Kummerfeld, Germany – In order to find the German Gouden Duif winner of 2013, we have to travel to the north of Germany… to approximately 20 kilometre from the metropolis of Hamburg. The name Wolfgang Roeper (80) is a household name in Germany, and besides the many mentions in the national championships, he is now the German number one in the Gouden Duif competition for the 4th time!
In 2012, Wolfgang indeed became very convincingly the Gouden Duif winner, precisely 25 years after he first stood on the top step in 1988. Also in Nitra he excelled with a fantastic national Olympiad selection from 1st and 3rd Olympiad pigeon ‘middle-distance’… 1st Olympiad pigeon ‘All-round’… 1st Olympiad pigeon ‘Old Pigeons’… and 2nd and 3rd Olympiad pigeon ‘Yearlings’!! It is without doubt one of the greatest German champions that will be on the highest step of the podium in the Gouden Duif ceremony! Give him a standing ovation… because he deserves it more than anyone!
Wolfgang Roeper was born in 1933 and during his working years he was a medical representative, but for many years now he enjoys a well earned pension. From an early age (14) he has been a pigeon fancier, having come to the pigeon sport after initially earning his stripes as a bird enthusiast.
In 1962, he built his current homestead, and as often happens, the pigeon lofts were finished quicker than the house itself.
Wolfgang started out with pigeons from all and sundry… that also happens very often… but already early on he realized that this was not the direct route to success. So he took the bull by the horns, and together with a friend he travelled through Belgium for eight days, in search of that real quality that would have to form the guideline for stock building of his young colony.
He visited for instance the Janssen Bros in Arendonk… the Cattrysse Bros in Moere… Oscar de Vriendt in Moere… Desmet-Matthys in Nokere… Maurice Delbar in Ronse… and Pol Bostijn in Moorslede. At the end of his travels, he had learned an important lesson… he knew what a good pigeon had to look like!
In 1964, he acquired pigeons from Willy Linz… really good pigeons… because Willy had pigeons from Charel Van der Espt from Oostende in his loft. Each year from 1979 to 1985, he bought a few pigeons from the Janssen Bros… and all to complete satisfaction. In the years that followed (1985) he discovered Karel Schellens… and the Schellens pigeons did what was expected of them… win and produce winners! In 1988, he met Etienne Devos and casually asked him… “Where do I have to go for good middle-distance and long-distance pigeons?” Etienne answered him: “For those pigeons you will have to go to Gaby Vandenabeele.” The following year the first pigeons were bought from the champion in Dentergem. More pigeons followed… with among others fourteen children of the ‘Wittenbuik’… eight children of the ‘Kleinen’… they were real super pigeons! But Wolfgang wasn’t blinded by their fantastic pedigree… the Schellens and the Vandenabeele pigeons were all entered in the races as well!
Wolfgang first met Leo Heremans from Vorselaar (1999) through Guido and Patrick Claes. Initially, he bought two good pigeons from Leo. The following year he bought 20 young from him… which were also used for racing… and from that moment until the present, he is still a regular customer. From Rudi Diels, he bought four young out of the ‘Goudhaantje’ and the ‘Peet’ in 2012, but the assessment of their results will obviously have to wait a while.
Wolfgang Roeper starts the new season with a team of 42 widowers. He races from an easterly direction and the last race of the season is from Kalisz (429 kilometre). After this race, there is a late round of breeding and after that the moulting period starts. The widowers are fed with a good moulting mixture… with regularly liquid brewer’s yeast over the feed… and at intervals ‘minerals’ and condition powder from vet Marien.
The widowers are coupled for the first time in the last week of February… are allowed to sit for five days… and are then separated again. Around 5th April they are paired once more and again they may sit for five days… or ‘dry widowhood’ as it is called. The second breeding period is planned so that the racing team is on widowhood when they have to fly their first race.
They are entered in races from 156 to 650 kilometre… the old pigeons fly 13 races… they are entered each week… and that is necessary too when you want to get good results in the German Ace competition.
