Out of the blind spot– Surinx - Pletsers
Fashion breeds appear from year to year, to disappear beyond the far horizon as fast as they came, but there are some names who rarely appear in the spotlight despite being successful fanciers. Call it modesty or just not having the ambition to be on the front cover week by week. In this series we want to reflect on some of the names who earn a place in the sun, for the simple reason of producing top class results in past and present. In this issue we want to focus your attention on Surinx - Pletsers Hilaire & Nadia, from the town of Nieuwerkerken in the Belgian province Limburg, some 40 miles to the east of the nation’s capital Brussels. Coming from a family of pigeon enthusiast, Hilaire could be found on his grandfather's lofts and started racing from the age of 14.
Auction Starts 31st October - Ends 10th November
When his mates where going out, he wasn’t to be dragged out of his favorite spot on the loft and with the birds. He even had his girlfriend cleaning the lofts instead of going to the movies, but it must have been a good choice as she became his wife and lifelong companion Nadia. Together they form a very strong team proven by top results on the highest level, the Belgian nationals. The year they moved to Nieuwekerken, they were crowned 1st National Champions with the young birds on the national races. Ever since that year they have been amongst the champions, both on provincial as well as on national level, including in 2016 1st Provincial Champions on the great middle distance KBDB. All his years studying birds, all the hours in the lofts, learning, improving, the search for the holy grail, it all paid off.
Hilaire Surinx & Nadia Pletsers Lofts
All his research and improving himself, resulted in a system which is quite unique on its own. They race the old birds on total widowhood, from the end of March until the beginning of September, week after week, some 24 races all together, no holding back. Starting from 120 until 400 km in the first six weeks, and then 300km or 600km every week after, finishing the season with 700km race. You can probably imagine the system, the birds must work like a machine, no time for slip ups. Even during winter, fall and spring the team will be out training. All birds train once a day, first the hens, then the cocks.
The lofts are made up of three sections. One section for the hens, which is an aviary with no perches to sit on, they have to live on the floor. The cocks also stay in a resting section, and for motivation there is a section with nestboxes where the partners meet up. The birds get together during the week on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and after every race. After both occasions the team can expect a warm bath to relax them so they are calm on basketting day for the nationals as well. When Hilaire suspects the condition is going down, the racing team can expect a 30 miles toss to get them back on route. Otherwise the old birds never get training tosses, not even before the season, which proved not to be a disadvantage when Hilaire and Nadia opened the season taking the first three positions in great region.
The old birds are kept on the darkening system from the beginning of the season until May, from 18.00 – 07.30 hours. The hens especially seem much calmer. Then from the end of June the lights are switched on to keep the days longer, in this way the moult of the primaries will continue normally, but will hold the rest of the body feathers. Before the season the racers will be vaccinated against paramixo, paratyphoid and pox, and during the season they will be examined every three to four weeks by Raf Herbots. Hilaire strongly believes in giving plenty of natural products to support and continue their health. In his opinion it also keeps them in top shape much longer. Avidress Plus, apple vinegar, a ten day treatment with red beet juice, probiotics, garlic and tea are on the menu on a regular bases. The lofts are disinfected after every race, the birds are fed three times a day. Every morning fresh grits, minerals and plenty of oil seeds like hemp as a treat. Towards the end of the week the sunflower pits, peanuts and other nuts are added to the mix, providing the extra necessary energy. After races with two nights in the basket, all receive a KK tablet which is full of protein, and before basketting all get a yellow drop from Herbots in their beaks. Also they get a eyedrop before basketting, on arrival and on Wednesday to keep the eyes protected and disinfected.
The youngsters are split up in two groups, the first round are kept naturally, so no darkening system for them. They will be raced from the end of May until halfway through August. The second round though will be raced on the darkening system, from the end of March from 18.00 – 08.00 hours. These youngsters will be treated with the same natural products as the old birds including the red beat ‘cure’. Do I need to point out that we are talking about being a real fanatic, or does the system speak for itself?
For this type of racing, so many consecutive weeks, hardly ever holding a bird back, you need to have an excellent base. Birds that can sprint, do the distance, under all circumstances from the cold of April and the heat of the summer months. Having the Herbots family as close friends, you can expect to find many of their world-class lines in the lofts of course. Filip provided them with the best from the Nationaal 1 Schellens, and some ten children from the Herbots superstar ‘Yvan’ formed the base of this successful colony. Furthermore a round of 40 youngsters from the late Flemish long distance master Etienne Devos were brought in to re- enforce the long distance ambitions, which created an instant boost. Finally they had set their mind on bringing in superior sprinters, which they found in 11x 1st prize winner ‘Boonen’ from Walloon sprint champion Roger Rase. Also this new introduction/purchases proved to be a choice well made, while in no time his children won no less then 15x 1st prizes for his new owners.
The character of the birds, combined with the character of Hilaire and Nadia, will prove to be lifelong success on the highest level. We can expect to see them appear in the spotlights for years to come, and wishing them all the best, keep up the good work.
Sjaak Buwalda NL
Over the years Hilaire & Nadia have cultivated a very versatile family of pigeons that are capable of competing at the highest level from distances ranging from 120km up to 600km. Fortunately they are close friends with the Herbots family so as you can imagine they are able to get the very best pigeons available. Their family is based on the world famous Nationaal 1 of Schellens, Yvan winner of 1st & 4th Nat Ace Pigeon M/D KBDB 2008 & 09 and their great racer The Boonen who during his racing career won scores of prizes including 11 x 1st. The blood of Boonen runs through the veins of most of their present day champion. The descendants of Nationaal 1, Yvan and The Boonen are winning all over the world in all types of competition. Just take a look at what The Boonen has won but more importantly the generations of winner coming down from him is endless. In this auction you will find some superbly bred birds including grandchildren of The Boonen & Yvan.