Halle-Booienhoven is a city in the shadow of Sint-Truiden. Next to apples and pears they also had in the region a pack of known pigeon fanciers like for example Gebr. Clerinx, Nieuwerkerken; Jef Kempeneers, Nieuwerkerken; Emiel Matterne, Overhespen and pharmacist Daenen, Landen. They wrote together the successful pigeon history in the fruit region.
New names came along and one of the highlights of the past decades is without a doubt Jo and Raf Herbots who race with the name Gebr. Herbots. The icing on the cake after a successful season in 2018 was the 1st Olympiad bird All Round (Cat. D) Poland 2019!
Father Leon Herbots
Father Leon Herbots was pigeon fancier and mother Elise was 110% pigeon fancier. The 3 brothers were all pigeon fanciers. Also grandfather on mothers site, Jozef Boyen, was a fancier through and through. He promised his wife one day that he would win her a new dress with the pigeons. When they were waiting for the pigeons that Sunday, Jozef saw his champion coming home and he shouted ‘Tilleke, there is your new coat arriving !’ A very beautiful nostalgic moment that Filip will never forget.
Filip (10) and his brother Jos (12) had good results in school and in 1953 they could start on their own with pigeons. They got their first couple of pigeons through eggs from butcher, René Beckers, Sint-Truiden. The brothers Herbots went to collect them with their motorcycle. Also pigeons from their mothers’ brother arrived and this is how they started to race from their small loft above the ‘cutting house’ from father who was also a butcher. Filip and Jos raced together until Jos got married. Father Leon used to race together with his brother but from the moment Filip and Jos started with pigeons he raced together with them.
Jos built a house and pigeon lofts in Nieuwerkerken and father Leon went to go and live with him in 1977. Filip continued on his own and continued with the name Gebr. Herbots and Jos raced with the name Jos and Filip Herbots in Nieuwerkerken.
When Jo and Raf where 12 and 13 years old they raced independent with the name Gebr. Herbots. Filip set one condition and that was that they would never send in their results for the youth championship !
Base of the colony
In 1970 the first pigeons from Kamiel Dendoven, Zuienkerke came onto the loft. In 1973 pigeons from Gebr. Clerinx, Nieuwerkerken came to reinforce the loft. Miel Clerinx and Jos Herbots where good friends. In 1973 they got pigeons from Frans Stoces, Winterslag and in 1975 they already had 110 direct Stocesduiven on their loft.
In 1980 they went to Pros Roosen, Kermt. But more big names came to the loft like for example Jan Gondelaers, Opglabbeek (1980); Jos Soontjens, Wommelgem (1988) and Karel Schellens, Kessel (1991). The most famous Schellens-pigeon was “Nationaal I” who won the 1st national Bourges, 1st Provincial Orleans and 3x 1st prizes on other races.
In 1991, Jos Soontjens stopped racing pigeons and the entire loft was sold to Taiwan trough Herbots after they passed by the lofts in Halle-Booienhoven. These Soontjes pigeons made some top fanciers via Herbots like for example Denis Sapin. The best buy ever was the total loft of Karel Schellens in 1991.
More pigeons came from Van Avondt & Zoon, Haacht (1999) with a.o. “Queen 2000” (1st Nat. Ace bird GMD at Gebr. Herbots). Later on two more ace pigeons from Van Avondt were bought. “Million” (1st Nat. ace bird GMD KBDB) and “Super Million” (2nd Nat. Ace bird GMD KBDB) came to strengthen the loft.
Gebr. Herbots and Jos Deno formed the tandem Deno-Herbots. With the tandem Deno-Herbots some pigeons were swoped to race. One of them is “Yvan” who became in 2008 at Herbots the 4th National Ace bird GMD KBDB and in 2009 the 1st National Ace bird SMD KBDB.
Recently they got reinforcement and an excellent cooperation came with Johny Jonckers, Oplinter; Bart Van Oeckel, Oud-Turnhout and Antony Maes, Waregem.
The Gebr. Herbots started of the season in 2018 with 30 old hens and 25 old cocks who raced total widowhood, also 60 yearling hens and 45 yearling cocks. The bigger part of the year bird team were also raced on total widowhood but 24 hens were raced on widowhood with 12 home staying cocks.
Next to these 200 youngsters (at the start) they had 25 breeders in the boxes and 25 couples breeders (children out of pigeons in the boxes where the bigger part raced themselves) formed the support.
The 55 old pigeons and 105 yearling pigeons were being prepared the same way for the coming season. The first coupling took place on the 6th of December and also the breeders were being coupled then. They all could raise a couple of youngsters. The racing team didn’t have a second coupling anymore.
