Danny Van Dyck provides a spectacle again with the 1st National Ace short middle-distance young pigeons!


Pulle, Belgium – Christmas is almost here… you can’t really miss it, because lights in all forms and colours remind you of the wonder that is said to have happened some 20 centuries ago. Then it was only one star… now there are millions… albeit with a more commercial character … that announce Christmas 2013.

General view of the pigeon lofts….

The car radio does its best to bring the listeners some Christmas cheer too. “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas”… but according to the weather forecasters, that will remain a dream this year.

The village of Zandhoven… and its outlying districts Pulle and Pulderbos… has for many decades been a true pigeon centre, where provincial and national success was achieved on a regular basis. Danny Van Dyck (41) is a fancier, who in a short time won himself a place in the national elite there. In ‘no time’ he was a constant factor in the national championships with 1st National Champion Middle-Distance Young Pigeons KBDB 2011… 2nd National Champion Middle-Distance Young Pigeons KBDB 2008… 3rd National Champion Middle-Distance Young Pigeons KBDB 2009… 1st National Ace Short Middle-Distance Young Pigeons KBDB 2013… and 4th (2009)… 5th (2009)… 5th (2011)… 7th (2009)… 7th (2013)… and 8th (2009) National Ace Short Middle-Distance Young Pigeons KBDB, to name but the most essential! Further achievements were 1st Belgian Ace Europacup Dortmund 2010… European Champion Mira in Portugal 2012… 1st Ace Belgian Master 2013!

Are we exaggerating when we say that Danny Van Dyck is one of the stars in our national pigeon sport? A fancier, who also has a full-time job and who, with modest means, is able to conjure up a track record to be proud of!

Grandfather Richard

Danny was born in the pigeon hotbed Zandhoven… and when he was in his early teens and wanted to start keeping pigeons, his father gave him a basket with show pigeons. But that was not really what Danny intended… and a year later, his grandfather Richard Van Dyck (92) gave him 8 young pigeons. Two squeakers performed really well… and with this, Danny’s pigeon career took off!

Success was waiting for him… and with a provincial mention in the championship speed young pigeons, it was an immediate hit. At that time, Danny was only just 14 years old… and when the pigeons were not released on a Sunday, he would take the Monday off school!

Girlfriends and military service were the cause of a break for a few years… but when Danny and Nathalie moved in with his parents in law, Danny began the second episode in his pigeon career.

A few years later they built a house in Pulle… actually, the pigeon lofts were built first and then the house… and the successful pigeon fancier career was taken a step further!

To the top!

At first, Danny bought pigeons from various locations, but this didn’t turn out to be the shortest route to success. In 1998, it was ‘third time lucky’… when he bought pigeons from his neighbour Rene Smolders… and this breed is still woven into the stock of today. Danny was a builder at the time… and because of the irregular working hours, he only raced with young pigeons.

In 2004, he quit this job… and found a job closer to home… with much better working hours. From then on the pigeon sport gained momentum, and the ‘real’ success came within reach. Over the years, the base stock of Rene Smolders (Klamper-sort) was strengthened with pigeons from Eddy Janssens from Zandhoven (line ‘Witkop Joske’ x ‘Broer Rambo’ + ‘Dochter Anna’)… and from Jos Cools, Noyon champion from Grobbendonk (‘Goeie Duivin’, ‘329/02’, ‘Rode’). Also, several pigeons were bought from Johan Donckers… Dirk Van Dyck (‘Di Caprio’)… and Theo Van Genechten (5 pigeons). But Danny struck gold when he introduced the pigeons from his neighbour Rik Hermans (breeder Miel Van den Branden) to his stock! At first, the lucky birds came out of the lines ‘Blauwe Van Der Veken’… ‘Claessens 03’… the ‘Start’… ‘Martine’… and ‘Fransien’. But when Rik Hermans took a step up the ladder and very convincingly made his national debut, Danny Van Dyck followed in his slipstream.

