The ‘Duif Chronicles’ Online.
COMBINATION MAEGH-AS… Phenomenal on the small middle distance races…
Rijkevorsel – Rijkevorsel is a pigeon village in the province of Antwerp that has clearly been put on the map in the last years by Combination Maegh-AS. This successful trio, especially under the guidance of Ad Schaerlaeckens, played a standout role in the races of the small middle distance. We listened carefully to the wise words of the Dutch grandmaster.
“I am a war child and my partner Roger De Vrij is from just before the war.
I am retired and used to teach several subjects in secondary school education.
I compete with a partner in Rijkevorsel under the name Maegh-AS. The name of my Partner is not Maegh but Roger De Vrij.
Maegh’s only here on paper. My life partner answers the phone, that is enough work and she does not help with the pigeons.
The negative influence of corona is mainly that we have nowhere to visit and received no visitors. But we have no choice but to accept things as they are. It certainly doesn’t make me depressed, but nor it is it the other extreme of the scale.
I’m very careful. I’m going nowhere and visitors are banned.
I live in the border village of Baarle-Nassau/Baarle-Hertog. The place is famous for its about 30 enclaves and unique circumstances where the border splits streets, houses and in one case the front door of a house.
The pigeons are located in Rijkevorsel Belgium, about 12 miles from here. I get there normally in season 2 to 3 times a week.
In Baarle there were once about 120 pigeon fanciers. Now about 15 max. I also have pigeons, all from the best. But due to a health issue I rarely race at home. We play Middle Distance at Rijkevorsel and basket in the famous Sint-Job club”.
Although the 2020 season was certainly not easy, the Combination Maegh-AS raced phenomenally on the small middle distance.
“Last year, we didn’t enter last flight due to the heat. Nevertheless, we were still drawn in ZAV 2nd Champion 1st nominated, 3rd Champion 1st and 2nd nominated, 2nd champion 1st, 2nd and 3rd nominated, 1st champion 4 first signed. In 2019 we became 1st King and in 2020 we became 2nd King. In Sint Job we achieved the same titles’.
Mother the Caretaker…
“Father worked during the week and mainly had pigeons to be able to grab a pint in the café after a week of hard work. He never came to the loft. We lived in Chaam and my mother did the loft management and care of the pigeons. We mainly had pigeons from neighbour Vermeulen and were 2nd or 3rd best annually of the village after…usually after Vermeulen. Back then we had about 60 fanciers. Now only 6 remain. We have read articles about my mother, racing very well back then in the great National from Orleans in the Netherlands.
As a teenager in the 1950s I rolled into pigeon racing. Just about all my uncles from my Mothers side had pigeons and almost all of my neighbours, too. You didn’t hear anything else being talked about and it would be rather strange if you didn’t keep pigeons. Then you were a maverick, still not just an eccentric. You just didn’t hear of it”.
Base of the Colony
“Pigeons with which I was successful in the last century came directly from Hans v.d. Veeke Westdorpe; Gebr. JanssensArendonk; Gust Hofkens, Merksplas; Leo Broeckx, Old Turnhout; Janus Vermeulen, Gaby Vandenabeele, Dentergem; Mattens and Maurits Voets, Kessel.
A hen from the miracle couple of Hans V.d.. Veeke (the best couple I’ve ever known) became grandmother of “Ace Four”.
A cock from Hofkens paired with a hen of the Janssens gave the “Good Yearling” that would have a huge impact on my later successes in the 1990s. Then the Chairman of the Provincial claimed during the Champions’ ceremony that he had never known anyone dominate a Province like me. Both with youngsters and with old birds. I had a very successful pairing with a cock from Mattens paired with a hen of from Vandenabeele (Sissi, sister of his Princess).
This century I have been successful with direct introductions from Gebr Van den Brande, Ebben, Boeckx, Scheele, de Bruijn, Rik Hermans, Roger Engelen, Marcel Wouters, Eijerkamp, Leo Heremans and Luc van Mechelen. Usually it was only one pigeon but the youngsters of all these pigeons gave winners and Ace Pigeons in the ZAV.
At Luc Van Mechelen I got several, and one of them was a real super, a hen from 2010 from his old “Zweverlijn” and when paired with “Den Ad”, gave me the mother of ‘My best breeding hen’ , that in turn became the mother of a 1st National at Luc’s and also at Ebben’s.
