Will & Falco Ebben

Mini-loft with maxi-results

4 June 2020

In the beautiful landscape of Gelderland, on the borders of the river Waal, are the villages Boven- and Beneden Leeuwen. Despite that they are both relatively small villages, both have a rich history. The second part of the name, Leeuwen, comes from the Old Germanic word hlaiwa, meaning burial mound and evidence that people have been living in this area since the beginning of our era. Also, over the years, many artefacts from Roman times have been found, indicating that this region had an important military function and that the still existing Zandstraat was an important passage way to Noviomagus, the present city of Nijmegen.

 

And this small in size and rich in history can also be applied to the pigeon sport and the main characters of this article. The title of this article refers to the website of these men: Small lofts, Great Results. And there never was a truer word. Uncle Will (70) lives in Beneden-Leeuwen, and from behind his house they have been racing on a high level for many years with old and young pigeons under the name Will and Falco Ebben. Falco (44) lives in Boven-Leeuwen. Behind his house is the loft from where they have been racing with young pigeons (until 2019) under the name Combination Ebben, and from both lofts, for many years now, at top level. You are allowed to say that when you have already won 10 NPO victories and are listed with great regularity among the national champions.

Falco is of course no stranger in the sport. His company Pigeon Pixels is well known and he has photographed many good pigeons. He was also one of the people who revived the Dutch Fondspiegel and he has made some very interesting pigeon films. In contrast to many other cases, here it was the younger generation that gave the older generation the pigeon bug. In 1990, Falco was the one who became interested in the pigeon sport. From a very young age, his heart went out to animals in general and through a pigeon that he captured at the local brick kiln he became interested in the pigeon sport. He wanted to buy some pigeons from a local fancier, but that was not possible. He could have them for free and this fancier really helped him a lot in the sport. Falco calls him a true ambassador, of whom there should be more. From his very first race, he found it all fantastic.

A year later, Falco managed to motivate his uncle Will for the pigeon sport as well. Behind his house, a small loft was built with pigeons, initially meant for breeding. But very soon, this changed to actively participating in the races. From 2002 on, both men have been racing together under the name Will and Falco Ebben from the loft behind Will’s house. And from that time, Falco has a small loft with breeders and some 20-30 later young pigeons who are trained there and who are later accustomed to Will’s loft. Since 2016, Falco has also been racing more seriously with the young pigeons and the achievements have soared.

Golden combination

Racing in combination is not always easy, because there can be two different opinions. This is, on occasion, also the case with Will and Falco of course, but in general, both men are of the same mind and compliment each other. Will is boss in the loft of Will and Falco, Falco reigns in the loft of the Combination Ebben. And although, sometimes, Falco finds Will someone of an older generation and less quickly inclined to implement changes, he is a very secure fancier who is 100% committed to the pigeons, especially during the season. Nothing is too much for him, because they must perform their best. He is very calm and believes in the quality of their pigeons and their system that has been successful for years now. He does not deviate from this. He doesn’t panic quickly after a less successful race and would for instance never reach for the medication pot in such a case.

Falco is perhaps more ambitious in another way. Just like Will, he follows all progress meticulously and he is super fanatical, but he is a bit more open to new developments in the system of racing. He is also continuously searching for even better pigeons and is willing to make changes in the loft. Will would never even change a shelf if it was not broken. However, in the loft, Falco is just as hard as his uncle. The pigeons have to perform, otherwise they can go. For instance, bought young pigeons, or the young pigeons from bought eggs, will almost always first be tested in the racing loft, before they earn a future place in the breeding loft. Of these pigeons, 90% will be discarded, but the other 10%, that is what they are looking for.

Partly because of his work, Falco comes into contact with all top fanciers in the sport and he hears a lot from them. At my question if this is an advantage or disadvantage, Falco says that he sees it as an advantage. But that is because he is very steadfast and not so easily swayed to bring in new pigeons, thus making the mistake of putting his own good pigeons on the back row. A mistake that many a fancier does make.

Achievements

It is too much to list all achievements of the last 20 years in this article. This is therefore a summary, perhaps somewhat extensive, in which the achievement of both lofts are intertwined. Since 2004, the men have won 10 NPO/national victories; 1st and 2nd NPO La Ferte Bernard (2004), 5,503 p., 1st NPO Freiburg (2007), 3,790 p., 1st and 2nd NPO Morlincourt (2008), 16,971 p., 1st NPO Châteaudun (2009), 9,957 p., 1st NPO Blois (2009), 7,917 p., 1st NPO Blois (2012), 3,581 p., 1st NPO Orléans (2013), 4,000 p., 1st, 2nd and 3rd NPO Laon (2016), 5,836 p., 1st National Châteaudun (2018), 12,511 p. and 1st and 2nd NPO Melun (2018), 1,295 p. And in addition to this, their local and regional victories are almost limitless.

In the national competitions, they have performed fantastically for many years now. I will only name the victories of the last few years here. 2nd National champion young pigeons NPO non-nominated 2016 and 5th nominated 2016, 6th National champion young pigeons middle-distance NPO (non-nominated) 2019, 7th National champion young pigeons NPO (non-nominated) 2017 and 7th National champion young pigeons speed NPO (non-nominated) 2019.