The last few years, offspring from this national top class was used to strengthen the breed! With this we mean pigeons like the ‘Beautifly’ (14 days on loan to Danny)… a sister of the ‘Charlene’… a son of the ‘Propere’ (father ‘Kanon’)… a sister of ‘Beautifly’… two children from the crossing ‘Kanon’ x ‘Beautifly’… a son from the ‘Athena’…  a son from ‘Munli’… a brother from the ‘Asduifke’… and the mother of the ‘Kogeltje’ (1st National Ace short middle-distance young pigeons 2013) came from Karel Boeckx, on loan via Rik Hermans. Also two children from the ‘Ad’ and a son of ‘De Leeuw’, out of a shared breeding with Marcel Wouters, came to strengthen the breed.

We can almost hear you thinking… how it could possibly go wrong with pigeons like these! To summarize, we can say that 50% of the colony of Danny Van Dyck is based on pigeons from Rik Hermans.

Total widowhood

Danny Van Dyck started this season with 10 pairs on total widowhood… 120 young pigeons… 25 pairs of breeders… and 9 foster couples.

The team on total widowhood consisted of 19 yearlings and 1 old pigeon. In 2012 the yearlings flew their last race (as young pigeons) from Dourdan in mid August.

Directly after the racing season, the young cocks moved to the loft of the widowers, where they reared another nest to increase nest box stability.

During the moulting period, they were given a good quality moult mixture (Jovati), lots of Naturaline and apple vinegar, and regularly brewer’s yeast and garlic oil over the feed. They were coupled in the first week of January, and reared a round of young. When the young pigeons were 16 to 17 days old, the hens and one young were moved to the lofts for hens, while the cocks reared the other young. At the beginning of April, the second breeding round was planned, after which they sat for another 4 days. The racing team did their training in 4 to 5 stages, and after 2x Quievrain… 1x Noyon… they went on to the short middle-distance, in which they flew a race every week. Danny finds feeding and a feeding schedule an important factor in a successful total widowhood.

At 14 years old, Danny already raced himself among the provincial champions speed!…

On returning from a race on Saturday, the pigeons are given three meals with ‘Champion Plus’ from Versele, with B.S. (over the feed) and with Belgasol in the drinking water.

On Sunday they get the remainder of Saturday’s feed, with Naturaline and apple vinegar in the drinking water. On Monday… Tuesday… and Wednesday morning, they get ‘Gerry Plus’ and each time Naturaline + apple vinegar in the drinking water. On Wednesday evening, this is switched to sport mixture with again Naturaline + apple vinegar in the drinking water. On Thursday and Friday they get 100% ‘Champion Plus’ with Dextrotonic in the drinking water. On Friday morning (day of basketing) they won’t get as much feed as the other days, so that they are eager to eat some candy seeds in the afternoon. At the start and after returning, the pigeons are alternately treated with eye ointment Clinagel or Formadrops.

The widowers only exercised in the evening… while from May onwards the hens exercise at 6 o’clock in the morning.

In the beginning, this is mostly a mandatory exercise, but when they get into the ‘swing’ of it, it develops into a free exercise. When the pigeons are exercising well for the period of an hour, the racing team is coming in form.

The 10 hens are housed in a loft with perches, divided in partitions so that they can’t see each other. The floor of the loft is made out of rollers, which prevents them from pairing together on the floor. There were no problems at all during the last season with pairing among each other. The hens are fed in the corridor in front of the loft and they have the same feeding schedule as the cocks.

The first year of total widowhood was a pleasant surprise for Danny Van Dyck… and even better than the classic widowhood of the previous years. He raced with 152 pigeons… of which 121 won prizes… and 71 prizes per ten. Danny believes that many pigeons that didn’t perform so well in their first year, flourish as yearlings with this method.

