Introducing Belgian Superstar...Eddy Grootjans
Eddy Grootjans is 48 years old and originally from Ranst near Antwerp City Belgium. He recently moved to a town near the Dutch border of Belgium. Eddy worked for the Natural Company and Natural Breeding Station for 17 years. In July 2018 he started his current job as Commercial Manager for European Pigeon Website.
Eddy has raced pigeons for 33 years since he was 15 years old. Even at that young age Eddy had much success. He was lucky to begin with an excellent base of pigeons that had been created by his father and grandfather. These old basic lines still remain in the Grootjans birds.
Eddy races in several clubs. For the short distance (100 km), he races at the local level in a combine with 3 other clubs. For the 200 km races he's in a combine with 7 clubs. For the middle-distance Eddy races in ZAV against major competition like Jos Vercammen and Bart Geerinckx. For the long-distance races Eddy baskets the pigeons in Schilde, the same club as Van Elsacker-Jepsen, Rik Hermans and Danny Van Dyck, a few of the top names in the sport today.
Eddy is just starting out in one loft racing. With his high-quality performance pigeons the results will come fast. In 2017 Eddy was 11th and 12th in the final race of the Belgian Master together with a Chinese companion. In 2014 Eddy was 2nd in the final race of the Golden Algarve Race. Even with limited one loft racing experience Eddy Grootjans has attained top results.
There are many fanciers with major success racing the Grootjans pigeons especially with one loft races. The list of fanciers racing with Grootjan pigeons is quite long. This past year for example Johan Den Hartog of Culemborg (NL) won 10th and 14th National. Previously he had won 1st National Ace Pigeon Holland with an original Grootjan bred in Grootjans loft. Comb. Van Wanrooij won 1st National Orleans young birds this year. The grandfather is originally from Grootjans loft. In China last year 1.25 million Euro was won with a pigeon born out of 2 originals bred by Grootjans. Canadian Bernie Bedard introduced Grootjans pigeons and is a yearly big winner in the Empire Classic One Loft Race. The results go on and on.
The base of the pigeons was created by Eddy’s grandfather who was very successful in short distance races in the 1950’s and 60’s. This base was made with the old Houben strain around Radio, Young Radio, and Baron. In 1974, after the death of his grandfather, Eddy’s father took over the small colony and had great results even though he was busy playing professional football (soccer).
Eddy’s Dad brought in the old Van Den Bosch pigeons via Rene Verdonck, Deurne. These were the same line as the old Karel Meulemans foundation cock "Donkere Van Den Bosch". In 1985, Eddy joined his father at the racing loft. During that period the Grootjans were winners of the "De Gouden Duif" juniors (National Competition). They became 1st General Champion Young KBDB (all distances all Belgium) 6 years in a row.
In 1998, Eddy met Serge Van Elsacker-Jepsen and became good friends as they remain to this day. Eddy introduced a daughter of Serge’s foundation cock "Castor", one of the best breeders Serge ever had. Eddy paired "Kirsten" (Castor’s daughter) with “Gussy”, bought from Gust Raeymaekers, son of legendary Stan Raeymaekers. “Gussy” was a fantastic racer and became one of the foundation cocks. The first foundation pair was born.
In 1999, “De Goede Donkere”, was born out of the “Van Den Bosch” lines. He was not only a first prize winner but also an exceptional breeder. He was paired to “het Sterk”, born out of 2 pigeons from Van Elsacker-Jepsen. She won as yearling racing over 6000 kilometers on the long-distance races! The second foundation couple was now living at Grootjans loft. This pair bred a massive number of winners and ace pigeons up to the National level.
An incredible season happened in 2000 when Eddy bought a voucher from a small fancier named Maurice Scheers-Heist o/d Berg. BE00-6506376 “Maurice” was chosen on the loft and he was also born out of the old Houben base from Maurice Scheers. “Maurice” won 12 x 1st prizes for Eddy an became 2nd National Ace Pigeon Yerlings “Ave Regina”.