Also in the classification of the One-day Long-distance Fondspiegel, they have been scoring super in their category for years. They were for instance 2nd Leader classification One-day Long-distance Fondspiegel Young 2014-2016, 3rd Leader classification One-day Long-distance Fondspiegel Young 2017-2019, and 6th Leader classification One-day Long-distance Young 2016-2018. In the for us very well-known Gouden Duif competition, they won a title ‘Superstar of the month’ speed in 2018 and 2nd ‘Superstar of the month’ middle-distance in 2019.

The pigeons

Since they started with the pigeon sport, the men have been achieving well. When, in 1998, they bought their first pigeons from Ad Schaerlaeckens in Baarle-Nassau, the results accelerated. Will & Falco always remained loyal to Ad Schaerlaeckens and they still visit him regularly when they need fresh blood for their stock. It is therefore the Schaerlaeckens pigeons that form the basis of their current stock. Which doesn’t mean that the men are not sometimes buying other breeds to try to improve their stock. In the past they have also been successful with pigeons from Nico-Jan Koenders and the late Arie van Beek, and at present they seem to get results with some pigeons from vet Mariën and a hen from Peter Janssen.

The men believe that their good results come from their ruthless selection. Because both of them only have a loft of 6-7 meters, there is not much space available. Will’s loft has only 12 couples old pigeons, who are raced on double widowhood. Some 30 young pigeons are weaned. Falco breeds more than 40 young pigeons for himself. In total they have 9 breeding couples, 6 with Falco and 3 with Will.

Because of the limited space, only the very best pigeons are allowed to stay. Their goal is to only keep pigeons who, besides a very high prize percentage, also win 50% of the prizes per ten. However, this is not feasible. They only keep pigeons who have shown that they can fly in the lead. After a few years, the very best racers are transferred to the breeding loft. With the idea that they have a better chance of a good pigeon. A few top breeders really stand out.

 

‘Roosje’

You may call the hen ‘Roosje’ (NL03-2083516) a stock mother. ‘Roosje’ was bred out of a 100% Klak pigeon by way of the late Arie van Beek, and she was an excellent racer. She won among others 1st NPO La Ferte Bernard 5,503 p. (6 minutes in the lead!), 1st Duffel 2,450 p., 1st Vierzon 588 p. (12th NPO 3,648 p.),

1st Strombeek 2,307 p., 1st Bourges 675 p. (153rd NPO 4,886 p.) and 1st Morlincourt 1,374 p.

In the breeding loft however, she proved her worth even more. Descendants from ‘Roosje’ won at least 7 x 1st NPO/National! And another good thing, the offspring is equally good. She is for instance the grandmother of Diablo, 1st NPO Morlincourt 16,971 p., coupled with Indy, the father of Linus, 1st national Châteaudun.

NL03-2083516

‘Indy’

‘Indy’, NL13-1921958, is the absolute superstar of the last years. She comes out of an egg acquired from Ad Schaerlaeckens and was truly a phenomenal racing pigeon. She flew among others 6 times a first prize with 1st Soissons 2,538 p., 1st Bourges 1,583 p. (4th NPO 6,187 p.), 1st Meaux 1,473 p. (3rd NPO 3,044 p.), 1st Salbris 279 p. (2nd NPO 4,026 p.), 1st Châteauroux 302 p. (14th NPO 2,304 p.) and 1st Asse Zellik 213 p. Her father is the 10-880 and comes from the line of Ad’s well known ‘Home Alone’ x ‘t Goed Boeckxje’ x sister ‘Cas’, 1st NPO Blois 75,000 p. Her mother is ‘Josua’, 11-375, from Jos Goesen Gronsveld out of his star breeder ‘De Argenton’. After her imposing racing career, she proves to be worth her weight in gold in the breeding loft. She has already given many top pigeons. Together with ‘Diablo’, she gave probably her best son, ‘Linus’.

NL13-1921958

‘Linus’

‘Linus’, 16-131094, the new superstar in the Ebben loft. In 2018 alone, he won nine prizes, 1:25 in participating eleven times, among which 4 x 1st. He finished four times in the fastest six of the release. His best achievement are 1st National Châteaudun 12,511 p., 1st Niergnies 425 p. (4th fastest 12,634 p.),

1st Niergnies 348 p. (6th fastest 10,693 p.), 1st Duffel 386 p. (14th of 4,870 p.). And these prizes were won in 2018 alone! During the 2018 season, he proved himself a super on the middle-distance. The goal of the Ebben men is however to excel in the long-distance races. Because of adverse weather, the first two long-distance races were cancelled. When the third race drew near, Will indicated that he wanted to basket Linus for the national Châteaudun. But Falco hesitated because he also stood at the top of the pigeon championship middle-distance of the department. But Will was adamant. The goal is achieving in the long-distance and then you have to enter your best. And the men never regretted this decision. In the first long-distance race of his career, Linus won a 1st national. That he moved to the breeding loft after his victory on National Châteaudun, will not surprise anybody.

NL16-1310994

System

It will by now be apparent that both men only have a small accommodation and not many racing pigeons. From Will’s loft, the old pigeons are raced on double widowhood, in order to have a few more racing pigeons. They have largely copied this system from Willem de Bruijn, whose film the Koerier from the early ’90 they have watched very carefully. The hens are training with the young pigeons. This started when Will was still working and he has always kept it so, because it works well. The pigeons are free in the loft but, when necessary, Will has the possibility to lock a few hens in if they start to pair among themselves. The pigeons with Will only train in the morning. They only get fed in the afternoon.

