  individuals, despite  their  performance,  do  not succeed in  the  breeding  stable. They cannot reproduce themselves. They are excellent in the non additive properties, but unfortunately, they cannot pass them on, or only every now and then. In this case “good x good” is of no help.” ~ Reference Professor Anker

So if “best to best” is not the optimal breeding model then how does a breeder of any stock, but in our case, “racing pigeons” go about manipulating the odds in his favor?  Well research is the key and a number of successful stockmen in our racing pigeon sport have understood that they must constantly be on the lookout for exceptional foundation pairs whose success is proven to have been intergenerationally transmitted. Freddy Vandenheede, in personal correspondence with me, put it very succinctly when he said: “Good pigeons make master breeders.” Another exceptional breeder of high quality racing pigeons and partner in PIPA and the “PIPA Elite Center” also makes this same point in a slightly different way and helps us further focus on the key element in breeding champion racers and breeders. Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht puts it like this: … It is in their ‘genes’, it is in the family! Dr. Carlo says its “in their genes, it is in the family!” Piet de Weerd said: “only a few families rule the nationals and these are the very best!” Our job as breeders of thoroughbred racing pigeons is to locate those exceptional pigeons that consistently produce winners inter generationally that derive from a family or line. In the past some breeders have been fortunate enough to stumble on to one of these “jewels of the sky” and have quickly built a reputation for themselves and unfortunately just as quickly lost that reputation when the original golden pair was no longer producing because they failed to maintain, through a proper breeding program, the quality genetic package that they stumbled on to.

So if step one is to locate these exceptional specimens and then even more important step  two is to figure out how you  can maintain  or perpetuate this exceptional genetic material  for as long as possible. Most breeders of racing pigeons fail miserably on both of these counts. In 1992 one of my authors and friend Bob Kinney explained this two-step process in very easy to understand terms. Here is how he put it so that it was very easy to visualize:

“….To put my thoughts on breeding into the very simplest of examples. Consider the following. Image a jar in front of you with gold dollar coins in it. Imagine that each gold dollar coin represents a winner gene and you want to reach into that jar and pull out another winner. There are say 20 gold dollar coins in that jar. So long as there are only gold coins in that jar, every time you reach into it you will pull out a winner. So let’s imagine that you now decide to bring in a cross, unproven, an  unknown quantity, that you now mix into your loft ( or jar).So now your jar is full of the 20 gold coins to which you have just added 20 copper pennies. So it is easy to understand that your odds of pulling a winner out of your jar have just been reduced by 50%.Now do that for another generation because the bird that you imported or bought cost so much and is claimed to be so good and you now have say 60 copper pennies and the same 20 gold coins. If you multiply the number with even more unknown gene packages the likelihood of ever finding one of those gold coins is even further reduced. The above is a formula for lifelong mediocrity. When I found that super pair I literally culled everything and worked with that pair and their children. Some were proven as youngsters others were bred for stock. I proceeded to mate them together because I had no choice. With a total of seven pair I started over. I was LUCKY enough to find the “gold mine” my jar was full of gold coins… Over the years I have twice cut back to seven pair only. Each time resulted in a leap forward in performance…”  Reference: Bob Kinney from personal correspondence.

Well I have attempted in the preceding pages to make a number of important points. Some readers will understand most will not and that quite frankly is Ok. The bottom line that what all of the world’s Champions have discovered is this “great pigeons make champion pigeon fanciers” not the other way around. So our job is to diligently research and locate these exceptional pigeons before other fanciers realize that they are truly special.

So let me not beat around the bush any longer Paul Roziers bred that one in a million hen, her name is “Queen L”. The Roziers resisted the urge to “cash in” on Queen L given that they refused to sell her. Paul and Jelle suspected her true value as future breeder of outstanding racing pigeons for generations to come. Most fanciers would have given in to the temptation of money, lots of money, but they did not! Queen L is a rare jewel, possibly the rarest jewel? Jelle Roziers and Paul Roziers raced her to greatness and then the breeding of this hen immediately proved her truly unique gifts. She passes on that special something inter-generationally. That magic, that special energy, to her daughters, daughter’s daughter’s and son on and so on!

Energy is the essential key to Success without energy everything comes to a standstill. Well let me state that racing pigeons are intricate biochemical species (as all forms of life including man are). Every single organ in their bodies would find it impossible to function if they could not depend on a constant supply of energy. These organs include the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the brain and all of the muscles. The energy is produced by the body, in the form of a chemical called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is then used by the body for essential body functions. Reference http://www.hitechbloodstock.com/ The Open Secret! In one quick sentence, the open secret is that only females can pass mtDNA to their offspring and the Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of each and every cell in the bodies of every living thing on earth. Mitochondrial DNA is only passed along the maternal line.  The main job of the mtDNA is to produce energy… However, it’s the way that the mitochondria and, more importantly, the mtDNA inside is passed on to the next generation that is of most interest to genealogists and people looking into their past. In one quick sentence, females pass mtDNA onto their offspring. Therefore, everyone will have received mtDNA from their mother and in turn, those mothers received their mtDNA copies from their mothers too. In this way, the path of the mtDNA has travelled down the generations through the direct maternal line. Reference: http://www.dnaheritage.com/mtdna.asp

Blue Hens Thoroughbred breeders have classified especially potent mares as “blue  hens” and Ellen Parker has developed a “reines de course” list and  made an in depth study of the female families. (Reference http://www.sport­horse­breeder.com/the­Mare.html ) A proper understanding of the function of the Mitochondrial DNA as the “power house” of each cell the engine that actually produces the energy for all organic life forms on this planet and the further understanding that these powerhouses can only be passed on by the females of any given species should assist us all in viewing any pedigree in a very different fashion from here on. The female plays a markedly more profound role in producing individualChampions and perpetuating a winning family for generations than has hitherto been realized.

