*Dirk van Dyke is enjoying a super 2014 season …

Zandhoven – The ‘Kannibaal’ made Dirk Van Dyck world famous. But still, Dirk remains his usual sympathetic, easily smiling self. With the race from Bourges, he adds his first national victory to his result list.

Dirk: ‘I started out on the speed and middle-distance races. Those races were kind of my first love and that is still so. But the short-distance races are of course also very nice races. We had already been close a few times with the ‘Bourges’ (1st provincial against 6,761 pigeons and 2nd national Bourges against 40,401 birds) and in 2013 with a hen (1st provincial against 2,647 pigeons and 2nd national Chateauroux against 19,691 pigeons).

I’m pretty content with the 2014 season. I won amongst others 1st provincial Gueret (3rd national against 9,815 pigeons). On the middle-distance the races went well, with as best result Sourdun on 21st June. That was an exceptional day (50 prizes of 64 pigeons) with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th against 770 yearlings (fastest provincial of 12,065 pigeons) and the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 9th against 437 old pigeons. And then of course the result of last week’s race from Noyon with young pigeons.’

The intelligent head of 'Natalia'...

The intelligent head of ‘Natalia’…


Dirk: ‘I race with 35 hens. They were coupled on 1st March and trained on a nest. When the young pigeons were 15 days old, I took away the cocks and left the hens with one young. For their last Noyon (27th April), the hens were basketed on one large young. When they returned, the young had been removed and the cock was waiting for them.

The hens have a breeding loft and a resting loft. I never show the cock at basketing. The hens are just taken from their perch and leave for the journey. Six hens flew the middle-distance races during the entire season, and the rest raced the short-distance. I enter them in a national race every second week. The week in between they are taken out for training by myself or entered in a shorter flight. I didn’t enter any birds in the race from Poitiers. Before the race from Bourges, Ad Schaerlaeckens came by and he was lyrical about the form of the hens.

At basketing for Bourges, there was a drop of blood on the beak of the ‘Natalia’ (second nominated). I had planned to hand her in as first nominated but changed my mind. What had happened? Had she fought with one of the other hens? Maybe that could be the motivation to bring her home fast. I could see her returning. She came at an incredible speed. A little bit too fast to fly straight into the loft. But after half a turn, she came down and rushed into the loft. Winning Bourges is special. People start to telephone or call at home. When they asked me the name of the hen, my daughter Natalia (10 years) was looking at me. And I didn’t have to think twice for a name.’



Young pigeons

Dirk: ‘Maybe I’m too careful. My young pigeons have flown several times Quievrain, 3x Noyon and 2x a middle-distance (Sourdun and Pont). In the race from Bourges, I only entered five pigeons. The benefit of this carefulness is that I still have all of them.

Last week (27th July) from Noyon they flew 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21th and further against 1,174 pigeons (56 pigeons at the 100th prize). That team flew from Pont (about 260 kilometers) this weekend.

But every week, I also enter pigeons on Quievrain and Noyon (yesterday 1st Quievrain against 957 young pigeons). The pigeons from Noyon had a late release and ended up in a thunderstorm… that was a double disappointment, because I had organized something to celebrate Bourges.’


Luc Van den Plas