Helga and Guido Loockx with a broad smile! Guido saw a dream coming true and became Gouden Duif winner Belgium 2012!
Tessenderlo, Belgium – Fame in the pigeon sport doesn’t arrive on the wind… it usually requires lots of patience and craftsmanship. Guido Loockx knew early on that success in the pigeon sport can only be gained with top class pigeons, and he went in search for these really top class birds!
When he was 40 years old, he quit his job at the bank and devoted all his time to the pigeon sport. To become a champion, he would have to work hard and invest a lot of money… and he did just that!
And success followed!
He pushed open the door to national fame with the ‘Pantani’… that in 1998 won 1st national Bourges against 10,872 pigeons, and he became Olympiad Ace pigeon Blackpool in 1999! The ‘Prinses’… a granddaughter of the ‘Pantani’… won in 2004 1st national Bourges against 14,207 yearlings. The ‘Rossini’… a great granddaughter of the ‘Pantani’… in 2007 put the 1st national Argenton against 5,001 birds on her track record. And then there was the ‘Kai Mook’… which in 2011 became 1st Olympiad pigeon middle-distance in Poland!
Guido also excelled in the national championships… with the 1st National Champion Yearlings 2012 as a highlight!
But the circle only became round when he was also named winner of the ‘Gouden Duif’ Belgium in 2012… An achievement that he had never thought to be in his capabilities. A standing ovation during the ‘Gouden Duif’ ceremony was therefore very much deserved!
Perfect stock building
In the middle of the nineteen-eighties Guido raced with his father under the name of Loockx & Zoon… but his father was self employed and had too much to do in his business. In 1985 Guido therefore decided to buy a full round of young from Ivo Cools from Vorst, who was enormously successful with pigeons from Van Hove-Uytterhoeven. Straight away the achievements improved greatly, and the two best racers would later become two fantastic breeders. We still encounter their names regularly in the champions of today.
In 1990, Guido moved to the Schoterheide in Tessenderlo, where he had built a house of which the entire second floor was reserved for the pigeons. His ambition was huge and that was why he went in 1991 to two champions in Antwerp… Engels & Sons (in Putte) and Daems & Son (in Bevel). The following years he kept buying regularly from these champions. In 1996, a cock from Engels was coupled to a hen from Daems, and out of these two birds the ‘Pantani’ was born. A super pigeon with among others 1st national Bourges II, 1st provincial Bourges I, Olympiad pigeon Blackpool, 5th national Ace KBDB and 5th World champion Versele-Laga.
The best decision in his career was never to sell the ‘Pantani’ because his prowess in the breeding loft was unequalled. The ‘Prinses’ is a granddaughter who followed in the footsteps of her grandfather by also winning 1st national Bourges in 2004.
The ‘Rossini’, born out of grandson x granddaughter ‘Pantani’, won 1st national Argenton in 2007. The ‘Mrs. Blue Sky’, granddaughter ‘Pantani’, in 2009 became Olympiad pigeon Long-distance in Dortmund. The ‘Kai Mook’, 1st Olympiad pigeon Long-distance Poznan 2011… her mother is a product of inbreeding from ‘Pantani’… son ‘Pantani’ x ‘Prinses’ (granddaughter ‘Pantani’).
The hen with which the ‘Pantani’ produced the best offspring was the ‘Zwarte Pol’, a hen out of joint breeding with Pol Taels, who had bought the father (100% Gommaire Verbruggen, line ‘Kletskop’, ‘Teen’ and ‘Kadet’) in a sale of young pigeons from Felix Van Oosterwijck.
In 1994, Guido bought from A. Slaets in Lint a cock out of his best couple (‘Kadet’ Meulemans x ‘Panter’ Verstraeten), who have also been very important in building the stock.
In 1996 he went to Gaby Vandenabeele in Dentergem and bought 19 pigeons (among others three children out of the ‘Wittenbuik’ and three out of the ‘Turbo’). Later he brought some more Vandenabeele blood in his breed through joint breeding. The Vandenabeele pigeons bred especially well with the ‘Pantini’ line.