1e Nationaal Kampioen hafo jonge duiven KBDB 2011
2e Nationaal Kampioen hafo jonge duiven KBDB 2008
3e Nationaal Kampioen hafo jonge duiven KBDB 2009

1e Provinciaal Kampioen hafo jonge duiven 2009
2e Provinciaal Kampioen hafo jonge duiven 2011
1e Provinciaal Asduif hafo jonge duiven 2013

2012 : Europese Kampioen Mira Portugal
2013 : 1e Asduif Belgian Master
2010 : 1e Belgische Asduif Europa-Cup Dortmund

Asduiven KBDB hafo jonge duiven :
2013 : 1e
2009 : 4e
2009 : 5e
2011 : 5e
2009 : 7e
2013 : 7e
2009 : 8e


Young Pigeons

For Danny Van Dyck, racing with young pigeons is still the main focus of his pigeon sport. In two rounds, he breeds 120 young pigeons. After being housed in separate lofts for a few weeks, both rounds come together. The young are weaned when they are 24 days old, and the genders stay separate until the squeakers have flown the first race from Quievrain (mid May). The youngsters are housed in six compartments. The first month, they are not released but have to explore the world from a small aviary in front of the loft. Danny has to work during the day, and when he gets home it is already too dark to release the young birds. This system has never been the cause for abnormal losses when the squeakers are released for the first time.

The youngsters are darkened from 20th February until three weeks before the middle-distance races start… around the middle of May. The lofts are darkened from 17.30 until 7.30, and afterwards no extra light is given. With this method, most youngsters have cast 3 to 4 flights at the end of the season.

Training is started as soon as the weather seems fair enough… and because of Danny’s work schedule, this has to be done on Saturday and Sunday. From the middle of April the young are taken out for training as much as possible, and in about ten training flights they are flying from Vilvoorde (40 kilometer).

The weather is decisive… the flights are started from 3 kilometer away… the distance is systematically increased… and when the youngsters don’t return home quickly enough, they start from the same distance again the following time. After this training they fly 2x Quievrain… 2x Noyon… and then most of them are entered in the middle-distance races.

Only the occasional bird is basketed for the national races for young pigeons, and this will certainly not be one of the favourites. When the youngsters are fully trained there are not many extra training flights in between the races. Mainly because it is not so easy for a fancier who is not at home often enough. During the entire season, the young are raced on the sliding door method (after the first time Quievrain)… and they are never allowed to build a nest. Naturally, the loft is made into a pleasant place… with sloping boards and old wine boxes in which an opening is sawn. In other words, it is still possible to combine efficiency and pleasure! Young cocks and hens have to find their love cycle among themselves, because old pigeons are not used. Before being basketed, cocks and hens come together for some two hours. On returning home from a race, they stay together for the whole day… and after a difficult race sometimes even until the next day.

After they are weaned, the young are still fed with breeding mixture for another three weeks, and then this is changed to moulting mixture until the start of the middle-distance races. From then on, the last three days before a race, they are fed with sport mixture. The feed (Jovati) is bought from the feed merchants Van Tilburg. There is also ‘half a training basket’ with drinking bowls in the loft for young pigeons. This is to teach the youngsters to drink inside the basket.

In 2013 especially the hens performed well… but there is no explanation of why this was the case. When there were 10 pigeons at home, there was usually only one cock with them… something that was very different in other years.

A fancier with a job on the side has to do a lot of planning to keep the whole business running from day to day. From May on, young hens and old hens are released at 6 in the morning… they fly together with the old hens from Rik Hermans. Before Danny goes to work at 7.30, he has to call them in again of course… and when he does not entirely succeed in this, the sputnik has to stay open. And it is not so nice when you come home from work in the evening and see that a strange pigeon has come into your loft together with the later returning pigeons. The young cocks are released at 15.30 hrs. (By Danny’s wife or by the daughter of Rik)… and when Danny comes home, he can call them back in straight away. The widowers are then released at 17.00 hrs.