It’s time we stop looking at our hens as “incubators” and start understanding that they are truly the genetic powerhouses that can make or break our efforts to breed exceptional racing pigeons. It has taken a great deal of time and study but I have come to understand  that long term success depends much more upon your hens than it does upon your cocks and with this knowledge in mind you might want to study your pedigrees in light of this newfound understanding

I posed the question of the importance of the hen line to Jelle Recently and his concise response was:

“My grandfather told me all the time that hens are more important in the breeding loft than cock birds. What I see is that Queen L is passing her mtDNA to her daughters, grand-daughters, great granddaughters, who are doing good in races or breeding, in my and other’s lofts. But it’s not easy to find a basic hen like that. In my opinion, very good racing cocks are also very important, because they give the power, and the hen gives the heart.”~ Jelle Roziers personal correspondence

Jelle has made a conscious effort to use both inbreeding and line breeding to insure the long term future of the “Queen L” line

“Yes, we tried to build up our Queen L family, and I learned a lot from the Houben’s breeding. Also Bobby Gonzales taught me some things about line breeding, especially the first cousin combination. I do both. First cousins, mother x son, father x daughter, cousin x uncle, for example: son Queen L x granddaughter Queen L. In general, everything is based on Queen L. What’s working good for me, is : descendants of first-cousin mating’s, tested in the race loft, crossed with another family of birds, gave me a lot of success. ~ Jelle Roziers personal correspondence

I repeat myself however it is important to note that the very first person to intuit the true value or potential of Jelle’s “Queen L” was Jeff Houben. We need to think about this carefully and allow it to sink in thoroughly as this is very significant: “Pinocchio” was without a doubt Jeff Houben’s very best breeding cock!

Pinocchio (pictured above) in 2005 was mated to Jelle's "Queen L". Descendants of this pair continue to push Jelle’s colony to higher levels to this day.

Pinocchio (pictured above) in 2005 was mated to Jelle’s “Queen L”. Descendants of this pair continue to push Jelle’s colony to higher levels to this day.

“When Queen L won first national in 2004, Jef Houben called me to congratulate us in 2005.I drove to his place with “Queen L”. He told me to pick up Pinocchio from his box, and bring him downstairs. We went to another loft. He told me to sit down on the floor. He sat next to me. He put “Queen L” in a box; I had to put Pinocchio with her. Then he said: son, now you’re going to be a pigeon fancier. We split the babies, and 3 out of 4 of this mating, bred me birds in the top 10 national, and are still in the background of my best birds of today. Queen L, crossed with the Houben birds, are the basis of my birds today. Every time when the babies were ready to wean we just tossed with a coin and chose. We had 4 youngsters (Fifth Avenue, Wall Street, Texas Girl and L.A. Woman).Fifth-Avenue, Wall Street, Texas Girl gave us birds in the top 10 and 100 national. They are still in the background of our birds today.
So Jeff was right. Still that pair “Pinocchio x Queen L” are pushing my birds to a higher level.

 ” ~ Jelle Roziers personal correspondence

While Jeff Houben was still alive “Queen L” was jointly bred to several other Houben superstars. It is interesting to note that if you research the pedigrees Pinocchio was a grandson of Young Artist, but there were others as well including Rivaldo, and Jack. However Carlton, Nardo, Reno and Tequilla were also taken to this super, once in a blue moon super foundation hen “Queen L”

“Queen L was also mated together with “Rivaldo, Carlton, Nardo, Reno, Tequilla Jack, Washington, Jack,…Most of them did good for us but what I see is the combination of Pinocchio x Queen L and Rivaldo x Queen L are the very best for us. Also the last daughter of Queen L is doing great. She is from Jack x Queen L. Pinocchio, Rivaldo and Jack are all grandkids to Young Artist.”~ Jelle Roziers personal correspondence

2012, 2013, 2014 Luc Houben sent the 1st and 2nd rounds to Jelle Roziers to race and in 2015 when Luc Houben sold the remaining birds of the Houben line Jelle Roziers essentially had his pick. The Houbens at Roziers are winning straight and crossed to the Queen L line. Jonge Artiest line is carefully maintained in Roziers lofts.

2012, 2013, 2014 Luc Houben sent the 1st and 2nd rounds to Jelle Roziers to race and in 2015 when Luc Houben sold the remaining birds of the Houben line Jelle Roziers essentially had his pick. The Houbens at Roziers are winning straight and crossed to the Queen L line. Jonge Artiest line is carefully maintained in Roziers lofts.

