Berlaar, Belgium – Son Wim (38) and father Denis Storms (71) still live together under one roof in Melkouwen… the most famous street of the pigeon community in Berlaar. Last weekend there was yet another celebration, with Wim Storms flying the national tricolour flag after his national victory from Montlucon against 17,432 old pigeons!

Wim started in the pigeon sport as a boy of just 10 years old. He got a pigeon from his neighbour across the street, Gaston Van de Wouwer… then a cock… and a hen, and by then he was well and truly caught in the net of the pigeon sport. At first he just entered his pigeons for the sport, but very soon he started racing for prizes. In recent years father Denis’ help with taking care of the pigeons has been very welcome.

The colony of Wim Storms is based on the names Alfons Hendrickx and Son from Berlaar… Johan De Belser from Berlaar… Gaston Van de Wouwer from Berlaar… Afons Verberck from Berlaar… and Herman Audenaers from Hamme… to name the most renowned fanciers.

The 2012 season was started with a team of 16 hens (8 old birds + 8 yearlings)… and 14 late hens and all of them were raced on widowhood. Plus 32 young pigeons, which is a lot less than the 60 youngsters that are normally bred in a year. Wim is building his own house… and time for him is limited… hence the lower number of young birds this year.
The team of hens flew their last race in 2011 from Argenton after which they didn’t raise a late round of young. In early March the first pairing took place… an early round of youngsters was reared… and the hens were trained while sitting on this nest. They were taken by car for a training flight five times and then they flew 3x Quievrain… 2x Noyon… 1x middle-distance… Vierzon… Bourges… Chateauroux… one week rest… and then the victory race from Montlucon.

Usually, the hens are raced every week… with sometimes a week rest in between. Rest meaning that the birds are basketed for a short race. Before basketing, cocks and hens are allowed together for an hour, and they can play as they like. At the beginning of the week, the hens are fed with diet mixture… the last few days with moult mixture… and on returning from a race they will also get a few peanuts.
For medical care it is only seldom that a vet is consulted. Before basketing for Vierzon, the hens were treated with a tablet against trichomonas… and again after the race from Chateauroux. Nothing was given against bronchial infections.

‘Janne’ (B08/6175903) is a blue, white-eyed hen… one of the average performers… but above all she is a very bright little hen. She entered the basket as 3rd nominated, but because of her formidable rush to finish the Montlucon race (1,469.16 m.p.m.) she has upgraded her status enormously. In a flash, she dived behind Wim’s back to the sputnik, and out of the corner of his eye he saw the miracle happen… she won 1st National Montlucon old pigeons. And the flag was raised in Melkouwen!