The offspring from “Maurice”, first with “The Black Hen” and later with “Sister Black Jack” were unbelievable. Numerous winning ace pigeons came from his line. Eddy bred winners from him through 6 generations. Amazing what this pigeon meant for my colony! Maurice died at age 18. We are lucky to have a direct son to Maurice being sold on I Dream Pigeons.
On the auction of “Paul Huls”, Eddy bought “Sister Black Jack”, as mentioned above. She was a full sister of “Black Jack”, winner of 1st Olympiad Pigeon Oostende and a granddaughter of legendary BE95-005 “KANNIBAAL” of Dirk Van Dyck.
With these 3 foundation pairs, Eddy created a line of pigeons that has been winning for almost 20 years in Belgium and across the world. In China, big money has already been won with Grootjan offspring. Grootjans are dominating in Holland, Germany and France. Grootjan pigeons had winners up to National Ace pigeons and Olympiad pigeons! Eddy has a strong base of pigeons that dominate around the globe yet few outside of Eddy’s competitors are familiar with this line of superstars.
In 2013, Eddy made a total auction when he moved to a new home. 6 National KBDB ace pigeons were included in that auction! Eddy did not miss a beat and restarted in 2014 with youngsters from his champions and classified again in 2016 and 2017 in the KBDB National Championships. This shows how strong the Grootjans base is.
Eddy races 30 old birds each year on the races from 350 – 650 km. Around 100 youngsters are raced, mostly on the races between 100 – 350 km. Eddy created an all round pigeon that can win on the races from 100 – 700 km. For example, in 2012 Eddy won a 1st Provincial and 4th National on Cahors which was 780 km. The strength of the colony is being all round with toughness and speed in all weather conditions.
Eddy races youngsters on the sliding doors and the old birds (cocks) on the classic widowhood. Eddy does not race the old hens due to lack of time. Eddy breeds around 150 youngsters each year mostly all for his own racing.
Since Eddy moved to his new address, he feeds the Vanrobaeys grain mixes. Eddy uses as little medication as possible and will never do blind treatments except for Salmonella. He treats for Salmonella each year starting October 1st with a product based on Trimetoprim.
If Eddy see any problems with the pigeons, he always follows the advice of the veterinarian. Eddy mostly works with Dr. Vincent Schroeder or Dr. Norbert Peeters. Eddy supplements with a lot of Naturaline Tea and fresh garlic. During the racing season Eddy gives Brewers yeast 2 times/week along with oil on the feed. He never uses vitamins.
Eddy vaccinates the old birds 3 weeks prior to racing season for PMV and pox which he repeats every year. He has a special system for young birds. When he weans the youngsters, he vaccinates them first against Paramyxo with a normal vaccine. Then, 2 weeks later, he administers a combination vaccine for Paramyxo/Herpes. He repeats this again after 2 weeks. Eddy waits another 2 weeks after the final PMV/Herpes Vaccine and then vaccinates for Pox. Eddy feels this vaccine scheme boosts the immune system. Eddy does not use a preventive health program. He states if you are not sick you would not take medicine.
Eddy’s pigeons’ condition with ease and he does not train much. His pigeons are buoyant and corky so it is easy to see why they do not require much road work. Before old birds the pigeons are trained for maximum 3 times by car out to 20 miles, before they enter the first race of 100 km. Youngsters are basketed a maximum 5 times out to 35 km before they go to 100 km with the club. The pigeons are never trained by car during the season.
Eddy learned a lot from Andre Roodhooft during his 17 years of work at the Natural Breeding Station. Andre Roodhooft was the manager in charge at that time Eddy worked there. Serge Van Elsacker offered much insight to racing but Eddy has always had the advantage of keeping world class pigeons.
I Dream Pigeons is excited to offer the top lines, top racers and breeders from the next Belgian superstar and household name in the sport Eddy Grootjans.