Until this year, in Falco’s loft only the young pigeons were raced, and more seriously from 2016. Falco took his motivation among others from the method in which Bernard van Oerle, from Team GPS, stunted with the young pigeons, and together they exchanged experiences, which brought the achievements to a higher level.

Firstly, he began to keep the double amount of young pigeons. From just over 20 to between 40-50 young. Still not many, but enough for serious participation. Secondly, he began to train a lot more with the youngsters. Before the season, they are often taken for training flights and also during the first few weeks of the season when races with a night in the basket are scheduled. Falco is lucky that, because of his profession, he frequently has to travel to locations that are on the racing line. He certainly attributes the success of the first races to this.

From the moment that races with two nights basket are scheduled, the pigeons are only training from home in the mornings. Then they have enough training kilometres in the wings. Because he races according to the sliding-door method with the young pigeons, they are responding well to this. That Falco is super fanatical and very good for his pigeons, also shows in the many vlogs that he places on YouTube. It is really interesting to watch and follow these. It showed me for instance that he squirts water into the crop of the young pigeons before basketing. A clever tip.

Medically too Falco has begun to keep a closer control. Will and Falco have every confidence in vet Mariën. This is a very competent vet and pigeon expert. They also use his minerals and condition powder, and Falco uses the condition syrup as well. Mariën is known to only intervene medically when it is absolutely necessary. However, Falco has noticed that with young pigeons, you have to keep a closer medical control. Will is adverse to medication, but Falco sees the benefits. He sometimes gives the youngsters something for the respiratory tract when he believes it necessary.

Both men believe that feeding the pigeons is very important. Though they differ a little in the method. A few years ago Falco created, together with Team GPS and Ben de Keijzer, a basis mixture to the ideas of vet Mariën and his own views. This basis mixture, which is very light, has a relatively high percentage of maize and paddy rice, not many peas and no wheat. Regularly, Falco supplements this mixture with 20% extra paddy rice, especially before the shorter races, and he feeds enough but not in excess. Small hand by small hand. When coming home from a race, they have to recuperate well, but in the beginning of the week, he keeps them under close control. Will however, believes in giving plenty of feed to the pigeons, as you can see in the clips on YouTube. He gives the pigeons the same basis mixture as Falco. Pigeons need reserves in case they get off course. Cocks always get a full tray and the hens are fed plentiful too. Before a long-distance race, they also get extra candy seed, peanuts and maize.

 

New direction

From this season on, Falco is also going to race with old pigeons. He has altered his loft so that he can race about twelve couples on double widowhood. The reason for this is simple. The racing programme for young pigeons has over the last years been much too sensitive to changes and had not enough races. Looking after the pigeons for a full season and keeping them in top form for only a few races, which were not even guaranteed, became too much for Falco. Of course, he had envisioned the 2020 season a bit different. While writing this article, we just had the message that we can possibly race in the Netherlands again, as long as we release in the Netherlands or Germany, but how the future will enfold is still very uncertain.

 

Super race Quievrain

Before finishing this article, I want to pay attention to their super achievement on Quievrain. If this is the best result ever, I can’t say, but it comes close. For this race, Falco basketed 14 young pigeons, who all won a prize, and how.

Against 5,139 pigeons, he finished 1-2-3-4-5-7-8-9-10-92-168-206-525 and 529.

Falco has no real explanation for this unbelievable result, other than that he had noticed that the pigeons were getting in better and better form. Probably, in this race everything came together, form, wind, direction and so forth. Notable as well is that two nest-sisters won prize 1 and 2, Odessa and Orea out of Icarus (A.S.) and Hadenna (out of Cyrus, father Diablo, and a daughter Olympiade 003). Place 3 was for Orpheus, 19-483, a pure Ad Schaerlaeckens, out of Lex (son 006) x Ilze (line Super Leo x Lucia Luc van Mechelen). This cock won 14th best young pigeon in the competition the Allerbeste (Best of All).

Will and Falco are very driven fanciers, who will do anything to perform well. It is important to observe your pigeons well and to notice everything, as far as possible. There is also a pleasant atmosphere in the Ebben lofts; pigeons feel at home there and the men believe that this is essential. Their goal for the coming years is besides performing well, finding another super breeder like ‘Roosje’ or ‘Indy’. Given the quality in their lofts and the almost maniacal ambition of both men, I would be surprised if 10 NPO victories would be the end.

 

Rodger

 

 

 

NL03-2083516 ‘ROOSJE’

 

1st NPO La Ferte Bernard 5,503 p.

(6 minutes in the lead)

1st Duffel 2,450 p.

1st Strombeek 2,307 p.

1st Morlincourt 1,374 p.

1st Bourges 675 p.

1st Vierzon 588 p.

12th NPO 3,648 p.

 

Stock mother Will & Falco Ebben

 

Bred out of a 100% Klak cock

(by way of the late Arie van Beek) x a hen line ’46 Verbart’.

 

Descendants of ‘Roosje’ won

at least 7 x 1st NPO/National!

She is among others grandmother of Diablo,

1st NPO Morlincourt, 16,971 p.,

who, coupled with Indy, is the father

of Linus, 1st national (sector 3)

Châteaudun.

 

 

 

NL13-1921958 ‘INDY’

 

(breeder: Ad Schaerlaeckens)

 

1st Soissons 2,538 p.

1st Bourges 1,583 p.

4th NPO 6,187 p.