Luc was also very successful with my pigeons. His “Adriano” produced 4 national Ace pigeons.
If people work together it is usually only a successful outcome. With both Luc and Marcel Wouters all parties were successful.
I really don’t know which ones are the best.
With a limited number of pigeons we had 2019 in ZAV a unique series of ace pigeons:
2nd, 3rd and 5th Ace Pigeon in the old birds and 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Ace Pigeon in the yearlings.
In addition to the hen from Luc Van Mechelen the “08-250” was also very good. It came from the “Extreme” x “Mother Leeuw” from Marcel Wouters and was paired with a hen by Rik Hermans. This pair gave the “006”. He won 1st Provincial Argenton with 10 minutes lead with North East wind flying about the furthest distance, also 1st National in the zone. From the whole of Belgium, with that east wind, he was only beaten by several pigeons on the coast.
We also did shared breeding with Marcel Wouters. At the time, he asked to borrow a hen to mate with his “Leeuw. I thought we had a real super, the “682,”. Unfortunately, it turned out we lost her due to paratyphoid. That’s why the nest sister, the “683”, went to Marcel. She became the mother of “Den Ad”, the 1st National Ace Pigeon and 1st Olympiad Pigeon. Afterwards Marcel suggested breeding together from “Den Ad” with our 4 best hens (artificial insemination). It was a success.”
“Total widowhood is played with 14 couples. These will be coupled in mid-January rear a couple of youngsters. These pigeons are only lightly worked and are road trained two or three times pre season. The pigeons initially exercise once a day, otherwise they would burn out too quickly. Exercise is spontaneous (so without a flag or similar)/ The hens (loose around 9:00 a.m.) are sometimes gone until after 11 a.m.
The cocks also work hard around home and twice it has happened that one crashed at home. The pigeons are played on the weekly Antwerp Hafo races of about 400 km.
We try to keep them from mating with each other. After a few weeks of racing, the hens, who are initially loose in the loft, are locked in individual boxes.
The pigeons are not put together before basketing. They have to show the trick first. (flying early) then the reward follows, like you also condition horses, dogs, dolphins, etc. But don’t ask me if I have it right. There are plenty of examples of pigeons who perform without a partner.
After arrival from a race the length of time they are left together depends on the difficulty of the competition’.
Alternating between sliding door and the nest.
Around 60 youngsters are bred and weaned at about 25 days old. As with the majority of fanciers the youngsters are darkened from mid-March to early June from around 6pm to about 8am.
The youngsters are exercised at the end of the morning after exercising the old pigeons.
The youngsters get a good education but this is not overdone. They are usually privately trained 6 times starting with 4 km and the last trip to Peutie (35 km).
The youngsters may also be trained between races if for example poor weather is forecast.
The sexes are split just before the hafo flights. We don’t believe in just the nesting game or just on the sliding door. One nest after another they get bored, likewise if separated for three months, therefore I think a combination of both is best.
The young cocks and hens do not come together before basketing. They’ll get together the day before basketing. Cardboard boxes and motivation boxes will be added to the loft and the youngsters make use of them.
After Quievrain and Noyon as learning races, the youngsters are raced in the Hafo races in Antwerp (385 km). However, it should be said that the youngsters in the last two years had fewer performances than before but as yearlings they are there again”.
Always the same mixture
The same mixture “Van Tilburg Vlieg Vital Duo” is always fed, a little less at the start of the week. Ludo Claessens once said “feeding is the most insignificant factor in pigeon racing”. The man was a bit controversial but I didn’t think that statement was. Men like Willem de Bruijn and Andre Roodhooft no longer place so much importance to it either. With Willem I visited dozens of top lofts. There was never any talk of feeding.
The pigeons are fed twice a day and get some sweet seeds when called in after exercise. The only extra they are given is “Allerlei” (mixed grit bucket) from Van Tilburg in their box.
After a heavy flight especially with warm weather conditions electrolytes go back into the drinking water. Now, in this cold April month, that’s pointless.
As far as additives are concerned, we see it a bit à la Verkerk. Tried everything but we have never seen a flare-up in the form. We have special electrolytes which I think are good”.
Ten years since the last Vet consultation
“It’s been 10 years since we went to see a vet. We had a serious problem. The youngsters didn’t come well, the pigeons were fat, did not perform and even the best were lost.
