May 15th, 1998

Nine Champions Create A Champion
Part 4 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. Training begins about when, at what distance and schedule?

August Daelemans: Three tosses 30 miles group, 50 miles single up, 70 miles double up and 150 miles.

Horst Hackemer: While on the nest 10 consecutive days, when there is a temperature of 40 degrees or higher. Three tosses are at 30 miles. Due to hawks his birds are locked up all winter and take more tosses to get into shape.

Tony Melucci: While on the second set of eggs they get 4 or 5 50 mile tosses. After that, 1 or 2 a week.

Campbell Strange: While on the nest they will get a few 50 or 60 mile tosses, but little to no training. He does train the yearling cocks to an awaiting hen 2 or 3 times.

Gary Squibb: Eight tosses at 30 miles, yearlings to a hen, seldom any training from then on.

Tom Fahmie: Four to five 25 to 30 mile tosses on nest, 5 or six shorter tosses, then nothing.

Hans Eijerkamp: Three tosses while paired to 60 miles. Once on Widowhood, 60 miles on Saturday.

William Geerts: Six tosses at 70 miles, 3 or 4 up at a time on Widowhood and he does not show the hen.

Piet Manders: Same system as William.

Q. What is the distance of his first race and did he win?

August Daelemans: 70 miles, yes.

Horst Hackemer: 160 miles, yes.

Tony Melucci: 100 miles, yes.

Campbell Strange: 100 miles, 2nd.

Gary Squibb: 70 miles, yes.

Tom Fahmie: 165 miles, yes.

Hans Eijerkamp: 80 miles, 2nd.

William Geerts: 150 miles, no.

Piet Manders: 70 miles, no.

Q. As a yearling, what will be his tentative race schedule?

August Daelemans: 5 races, 250 miles to 300 miles.

Horst Hackemer: 4 races, up to a maximum of 400 miles.

Tony Melucci: 4 to 5 races, up to a maximum of 600 miles.

Campbell Strange: Every week short races (up to 300). He might go to a long race.

Gary Squibb: Every Saturday race (10 of them) up to 300 miles.

Hans Eijerkamp: Every week (14 weeks) up to 300 miles.

William Geerts: 3 races to 250 miles on consecutive weeks, a week off, then 3 more races to 250 miles.

Piet Manders: 6 races, 250 to 325 miles.

Q. I'd like you to take your feed program and break it down for the readers.

August Daelemans: Day of return, after 45 minutes, they are given a light mix which consists of Barley, Wheat, and Milo.
Monday, they get 25% racing mix and 75% of the above light mix.
Tuesday, 50% racing mix and 50% light mix.
Wednesday, 100% racing mix, but light quantity in the morning, full evening feed.
Thursday, they eat all they want.
Friday, morning they get all they want. In the evening they get full corn. The bird that eats the most corn is in best condition.

Horst Hackemer: Light feed in the early part of the week. Tuesday afternoon on, add heavy feed and carbohydrates the end of the week, so you can build some new fat to work with.

Tony Melucci: Day Of return through Wednesday they get 50% Barley added to their mix. Thursday and Friday they get 20% Safflower and Corn added to the mix.

Campbell Strange: The birds are fed in the nestbox. Early in the week a light mix. Medium mid-week and heavier to the end of the week.

Gary Squibb: We mix our own. We feed very light early. We have a breakdown system of feeding, then build them up. We are great believers in Corn.

Tom Fahmie: I am under Gary Squibb's tutelage in feeding.

Hans Eijerkamp: Saturday - One tablespoon light mix per bird with a bit of candy.
Sunday - Morning and evening one tablespoon each time light mix with brewer's yeast on it.
Monday - Light feeding 50% light mix 50% racing mix.
Tuesday - Morning one tablespoon 50% mix, evening racing mix.
Wednesday - Morning one tablespoon racing mix with brewer's yeast. Evening two tablespoons same mix.
Thursday - Full bowl racing mix in the morning and full bowl in the evening.
Friday - Full bowl in morning - two hours before basketing they get a light feed mixed with candy.

William Geerts: Nothing until home 3 hours, then a light feed for the next five feedings, then step up to full racing feed.

Piet Manders: Small seeds day of return, that evening they are given a light mix.
Monday - Give light feed.
Tuesday - 25% regular mix added to light feed.
Wednesday - 50% regular mix added to light feed.
Thursday - Full racing mix twice.
Friday Morning - full racing mix.
Friday Noon to 1 p.m. - They get small seeds.
Also day of return in the evening they get pickstone and 3 or 4 peanuts in their nest.

Q. What are your water additives this same week?

August Daelemans: One race week they are on clear water. The next week they get a light Canker treatment on return (one drink only), then clear water. On Tuesday I use a vet prepared conditioner powder. Wednesday vitamins. Four times per season they get Queens Pollen.

Horst Hackemer: They get honey on return, a Cocci/Canker treatment if needed on Monday, Vitamins once a week, Garlic in the water on Thursday.

Tony Melucci: As the distance increases, they get antibiotic on day of return. On Tuesday and Wednesday they get 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic per gallon. Prior to shipping, they get Brewer's yeast on the feed and Red-glo is used as the feed wetter for the long distance races. On long races where the birds are exposed to other birds for any time, they come home to a preventative Cocci and Canker treatment. On short distances they get the Brewer's yeast/Red-glo mix on Thursday.

Campbell Strange: They get vitamins 3 times a week. I check the microscope for Cocci and worms.

Gary Squibb: The birds get tea on return. It will stay through Monday. If they spend a couple days in the basket they receive a mild antibiotic Monday night. Wednesday night to Thursday they get vitamins and occasionally some garlic.

Hans Eijerkamp: One tablespoon of Glucose in water on return. Plain water on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday they are given a Sachet of Belgabion (a preparation made by Dr. Henk DeWeerd). Plain water the balance of the week. They also get 7 weeks on W.N. Red, then 7 weeks on W.N. Black on Fridays.

William Geerts: One week on Dextrose, the next week on honey and lemon. Each Monday the droppings are checked. If good, then nothing is done. Mid-week they get one day on vitamins.

Piet Manders: Sunday they get Canker and Cocci treatment through Monday morning. Wednesday evening they get a capsule of Brewer's yeast and garlic. Every other week they get vitamins in the water.