At good weather they start training at the end of March and in 4 stages it went to 35 km. When they get home from the training flights the cocks and hens could come together in the hallway. After that it was 2x 100km, 2x 200km and next the races from the greater middle distance. Every week they went into the basket and about 12 old pigeons also went to the long distance races.
As from half of April the hens and cocks train twice a day for a full hour. Cocks and hens come together at the day of basketing for about 1 to 2 hours. After arrival from a race the partners can stay together for one hour but as the season continued on it could be until the day after.
Once trained, the old and yearling team will be released on Wednesday at 25 km and the cocks and hens then usually come together. The boxes are being closed during the week and shelfs are being placed to sit on. The boxes only open at basketing and at the arrival from a race.
Very important is the eye of the fancier that has to evaluate the behaviour of all cocks and hens on Wednesday or after arrival from a race. The “Olympic Boss”, Olympiad bird 2017, thanks his result to the eye of loft manager Geoffrey. He noticed that this cock had 2 hens. He had one in his own box and had also a sweetheart under a box in the hallway in front of the loft. This way he had his ‘hands full’ in defending his territory and this resulted in his Olympiad title.
1st Olympiad bird “Chantal”
“Chantal” B16/3122016 is 1st Olympiad bird All Round Poland 2019. She came onto the lofts in Halle-Booienhoven by exchanging pigeons with Antony Maes, Waregem. She was bred by Antony Maes and raced by Gebr. Herbots. She collected a marvellous palmaris with a 1st Interprovincial Nevers 774b, 1st Sourdun 740b, 1st Vierzon 595b, 2nd Interprov. Bourges 3,799b, 2nd Momignies 468b, 2nd Sourdun 449b, 2nd Sourdun 275b, 3rd Interprov. Bourges 2n620b, 4th Interprov. Bourges 2,083b, 6th Interprov. Chateauroux 1,460b, 11th Bourges 915b.
“Chantal” is a rather small hen with a lot of feathers. It is a very attentive pigeon with a very smart head. It is a calm hen that has really well closed vent bones and has a lot of muscles. She has on both sides ‘2 working pins’ in her wings and has a perfect eye.
Next to “Chantal” the Gebr. Herbots have with “Golden Sixteen” B16/6056655 also a 4th Olympiad bird Middle Distance. This pigeon is a direct Bart & Nance Van Oeckel, Oud-Turnhout. By exchanging pigeons with Bart & Nance Van Oeckel they have together with this last one B16/2146231 “Daughter Kenzo” and B16/2146310 “Sister 1st nat. Limoges” (inbred Nationaal I), the 5th and 6th Olympiad bird long distance.
Youngsters with sliding doors
The 200 youngsters are bred from the breeders and the most important racers. From the top breeders the eggs will be taken away and placed with the racing pigeons. The youngsters are being weened at the age of around 25 days and when the feathers under the wings are fully grown together.
The youngsters are being darkened from the 1st of April until the 21st of June. At 16h00 the blinds automatically close. At 23h30 they open again and the youngster wake up with daylight. As from the 21st of June until the end of the season they will be enlightened from 5h30 until 22h45.
The training is taking very seriously. In about 20 stages they go from 3 km to 45 km. Then they go with the club to train. Once trained they are being tossed 2 to 3 times a week at 45 km.
The sliding door is being introduced before the start of the national races. Also carton boxes are being placed on the lofts where the youngsters can play around as much as they like. The young pigeons get together the day before basketing but it can be also at the day of basketing itself. Everything depends on their shape and the eye of the loft manager. The youngsters train after the widow cocks and they have to train for one hour obliged. Training is off course very important, it is the criterion of the shape. At the beginning they train with the flag.
Filip Herbots : “Very important on all this is the care taker of the pigeons. Geoffrey knows by hart all the pigeons by ring number and their pedigree when they are in the air. That is the difference between a normal and a super loft manager!
Nearly all pigeons are being basketed weekly and they all follow the same feeding schedule. The Gebr. Herbots put their confidence in the Beyers mixtures. Saturday at arrival of a race they get Energy Galaxy (fat rich mixture) and electrolytes are provided in the drinking water. On Sundays it’ll be 50% Energy Galaxy + 50 % Energy Galaxy Light. In the drinking pots there is Herbo Aqua Control. As feeding supplements they get 4 Oils + Proteins Pro Recup HAP alternated with Tarsin (Herbovet) over the food.
On Monday it is 100 % Energy Galaxy Light with Herbo Aqua Control in the drinking pot and the same feeding supplements from Sunday go over the food. On Tuesdays it stays 100 % Energy Galaxy Light with Herbosol in the drinking pot and Zell Oxygen and Optimix over the food.
