May 15th, 1998

Nine Champions Create A Champion
Part 2 of 5

by Bob Kinney

What follows is the greatest undertaking I have ever tackled at one time. I interviewed William Geerts, Belgium; Tony Melucci, Rhode Island, U.S.A.; August Daelemans, Belgium; Horst Hackemer, Wisconsin, U.S.A.; Hans Eijerkamp, Holland; Gary Squibb, England; Campbell Strange, Texas, U.S.A.; and Piet Manders, Holland.

Each a Champion competitor in his area and each a contributor to the excellence of the sport. The assignment was to take a four week old baby (approximately weaning age) and cover every aspect of its handling, training, and education through YB year, Yearling year, and Two Year Old year. In some cases, we deviated from one bird to the entire round in that age group out of necessity, but I am sure what follows will be first of great interest and secondly of educational value. I was surprised at the similarities, and at the differences. One of the great values of this piece of work is the availability of side by side comparison. I do not believe any of these gentlemen would tell you that their system is the only road to success. I do believe they would tell you that having a system and sticking to it is essential.

Q. When all is going well in the loft and YBs are starting to range, how often do they go out and what is their flying time?

August Daelemans: Cocks and hens are separated. They will fly from 20 minutes to 2 or 3 hours. They are released again in the evening and fly about an hour.

Horst Hackemer: They, at this point, will be released twice a day and fly from 50 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Tony Melucci: Twice a day and an hour to hour-fifteen minutes.

Campbell Strange: The team is free lofted and are up and down.

Gary Squibb: The team is released once a day and fly for at least four hours.

Tom Fahmie: They go out morning and evening and fly for 1 hour and 30 minutes each.

Hans Eijerkamp: Our Champion is now old enough (January Hatch) that he has a nest box and a mate. He is flying two hours each time out, twice a day.

William Geerts: The team is free flying with open loft and are ranging at least 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Piet Manders: They fly 1 hour or more early and go out again after 5 p.m. to fly.

Q. During this early period of development, what is your feeding program?

August Daelemans: He will be given a light Junior Mix, will be hand fed and kept a bit short. Remember, they were weaned on all peas initially.

Horst Hackemer: High protein or conditioning feed, all they want to eat.

Tony Melucci: They get straight corn the first four days weaned, then KT #6, 16% conditioning mix. All they will eat.

Campbell Strange: They are fed high protein pellets in the nest and weaned on a mix with these pellets, then fed this until training starts.

Gary Squibb: We never divulge our feeding. It is an art and responsible for our success. Most fanciers will never master feeding.

Tom Fahmie: They are given conditioning mix and a trapping treat (small grains) is used.

Hans Eijerkamp: For six weeks they are given the breeding mix they were fed while being raised - only what they will eat. After that, the mix is added to 40% barley.

William Geerts: The first two weeks they get heavy feeds, then a 50% barley mix and all they will eat.

Piet Manders: The first two weeks they are on breeding feed, then moved to a 50% barley, 50% conditioning mix, fed on the floor, all they want until two go for water.

Q. How many times a day are they fed? And when?

August Daelemans: In the morning they are fed enough (all they want) and in the evening a little bit.

Horst Hackemer: They are fed twice a day.

Tony Melucci: Twice a day.

Campbell Strange: Twice a day in the hopper.

Gary Squibb: A main meal in the morning and treat meal in the evening.

Tom Fahmie: Light feed in the morning and the main meal in the evening.

Hans Eijerkamp: Twice a day in his nestbox - hand fed, the bird will be sitting on my knee, shoulders, etc. by this time.

William Geerts: Once a day in the afternoon.

Piet Manders: A little feed in the morning and main, heavier meal, in the evening.

Q. We are still at the point before training starts - up to this point, what medication and immunization routine has been followed?

August Daelemans: I use a vet and follow his advice after routine check ups. They are vaccinated for Paramix, one time injection (dead vaccine), 2nd time La Sota in the eyes and nose. He will also be vaccinated for Pox.

Horst Hackemer: Treated for Canker and Cocci two weeks before training, vaccinated for Paramix and Pox.

Tony Melucci: Same procedure as Horst. I also will treat in July or August for respiratory problems if weather is such that I deem it prudent.

Campbell Strange: Treat for Canker, Cocci, Worms. Vaccinate for Pox. I only vaccinated the OBs for Paramix this year.

Gary Squibb: We never medicate unless the birds are sick, but we do worm and treat for Cocci 4 weeks before training.

Tom Fahmie: About 6 weeks before the birds are wormed, treated for Cocci, and respiratory. We use a Pox vaccine and use Twin Var for Paramix 1 month prior. We also use a vet for routine diagnosis.

Hans Eijerkamp: We use De Weerds medication program in our stud book. At 10 days, babies get La Sota in the eyes and nose and about 6 weeks an injection of dead Paramix vaccine. We immunize for Pox.

William Geerts: Immunize for Pox at 3 months, at 4 months treat for Cocci and Canker. At 3 weeks of age and 4 weeks of age, they get La Sota in the drinking water. (Williams' YBs are weaned and drinking at 3 weeks.)

Piet Manders: We use a vet also, at 6 weeks they get La Sota drops in the eyes and nose and at 3 months they are injected with dead Paramix vaccine and treated for Pox.

Q. What is your 1st training toss (how far) and how many are tossed?
(Editor's Note: I converted km to miles.)

August Daelemans: First toss is 3 1/2 miles and they all go up together.

Horst Hackemer: At 4 months of age they go 5 miles and tossed one basket at a time.

Tony Melucci: After they are routing 2-3 weeks they start at 30 miles and all go together.

Campbell Strange: After they have been routing, their first toss is 7 miles and they are released 10 at a time.

Gary Squibb: When they are 14 weeks old they go 1 mile and are trained in small groups.

Tom Fahmie: At 4 months of age and routing well they go 30 miles.

Hans Eijerkamp: At 3 months of age, they are basketed and released in the garden. This is to get them calm in the basket. Then they go a 1/2 mile for their first toss all together.

William Geerts: At 4 months they go 7 miles in groups of 30 to 40 birds.

Piet Manders: At 3 to 4 months they go 3 to 4 miles in groups of 25.