This is a copy of the article featured in this weeks De Duif magazine.
English text translation further below:
Comb. Colijn-Fox 1st Champion Young Birds Brabant 2000 from De Duif number 7, 17th Feb 2021.
Nieuwendijk is a small village located on the edge of the Biesbosch National Park and is characterized by the freshwater tides, the rivers and willow-wood forests. With the construction of a dyke in 1646 it created a border with the Biesbosch and they reclaimed new land. The result of this laid the basis of the village of Nieuwendijk.
This dyke protected the village. Unfortunately, things went wrong during the flood disaster of 1953, resulting in the overwhelming of the Wetlands Area.
The village traditionally exists because the wetland area receives the continuing efforts from dyke workers and reed cutters. The Biesbosch provides the raw material to sustain the village environment, however if the reed land grows too high, it becomes unsuitable ground to sustain fields where willow wood was cultivated.
For centuries the locals earned a living with this. Six days each week of hard work from early in the morning until the early evening.
In the second part of the last century many Nieuwendijkers earned a living as stone setters for the Wetland Works. Once again hard work. This is typical of the type of Human being who lives here.
In this small village, the Colijn Fox combination has been flying very well for decades. Also in 2020 they belong to the champions again in the Union de Baronie Combine, and also in Rayon 3 and the total Province of Brabant 2000. In the pigeon sport world, there is no country that does not cross borders, and they are certainly no strangers to this. The title of this article seems to indicate a combination consisting of two members, but in practice there are actually three.
Firstly Peter Colijn. The pigeons are housed with him and he has been taking care of the pigeons for years. Since birth from his son in 2000, he is a full-time family man and so he has plenty of time to care for the pigeons. He does not feel like a professional and the pigeon sport is certainly not a livelihood in the Colijn household. Peter really isn’t the slave of the pigeons and finds other things than pigeons just as important in life. But the fact that he is at home is certainly not detrimental to the performance, according to his own words.
The second member of the combination is Peter Fox. This Welsh-based fancier is has been visiting Nieuwendijk for at least 25 years and is the owner of Syndicate Lofts in the UK. From 2004 onwards he combined with Peter Colijn. Every year a number of youngsters from Peter’s breeding lofts from the breeding couples are raced to the lofts in Nieuwendijk. It’s really interesting to visit his website. Besides owning a very strong breeding team of Europe’s principle bloodlines, he is also very familiar with Jan and Rik Hermans own breeding loft. A very good friendship has arisen over many years and Peter houses the very best material from Jan and Rik’s pigeons in the breeding lofts in Bangor in Wales. It is partly thanks to Peter that the Gouden Duif awards exist in the UK.
The third member of the combination is the internationally renowned American Mike Ganus.He has been visiting the Netherlands and Belgium for decades and has accumulated many national ace pigeons from the best lofts and NPO winners for his Ganus Family Loft. That’s how he ended up with the two Peter’s and very good friendships developed.First he traveled with Ad Schaerlaeckens, then with Loek van de Weyst and finally with Peter Colijn.
They soon decided in combination to fly under the name Colijn-Ganus and later Colijn-Ganus-Fox and many great successes have been achieved.
In Nieuwendijk a lot of quality was already housed under the roof which were supplemented with children from the top pigeons of Mike Ganus and Peter Fox.
A few years back Mike became interested in the One Million Dollar race in South Africa and bought up the winners for years for his breeding loft, so they stopped temporarily with the combination in Nieuwendijk. The good contacts however have always remained and last year, Mike indicated that he once more wanted to concentrate on the Netherlands and Belgium to look for the super all-round pigeons. Hence the re establishment of the collaboration with both Peters and they will fly again under the name Colijn-Ganus-Fox.
Also last year Mike again sent pigeons from the very best to the breeding loft in Nieuwendijk, from which the first young pigeons have been weaned. Besides pigeons from the best of the one million dollar races they also house pigeons from the line of the Rocket of Rinus van Gastel from Roosendaal. This absolute crack became 1st national ace pigeon Sprint, and his breeding genes made him an absolute phenomenon. Children and grandchildren from him caused a furore in the lofts of, among others, Mike Ganus, Ludo Claessens, Embregts-Theunis,Cor Leijtens and of course also in Nieuwendijk.
Peter Colijn is very happy that he has access to these lines again. In addition, the friendship with Peter Theunis will not remain unnamed. This enthusiastic fancier who has also put in great performances himself also provided pigeons which have made a very important contribution to the successes in Nieuwendijk.
The NL20-2009601 showed in his year of birth that he has earned the name Special Boy.He became 1st ace pigeon youngsters in the Brabant 2000 province with about 1200 fanciers. He also became the 7th National Ace Pigeon NPO and 16th best youngster in the competition WHZB / The Best of the Best.
To become an Ace pigeon, it is important to always be constant and also early on the results to stand a chance. For the championship three results counted for sprint / middle distance flights and three long distance flights.Special Boy won from Quievrain 168th v 4362 birds, Niergnies 31st v 3914 birds, Morlincourt 42nd v 3529 birds, Sens 123rd v 2305 v birds, Sens 177th v 2050 birds and Chateaudun 49th v1333 birds.
His father is Special One and comes straight from the world famous Harry of Jan Hooymans. The dam of Special One is a daughter Three Drietjes, from brother Harry x daughter Harry.Talk about inbreeding. This Special One has proven to be a real super breeder in the lofts in Nieuwendijk. He is also the father of The Sky who flew the top ten several times in the Union de Baroine.
After the sale of their top cock Blue Baron to Jan Hooymans a good friendship developed with Jan and Christian from team Hooymans and birds out of the best of Jan Hooymans came to Nieuwendijk.
