Born to the pigeon loft

Danie Barnard’s dad kept pigeons all his life as a non-competing fancier, so Danie Jnr was raised in the pigeon loft.

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Danie’s own pigeon-racing career began in 1973, when he raced from a caravan park in Transkei. By his second year of racing against 20 members, Danie was the club champion.

East London champion
Danie lives in East London and is a member of the Northerns Flying Club, under the banner of the Border Homing Pigeon Union. Results are tallied on club, federation – comprising about six East London-based clubs – and combined or union level. Loft locations of the Border Homing Pigeon Union members cover a radius of about 200km. For the past eight years, Danie has scored among the top 10 points league champions of the federation – five times within the top six – and has been federation champion for the past two seasons.

He holds the record for winning both the yearling and open points system competitions in 2008. Danie holds wide-ranging records in one-day lofts. He scored fifth and sixth positions in the Border One-Day Lofts final in 2007 and won the title for Champion Best Bird in the 2007 series. In 2008, his main entry arrived with the winning pack at Border Lofts final, but was trapped in sixth position.

Danie bred one of the Hot Spot winners entered for Dr Ockert Botha at the Border Lofts. This pigeon finished Second Ace Pigeon of Border Lofts.Add to this the fifth and seventh positions achieved in the top 10 ranking of the Border Lofts points league champions, which were also bred by Danie.

International ranking
At the Sun City Million-Dollar Pigeon Race, Danie scored in seventh and 43rd positions, the former being the first South African pigeon home in the final. Another pigeon finishing in the 43rd position of the Sun City final, entered by Ian Stewart, was bred in the Barnard lofts. Danie holds colours in all categories of pigeon racing achievements – showing, racing performance and administration. He’s also a successful show judge and rates Rassie Erasmus, Faunty Gilmer and Nico Dreyer among the top judges and teachers in the country.

Foundation stock
Danie’s first pigeons were of Slimme/Putteries origin obtained from Ronnie Matthews. All five pairs bred winning pigeons. Several generations later, this family is still producing top performers, especially on the longer distances. Blended into the family was a son of one of his top hens lent to Koos Fourie from Bloemfontein. Koos mated Danie’s hen to a super cock from his well-known “wet nose” family of which Danie acquired offspring.

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Offspring of a six-times winning hen owned by Pottie Potgieter, matched with a pigeon from the lofts of Fred Scholtz, further complemented the Barnard family. New injections of the Janssen strain were imported around 1998 from Tom Sherwood and Hans Eijerkamp & Zonen. Danie also introduced superstars from Michael Engelbrecht’s winning family known as the Harrys. From Nico Dreyer in Bloemfontein, Danie acquired some of the finest Houbens.