In recent years, Guido still buys more pigeons on a regular basis. And only the best is good enough. Brothers, sisters or children out of National Ace pigeons, Olympiad pigeons, National winners, or children out of real super couples.
Like the super couple from Walter Grieten (from Tessenderlo), from which Guido bought five children.
A daughter of this super couple, paired against a brother of the ‘Prinses’ and the ‘Zitter’, produced among others the ‘Zoe’. The best old cock of this year, the ‘Satan’ (1st provincial Gien, fastest of 5,061 birds; 1/5,076 Montlucon National ZC – 2/17,432 national Montlucon) comes from the same mother. The best old hen (1st provincial Argenton 2011 against 703 pigeons and 1st provincial and 2nd national Bourges 2011 against 54,010 birds) and the best yearling (5th Olympiad pigeon Category B Nitra -5/10,040 Bourges Zone and 5/14,362 national Gueret) both have also both a hen from Grieten as mother.
Guido also bred together with vet Fernand Marien. They coupled among others a sister of the ‘Kleine Dirk’ from G. Koopman with the ‘Pantani’. Out of this pair, the ‘Mrs. Blue Sky’ was born, Olympiad pigeon Long-distance 2009 in Dortmund. A full sister of the ‘Mrs. Blue Sky’ is the mother of the ‘Kaylan’, 6th National Ace Long Middle-distance KBDB 2012.
A real success was the purchase of a brother of the father of the ‘Miss Rapido’ (2nd National Ace Middle-distance KBDB). According to Guido, this was by far the nicest (but also the most expensive) pigeon in the sale from Patricia Verhaegen (from Aarschot). He was coupled with a daughter of the ‘Prinses’, and immediately they produced the super pigeon ‘Kai Mook’. She became 1st Olympiad pigeon Middle-distance in Poznan 2011.
Another daughter of this cock (then paired with ‘Mrs. Blue Sky’) is the ‘Grinta’. This year, she flew 9 minutes ahead in the lead to win 1st provincial Tulle against 1,049 yearlings (also 1st national ZC against 3,330 yearlings).
Guido Loockx reminded us that he still sticks to his earlier decision never to race on total widowhood again. He was one of the fanciers who followed this new trend in the seasons of 2008, 2009 and 2010. It didn’t make any difference at all with hens racing on total or classic widowhood. But with the cocks it was a real disappointment! The system doesn’t work with them… no permanent nesting boxes… too much disorder… no territorial urge anymore… and they started performing less.
In 2012, Guido started racing with a team of 50 widowers and 50 racing hens on the rules of classic widowhood. The widowers flew their last race from Bourges/Argenton… afterwards they stayed with their hen… eggs were produced and they were allowed to sit for 12 days… after which they were separated again. They went into the aviary until the beginning of September. By that time the young cocks, coupled to an old widow hen, were already acclimatized a bit in the widower’s loft. In the past it was left until spring to acclimatize the young cocks… now it was done in the autumn, what made it a lot easier.
During the moult period, the cocks were given a good moulting mixture and just a bit of grit and vitamineral… and regularly a little Sedochol in the drinking water.
The widowers are divided over four lofts, which are all paired at a different time. Loft 1 (only old pigeons) is paired on 10th December and they rear a couple of young. Loft 2 is coupled around Christmas… under these, the eggs of the best breeders are placed… and they also rear a round of young. Loft 3 and 4 are paired in mid January and here they only sit.
For 2013 this planning was abandoned completely! Not one widower has been coupled yet because the young widowers were behind with the moult and because there is not a single loft with only old pigeons. Pairing of the widowers will be limited to being together for a few days, with the intention of training the widowers. Guido will wait until the weather turns fine, and there will be no breeding at all.
In 2012, there was no second pairing and the widowers were taken out by car 7 or 8 times before their first official race… and they didn’t see a hen at all during training. It is important to get the pigeons back into the racing routine… and even a good widower will fail sometimes during training.