On Wednesday morning they get 100 % Energy Galaxy Light + Herbosol in the drinking pot. On Wednesday evening it’ll become 50 % Energy Galaxy Light + 50 % Energy Galaxy with also Herbosol in the drinking pot. Over the food they get 4 Oils + Optimix. The pigeons will also get hemp seed and peanuts as extra’s.
On Thursday morning the switch onto 100 % Galaxy Energy +MMK (high quality electrolytes Herbovet). Thursday evening it stays 100 % Galaxy Energy and a soup spoon ‘yellow drops’ over 1kg feed. Also hemp seed and peanuts are given as an extra.
Aside this the pigeons get every day fresh grit (Herbomineralmix). Old and young pigeons follow the same feeding schedule. Only at the beginning the youngsters are provided with a lot of probiotics like Prodigest and Probac 1000. Also oregano and Bio and Vita (sours) are being given.
Medical Raf Herbots
Raf Herbots is off course the vet on duty. He is being consulted every week and two pigeons from each department are being checked. But also the saying here is ‘the less you have to give, the better they race.’
The racing team is being cured with Emdotrim 10 days before the breeding period and after this they are being vaccinated against parathypus. During the breeding period the pigeons are being vaccinated against paramyxo. Half of February they are being cured for 8 days with Dokamox (purification of the pigeons) and then they are provided during 7 days with Herbochol to clear the liver. Half of March they are being vaccinated with a brush against small pocks. Then they get during 3 weeks Herbial in the drinking pot to stimulate the moulting and to get a pink chest on the pigeons.
Half of April they were cured during 4 days against trichomoniases with Trichovit and this cure wasn’t repeated anymore during the season. But the pigeons got ‘yellow drops’ and the weekly check-up turned to be trichomoniases-free. Via vet Raf Herbots the racing team got during the season 2x a vaccination with Respiratory against airways diseases. When the racing team has a dip they get for a few days Herbochol.
A good loft climate
Also the lofts are an important part of successful pigeon racing. The pigeons on total widowhood race on a loft of 14m, the youngsters on a loft of 16m. The breeders reside in the breeding boxes.
Important is that a fancier feels good on the loft himself and that is the signification for an excellent loft climate. In front of almost all lofts they have aviaries and they are an important asset in keeping the pigeons healthy. The hens are daily in aviaries. They only come in to eat and sleep. The cocks only come in the aviaries on Mondays to take a bath. There is never direct sunlight on the lofts. The sunlight is being broken by frosted glass.
In a matter of ventilation there is a small opening in front of the lofts. At the rear of the pointy roof there are every 3m small chimneys. There is a ventilation way of 50 cm above the pigeons in the middle of the loft. The heating plates from ATX are being put on when moist weather and after the arrival of a rainy race.
The lofts are being cleaned twice a day and taken care of with a hoover. The pigeons get a fresh drinking pot daily. They work with two sets of drinking pots…one is on the loft while the other is drying. In the winter they have a ‘big clean’ with disinfection on the schedule on the lofts.
Only exceptional racers can go after a 5 year career to the breeding loft. If there isn’t an after breed after one year on the racing loft than the pigeons are being recoupled. Isn’t there an after breed after two years on the racing team than the pigeons are taken out. Compensation breeding is being avoided as much as possible as they try to breed a perfect pigeon. Inbred like for example father x daughter and mother x son is only been done with real top pigeons.
The spine of the Herbots colony is formed by the “Nationaal I” (Schellens) with the “King” (Grondelaers/Soontjens) and “Kenzo” (1st Nat. Ace bird KBDB 2007).
For those who see the Herbots team working, the question for their ambition is an unnecessary question. This team is full of ambition and the Olympic thought faster, higher, stronger is written for these guys.
High lights on the breeding loft
“Young Kenzo 5163265-09 , son to KENZO 2116092-04 1st National Ace bird Asduif KBDB small middle distance KBDB 2007 . Young Kenzo himself is a proven racer and father of :
” B13/2172612 was super on the races with a 1st Interprov. Vierzon 2,402b, 1st Interprov. Bourges 1,241b, 1st Argenton 328 b, 2nd Interprov. Bourges 1,517b, 2nd Interprov. Chateauroux 1,056b, 2nd Sourdun 2,482b, 3rd Interprov. Argenton 1,895b, 4th Interprov. Montlucon 1,114b, 8th Interprov. Bourges 2,620b, 9th Interprov. Chateauroux 1,012b, 10th Interprov. Chateauroux 1,550b. Won also 34th Nat. Bourges 9,256b, 47th Nat Chateauroux 5,884b, 56th Nat. Chateauroux 3,933b, 64th Nat. Argenton 13,629b, 83rd Nat. Argenton 1,759b, and so on…
He became father of :
– “Blauwe Parel” B11/2186203 : 4th Olympiad bird Cat. B Nitra 2013, 5th Olympiad bird Cat. D Nitra 2013, 1st Ace bird LCB year birds 2012 and 1st Interprov. Ace bird middle distance year birds Luik-Haspengouw
– “B18/2135035” : 2nd Argenton 138b, 8th Chateauroux 1,430b, 10th Bourges 1,524b, 45th Chateauroux 1,131b. He became also 1st Interprovincial Ace bird youngsters middle distance 2018 and 3rd Provincial Ace bird KBDB Middle distance 2018 .