1st Meaux 1,473 p.

3rd NPO 3,044 p.

1st Salbris 279 p.

2nd NPO 4,026 p.

1st Châteauroux 302 p.

14th NPO 2,304 p.

1st Asse Zellik 213 p.

8th Lessines 2,608 p.

9th Soissons 3,147 p.

22nd Reims 4,226 p.

 

Mother ‘Linus’!

 

 

 

NL16-1310994 ‘LINUS’

 

1st National S3 Châteaudun 12,511 p.

3rd Quievrain 366 p.

3rd Niergnies 5,524 p. (1-425)

4th fastest 12,624 p.

5th Niergnies 4,549 p. (1-348)

6th fastest 10,693 p.

14th Duffel 4,870 p. (1-386)

15th Vervins 4,955 p.

15th Moeskroen 1,743 p.

23rd NPO Châteaudun 3,543 p.

24th Asse Zellik 2,480 p.

37th Chimay 5,394 p.

 

V: NL08-1241483 ‘Diablo’

AA-gen genotype

1st NPO Morlincourt 16,971 p.

M: NL13-1921958 ‘Indy’

A-gen genotype

Ad Schaerlaeckens

6 x 1st prize

G.V.: NL07-1513778 ‘Cyrus’

A-gen genotype

Father/grandfather of 1st NPO Morlincourt 16,971 p., 1st National S3

Châteaudun 12,511 p., 1st NPO Troyes 6,440 p., 1st NPO Orleans 4,000 p.

 

Son ‘Zlatan’ (2nd Best Cock WHZB NL from Nico Jan Koenders) x ‘Roosje’

(stock mother W&F Ebben)

G.M.: NL02-1282791 ‘Cynthia’

A-gen genotype

1st Ace pigeon young combination

3rd Provincial Ace pigeon young 2002

2nd NPO La Ferte 5,503 p.

Daughter ‘Nestbroer Super 27’ x ‘Bontje’ (mother 6 different 1st prize winners)

G.V.: NL10-1769880 ‘Head And Tail’

2nd Creil 5,704 p., 6th St. Quentin 772 p.

7th Argenton 2,126 p. (1-127)

Grandson ‘Home Alone’

G.M.: NL11-1024375 ‘Josua’

Jos Goessen

Daughter ‘Argenton’ (3 x top 10 NPO and

super breeder) x ‘Sophie’ (75% Vandenabeele)

 

 

 

Results 2018 & 2019

(combined results W&F Ebben and Combination Ebben)

 

2018

20/05 Niergnies (250 km), 348 p., 21 entered, 18 prizes:

1-3-4-5-6-9-10-18-19-25-38-33 and further

26/05 NPO Pithiviers (475 km), 3,508 p., 9 entered, 5 prizes:

4-7 and further

23/06 NPO Châteaudun (517 km), 2,878 p., 16 entered, 13 prizes:

1-21-43-64-82-83-95-190 and further

30/06 Nanteuil le Haudouin (362 km), 1,928 p., 9 entered, 7 prizes:

3-68-68 and further

21/07 Duffel (112 km), 1,397 p., 21 entered, 16 prizes:

17-18-19-32-35-38-40-95 and further

04/08 Bierges (142 km), 3,094 p., 20 entered, 15 prizes:

7-19-21-25-59-62-73-75-77-80-81 and further

11/08 Niergnies (252 km), 2,594 p., 25 entered, 18 prizes:

1-2-3-4-8-9-82-88-91-119-223-224-227-239 and further

24/08 Péronne (283 km), 1,556 p., 10 entered, 7 prizes:

1-9-77-84 and further

01/09 Nanteuil (362 km), 1,490 p., 10 entered, 9 prizes:

4-5-8-9-40-67-73 and further

15/09 NPO Melun (419 km), 1,295 p., 20 entered, 14 prizes:

1-2-10-14-17-19-33-34-92 and further

 

2019

13/04 Bierges (142 km), 871 p., 20 entered, 15 prizes:

1-5-6-18-19-27-49-51 and further

15/06 Chalons and Champagne (336 km), 641 p., 10 entered, 7 prizes:

2-6-7-8-9-66 and further

22/06 Tienen (126 km), 2,846 p., 22 entered, 14 prizes:

2-4-20-21-32-37-60-76-81-102-103-109-226-214 and further

29/06 Morlincourt (311 km), 4,028 p., 10 entered, 9 prizes:

4-27-31-32 and further

13/07 Reims (312 km), 1,427 p., 9 entered, 7 prizes:

16-39-44-57 and further

03/08 Niergnies (252 km), 1,549 p., 17 entered, 12 prizes:

4-7-21-28-45-79-150-155 and further

03/08 Vierzon NPO (575 km), 3,345 p., 8 entered, 8 prizes:

43-45-49-74-76-102 and further

16/08 Nanteuil NPO (363 km), 1,879 p., 17 entered, 12 prizes:

4-8-11-24-30-45-47-61-67-130-154-185 and further

25/08 Quievrain (209 km), 5,139 p., 14 entered, 14 prizes:

1-2-3-4-5-7-8-9-10-92-168-206 and further

07/09 Niergnies (252 km), 2,499 p., 11 entered, 8 prizes:

4-13-28-83-88-121-144-183

14/09 Melun NPO (419 km), 2,659 p., 10 entered, 9 prizes:

11-19-25-68-86-88-97-213

 

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Will & Falco Ebben
Mini-loft with maxi-results

4 June 2020

In the beautiful landscape of Gelderland, on the borders of the river Waal, are the villages Boven- and Beneden Leeuwen. Despite that they are both relatively small villages, both have a rich history. The second part of the name, Leeuwen, comes from the Old Germanic word hlaiwa, meaning burial mound and evidence that people have been living in this area since the beginning of our era. Also, over the years, many artefacts from Roman times have been found, indicating that this region had an important military function and that the still existing Zandstraat was an important passage way to Noviomagus, the present city of Nijmegen.

