Super breeders, superlative birds

Belgium’s Herbots brothers are regarded as some of the world’s top breeders, thanks to the performances of their remarkable birds, National 1 and The Leverige, writes Thomas Smit.

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The Herbots brothers from
Halle-Booienhoven in Belgium are renowned pigeon trainers and have bred the most ace producers in the world by acquiring the best Olympic aces Europe has to offer. Filip Herbots started with racing pigeons in 1955 when he was 14. He’s assisted by veterinarian brother Raf, who monitors and controls the pigeons’ health.During the early years, acquisitions were made from Pierre Beckers, Libert Reggers and Kamiel Dendooven. Later on, stock pigeons came from the Clerinx Brothers, Jeff Carlens, Frans Stoces, Jan Grondelaers, Karel Schellens, and others.

Of the original 124 Stoces pigeons, only 21 survived, but their impact on the loft was phenomenal. Between 1986 and 1990, the Herbots brothers achieved more than 100 first positions with the offspring of a blend of their acquisitions. They’ve won numerous titles, including First National General Champion “East-Flemish Salon”; First National Ace Pigeon Marathon Old and Yearlings “East-Flemish Salon”; First World Champion Best Long Distance Loft; and First National Argenton 4076 Yearlings (fastest of 35 412 pigeons). There have also been many Olympiad victories, including Olympic Pigeon “All Round” Oostende 2007; Olympic Pigeon Middle Distance Porto 2005; Olympic Pigeon “All Round” Cape Town 2001; Olympic Pigeon “All Round” Blackpool 1999; and Olympic Pigeon “Middle Distance” Basel 1997.

National 1
National 1, a bold chequer cock with a richly coloured pearl eye, is one of their top birds. An acquired pigeon bred from the lines of Karel Schellens, its sire is De Argenton, which has ace performers in every generation of its family tree. As a racer, National 1 is one of Europe’s top achievers. When the time for breeding arrives, offspring often can’t duplicate their parents’ performance, but National 1’s offspring have done well in competitions around the globe. In South Africa, Theuns van der Westhuizen, Joe Strydom, Johan Olivier, Cassie Matthee, and many other fanciers have recorded successes with the near kin of National 1.

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The Leverige
The Herbots’ best bird was The Leverige, bred from the long-distance champion Dendooven. It achieved nine first places and won 96 prizes in five years. A four-time ace pigeon, it flew a total distance of 19 500km in its racing career. It was mated to The Wonder Duiven, a sister to Pros Roosens’ Supercrack 327, and 14 of its offspring in different generations achieved top results. An incredible number of international, national and Olympiad champions grace the Herbots Lofts, and the way they breed them is impressive. – E-mail Thomas Smit at [email protected] or call (011) 680 4778.     |fw