Let’s hear it for the ladies, ‘super hens’

When it comes to breeding, there’s nothing like a top quality cock. But don’t forget the hens, says Thomas Smit.

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Pigeon racing is a male-dominated world – in more ways than one. For starters, when it comes to breeding, it means the focus is on finding the right cock. However, more often than not, an entire winning colony is founded on ‘super hens’, and thousands are spent every year on securing top quality females.

There’s Ds Gert Painter’s Toppie, for example, which is near kin to Fairthorn, his Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race Winner. It strayed to Toppie Jansen on the East Rand as a baby and became a world-class breeder. Then there’s the famous Greyvenstein Pegasus bronze hen, which is connected to the Tom Lock foundation. It was overlooked as a potential breeder by most fanciers when offered up for sale by Greyvenstein’s widow. Champion Cyril Leibach took a chance, though, reached for his wallet and the hen did him proud, producing numerous superstars.

Strongly recommended

Speaking of the Tom Lock foundation, there’s the Croxford hen 4875/82. I strongly recommend a blend of this gene pool, as it has produced more than 18 medal holders. Another option is offspring of the Golden Eggs hen, originating from the Louis Wouters strain, and imported by Dr Arthur Brymer. These include multiple medal and car race winners. The Golden Lady has also proved to be a sensational breeder in the lofts of C&G Koopman from the Netherlands.

The famous Spritzy
Then we come to the famous Spritzy blue pied hen (SA 90-103437). Its sire (BELG 84 6726559) was a Janssens imported to SA by Potchefstroom fancier Theo Minnie and sold to Johan Schmidt from Alberton. This bird’s sire, by the way, was De Vos Voliere of 81 and its dam was BELG 76 6129245, which had a strong Janssens base in its pedigree. Spritzy’s dam was SA 89-80471. It was sired by SA 81-83206, bred from the Monty cock TRPF 74-16973.

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The dam was SA 80-68500, a Richard Salt hen bred from Ray (SA TRPF 68-17871), a son of Skraale (Golden Oldie) and Tony’s Hen (inbred Oscar). Spritzy was raced by Piet Schoeman and named by his wife Avril after the wine spritzers she enjoyed at Sunday lunch. It was a consistent off-pace racer, but a below-average performer overall. On the other hand, it was a world-class breeder.

Spritzy was mated to the J&B cock 3289, a two-time winner and a blend of Andries Kruger’s Broken Keel family and the Johan Schmidt Putterie/Oscar connection. It then went to Koos Minnaar (where the Gibbs Bros got a direct baby, The Blue Diamond). Later, it was mated to various cocks in André Mills’ loft – to the benefit of several fanciers. The super breeder, The Brahman, is a direct son of Spritzy and became a key breeder for Koert Grobler, while West Rand fancier Gertjie Mulder won R100 000 with Spritzy offspring.

Lost track
The Juan Breitenbach/Mulder connection – involving Spritzy-related offspring – is responsible for multiple winning pigeons.
In fact, Juan has lost track of how many top offspring have come from his inbred Spritzy hen 7488. André Mills, who currently lives in picturesque Montagu in the Western Cape, still owns direct Spritzy offspring, which continue to book winning scores.

Meanwhile, Tom Roux achieved such outstanding results with his Spritzy offspring, his electronic clock was sent abroad to ensure the times logged were genuine. Needless to say they were. Do I have to say more about the importance of hens in your breeding programme? I think not.

Contact Thomas Smit on 011 680 4778 or at [email protected]. Please state ‘Pigeons’ in the subject line of your email.