 

And this small in size and rich in history can also be applied to the pigeon sport and the main characters of this article. The title of this article refers to the website of these men: Small lofts, Great Results. And there never was a truer word. Uncle Will (70) lives in Beneden-Leeuwen, and from behind his house they have been racing on a high level for many years with old and young pigeons under the name Will and Falco Ebben. Falco (44) lives in Boven-Leeuwen. Behind his house is the loft from where they have been racing with young pigeons (until 2019) under the name Combination Ebben, and from both lofts, for many years now, at top level. You are allowed to say that when you have already won 10 NPO victories and are listed with great regularity among the national champions.

Falco is of course no stranger in the sport. His company Pigeon Pixels is well known and he has photographed many good pigeons. He was also one of the people who revived the Dutch Fondspiegel and he has made some very interesting pigeon films. In contrast to many other cases, here it was the younger generation that gave the older generation the pigeon bug. In 1990, Falco was the one who became interested in the pigeon sport. From a very young age, his heart went out to animals in general and through a pigeon that he captured at the local brick kiln he became interested in the pigeon sport. He wanted to buy some pigeons from a local fancier, but that was not possible. He could have them for free and this fancier really helped him a lot in the sport. Falco calls him a true ambassador, of whom there should be more. From his very first race, he found it all fantastic.

A year later, Falco managed to motivate his uncle Will for the pigeon sport as well. Behind his house, a small loft was built with pigeons, initially meant for breeding. But very soon, this changed to actively participating in the races. From 2002 on, both men have been racing together under the name Will and Falco Ebben from the loft behind Will’s house. And from that time, Falco has a small loft with breeders and some 20-30 later young pigeons who are trained there and who are later accustomed to Will’s loft. Since 2016, Falco has also been racing more seriously with the young pigeons and the achievements have soared.

Golden combination

Racing in combination is not always easy, because there can be two different opinions. This is, on occasion, also the case with Will and Falco of course, but in general, both men are of the same mind and compliment each other. Will is boss in the loft of Will and Falco, Falco reigns in the loft of the Combination Ebben. And although, sometimes, Falco finds Will someone of an older generation and less quickly inclined to implement changes, he is a very secure fancier who is 100% committed to the pigeons, especially during the season. Nothing is too much for him, because they must perform their best. He is very calm and believes in the quality of their pigeons and their system that has been successful for years now. He does not deviate from this. He doesn’t panic quickly after a less successful race and would for instance never reach for the medication pot in such a case.

Falco is perhaps more ambitious in another way. Just like Will, he follows all progress meticulously and he is super fanatical, but he is a bit more open to new developments in the system of racing. He is also continuously searching for even better pigeons and is willing to make changes in the loft. Will would never even change a shelf if it was not broken. However, in the loft, Falco is just as hard as his uncle. The pigeons have to perform, otherwise they can go. For instance, bought young pigeons, or the young pigeons from bought eggs, will almost always first be tested in the racing loft, before they earn a future place in the breeding loft. Of these pigeons, 90% will be discarded, but the other 10%, that is what they are looking for.

Partly because of his work, Falco comes into contact with all top fanciers in the sport and he hears a lot from them. At my question if this is an advantage or disadvantage, Falco says that he sees it as an advantage. But that is because he is very steadfast and not so easily swayed to bring in new pigeons, thus making the mistake of putting his own good pigeons on the back row. A mistake that many a fancier does make.

Achievements

It is too much to list all achievements of the last 20 years in this article. This is therefore a summary, perhaps somewhat extensive, in which the achievement of both lofts are intertwined. Since 2004, the men have won 10 NPO/national victories; 1st and 2nd NPO La Ferte Bernard (2004), 5,503 p., 1st NPO Freiburg (2007), 3,790 p., 1st and 2nd NPO Morlincourt (2008), 16,971 p., 1st NPO Châteaudun (2009), 9,957 p., 1st NPO Blois (2009), 7,917 p., 1st NPO Blois (2012), 3,581 p., 1st NPO Orléans (2013), 4,000 p., 1st, 2nd and 3rd NPO Laon (2016), 5,836 p., 1st National Châteaudun (2018), 12,511 p. and 1st and 2nd NPO Melun (2018), 1,295 p. And in addition to this, their local and regional victories are almost limitless.

In the national competitions, they have performed fantastically for many years now. I will only name the victories of the last few years here. 2nd National champion young pigeons NPO non-nominated 2016 and 5th nominated 2016, 6th National champion young pigeons middle-distance NPO (non-nominated) 2019, 7th National champion young pigeons NPO (non-nominated) 2017 and 7th National champion young pigeons speed NPO (non-nominated) 2019.