The first race was mid April from Momignies… and after returning from this, the hen was waiting for the cocks. They flew 2x Momignies… 1x Soissons… Nanteuil… Gien… Bourges… and up to Argenton at the end of the season. From Bourges, the cocks are only entered in a race every two weeks.
During the week the cocks sit on perches in front of the closed nesting boxes. At basketing, the curtain is closed… the hens do not come into the loft… and the cocks are put in the basket. After coming back from a race, cocks and hens stay together for 3 to 4 hours… and later in the season until the next day.
At returning from a race (every two weeks) on Saturday, they are fed with full tray 1/2 Super Weduwschap (Beyers) + 1/2 Superdieet and they get electrolytes in the drinking water. On Sunday also 1/2 Super Weduwschap + 1/2 Superdieet, but with vitamineral (Dr. Marien) over the feed.
From Monday to Sunday they get 1/2 Super Weduwschap + 1/2 Superdieet… the next Monday this becomes 75% Super Weduwschap + 25% Superdieet… and from Tuesday to Thursday (basketing day) they get 100% Super Weduwschap. On Monday or Tuesday they also get condition powder over the grain.
The widowers are always given enough feed but they have to keep eating until the day of basketing… and that is taken literally.
Guido tries to let them eat as much as possible before they are basketed… and on Thursday afternoon they get full tray. The saying goes… “When the pigeons don’t eat anymore on the Thursday afternoon… fanciers should keep their wallets closed!”
Exercise (1x one hour each day) is important of course for the widowers, but it is absolutely not a compulsory exercise. It is also not a real indicator for the coming weekend, and no indicator for filling out the pooling papers.
Guido Loockx: “Compared to the past, I tend to keep everything as simple and easy as possible. I am certainly not making it complicated, as long as the performances stay good!”
What Guido does have high on his list are punctuality and hygiene! After a few years, the grates have disappeared from the lofts, and the wooden floor is scraped daily. The grills were removed because they were a paradise for mice and other pests.
The drinking containers are cleaned every day… and once a year a ‘great cleaning’ is done, but the scorching flame is anxiously kept away from the loft. The other thing that is warded off in the loft is all ‘moisture’. A big improvement is the installation of an extraction system in the attic compartments of the widowers and breeders. This system has three positions… position 1 (minimum) for during the night… position 2 for during the day… position 3 for summer days with a temperature over 25 degrees C.
Discipline is expected of the pigeons… but also of the fancier and sometimes at the expense of the wife and children! Five o’clock is five o’clock… and Guido only comes on an outing when he can be home in time again for his pigeons… or man and wife each go in their own car!
Hens on widowhood
The hens are also raced on classic widowhood, and their last race of the season is Gueret. After the last race, the racing team is selected and the young hens are instantly incorporated in the team. The hens are then kept without their cocks until the return from their first race from Momignies. Which means that there is no sitting or early breeding round. During the week (in winter as well) the hens are sitting in the ‘young pigeon boxes’ (without wire in front), which are hanging in front of the regular nesting boxes.
At returning from a race, these pigeon boxes are removed and the cock is waiting in the normal nesting box. The newly enrolled young hens get a lot of attention when they return to the regular racing loft from their first race from Momignies. That causes a bit of chaos, but after a few races everything is settled. For that matter, the hens are the entire day outside in the aviary, and only come inside the loft at feeding time in the evening.
There are relatively few problems with pairing between the hens. If the broody hen is not a favourite then she just goes into the aviary… otherwise she will go to the loft for young pigeons, from where she is then raced.
The hens are racing every week and have an adjusted feeding plan. On Saturday, they get full tray 1/2 Super Weduwschap + 1/2 Superdieet, and electrolytes in the drinking water. On Sunday 1/2 Super Weduwschap + 1/2 Superdieet with vitamineral over the feed. From Monday to Thursday 100% Super Weduwschap… with on Monday condition powder over the feed.
