As, Belgium – 5x winner of the ‘Gouden Duif’… 4x World champion… 5 Olympiad pigeons… 6 national victories… 2x 1st International… 1st National Champion Young Pigeons K.B.D.B. … that can only be one man… Jos Thoné from As!
And last weekend, he gave his unique track record another ‘boost’ by winning 1st National La Souterraine against 19,150 young pigeons, and fastest of 23,848 La Souterraine flyers!

Although Jos Thoné can certainly look back on a magnificent past in the pigeon sport, in 2010 he decided to sell his pigeons. But once a fancier… always a fancier… and inside him the urge started to grow again. An important point in the new start would have to be that the pressure should be less than before… but without making him an ‘also ran’. It would have to be more enjoyment of the pigeons and the pigeon sport… and with more attention to the family. The new start would in the first place be made with the seven pigeons of John Hanson as a core group. When Jos sold his pigeons, this Australien fancier had bought the ‘Sedna’… ‘Sedmos’… ‘Nadira’… ‘Fara’… ‘Jutta’… ‘Chloë’… and the ‘Arinze’, but due to import regulations, he could not transport them to Australia. And basically, this old core group has been maintained… supplemented with the two speed pigeons ‘Avril’ and ‘Cavendish’.

The racing team for 2012 consisted of one old middle-distance pigeon… 10 old pigeons for the long-distance… 45 yearlings… 250 young pigeons (of which many were lost)… 44 breeding couples… and the couples in the four separate breeding boxes that are looked after by the father of Jos.
The winning hen is the ‘Sachi’ (B12/5030350), named after the daughter of the Japanese loft manager of the long-distance loft Marquez Pratz-Jos Thoné. Because Jos had been on holiday in Malta for 10 days, he gives all the credit of this national victory from La Souterraine to his own loft manager Berke Clemens and mother Tilly. The only thing Jos had to do was to basket the 14 old and 36 young pigeons.
On Saturday afternoon they were waiting for the return of the pigeons, when suddenly they saw one bird approaching that looked more like a swallow than a pigeon. With the speed of a rocket she raced towards the sputnik… and she was inside even quicker than the lure pigeon!
From looking on the Internet Jos knew that he had to clock before 2 pm to have a chance of competing for a high place national prize. The clock stopped at 1.57 pm, and with a speed of 1,927 m/m… an inner voice told him that this had to be the first national! Seldom had he seen a pigeon returning home faster!
The little hen had already shown her worth when she finished 32nd national against 33,254 young pigeons in a race from Bourges. This time she flew (after calculation) more than 10 kilometres ahead against the entire field of 23,848 participants from La Souterraine!

Jos Thoné paired his pigeons for the first time on 25th November and reared 4 rounds in a row. The ‘Sachi’ has a ring of the fourth round, but a coloured clip-ring of the third round on her leg. At a certain moment, she must have strayed into the wrong loft, in which she stayed. The pigeons were darkened from mid March until 21st June, after which this loft was given extra light.
The training of the young pigeons (especially of the darkened ones) is taken very seriously. They are taken out by Jos for training flights at least 20 to 30 times, before they do any travelling in the transporter. It is important that the youngsters outgrow the stress of the basket. Even when they are released only a short distance from home, the young must rise spontaneously… leave the training point behind… and fly away directly. Only when they have mastered this, then they have conquered the ‘basket stress’. Other important points in the training of darkened youngsters is that they are never put in the basket when temperatures are above 21 degrees Celsius… they never train with a head wind… and also not when the sky is clear blue (always when it is clouded). Once fully trained, the youngsters are not taken out again in between races.
Because Jos is still building his new team, and the championships are not yet that important, he didn’t enter the young birds in the race from Argenton. Therefore, they came fully rested at the start in La Souterraine… and that was rewarded with a national triumph!

The group of young pigeons is still motivated in the old fashioned way, with cardboard boxes and other hiding bowls. Different than before is that cocks and hens are already put together in the morning, after training and feeding. Couples that are formed go back separately to the aviary, where they can still eat and drink… and from where they can easily be basketed.

In March, the young, together with all other pigeons, were treated against trichomonas for five days. After the classics Orleans… Bourges… the weekend of Argenton… and the in-between flight from Nanteuil, they were treated against tricho for another two days. They also received a few two-day treatments against bronchial infections (L + S). As feeding supplements they were given condition powder and Kobol. All in all a perfect method, which resulted in a fantastic national victory!