Also in the classification of the One-day Long-distance Fondspiegel, they have been scoring super in their category for years. They were for instance 2nd Leader classification One-day Long-distance Fondspiegel Young 2014-2016, 3rd Leader classification One-day Long-distance Fondspiegel Young 2017-2019, and 6th Leader classification One-day Long-distance Young 2016-2018. In the for us very well-known Gouden Duif competition, they won a title ‘Superstar of the month’ speed in 2018 and 2nd ‘Superstar of the month’ middle-distance in 2019.

The pigeons

Since they started with the pigeon sport, the men have been achieving well. When, in 1998, they bought their first pigeons from Ad Schaerlaeckens in Baarle-Nassau, the results accelerated. Will & Falco always remained loyal to Ad Schaerlaeckens and they still visit him regularly when they need fresh blood for their stock. It is therefore the Schaerlaeckens pigeons that form the basis of their current stock. Which doesn’t mean that the men are not sometimes buying other breeds to try to improve their stock. In the past they have also been successful with pigeons from Nico-Jan Koenders and the late Arie van Beek, and at present they seem to get results with some pigeons from vet Mariën and a hen from Peter Janssen.

The men believe that their good results come from their ruthless selection. Because both of them only have a loft of 6-7 meters, there is not much space available. Will’s loft has only 12 couples old pigeons, who are raced on double widowhood. Some 30 young pigeons are weaned. Falco breeds more than 40 young pigeons for himself. In total they have 9 breeding couples, 6 with Falco and 3 with Will.

Because of the limited space, only the very best pigeons are allowed to stay. Their goal is to only keep pigeons who, besides a very high prize percentage, also win 50% of the prizes per ten. However, this is not feasible. They only keep pigeons who have shown that they can fly in the lead. After a few years, the very best racers are transferred to the breeding loft. With the idea that they have a better chance of a good pigeon. A few top breeders really stand out.

 

‘Roosje’

You may call the hen ‘Roosje’ (NL03-2083516) a stock mother. ‘Roosje’ was bred out of a 100% Klak pigeon by way of the late Arie van Beek, and she was an excellent racer. She won among others 1st NPO La Ferte Bernard 5,503 p. (6 minutes in the lead!), 1st Duffel 2,450 p., 1st Vierzon 588 p. (12th NPO 3,648 p.),

1st Strombeek 2,307 p., 1st Bourges 675 p. (153rd NPO 4,886 p.) and 1st Morlincourt 1,374 p.

In the breeding loft however, she proved her worth even more. Descendants from ‘Roosje’ won at least 7 x 1st NPO/National! And another good thing, the offspring is equally good. She is for instance the grandmother of Diablo, 1st NPO Morlincourt 16,971 p., coupled with Indy, the father of Linus, 1st national Châteaudun.

NL03-2083516

‘Indy’

‘Indy’, NL13-1921958, is the absolute superstar of the last years. She comes out of an egg acquired from Ad Schaerlaeckens and was truly a phenomenal racing pigeon. She flew among others 6 times a first prize with 1st Soissons 2,538 p., 1st Bourges 1,583 p. (4th NPO 6,187 p.), 1st Meaux 1,473 p. (3rd NPO 3,044 p.), 1st Salbris 279 p. (2nd NPO 4,026 p.), 1st Châteauroux 302 p. (14th NPO 2,304 p.) and 1st Asse Zellik 213 p. Her father is the 10-880 and comes from the line of Ad’s well known ‘Home Alone’ x ‘t Goed Boeckxje’ x sister ‘Cas’, 1st NPO Blois 75,000 p. Her mother is ‘Josua’, 11-375, from Jos Goesen Gronsveld out of his star breeder ‘De Argenton’. After her imposing racing career, she proves to be worth her weight in gold in the breeding loft. She has already given many top pigeons. Together with ‘Diablo’, she gave probably her best son, ‘Linus’.

NL13-1921958

‘Linus’

‘Linus’, 16-131094, the new superstar in the Ebben loft. In 2018 alone, he won nine prizes, 1:25 in participating eleven times, among which 4 x 1st. He finished four times in the fastest six of the release. His best achievement are 1st National Châteaudun 12,511 p., 1st Niergnies 425 p. (4th fastest 12,634 p.),

1st Niergnies 348 p. (6th fastest 10,693 p.), 1st Duffel 386 p. (14th of 4,870 p.). And these prizes were won in 2018 alone! During the 2018 season, he proved himself a super on the middle-distance. The goal of the Ebben men is however to excel in the long-distance races. Because of adverse weather, the first two long-distance races were cancelled. When the third race drew near, Will indicated that he wanted to basket Linus for the national Châteaudun. But Falco hesitated because he also stood at the top of the pigeon championship middle-distance of the department. But Will was adamant. The goal is achieving in the long-distance and then you have to enter your best. And the men never regretted this decision. In the first long-distance race of his career, Linus won a 1st national. That he moved to the breeding loft after his victory on National Châteaudun, will not surprise anybody.

NL16-1310994

System

It will by now be apparent that both men only have a small accommodation and not many racing pigeons. From Will’s loft, the old pigeons are raced on double widowhood, in order to have a few more racing pigeons. They have largely copied this system from Willem de Bruijn, whose film the Koerier from the early ’90 they have watched very carefully. The hens are training with the young pigeons. This started when Will was still working and he has always kept it so, because it works well. The pigeons are free in the loft but, when necessary, Will has the possibility to lock a few hens in if they start to pair among themselves. The pigeons with Will only train in the morning. They only get fed in the afternoon.