Everything pointed to paratyphoid but it wasn’t according to several veterinarians. That seemed to be the case, too. plausible, because they had been treated annually. In distress we went to Veterinarian Gijsbrechts, our saviour. It was definitely paratyphoid. A course of Baytril and the following year (2012) we became Hafo champion youngsters in both Union Antwerp and in ZAV (they played together at the time).
Pre season, they are given a 5 day treatment against trichomonas. Then, it is no more treatments but we do use the yellow drops.
We never suffer from respiratory infections. We used to give Soludox pre season for three or four days. For the last 3 years they were so healthy in April that we did not carry this out.
Eye drops are not used.
So far we haven’t been bothered by adeno (touch wood). In Baarle, yes. There I was working with Baytril, which many so detested. But there are several good remedies available.
There’s no vaccinating against paratyphoid. from 2007 to 2014 there was treatment and afterwards no more.
One eye cold is a serious problem every year. Everything tried, expensive and cheap drops. Known and unknown drops. Nothing helped, that’s why we don’t do anything anymore and keep infected pigeons at home for two weeks.
If they’re looking sorry, we’ll isolate them in a dark place. I feel like it helps”.
Sparsely populated lofts
“We have many meters of pigeon lofts, while we do not have many pigeons. All in all, 30 metres. The lofts for the old pigeons are sparsely populated. All lofts have a wooden plank floor.
The ventilation strip is very wide and only at the back above the heads/nest boxes is it closed. Through the rest of the ceiling and the Boomse pan tiles I think you can see the sky.
Sometimes we think we owe a lot to excessively ventilated lofts. But we then read again about champions who have their lofts completely closed. What is wisdom? before the windows of the young pigeon lofts there is a kind of bay window built.
The hygiene in the lofts is certainly not strict.
On the floor are broken corn cobs and the drinking bowls are always just refilled. The locked up hens have their own individual “drinking pots”
Barely catching up now
“As with most fanciers the breeders are paired at the end of November. Here a breeder gets two years to prove himself.
In the past, many pigeons were brought in. Too much and I couldn’t resist. Maybe an aberration, stronger than myself. In the last 2 years, hardly anything was added. When I compare results I wonder “Who should you go to”?
Inbreeding is not consciously done. The “family” is hardly taken into account. The best go against the best, family or not. The breeders are in three compartments. Sometimes they get to choose the partner themselves and this seems to give even more results than chosen couples. Usually after the 3rd round the breeders are re paired’.
A breeding pair
“We don’t have a pair that produces only good and never have had. But we do have several pigeons that regularly give good offspring. In particular, the B13/6164006 (cock) and the B13/1947264 (hen)’.
“I don’t know which ones are the best. In 2020 we had 1st, 5th and 6th Ace Pigeon Old Birds, 1st Ace Pigeon Yearlings, 2nd Ace Pigeon Youngsters despite not competing in the first and last flight.
In 2019 we had the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Ace Pigeon Old Birds and with the Yearlings no less than the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Ace Pigeon. Then there are Ace pigeons out previous years. I’ll make a choice.
B17/6200709 Was 1st Ace Pigeon in ZAV in 2020 and also 1st Ace Pigeon in Sint Job. In 2019,that 2nd Ace Pigeon ZAV. Won curiously no 1st prizes, but many times at the first 10 with 6th vs 425 p, 8th vs 642 p, 6th vs 563 d, 8th vs 1,270 p., 7th vs 841 p., 9th vs 2,071 d, 8th vs 2,274 p., etc. Father is the “15-595” a brother of the “Diamond” of Gebr. V D Brande. Mother is the “10-636” of Luc Van Mechelen from the lines “Zwever” and “Steffi”.
B19/6226549 1st Ace Pigeon Yearlings ZAV 2020. Won 2nd vs 504 p, 2nd vs 441 p, 2nd vs 1,093 p.,3rd vs 593 p, 3rd vs 718 p, 5th vs 669 p, etc. Father is the “17-028” of Ebben from Indy. A fabulous hen that Falco got from me who won 6 first. Mother of this ace pigeon Yearling is the “15-616”, great racer. Won 1st vs. 461 p, 1st vs 790 p, 4th vs 1,480 p., 9th vs 1,351 d. This “616” was bred from the “09-995”, 1st Ace Pigeon in 2010 and B13/1947264 who gave multiple winners with different Cocks.