“Queen L” daughters have proven outstanding some that come to mind are “Texas Girl”, “Little Queen”, “National Daughter”, “Ocean Drive” and the list goes on and on and continues down the generations.

‘What I see is, the descendants of Queen L’s daughters are creating my family of birds of today.” ~ Jelle Roziers personal communication

Others were so very keen to form co-breeding agreements with Roziers. Names that come to mind are Van Hove, as well as Mit and Geert Gust who wanted to mate “Shinji San” and “Golden Boy” to “Queen L”. It was then no real surprise that both mating’s were hugely successful given that five grandchildren of “Queen L” from these joint breeding efforts scored in the top 10 in the eight National young bird Races of 2006/2007.Queen L was also mated to key cocks of Jos &Jules Engels namely the “34” and “Father Argenton

Just as an aside, it is quite interesting to note that Jelle’s talents as a handler and conditioner of racing pigeons were appreciated far and wide. Certain American fanciers had come to appreciate the unique talents that Jelle Roziers had developed tried and tested in the hottest competition in the world. They were not bashful about attempting to entice Jelle into moving to North America. Here is a direct quote regarding one such invitation made by a fancier that I highly respect:

“I was invited to come work for Neil Migliore, (Lions Gate loft), but he suffered a heart condition in the winter of 2012-2013. Eventually, I stayed in Belgium, and a few months later I met my wife, and so… I’m still in Belgium. Neil Migliore gave me a better view on how I had to road train my birds and he gave me also advice about inbreeding. He is a very nice man and he helped me a lot. I’ve visit him in the winter 2011-2012 and I had the opportunity to stay a few days in his house and had a good time at his place.” ~ Jelle Roziers personal correspondence

Jelle had a very real plan and that was to be at the top in Belgium with young bird racing. The goal, try to put as many pigeons as possible in the ace bird ranking KBDB for young birds. And also to win the national race from Bourges, which the Belgians call the Royal Race. After being beaten by seconds, and ending up second place in 2007 and 2016, Jelle finally won the Royal Race in 2017, against 59000+ pigeons. From 2013 only, and in the last 5 years, Jelle had several birds in the Ace bird ranking KDBD, also

New Quenn L

Winning the first national Ace bird in 2017. So I think it safe to say that he achieved his goals. But it does not end there, as Jelle keeps moving the goal lines ever further. Jelle on his philosophy towards his birds:

1: Breeding (try every combination possible in order to uncover the very best)
2: Training (train them hard and the basket determines which pigeons are ‘good’ or ‘bad’)
3: Performance (irrespective of their pedigree only keep proven performers)
4: Long Term (‘never’ sell your best pigeons, they are the key to your future)

Jelle’s philosophy is simple but certainly not very easy to follow; his “4B” philosophy has kept him at the very top. Fanciers often are short sighted and inadvertently sell off their future success and never therefore develop from strength to even greater strength! That is Jelle’s goal from strength to even greater strength!
It is safe to say that only the very best will survive therefore his colony consists of serious prize winners. In turn these prize winners breed the next generation of serious winners. Once the quality is present it’s up to the fancier to bring it out!

Jelle with his mentor the legendary Luc Houben. From the age of 14 on one could say that he apprenticed at the Houben Family Lofts.

Jelle with his mentor the legendary Luc Houben. From the age of 14 on one could say that he apprenticed at the Houben Family Lofts.

Jelle was very observant, he listened intently to all that transpired, all that was said, he watched carefully, seeing not just looking, he wanted to learn, learn everything he possibly could. And so he did, quietly, patiently, methodically always coming to his own conclusions.

“You cannot imagine how proud I am, to be part of the Houben family. Also what they did for me when I had some hard times. I cannot describe the respect I have for the Houben’s. I want to keep that family of birds alive and still they are in the background of my winning birds.” ~ Jelle Roziers personal communication

After the deaths of Jeff and Nadia Houben the Houben colony remained with Luc Houben and Jelle greatly assisted Luc in every way possible. Luc Houben had Jelle race his youngsters in 2012, 2013 and 2014 was the last season they did so. The entire remaining Houben colony was sold to China in February 2015.

“I got the last round of babies from his breeders that time and I selected 20-25 birds. Also I could breed from several breeders from him before they went to China…” ~ Jelle Roziers personal communication

The Roziers colony today is a combination of the very finest Houben’s crossed on to the Queen L genetics. There is constant crossing with other performance pigeons as well and virtually all of these crosses, from what I have been able to gather are proving successful.

Jelle leaves nothing to chance, he is a consummate professional, not arrogant, not boastful, not conceited, but a true professional who has a goal, knows how to achieve his goal and then moves the goalposts further and further ahead so that he is always learning, always progressing, never stagnating. Young Jelle has remained, even in the face of an incredible racing and breeding record, well grounded; humble just a really good, honest, hard -working and innovative fancier.

 

Part 2 of this article will post Sunday May 6, 2018.

 

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