These hens exercise once a day… 10 to 15 minutes… and not very stringent. The hens are entered in the races until Gueret… and from Bourges on a nest.
In two breeding rounds, 200 young pigeons are bred. They are weaned when they are 25 days old (not too early) and the genders stay together until the beginning of July. The eggs of the best breeders are transferred to nursing couples, so that from the toppers, eight young can be ringed. All the youngsters are raced on the sliding door method for the entire season, and cocks and hens are usually not put together at basketing. After returning from a race they stay together until the next day.
The young birds are darkened from the beginning of March to the longest day (21st June)… from 8 in the evening until 8 in the morning. After this date they are given extra light… but only in the evenings until 11 or 12 pm.
The young are taken away by car for training 10 to 15 times before they will see the inside of a large basket. When their training is finished they are still released from 50 kilometre every week in between the races. Racing with young pigeons is not so important for Guido… not much interest… and he only rarely takes the birds in the hand… the first time at weaning… the second time for inoculation against paramyxo… the third time for inoculation against pox… and the fourth time when he starts training them.
The lofts are darkened… and within 15 minutes, 100 young pigeons are sitting in the baskets.
Before the start of the season the youngsters are fed with a mixture of 1/2 Super Weduwschap + 1/2 Superdieet… and during the racing season they get the same mixture as the widowers. “Working hard… is eating well”… that is the motto of Guido Loockx.
With regard to exercising, the young often have difficulty getting started and then the flag is used. When that doesn’t help they are loaded into the car and released from 500 meters away. With the arrival of Kenji Schmitt this is expected to change. He will be co-carer for the young pigeons, which will release Guido from part of the workload. It is of course the intention that things will get better as a result… Kenji is certainly very enthusiastic… and Guido has every confidence in his new young assistant!
Regarding medical care for the pigeons, Guido likes to play it safe… and blind treatments are unacceptable. Every year he goes… during the winter as well… several times to the vet for consultation. At the end of 2011 such a consultation took place… everything was OK… and naturally, there followed no treatment. Also the check-up before the start of the racing season didn’t reveal anything amiss and again there was no treatment. A few weeks into the racing season, the eye rims of the hens didn’t look 100% and they were given a four-day treatment against bronchial infections. Later in the season, cocks… hens… and young pigeons were treated once against trichomonas. Cocks and hens with 1/4 tablet Flagyl… the young birds with a powder (Tricho Groen from vet Schroeder) in the drinking water.
The breeding loft
There are some 40 breeding pairs in the breeding loft. When a good breeding couple is discovered, Guido will try to make a similar combination with brothers and sisters. We can safely state that about 90% of the breeding pairs have the top cock ‘Pantani’ from father’s and mother’s side in the pedigree.
And of course, Guido always kept looking for succession… which came with the ‘Vader Prinses’ (son ‘Pantani’), who is a dominant breeder. He became father of the 1st national Bourges 2004… the ‘Zitter’ with 1st semi national Ace Centrum & Oost… and of several more good breeding pigeons.
The ‘Prinses’ became the grandmother of the ‘Kai Mook’, and of several more good breeders and racers.
The best breeding couple of the last few years is after all a son of the ‘Pantani’ x a 100% Vandenabeele hen. They are among others the parents of the ‘Prinses’ (1st national Bourges), the ‘Zitter’ (1st Ace Semi national old pigeons Centrum & Oost), and grandparents of the ‘Zoe’ (1st provincial Argenton and 3rd best Young pigeon in the four national races), the ‘Cloe’ (1st provincial Gien), and the ‘Triple’ (1st provincial Gueret)…
Winner Gouden Duif Belgium
Guido Loockx has stood on many podiums during his fantastic career… but on the highest position of the ‘Gouden Duif’… that is something else altogether!
“For me, winning the ‘Gouden Duif’ is the best thing ever… and that is not only sweet talking! In the championships of all kinds there are several champions… but being the best of Belgium is on a different level! I have never thought that I would win the ‘Gouden Duif’… it is without exaggeration for me ‘the max’!”