Kolvenbag and Son - Racing Pigeons


Kolvenbag and Son: 

Geert (56) was introduced to pigeon racing from the first day he was born in the Netherlands.  His grandmother came to visit the newborn and brought two pigeons from her brother.  One of these two won 87th National Vienna in 1963 and became foundation bird for his dad Nick.  This Janssen family was the backbone of Nick's loft until he passed away in 2000.

Together with his dad, Geert raced birds growing up in The Netherlands.  There were two families of birds, one was Janssen based and one was Hornstra-Horemans for the longer distances.  They had many years of success with first places in the club and combine, many prize cards, and even a few good national scores.  But there were also years of scratching our heads on how to do it better.  

Even in those days there were discussions on how to determine the true champion.  Geert always felt that the best performance should entitle the championship.  Man made rules should be minimal and secondary to performance measurement.  Hence his support for average speed over any point system today. 

Geert has been in the US since 1993, with the first few years without handling any pigeons.  So when the opportunity came in 2003 to form a partnership with Mike Ennis in West Chester, he jumped on it. Together they build a family of birds that can win as young bird on the heavy-duty 300 milers.  Performance families from the US and from Europe are mixed together and tested on the road.  Heavy selection and raising the bar every year, leads to better results.  

Together Mike and Geert have participated in the one-loft races under Kolvenbag & Ennis between 2003 and 2011.  They have experienced real good races, and some real bad races, and a lot of in-between’s. 

Geert feels sharing good experiences and avoiding the common pitfalls will raise the level of the sport and make it a more pleasant experience for both breeders and one-loft managers.   B
ased on experience we created a Top 10 related to one-loft races set-up:

1. Good training program so that the birds are ready for the race
2. Good health program so that the birds are able to perform in training and races
3. More than one race competition, including at least a 300 or 350mile race
4. Average speed is preferred over any point system as it determines the true champion
5. Breeder remains owner of his/her birds (no auction), no buyback fee.
6. Masking of bands and no handling by breeder or representative until shipping day
7. Frequent communication by handler either via email or website, including live clocking
8. When finishing in top 10%, breeder should at least break even
9. Pay out within week of race with full disclosure of moneys
10. Celebration on racing day while waiting for the birds to come home 

Since 2011, Geert and his son Thomas continued breeding birds that can fly competitively 10-12 hours and participate in one loft races.   Breed many, race extensively and select hard.  Raising the bar every year and always on the lookout for adding new super birds to the mix.  Kolvenbag and Son have a small loft with only 12-14 pair total. In 2012 we had 13, and 2013 we have 12 pair breeding. We are not flying from my loft due to local restrictions and have therefore specialized in one loft races. We are looking for birds that can win after 10 to 12 hours of flying on a 300+ mile race, and are consistently performing in the run up so have a chance on the average speed bird championship too. 

Over the years we have been selecting our own birds on those performance criteria, more than pedigree or handling (although not ignored). Performance is by far the strongest selection criterion!!!!

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