The widower’s team is taken out by car for training flights some three times… and then there are four training races in the local Federation before the racing season starts. Cocks and hens don’t see each other during basketing… after returning from a race they stay together for 1,5 to 3 hours. When they exercise well around the lofts there are no problems at all. It is much more difficult to take the widowers away in between races… an ‘easterly’ direction is a problem because of the busy roads.
The feed of the widowers is a very important topic for Wolfgang Roeper, which he gives the greatest care. When the widowers return home from a race on Saturday, they find 50% Zoontjes Geel + 50% sports mixture in their feeding bowl, and Catosal is stirred through their drinking water. On Saturday evening Sanuzella + minerals are going over the feed and Biolect (electrolytes) in the drinking water. Sanuzella is an energy activator which in the human sector is considered the most successful food supplement of all time (marathon runners). This super product has also been introduced in the pigeon sport and has already been very successful. Sanuzella is especially effective during the long-distance races.
When the pigeons are racing every week, their batteries must be recharged fairly quickly and on Sunday they are given 30% Zoontjes Geel + 70% sports mixture, with on Sunday evening Sanuzella and condition powder over the feed.
From Monday to Friday (basketing day) they get 100% sports mixture, with on Tuesday evening also Blitzform in the drinking water. On Sunday every racing cock gets one peanut… then on the Monday two… on Tuesday three… Wednesday four… and on Thursday they are given five peanuts.
The widower gets his motivation in the first place from his territory… his nesting bowl, and the floor of the loft, over which they fight for every centimetre.
Wolfgang also finds the relationship between the fancier and pigeon very important… and every widower is at all times motivated for a round of fist fighting. From the time that the young in the nesting bowl are 14 days old… and for the rest of their lives… the pigeons are talked to.
Wolfgang Roeper doesn’t find racing with young pigeons very important. The breeders are only paired in the first week of February… there is not really an early breeding round… the young are not darkened… and racing with young pigeons isn’t really taken on professionally.
Young cocks and hens stay together, and the sliding door method is not used… they are allowed to build a nest… and their results in the races are not really important. When the youngsters fly 5x 150 kilometer… and 5x 200 kilometer that is more than enough. For that matter, there are only five races for young pigeons.
Wolfgang is someone very much in tune with nature, which means that he keeps medical care at an absolute minimum. He regularly visits the vet, but this doesn’t mean that the birds get much medication. After the last race of the season, there is no more medical treatment. When the results during the season are good, that means that the pigeons are in form and healthy.
Besides, the breeding pigeons have not been treated against trichomonas for over five years now.
There is a check-up planned with the vet before the start of the breeding season, and in April they are examined for ornithose and Chlamidia, but everything was fine in 2012. Coming up to the first race, there was a seven-day treatment against trichomonas.
When the pigeons have been basketed for 2 or 3 days, they get a tablet Belgamagix (twice in 2012).
The breeding loft
Since his lofts were broken into twice in 2005 and a large number of breeding pigeons stolen, Wolfgang doesn’t have a breeding loft at home anymore. The stolen birds were very specific breeding pairs, but by now he has a first class breeding loft again.
Of the 23 couples of breeding pigeons, the cocks are mainly performance pigeons… because our Gouden Duif winner is of the opinion “that the good come out of the good”. There are seven Olympiad pigeons in the breeding loft, and eight national Ace pigeons! There is no inbreeding and all chances are staked on the crossing of top bloodlines.
The pigeons here don’t have names and are identified with the four last numbers of the ring number. The ‘1241’ is a very good breeding hen… she is from 2004 and already a bit older… but she is the mother of several Ace pigeons with different cocks. Also, the ‘1201’ is a cock who is father of a number of Ace pigeons. The ‘0616’ and the ‘0617’ originate from Leo Heremans… they are nest mates and late youngsters that have never been entered in a race… but both have already produced German national Ace pigeons.
The shortest route to success!