- “B14/2313090” x B11/2186012. The father is an inbred product of “Nationaal I” and the mother is from the old strain of “Number 2″(“Zoon Den 155 Soontjens”) with De Rauw-Sablon. They became parents to B17/2140001, B17/2140002 and B17/2140336 and together they won 2nd National z Argenton 2,855b/4th Nat. Argenton 8,818b, 1st Interprov. Chateauroux 721b, 2nd Argenton 191b, 3rd Vierzon 621b, 4th Momignies 329b, 11th Interprov Tulle 1,527b, 14th Chevrainvilliers 846b, 25th Interprov. Vierzon 4,407b, 43rd Interprov. Vierzon 1,528b, 57th Interprov. Bourges 2,731b.
- “Super Argenton”
B11/6329744 He became father of :
– “B18/2135089” with 3rd Interprov. Chateauroux 1,430b
– “B18/2135310” with 5th Interprov. Chateauroux 1,430b
– “B16/2146298” with 6th Interprov. Argenton 2,251b
– “B16/2146765” with 1st Interprov. Bourges 1,517b, 1st Bourges 339b, 1st Chevrainvilliers 101b, 2nd Vierzon 283b, 4th Soissons 340b, 5th Chateauroux 835b, 5th Sourdun 740b, 7th Interprov. Bourges 1,397b, 9th Interprov. Vierzon 2,394b. He became 5th Olympiad bird cat. H 2019, 1st Prov. Ace bird KBDB Greater Middle Distance old birds 2018 and 4th Prov. Ace bird KBDB All Round 2018
A few top pigeons
* “Yvan” B07/2103401 : 1st Interprov. Salbris 2,281b (fastest against 4,774 b), 1st Interprov. Orleans 3,132b, 1st Melun 1,946b, 1st Interprov. Toury 781b (fastest against 3,256b), 1st Argenton 434b, 1st Nanteuil 253b, 1st Pithiviers 172b, 1st Momignies 130b, 7th Interprov. Chateauroux 2,995b, 9th Interprov. Argenton 2,804b, 16th Interprov. Montlucon 1,570b, 20th Interprov. Bourges 1,224b, 21st Interprov. Toury 1,212b, 32nd semi-nat. Chateauroux 9,030b, 43rd Interprov. Chateauroux 1,817b, 52nd Interprov. Orleans 1,058b, 54th Interprov. La Souterraine 1,174b, 57th Nat. Argenton 6,177b. He became 4th National Ace bird Greater Middle Distance 2008 and 1st National Ace bird Small middle distance 2009.
* “Big Boss” DV1274-272-10 : 1 /2,127 b( (615 km), 1/3,496b (329 km), 1/2,080 b (420 km), 1/1,874 b (313 km), 2/3,159 b (429 km), 2/1,237b (313 km), 6/3,587 b(154 km), 7/4,168 b(544 km), 9/5,183 b (429 km), 11/2,219 b (313 km), 13/2,649 b (420 km), 16/3,756 b (429 km), 23/3,262 b (233 km), 31/4,928b (315 km), 37/3,517b (233 km).
He became 1st National Ace bird Germany 2012, 1st Olympiad bird Middle Distance Nitra 2013 and 1st Olympiad bird All Round (11 races) 2013
Children “Big Boss” won : 1st Interprov. Chateauroux 1,511b, 1st semi-nat Vierzon 1,997b, 2nd Interprov. Chateauroux 1,131b, 3rd Interprov. Argenton 1,029b, 4th Interprov. Chateauroux 1,535b, 4th Interprov. Argenton 854b, 5th semi-nat. Bourges I 2,715b, 5th Interprov. Bourges II 1,817b, 7th Interprov. Chateauroux 1,993b, 7th Interprov. Bourges 1,236b, 10th Interprov. Bourges 3,799b, 10th Interprov. Chateauroux 1,460b.
Tekst foto (voorpagina) : With Geoffrey, Bjorn, Maarten, Filip, Miet and Jo they have a fantastic team in Halle-Booienhoven behind their successful colony. Without this team they wouldn’t be where we are now say the Herbots brothers in unison !