So there are next to son Harry also two children and grandchildren of the New Harry. So far they have been fantastic with this successful line.
This also applies to Jan because from the Blue Baron he already won a 1st NPO Bourges to the lofts in Kerkdriel.
The dam of Special Boy is 17-941, Favorite. She was born in the lofts of Peter Fox. Her father is the Junior the last son of his Young Couple which includes the best lines of Gaby Vandenabeele x Dirk Van Dyck.Mother is Rhiannon, a daughter of top pigeons Full Set x Pink Eyes from Morris and Booker both of which are from Syndicate Lofts and Ganus Family Lofts bloodlines and managed to win in the big league.
It seems that these pigeons from Peter Fox suit the Harry line well given the good performances of the youngsters this year.
Winning the first young pigeon championship however was not the only feat achieved in 2020. In the Union de Baronie against 250 members they scored very high in several categories. With the old pigeons they were 1st un-nominated and 1st Ace pigeon champion middle distance and 3rd nominated and 4th un-nominated in the one day long distance. With the youngsters 1st nominated, 2nd un-nominated and 2nd Ace pigeon .In Brabant 2000 against 1200 members they became 7th loft champion middle distance and 7th Ace pigeon old and 6th nominated and 9th un-nominated youngsters plus the best youngster.
The young pigeon game
In the past, Peter also knew how to make the young pigeons hold their own very well. Unfortunately, this was slightly less in recent years due to many losses, but 2020 was definitely back to the top again. Every year is the team of about 70 youngsters are placed in the lofts. This from the breeders who are housed with Peter and like I said every year a team comes from Peter Fox. Due to Brexit in 2021 this will be the first time not to be the case because of transport issues.
The first eggs from the breeders are floated under the flyers so quickly they have two rounds from the best breeding pigeons. Contrary to the trend in recent years that the darkening is only started from March, Peter still adheres to starting darkening fairly early. He starts this when it begins to get lighter in the evening after six o’clock to the longest day. Until last year he still had never lightened, but he done this for the first time in 2020. He wanted to see if he could prevent declining performances on the last three races of the youngsters. It seems that this undoubtedly worked for the past year. He lit up from six in the morning until a maximum of 9 pm in the evening.
Just like in many lofts, the youngsters simply stay together for the first flights until the last nice races of the season are to be raced on the door in order to boost the motivation. This was certainly true for Special Boy. He was already pairing early in the season with his childhood sweetheart and this certainly contributed, according to Peter to his performance.
In the past Peter always had a very spacious loft and aviary in which the youngsters could relax. However, he has adapted this into a much smaller sections, and a smaller aviary in which they come out for a bath.
The reason is that he noticed the pigeons became more and more nervous in the bigger space. Besides, they didn’t really want to be in the loft anyway, they were out all the time. Now that the pigeons stay in smaller sections in the loft, it is a case of it is not only better for the fancier but the pigeon too. They exercise much better and the bond with the fancier is much greater.
Despite the fact that Peter doesn’t really believe in one certain feeding system or brand is striking Beyers food is always on the menu. He also sometimes uses Versele-Laga or the food of friend Peter Theunis or Brian Bolton. The basis in the racing season is simple. When they return home they get more than enough Beyers Yellow and diet then after a day or two switch to a mix of low protein, diet and racing mix. This will be the case for the rest of the week. For the heavier flights, there is candy seed and sometimes some high-fat food.
Over the years he has given less and less medication. In the past he used Mike’s 1-2-3 system with which he has achieved very good performances. However, he has noticed that with much less medication it has not been any less in performance. Of course good medical control of the pigeons is important and he intervenes when necessary.
He always has Belga Magic from De Weerd or Tricho tablets from Giantel at home.
The pigeons are vaccinated once a year for paramyxo by Jan van Wanrooy of De Weerd and in addition they are treated for the pox. Jan van Wanrooy will always assist Peter when necessary.
It seems that the pigeons have a little more training urge according to Peter in the period when the temperature rises somewhat. In any case, it makes him feel good. Getting this good feeling is it not really the same for all of us?
The youngsters are regularly taken away for training tosses or put in the basket for them familiarize themselves. This training is however never far, at most Breda which is 25 km for him. If they are home between 16 to 20 minutes then he does not over do it, then he knows the form is right. The aim of this training is for the pigeons to give more confidence.
Finally, a bit about the game with the old pigeons. As said, these gentlemen also know how to stand their ground with the old pigeons. There have been many Provincial and NPO victories achieved.
They are raced on double widowhood with about 24 couples. For the best cocks or hens the partner stays at home. He doesn’t notice much difference in performance between cocks and hens. The breeding boxes are all closed when the racers are away so that the remaining pigeons at home can only sit on the floor. This prevents cocks and hens pairing together with each other, so that motivation remains high. The breeding boxes are only opening when 2/3 of the pigeons are at home. Because of this it is mainly the performance of the cocks that is improved. According to Peter, a cock races mainly for his hen but hens seem to be motivated to their home and not only their cock.
The performance over the past decades is of great class in the lofts in Nieuwendijk. However, Peter is the first to put this into perspective. He also says he has known lesser years and performances from the past is no guarantee for the future. Everything has to be done again in 2021. To be proven again, and of course he is right about this and it says a lot about him, but quality always comes to the fore.
He is very grateful to Peter Fox and Mike Ganus for the good cooperation and the good pigeons, but certainly also the confidence they have in him and to provide him with the very best material to race with.
It looks like 2021 is going to be another exciting pigeon year. Avian influenza and corona seem throw a spanner in the works , however when the season starts, in Nieuwendijk, Peter will be ready first.