The Herbots Strain:

Last time we ended with the summary of the red wire through the Herbots-pigeons.
These were the Ieverige - Stoces - Grondelaers - Schellens, a summary of some of those top-pigeons. Today I would like to talk about the teamwork of this family.At the end of the seventies Filip and Michel Vanlint started to spend all of their time with the pigeons. This of course was a great gamble and a lot of people thought they had gone mad. Then again, who is willing to leave a great job and take such a risk? Although it took them a lot of tears and blood, they succeeded with the support of their friends and family.
In those days there was no professional guidance to the pigeons and Filip only had a handfull of widowers but these were pure class. The pigeon-sport brought grist to his mill and his friend Paul was asked to help and take care of the pigeons. So Paul went from Sint-Truiden to Halle-Booienhoven every day on his motorbike. Because Filip got some help, he himself found the time to take care of the other side of the medal : broker of the pigeon-sport. At that moment he already had a good basis because of his contact with many grandmasters of our sport. They learned and showed him a lot and he had become a specialist and knew a great deal about the motivation of the birds. To observe the pigeons is a very important factor to come to such a colony of champions. Nowadays Filip still can't be disturbed when the widowers, hens or youngsters are training. He knows each of his pigeons by watching them that often, he knows their needs to feel good and he trys to fulfill them. The one thing people always talk about is the pigeons the Herbots family buy but they forget that the birds still have to achieve and this is often forgotten.
To observe is also of great importance, this is the way to find out which pigeon flys away from the group, how a certain bird defends its place on the loft. Do the birds take a bath and which one is the boss at that tilme? Filip watches all these things and he knows when his pigeons have a good condition and of course the way they train shows their place on the paper for the next flight. Also on the loft he checks if the cocks are the bosses in their own little cot and this is an important factor of motivation. Filip and his full-time attendant, Swa consult together which motivation is needed for each and every pigeon to fly to the top. Through several ways they try and make the cocks to expand their territory by taking more than one shelf and when this succeeds this shelf will come and go more then once. It is very important that the cock doesn't forget about the shelf but he can't have more then one every day. Also more then one breeding-cot can do miracles and the hens too are motivated with different tricks.
Now something about the youngsters : Here they try by darkening, the sliding door and the nest-play in such a way that almost every flight they have some youngsters, which are extra motivated to fly home very fast.
Also the feeding is very important and the pigeons are supported by the Herbots products. Still food and taking care of the flyers that they keep eating is the task of the loft-manager. Here they feed with the spoon, after every flight the pigeons get one or two soupspoons per pigeon. After half an hour the rest will be given to the widow-hens, they have to have enough. This is why they get the choice : they always get the best food and they mix it so the birds have a big and various offer, but still the best isn't good enough. The food and drinking water is regulary mixed with the products of Raf and followed by an outline. It is very important to do this on regular times so the pigeons get an inner-structure and so the form grows. A fact is that the pigeons-sport has become a real family-sport at the home of Filip. Jo graduated and joined his father in "The company", Miet came a little later and takes care of the administration. Raf became a veterinary, specialised in pigeons and developed his own vitamines and other products. And last but not least they still have their full time caretaker Swa with his helper Emile, these two are a great team. Of course we can't forget the lady of the house, Jacqueline, she always makes you feel at home when you visit them and offers you coffee or whatever you like.
So you can see that everybody has his own task. Jo takes care of the hens for the widow-ship and here they already had great results. Miet relaxes by cleaning the breeding loft and the loft of the youngsters and Jacqueline specialised in cleaning the drinking-pots. So everybody has his own job every morning and in summer they all are occupied from 7.00 am in the morning.
Next to it there are also the supporters and friends who are always prepared to help when help is needed. I think of Leon Vrancken and Florimond De Roo. They regulary drive to Gembloux (Approx 40Km) to give the birds an extra flight. Idleness rusts the mind and this is as well for the team as for the pigeons and this in every category with the predilection for the mid-long distance. Their aim is probably the National Ace-pigeon competition and the Olympic pigeons.
Olympic pigeons:
There is probably no other loft in Belgium, which was able to send so many of their own competitors, as this colony. They are often to be found at the top and they already breeded several top-pigeons that got selected for the Olympiads. Well the next point to be mentioned is a list of super-birds. You must know that the Olympiade is only every two years and Belgium takes part with just 12 pigeons, a difficult competition, where only the top of the bill is wanted.
The Olympus : 2053422/93, Olympic pigeon Utrecht Allround '95. Father is the Super 2081628/91 this one was the 11th Worldchampion and won 6 x 1st and comes out of the Schellens - Meulemans line. His mother got out of the De Smet - Neuten - Bostijns line. This Olympus won 1/697 Momignies - 4/594 Orleans - 7/846 Toury - 8/742 Bretigny - 13/776 La Souterraine - 14/647 Crepy - 19/1006 Orleans - 21/1162 Nat. La Souterraine - 27/1445 Nat. La Souterraine.
The Boemerang : 1051557/92, 1st Olympic pigeon All Round Switzerland '97, was also the 1st Nat. Ace-pigeon Total Avé Regina '95 - 7th Nat. Ace H.F. KBDB '95 he is a son of the Molenaar 952 from Leo van Rijn with blood-lines of Linsen - Janssen - Tournier. The mother is the Silvia, a Janssen - Flaes - Meulemans - Klak. The Boemerang won following prizes in Halle-Booienhoven : 1 S/Nat. La Souterraine - 2 Nat. La Souterraine against 1361 old - 1/275 Chateauroux - 1/122 Argenton - 1/108 Toury - 2/1349 Bretigny - 3/3191 Bourges - 4/1716 etc..., a true top-flyer. In the same year '97 they also had the 1st Olympic pigeon Mid-Long distance with The 155, 6371155/91, a real super guy which also had the 1st Nat. Ace Mid-Long distance De Duivenkrant '95, 1st Nat. Ace Mid-Long distance Avé Regina '95 - 5th Nat. Ace KBDB Mid-Long distance '95. On his fathers side a 100% Soontjes Line Witte Tom - Donkere Stan. From mother side 100% Grondelaers from a son Lange with a daughter of the La Souterraine, a halfsister of the King. This 155 won for the Herbots Brothers 10 first prices : 1/1716 Orleans - 1/1061 Orleans - 1/148 Orleans - 1/253 Toury - 1/105 Toury - 1/242 Marne - 1/235 Toury - 1/168 Orleans 1/127 - 1/102 Toury. The 155 was during his days of glory one of the favourites of the colony, a pigeon which was not hard to motivate and when he got home, he got inside like a flash.

"Only the Strong Survives..."