Many books have been written about this topic, but according to Wolfgang Roeper the shortest route to success can be summarized in three keywords… the pigeon… the loft… and the fancier. He puts his chances on a pigeon ‘made out of one piece’… and all the parts are in balance of the whole. He can tell in three seconds if he likes a bird… the whole bird must please him. He prefers a medium size pigeon… well closed vents… with super feathers… a good wing… and preferably a longer cast pigeon. A pigeon that is too short doesn’t get any mercy in his eyes.
Whoever expects to find super luxurious lofts in Kummerfeld, will be disappointed. The entire loft installation is certainly not large… 8 meters long… 3 meters deep… and 5 meters high in the eaves. The loft has two levels… but the ground level, where the breeding pigeons used to be housed… is empty. There is no electricity in the lofts… so no light or heating… only a power point where the electronic clocking system can be plugged in. The lofts still have to be cleaned the old fashioned way, with the scraper. One thing is clear… the loft in which the pigeons are housed must not be a luxury villa but a place where the birds can easily retain their health. Wolfgang has made his loft from the example of Jan Grondelaers… a tiled roof with a steep front and a slowly sloping back. Especially the slowly sloping back promotes good ventilation. Below the roof is an opening of 4 centimetres… in the ceiling above and in front of the pigeons is a ventilation opening of 80 centimetres… with also a little opening at the back between roof and wall.
The fancier has to ensure a punctual and good care… that goes without saying. Essential as well is the bond between fancier and pigeon… there has to be a good contact between fancier and pigeon. There are no wild pigeons… there are only wild fanciers! If the pigeons rush away when the fancier comes into the loft then that is not a good sign. “People sometimes say that I easily pick out the good pigeons… which sounds fantastic but isn’t as easy as that. But finding the bad pigeons is obviously much easier and when you can eliminate those, you are already on the right track. And when you ask how I assess pigeons… I expect just the same as most fanciers. But remember this… nobody knows anything about pigeons. If there were people who knew about pigeons, there would be a lot less pigeons in the lofts!”
A selection of results from a fantastic 2012 season…
Neubrandenburg (233 kilometers) against 3,517 pigeons: 1, 1, 3, 11, 12, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20 and more (36/42)
Kalisz (429 kilometers) against 5,183 pigeons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 16, 17, 17, 19 and more (31/35)
Naklo (544 kilometers) against 4,168 pigeons: 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 23, 27, 35 and more (20/34)
Kalisz (429 kilometers) against 3,756 pigeons: 1, 2, 6, 6, 8, 14, 16, 17, 28 and more (27/34)
Lubieszyn (313 kilometers) against 1,237 pigeons: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 14, 16 and more (28/31)
Kalisz (429 kilometers) against 3,159 pigeons: 1, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and more (27/32)
1983 : 1e Nationaal Kampioen Allround
1987 : 2e Nationaal Kampioen Allround
1993 : 7e Nationaal Kampioen Allround
1994 : 2e Nationaal Kampioen Allround
1995 : 7e Nationaal Kampioen Allround
2010 : 1e Nationaal Kampioen Allround
2012 : 1e Nationaal Kampioen jaarlingen
2012 : 1e Nationaal Kampioen halve fond
2012 : 1e Nationaal Kampioen fond
2012 : 1e, 2e, 4e, 6e, 7e, 8e Nationale Asdoffer
Totale carrière : 1e, 1e, 2e, 4e, 4e, 4e, 4e, 5e, 6e, 7e, 7e, 7e, 8e, 9e, 10e, 10e Asduif
Utrecht 1995 : 1e Olympiadeduif Allround
Dortmund 2009 : 1e en 2e Olympiadeduif snelheid
Polen 2011 : 1e en 2e Olympiadeduif snelheid
Slowakĳe 2013 : 1e en 3e Olympiadeduif halve fond
1e Olympiadeduif Allround
1e Olympiadeduif oudeduiven
2e en 3e Olympiadeduif jaarlingen
Winnaar Gouden Duif
1988 – 1990 – 1995 – 2012