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Thoughts on breed and breeding…

Ten years ago, I said good-bye to the international long distance competition around Barcelona and decided to focus solely on the German program. Constant top prizes on the serious flights from 400 km upwards are in the centre of attention.

Naturally, not every decision with regards to breed led to success. Everybody knows how hard it is to build up a team. Breeding remains the hardest part, power lines, antennas, wind turbines and, of course, many predators play a major role here…

Among fanciers, we speak of “race” if sustainable success is established and well-known beyond hometown borders. Names like Wegge, Huyskens-Van Riel, Bricoux, Delbar, Jan Aarden, Stichelbaut, etc., whose populations belong to the past for some time now, are synonyms for a race. Janssen/A. is also among them, but this is a pigeon race that survived many years into its next century. Fanciers like Vervoort, Verbruggen, Van Loon, Dirk van Dijck, Schellens, Engels, Koopman, Heremans and many more joined these ranks. Furthermore, you have so-called trend races, but even they don’t fall from the sky as champions.

It’s actually surprising how many famous and excelling races or single animals have their roots going back to those breeders for so many years. The saying goes: “After all, the good ones are all related.”

You couldn’t say it any better. Because many specimens like GEELOGER, LOWIECKE, OUDE MERCKX from the Janssen brothers, the RINGLOSE from Prange, KLEINE DIRK from Koopman, KANNIBAAL and RAMBO from Dirk van Dijck, DE WITPENDER from Flor Engels, the JONGE BANGE 2 from Van Hove-Uytterhoeven; or pairs like OUDE STAMKOPPEL from Meulemans, ARGENTON x BIBBERKE from Karel Schellens, KOPPEL 1 and KOPPEL 2 from Van Loon, KOPPEL 17 from Marien Pieterse, SCHILDERIJ x KLEIN ASKE from Gommaire Verbruggen, PORKY x MISS MARBELLA from Kees Bosua, MAES I x DONKERE from Louis Deleus, the ROYAL PAIR from Leo van Rijn…to name just a few, are all more or less from the same pedigree, from the same breed…

It is therefore that starting from season 2016, the SILVERWINGS are all related. This is easy to determine in the computer age. The phenomenal pair from the Janssen brothers, “BLAUWE van ´48 x SCHOON LICHT van ´51”, is standing for a vast number of races and single animals – looking at SILVERWINGS but also worldwide, up until the present – for almost 70 years.

I am a pigeon fancier, not a biologist or geneticist or the like. Regarding my goals, I am practice-oriented in order to achieve constant improvements in terms of breed and flights. The list of awards is my criterion. Of course, there is also an evaluation by hand taking place. My old friend Piet de Weerd (†) once told me that 90 % of our pigeon’s qualities cannot be seen with the eyes or felt with the hands. Although the remaining percentages are also important and a challenge to the breeder, they should not be overrated. Therefore, we try not to waste time on such things and focus on the essentials.

As far as they are correct, pedigrees are meaningful and give indications as to the sires and aces in the respective gen pool. The more representatives of the dominant species can be found, the higher the probability for the performance level to be maintained or improved.

Basically, SILVERWINGS stem from Janssen/A., Van Loon, Gijs Peters, Leo van Rijn, Jan van de Pasch, Jan Keen, Koopman/Prange, Heinz Meier/Rahden, Schellens and Stefan Steenbergen – they are all related to each other. Using the term “pedigree”, I speak of crossbreed if there is no relation up to the 3rd generation. In higher generations, I don’t mind pedigrees becoming more “colourful” – due to loss of ancestry – this is even gratifying, particularly if aces are returning.

The breeding is the most important thing, and luckily my favourite hobby. Of course, I also love breeding from record pigeons, but it is evident that pigeons that have never competed, like RINGLOSE from Günter Prange, KLEINE from Gaby Vandenabeele or LOWIECKE from Jan van de Pasch, can be outstanding sires as well – without ever having seen a travelling basket from inside.

One should keep in mind that it is not just the parents giving their genes to the next generation, but also their ancestors.

In any case, the hope for a good offspring remains the driving force for us fanciers.

May our wishes come true…

A sincere “GOOD FLIGHT”

Eugen Schnarr