And what is Danny’s secret? ‘I don’t have any secrets at all… although most fanciers frown at me if I say that. I can’t tell you anything about a complicated system or a crafty method… although that is very much the thing to do these last years. I have always been able to do well in pigeon racing… even when I was just 11 years old I could win up to 5000 BF with a small outlay. I bet my chances on the good pigeons… and I also breed 93 bad pigeons out of 100 young. The pigeons from Rik have boosted my pigeon career enormously. My best youngsters are not put into the widowers loft… they go straight into the breeding loft! In many lofts, this would be done differently of course. I would rather breed out of a good yearling or old pigeon… much rather than race with them and risk losing them in the races. My passion is still racing with young pigeons. But in 2013 that changed a bit because the yearlings were doing so very well. Young pigeons are still my passion, but I now have more interest in racing with old pigeons as well.’

The 10 Commandments of Danny Van Dyck!

1. The good quality pigeon! It is a never ending search. Sometimes, a star comes out of a breeder that hasn’t performed well himself but who is from a good bloodline. Keep on searching every year… and try also by cross breeding.

2. Observation of the pigeons. Take notice of everything that is happening in the loft! In the evening, I go into the loft with a torch to look at the quality of the droppings!

3. Selection is the direct way to success! Breeding a lot… racing a lot… selecting ruthlessly. No mercy with second graders.

4. Medical… in the winter months as little as possible… during the racing season reacting immediately to ailments.

5. The fancier has to be a driven manager. He has to be alert at all times and anticipate what is going to happen.

6. Most pigeon feed is of a good quality. Having a feeding schedule towards the races is certainly important. Only: don’t make things too complicated.

7. A good loft has a good ventilation… is dry… and you don’t smell pigeons in there.

8. Fresh grit is very important! The pigeons are more likely to peck fresh grit than to eat. Every year I use up to 500 kilograms.

9. Exercise is the indicator of the form! Exercising well means success for the weekend.

10. When you are successful, most fanciers think of secrets. The secret is… that there is no secret in the pigeon sport!

All couples in the breeding loft were quickly sitting on eggs….

Simple medical

Before the start of the middle-distance races, the health of the pigeons is boosted to perfection! In 2013, there was a five-day treatment with Soludox before the start of the 300 kilometer races. During the season, the pigeons were treated for another three days. Before basketing the pigeons get Dextro Tonic from Oropharma in the drinking water. After returning from a race they get three meals with B.S. (trichomonas) over the feed. Danny does use a lot of by-products. Every day, the pigeons get a fresh mixture of grit…vitamineral… and Leckerstein. Also two days a week they get brewer’s yeast and regularly apple vinegar and Naturaline in the drinking container. All this ensures healthy droppings and the pigeons have an exceptional soft plumage.

A good loft

‘I race with old and young pigeons in a loft of 15 meters… 1 compartment for the widowers… 1 compartment for the racing hens… and 6 compartments for the young pigeons. It is a loft build with bricks… walls with a cavity… and with only minimal temperature differences. There is no heating and there are no maxiplates either. The roof has Boomse tiles at the front and corrugated iron at the back… and these are protruding 10 centimeters over the front and back wall. This space is open… but of course protected with chicken wire against the sparrows. At the front of the loft is a ventilation opening (80 centimeters) which always stays open… besides, there are no latches. It is a loft with not much glass… therefore a dark loft. During darkening, there are no glass panels in the roof, but as soon as darkening is over, a ‘row’ of glass rooftiles (after every 3 roof tiles there is 1 glass tile) is put in the front of the roof. I believe that it is a very good loft… you don’t even smell the pigeons at all.

The loft of the hens on total widowhood with perches and rollers on the floor….

All lofts are fitted with grates, and the space underneath the grates is only cleaned after the racing season. The nest boxes are cleaned every day. The pigeons also get a clean drinking bowl every day with fresh drinking water. Before the young pigeons are put in their loft, this is cleaned very thoroughly. I use Dettol and scorch the wood as well. But for the most part, I don’t believe in rigorous cleaning. I find the natural resistance of a pigeon more important. One or two young pigeons with a bit of health trouble does not make me take out the medication box straight away. A pigeon that is seriously ill will quickly exchange the tempory for the eternal.’

A rigorous selection!