B20/6140813 2nd Ace Pigeon youngsters ZAV 2020. Won 2nd vs 649 p, 4th vs 1,134 p., 9th vs 966 p., etc. This “813” is a pigeon for a voucher of Sas-V.D. Eyken from Vosselaar.
B16/6257755 “Double Ace”. Was 3rd Ace Pigeon in 2017 and 7th Ace Pigeon in 2019. Won 1st vs 430 d, 2nd vs 372 p, 1st vs 908 p, 2nd vs 563rd, 7th vs 1,037 d, etc. Father is the “13-235”. from shared breeding with Marcel Wouters from “Den Ad” and daughter “95-230” brother of Ace four. Mother of “Double Ace” was the “601”, a hen of Gust Janssen from a brother of “Euro”
B17/6200721 “Advance”. This is the pigeon that won the memorable Sermaises race in 2020 flying no less than 12 minutes ahead against pigeons of other lofts. 841 pigeons in competition.
In the Combine against 2,071 pigeons she was Eight minutes ahead. She also won 1st vs 721 p. 1st vs 425 p., 5th vs 1,622 p. and 7th vs. 3,414 p. Father is the “006” where also the 3rd National Ace pigeon yearly KBDB comes out, mother is the “13-264” from “Den Ad”.
B18/6243732 3rd National Ace Pigeon Hafo yearlings KBDB 2019. Won: 1st vs 323 p, 1st vs 515 p,1st vs 563 p, 1st vs 1,270 p (double), 2nd vs 375 d, 3rd vs 830 p, 3rd vs 975 p. Bred from the aforementioned “B13/006” and “12-702”. This “702” was Ace Pigeon in large Combine in the Netherlands.
“If you select pigeons based on performance on races of around 400 km you will get your own well-built, strong pigeons with soft feathers. The really good ones are always of good lineage but good parents give junk too.
“In 2019 the pigeons came better than in 2020. Results as 9 out of 10, 10 out of 10, 12 on 12, 19 out of 22 and 23 out of 26 were only very ordinary. The season was too early for us done. The last flight from Chevrain Villiers we won with yearlings 1, 3, 10 and 13 with 4. (158 p). Also with the old everything per ten: 1, 2, 3, 5, 15, 19, 21 with 7 (238 d). Also in the Federation against 566 pigeons won all pigeons deployed per ten or 1, 4, 6, 14, 25, 38, 44. So 7 out of 7.
The week before that it was 7 out of 8 among the yearlings and 11 out of 12 at the old one starting with the 1st. But unfortunately, then it was the end of the season for our loft. That constant good results from the first until the last flights we couldn’t do in 2020. Yet they received the same management. Was it because of a longer season due to corona?
Best results of 2020
Sermaises 1338 d. : 3, 5, 6, 9, 18, 19, 20, 22 enz. (21/24)
Sermaises 822 jrl. : 2, 6, 10, 11 enz. (9/11).
Sermaises 1052 d. : 4, 5, 6, 8, 18, 19 enz.
Sermaises 2274 d. : 4, 5, 6, 8, 23, 25 enz. (20/26).
Melun 718 d. : 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19, 23 enz. (17/24)
Melun 1743 d. : 1, 6, 7, 8, 010, 16, 17, 25,31, 32, 46 enz. (17/24).
Melun 504 jrl. : 2, 3, 4, 13 enz. (7/11).
Sermaises 841 d. : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 13, 17, 37 enz. (14/16)
Sermaises 2071 d. : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 22, 26, 36 enz. (14/16).
Sermaises 1205 jonge : 1, 12, 13, 19 enz.
Zelfde dag met zwaar weer 1e prijs 2071 oude, 1e prijs 669 jaarlingen (andere duif)
en dus 1e tegen 1205 jongen
Sermaises 669 jrl. : 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 40 (7/7 en alles ruim per tiental)
Sermaises 593 d. : 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 22 enz. (14/18)
Sermaises 408 d. : 3, 4, 15, 21 enz. (9/11)
AS sometimes promotes combinations and sets the example itself. He monitors quality. He buys pigeons, couples them and removes them.
He instructs Roger, who according to Ad is a great pigeon fancier and a real pigeon friend , and he never stops thanking Ad for “the beautiful old age” he gave him.
Because to win 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9 against more than 2,000 pigeons in the Overkoepeling with only 16 pigeons entered in heavy pigeon weather? Never previously happened could never have been dreamed of.
Translation by ‘White Flight’