Until this year, in Falco’s loft only the young pigeons were raced, and more seriously from 2016. Falco took his motivation among others from the method in which Bernard van Oerle, from Team GPS, stunted with the young pigeons, and together they exchanged experiences, which brought the achievements to a higher level.

Firstly, he began to keep the double amount of young pigeons. From just over 20 to between 40-50 young. Still not many, but enough for serious participation. Secondly, he began to train a lot more with the youngsters. Before the season, they are often taken for training flights and also during the first few weeks of the season when races with a night in the basket are scheduled. Falco is lucky that, because of his profession, he frequently has to travel to locations that are on the racing line. He certainly attributes the success of the first races to this.

From the moment that races with two nights basket are scheduled, the pigeons are only training from home in the mornings. Then they have enough training kilometres in the wings. Because he races according to the sliding-door method with the young pigeons, they are responding well to this. That Falco is super fanatical and very good for his pigeons, also shows in the many vlogs that he places on YouTube. It is really interesting to watch and follow these. It showed me for instance that he squirts water into the crop of the young pigeons before basketing. A clever tip.

Medically too Falco has begun to keep a closer control. Will and Falco have every confidence in vet Mariën. This is a very competent vet and pigeon expert. They also use his minerals and condition powder, and Falco uses the condition syrup as well. Mariën is known to only intervene medically when it is absolutely necessary. However, Falco has noticed that with young pigeons, you have to keep a closer medical control. Will is adverse to medication, but Falco sees the benefits. He sometimes gives the youngsters something for the respiratory tract when he believes it necessary.

Both men believe that feeding the pigeons is very important. Though they differ a little in the method. A few years ago Falco created, together with Team GPS and Ben de Keijzer, a basis mixture to the ideas of vet Mariën and his own views. This basis mixture, which is very light, has a relatively high percentage of maize and paddy rice, not many peas and no wheat. Regularly, Falco supplements this mixture with 20% extra paddy rice, especially before the shorter races, and he feeds enough but not in excess. Small hand by small hand. When coming home from a race, they have to recuperate well, but in the beginning of the week, he keeps them under close control. Will however, believes in giving plenty of feed to the pigeons, as you can see in the clips on YouTube. He gives the pigeons the same basis mixture as Falco. Pigeons need reserves in case they get off course. Cocks always get a full tray and the hens are fed plentiful too. Before a long-distance race, they also get extra candy seed, peanuts and maize.

 

New direction

From this season on, Falco is also going to race with old pigeons. He has altered his loft so that he can race about twelve couples on double widowhood. The reason for this is simple. The racing programme for young pigeons has over the last years been much too sensitive to changes and had not enough races. Looking after the pigeons for a full season and keeping them in top form for only a few races, which were not even guaranteed, became too much for Falco. Of course, he had envisioned the 2020 season a bit different. While writing this article, we just had the message that we can possibly race in the Netherlands again, as long as we release in the Netherlands or Germany, but how the future will enfold is still very uncertain.

 

Super race Quievrain

Before finishing this article, I want to pay attention to their super achievement on Quievrain. If this is the best result ever, I can’t say, but it comes close. For this race, Falco basketed 14 young pigeons, who all won a prize, and how.

Against 5,139 pigeons, he finished 1-2-3-4-5-7-8-9-10-92-168-206-525 and 529.

Falco has no real explanation for this unbelievable result, other than that he had noticed that the pigeons were getting in better and better form. Probably, in this race everything came together, form, wind, direction and so forth. Notable as well is that two nest-sisters won prize 1 and 2, Odessa and Orea out of Icarus (A.S.) and Hadenna (out of Cyrus, father Diablo, and a daughter Olympiade 003). Place 3 was for Orpheus, 19-483, a pure Ad Schaerlaeckens, out of Lex (son 006) x Ilze (line Super Leo x Lucia Luc van Mechelen). This cock won 14th best young pigeon in the competition the Allerbeste (Best of All).

Will and Falco are very driven fanciers, who will do anything to perform well. It is important to observe your pigeons well and to notice everything, as far as possible. There is also a pleasant atmosphere in the Ebben lofts; pigeons feel at home there and the men believe that this is essential. Their goal for the coming years is besides performing well, finding another super breeder like ‘Roosje’ or ‘Indy’. Given the quality in their lofts and the almost maniacal ambition of both men, I would be surprised if 10 NPO victories would be the end.

 

Rodger

 

 

 

NL03-2083516 ‘ROOSJE’

 

1st NPO La Ferte Bernard 5,503 p.

(6 minutes in the lead)

1st Duffel 2,450 p.

1st Strombeek 2,307 p.

1st Morlincourt 1,374 p.

1st Bourges 675 p.

1st Vierzon 588 p.

12th NPO 3,648 p.

 

Stock mother Will & Falco Ebben

 

Bred out of a 100% Klak cock

(by way of the late Arie van Beek) x a hen line ’46 Verbart’.

 

Descendants of ‘Roosje’ won

at least 7 x 1st NPO/National!

She is among others grandmother of Diablo,

1st NPO Morlincourt, 16,971 p.,

who, coupled with Indy, is the father

of Linus, 1st national (sector 3)

Châteaudun.

 

 

 

NL13-1921958 ‘INDY’

 

(breeder: Ad Schaerlaeckens)

 

1st Soissons 2,538 p.

1st Bourges 1,583 p.

4th NPO 6,187 p.