‘A rigorous selection is the basis for all success… that is my firm belief. Pigeons that want to stay during the winter have to show me their worth. By putting the bar fairly high up (per ten), you don’t have much difficulty with over-population. The base pillars in the breeding loft are mainly pigeons that have finished in the top as a young pigeon more than once, and who have a series of good prizes per ten… because these are my guarantee for the future. I use the same method with the young pigeons… and the number of pigeons that are basketed is diminishing every week. At the end of the season of the 20 old pigeons, only 7 remained for 2014… The rest is complemented with young pigeons. Only 20 of the 120 young pigeons have stood all the tests in 2013 and avoided the axe.’

Jaarlingen :
04.5 Melun	3003 d. : 2, 22, 49, 150, 168, 284, 286,
                         293 (13/17, 1e Zone 907 jaarse)
11.5 Dourdan	3222 d. : 10, 16, 19, 32, 88, 113 (11/17)
18.5 Dourdan	2568 d. : 22, 27, 76, 77, 161, 200, (12/16)
25.5 Dourdan	1843 d. : 3, 5, 7, 9, 22, 80, 96, 103, 157 
                       14/14, 1e Zone 586 jaarse Zoon Kanon)
01.6 Dourdan	1689 d. : 18, 26, 67, 99, 100, 105, (11/13)
08.6 Dourdan	1818 d. : 10, 83, 95 (12/13)
15.6 Melun	1572 d. : 2, 8, 15, 18, 40, 52, 84, 87 (11/13)
22.6 Melun	1473 d. : 18, 44, 99, 106 (9/14)
29.6 Dourdan	1245 d. : 4, 14, 17, 18, 36, 53, 54, 68,(13/14)
06.7 Dourdan	1029 d. : 28, 55, 64, 67, 71, 78 (9/13)
13.7 Orleans	1111 d. : 35, 42, 94 (6/8)

1e Kampioen jaarse Union Oost 2013
1e Asduif Union jaarse 2013
Totaal 152 jaarse gespeeld, 121 prijzen, 71 prijzen per tiental

Jonge duiven :
16.6 Noyon	1449 d. :  1, 24, 41, 67, 75, 90, 96, 136, 137 (26/60)
22.6 Melun	2109 d. : 25, 27, 28, 29, 104, 106, 110, 111, 130, 140,(29/55)
29.6 Dourdan	2179 d. : 5, 15, 17, 18, 19, 21, 27, 39, 41, 49, 77, 90, 117,                                                         120, 122,136, 148, 163, 176 (39/54)                                               06.7 Dourdan	2729 d. : 6, 20, 28, 42, 45, 60, 67, 87, 98, 107, 132,(30/53)
13.7 Orleans	1474 d. : 3, 11, 23, 32, 52, 53, 74, 75, 77, 113, 135, 139 (20/35)
        Prov.	4262 d. : 5 (1e get.), 26, 49, 71, 125, 130, 174, 178, 286,(20/35)
20.7 Dourdan	1487 d. : 1, 12, 26 (Gouden Duif-uitslag) (4/4)
28.7 Noyon	1532 d. : 1, 7, 77, 79, 80, 93 (17/39) (geen hafo wegens Bourges)
03.8 Dourdan	2374 d. : 10, 15, 16, 36, 39, 89, 92, 96, 97, 138, 145, 188,(23/32)
10.8 Dourdan	2580 d. : 7, 12, 40, 114, 138, 140 (9/10)
17.8 Dourdan	2433 d. : 4, 9, 17, 22, 116 (10/16)

2e Kampioen jonge duiven Union Oost
Asduiven jonge duiven hafo Union Oost : 2, 3, 5, 6, 8


The breeding loft

In the breeding loft, the ‘Kanon’ and the ‘Broer Kanon’ are the two base stock cocks… and these two are used as stud pigeons. The two cocks get a hen each… after this hen has laid her eggs, they can rest for three days… then they get a new partner in their nesting bowl. After fertilizing several hens, these cocks are allowed to rear a few young themselves… and then the cycle starts again. In 2013, a series of young out of these cocks were used for my own plans.

