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PART III - 1st and 2nd in the competition Best Fancier of the Netherlands WHZB/TBOTB
31/03/2021

PART III - 1st and 2nd in the competition Best Fancier of the Netherlands WHZB/TBOTB Translated from Het Spoor der Kampioenen, the Dutch pigeon sport magazine

An article was published in the Dutch pigeon sport magazine to pay attention to the titles achieved in 2020. In particular, obtaining the titles 1st and 2nd best fancier in the Netherlands.
This article has been translated and will be published in parts on our website so that everyone can read how the pigeon sport is experienced by Hans and Evert Jan Eijerkamp.


Feeding Racing Pigeons

In the Lotte and the Hans & Evert-Jan lofts, the racing hens are fed in different ways. The basic mixtures are all from Beyers and the various mixes used are, Vandenabeele, Koopman all-in-one, Galaxy sport light, Beyers sport and Premium super widowhood. Sometimes a bag or two from Embregts Theunis is also used.
Oliver feeds his widowers purely by feel. In principle he begins with a light mix and feeds  slightly fat richer later in the week. Only when the one-day long distance races begin will the Koopman all-in-one be on the menu for three to five meals. The pigeons always get sufficient. The previous and the upcoming race, the weather conditions and the performance during training determine the composition and hand feeding for Oliver. “Oliver reads the pigeons” says Evert-Jan.


Youngsters learning the surroundings

Joke and Kees feed the widow hens a slightly lighter feed for the sprint races. For the middle distance with two nights in the basket, the feed becomes a bit heavier and for the one-day long distance the last three to five meals are much higher in fat. When basketing on Thursday with two nights in the basket, the birds are fed twice. If the birds are basketed on Friday evenings, they are only fed once. The pigeons can always eat for at least half an hour and are never kept hungry. On race day, the pigeons are fed the same as feed as the last meal, before being shipped to the race. The by-products used are: Probac, Olympic Mg Mix, Pink mineral powder from Marien, Ami-novit and Probiotrax.
Lofts of Lotte Eijerkamp

Medical Management

The well-known bird doctor Tony Oranje is the permanent veterinarian for the race pigeons. A preventive program has been drawn up by Dr Oranje for overall health. This program begins immediately at the end of the race season. Within a week, all the flyers are selected and moved to the right lofts. This is followed by as 14-day cure for paratyphoid with Orniflox. Then a week of clean water followed by, a seven-day treatment with Fungitrax. All pigeons, flyers, breeders and any loose or extra pigeons are treated as above. The old birds are vaccinated while on eggs for PMV and pigeon pox.
All youngsters are vaccinated for PMV at weaning and get a combo Rota-PMV vaccination five weeks later. Later the youngsters are vaccinated for pigeon pox.
On the Sunday, after each race, a disinfectant mix from Dr Oranje is in the water.  Every Monday the pigeons are checked by Tony Oranje and droppings are checked. If no problems are found, nothing is done.
As supportive, vitamins/supplements, Probac, Olympic MG Mix, Pink powder Marien, Aminovit and Probiotrax are given as mentioned above.  

Preparation for the race season

The sprint and middle-distance pigeons are paired on the 2nd Monday of January. The one-day long distance pigeons are paired two weeks later.   
All the pairs raise two youngsters. The hens do not go down on eggs again. Both the cocks and the hens are directly put on widowhood. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the race pigeons were darkened until the end of May. During the period before the beginning of the season, the old birds were required to exercise. In March and April, once a day and from May 1, twice a day.
The old birds were road trained four or five times before the start of the racing season.
The young birds are exercised once a day. There education is intensive. They are road trained at least 20-25 times from 1-60 kilometers(Ravenstein). The youngsters are let up one basket at a time. This system was used by Joke and the late Martin Geven and is now a part of our preparation. Using this system, the youngsters learn more. It is also a way of spreading any risks. Of course, there are also loses using this system, but practice has shown that when racing, normally losses are decreased significantly.
Once the young birds are racing, they are tossed, twice a week, between races.

Widowhood

Only cocks are flown, from the Lotte loft, these cocks are flown on widowhood, and from the Hans & Evert-Jan lofts only hens on widowhood are flown. In all cases, the partner of both the cocks and hen remains home. Their experience is that for both the cocks and hens the performances are many degrees better, than on the double widowhood, a system where both partners are raced. Next year, for the first time. a few hens will be raced from Lotte’s loft.  
Initially the cocks stay with their hens for two to three hours after the races. Gradually this time becomes longer up to the day after the race. It is quite a job to keep the hens well paired to their partner. Every Wednesday the hens get a 35 km training toss from Heteren. When they come home their cock is there to greet them. After a short stay they are returned to their own loft. On shipping day, the hens are not shown, going directly to the race and the partner is there again to say hello. The hens stay longer with their partner and very quickly are not separated till the morning after the race. It is important to keep the hens well paired.
There is no difference in performance between the cocks and the hens. Lotte’s cock loft was the 1st Best Fancier of the Netherlands, and the hen loft of Hans & Evert-Jan was the 2nd Best Fancier of the Netherlands. Moreover, in the past two years they had 5 National Ace pigeons, of which three were hens and two were cocks. In the last three seasons, they have had 13 National Ace pigeons in the top five, comprising of 7 hens and six cocks.

Drinking options outside at the loft of Lotte Eijerkamp

Automatic roller shutter in the roof for darkening the youngsters in the loft of Lotte Eijerkamp.

Selection

At the end of the season, strict selections are made on both the hen and cock lofts. A maximum of 30% of the old birds can overwinter in the race lofts. They are selected purely on performance. The other 70% of the inhabitants is made up of youngsters. These youngsters in principle have flown the entire young bird program and they too are selected on performance. Only few can stay based on their origin or expectations. It is certainly better to keep a well performing youngster than a doubtful old bird.

Influence of care takers.

Both Hans and Evert-Jan are deeply rooted pigeon fanciers. They leave nothing to chance. Lofts, pigeons, nutrition, training, and medical guidance are all planned to perfection. The question then arises as to what is the role of the rest of team Eijerkamp?
Evert-Jan: ”My father is getting on in years, and I am terribly busy with the furniture company. Over the years, our shared hobby has become a business which has had a lot of money invested in it, we now expect something in return. And to fulfill these expectations, you must produce outstanding performances. Preferable, if possible, by flying a level above the competition. This requires a caretaker, who understands and senses the pigeons each day of the year and knows when something is not quite right with a bird. He is always a step ahead. It is precisely this step ahead that makes the difference all year round, especially during the race season. There is no body on team Eijerkamp that can turn a mediocre pigeon into good one. And turning good ones into a topper is also next to impossible. To have a topper be a topper several weeks before required, requires  intuition,  and having your finger on the pulse. The pigeon’s quality really does make a difference. The care takers are the catalyst. My father and I are glad that we have such talent on our team.”   

To be continued

Click this link to read part II