1st Meaux 1,473 p.

3rd NPO 3,044 p.

1st Salbris 279 p.

2nd NPO 4,026 p.

1st Châteauroux 302 p.

14th NPO 2,304 p.

1st Asse Zellik 213 p.

8th Lessines 2,608 p.

9th Soissons 3,147 p.

22nd Reims 4,226 p.

 

Mother ‘Linus’!

 

 

 

NL16-1310994 ‘LINUS’

 

1st National S3 Châteaudun 12,511 p.

3rd Quievrain 366 p.

3rd Niergnies 5,524 p. (1-425)

4th fastest 12,624 p.

5th Niergnies 4,549 p. (1-348)

6th fastest 10,693 p.

14th Duffel 4,870 p. (1-386)

15th Vervins 4,955 p.

15th Moeskroen 1,743 p.

23rd NPO Châteaudun 3,543 p.

24th Asse Zellik 2,480 p.

37th Chimay 5,394 p.

 

V: NL08-1241483 ‘Diablo’

AA-gen genotype

1st NPO Morlincourt 16,971 p.

M: NL13-1921958 ‘Indy’

A-gen genotype

Ad Schaerlaeckens

6 x 1st prize

G.V.: NL07-1513778 ‘Cyrus’

A-gen genotype

Father/grandfather of 1st NPO Morlincourt 16,971 p., 1st National S3

Châteaudun 12,511 p., 1st NPO Troyes 6,440 p., 1st NPO Orleans 4,000 p.

 

Son ‘Zlatan’ (2nd Best Cock WHZB NL from Nico Jan Koenders) x ‘Roosje’

(stock mother W&F Ebben)

G.M.: NL02-1282791 ‘Cynthia’

A-gen genotype

1st Ace pigeon young combination

3rd Provincial Ace pigeon young 2002

2nd NPO La Ferte 5,503 p.

Daughter ‘Nestbroer Super 27’ x ‘Bontje’ (mother 6 different 1st prize winners)

G.V.: NL10-1769880 ‘Head And Tail’

2nd Creil 5,704 p., 6th St. Quentin 772 p.

7th Argenton 2,126 p. (1-127)

Grandson ‘Home Alone’

G.M.: NL11-1024375 ‘Josua’

Jos Goessen

Daughter ‘Argenton’ (3 x top 10 NPO and

super breeder) x ‘Sophie’ (75% Vandenabeele)

 

 

 

Results 2018 & 2019

(combined results W&F Ebben and Combination Ebben)

 

2018

20/05 Niergnies (250 km), 348 p., 21 entered, 18 prizes:

1-3-4-5-6-9-10-18-19-25-38-33 and further

26/05 NPO Pithiviers (475 km), 3,508 p., 9 entered, 5 prizes:

4-7 and further

23/06 NPO Châteaudun (517 km), 2,878 p., 16 entered, 13 prizes:

1-21-43-64-82-83-95-190 and further

30/06 Nanteuil le Haudouin (362 km), 1,928 p., 9 entered, 7 prizes:

3-68-68 and further

21/07 Duffel (112 km), 1,397 p., 21 entered, 16 prizes:

17-18-19-32-35-38-40-95 and further

04/08 Bierges (142 km), 3,094 p., 20 entered, 15 prizes:

7-19-21-25-59-62-73-75-77-80-81 and further

11/08 Niergnies (252 km), 2,594 p., 25 entered, 18 prizes:

1-2-3-4-8-9-82-88-91-119-223-224-227-239 and further

24/08 Péronne (283 km), 1,556 p., 10 entered, 7 prizes:

1-9-77-84 and further

01/09 Nanteuil (362 km), 1,490 p., 10 entered, 9 prizes:

4-5-8-9-40-67-73 and further

15/09 NPO Melun (419 km), 1,295 p., 20 entered, 14 prizes:

1-2-10-14-17-19-33-34-92 and further

 

2019

13/04 Bierges (142 km), 871 p., 20 entered, 15 prizes:

1-5-6-18-19-27-49-51 and further

15/06 Chalons and Champagne (336 km), 641 p., 10 entered, 7 prizes:

2-6-7-8-9-66 and further

22/06 Tienen (126 km), 2,846 p., 22 entered, 14 prizes:

2-4-20-21-32-37-60-76-81-102-103-109-226-214 and further

29/06 Morlincourt (311 km), 4,028 p., 10 entered, 9 prizes:

4-27-31-32 and further

13/07 Reims (312 km), 1,427 p., 9 entered, 7 prizes:

16-39-44-57 and further

03/08 Niergnies (252 km), 1,549 p., 17 entered, 12 prizes:

4-7-21-28-45-79-150-155 and further

03/08 Vierzon NPO (575 km), 3,345 p., 8 entered, 8 prizes:

43-45-49-74-76-102 and further

16/08 Nanteuil NPO (363 km), 1,879 p., 17 entered, 12 prizes:

4-8-11-24-30-45-47-61-67-130-154-185 and further

25/08 Quievrain (209 km), 5,139 p., 14 entered, 14 prizes:

1-2-3-4-5-7-8-9-10-92-168-206 and further

07/09 Niergnies (252 km), 2,499 p., 11 entered, 8 prizes:

4-13-28-83-88-121-144-183

14/09 Melun NPO (419 km), 2,659 p., 10 entered, 9 prizes:

11-19-25-68-86-88-97-213

 

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