The ‘Kanon bloodline’ by now has a considerable stake in the composition of the breeding loft! Already several children… besides brothers and sisters of the ‘Kanon’… are in charge there. Their offspring have even proven their worth across the borders!

Danny mainly chooses his breeding couples on gut feeling, but he never allows a too close family connection. He uses a lot of re-coupling… just to try something different.

One of his top breeding couples is without doubt ‘Vader Kanon’ (B08/6298348) x ‘Tam Zwartje’ (B08/6297117). They were the parents of the ‘Kanon’ (B09/6323112) (4th National Ace pigeon Short Middle-distance 2009, 1st Europacup middle-distance 2010)… of ‘Broer Kanon’ (B09/6323111) (5th National Ace pigeon Short Middle-distance 2009)… and of the ‘945/12’ (1st Ace pigeon Union Oost yearlings 2013).

Another excellent breeding pair is ‘Zoon Di Caprio’ (B08/6338583) x ‘Dochter Broer Kanon’. These were the parents of ‘Fiona’ (B11/6244765) (5th National Ace pigeon Short Middle-Distance)… of the ‘739/13’ (6th Ace pigeon Short Middle-Distance Union Oost 2013)… and of the ‘784/13’ (8th Ace pigeon Short Middle-Distance Union Oost 2013).

The stock mother ‘Blauwke’ (B04/6189023) is usually coupled to ‘Broer Kanon’ (B09/111), and they were the parents of the ‘Harley’ (B11/6244772). The ‘Blauwke’ was also the mother of ‘Crackske Orleans’ (B09/6323104) (8th National Ace pigeon Short Middle-Distance 2009)… and of the ‘820/06’ (Ace pigeon Union Antwerpen). She is the mother and grandmother of many top class pigeons.


A passionate fancier

‘I am a passionate fancier… in a group of 50 pigeons; I can immediately spot the one pigeon that is less fit. I don’t have enough time for my pigeons because I have to work each day. When I come home from my job, I make my way to the loft straight away. I do a very quick round, but see everything there is to see. Planning is a necessity to ensure that everything is done properly. I have only half an hour to attend to my pigeons, because at 17.30 hrs darkening starts. But once again, I will do anything for my pigeons!

What I like to see in a pigeon? I like a pigeon with soft feathers… preferably not too big, although I do have big pigeons that perform well… and the tail has to be firmly closed. When I take a pigeon in the hand, I know in two seconds if I like the bird. The general impression of a pigeon is decisive… she has to glide through your hand… you have to like the bird immediately!’

B12-6183945 “Zuster Kanon” 
1e Asduif jaarse Union Antwerpen
Als jaarse 10 weken per 10
9e Dourdan 	1843 jl.
10e Dourdan	1818 jl.
13e Dourdan	 484 jl.
14e Dourdan	1245 jl.
18e Melun	1473 jl.
22e Melun	3003 jl.
22e Dourdan	2568 jl.
42e Orleans	1111 jl.
52e Melun	1572 jl.
67e Dourdan	1689 jl.
2e Melun	2023 jo.
37e Orleans	3340 jo.


A bit of luck

‘A fancier certainly needs a bit of luck; otherwise you could do what you want without any chance of success. Take for instance the case of the national Ace pigeon the ‘Kogeltje’. I was doing my best to race for a mention in the national ace pigeon championship. I released the hens at 6 am on Monday morning for their exercise. At 7.30, the ‘Kogeltje’ had still not returned home. Later in the day, at 16.45, I came into the loft and thought that there was a strange pigeon there… but it was the ‘Kogeltje’. Her upper beak was broken and the beak was open diagonally. I took her to the vet immediately. I had to give pain killers, and the ‘Kogeltje’ didn’t eat anything for five days. After five days, she started to eat small seeds and slowly she improved bit by bit… but she has really had a very close call. You really need a little bit of luck like that.’