Introduction: Henk van Limpt
Henk van Limpt is based on short, middle and one-day flights on direct pigeons of Janssen brothers (Arendonk) and Jos van Limpt - de Klak (Reusel). For the long distance they have direct pigeons from Kuypers brothers, Jan Hermans, Wilfried Stiel and van Zelderen brothers (aarden). From 1971 till 2004 Henk van Limpt was 29 years the first general champions in Reusel against lofts as Jos van Limpt- de Klak, Borgmans brothers, Gijbels brothers and so on. In 2004 van Limpt-Prut were in Oost-Brabant fond club Zuider-Kempen against 3800 fanciers:
- 1st nominated 2
- 1st ace pigeon
- 2nd loft champion
- 1st Zuider-Kempen cup
History: Henk van Limp
As a young boy he was known as the "Bean" because of his small stature. One day when friends called for him they asked "is the "Bean playing?" his brothers replied "no and anyway we don't call him the bean anymore his name is "Prut", come and see" as at the time he was suffering with an eye condition known as "prut" Even to this day Jans' grandchildren are known as "De Prut" in fact these nick names are so official when you look in a telephone directory there you will see them after their surnames.
In the late sixties Jan obtained two Janssen pigeons from a fancier by the name of Nant Elsen from Arendonck who had direct Janssens, this was unusual for a fancier other than the Janssen Brothers to have direct Janssens as the Brothers never sold their birds to the immediate competitors. Nant had come by these direct Janssens from a friend in Eindhoven whose wife was complaining that the birds cost too much money so Nant ceased the opportunity to purchase the birds.
A hen which was called the "Duif Nant" this was coupled with a Janssen cock from Adrianus Den Bol De Bruin Known as "Oude Bol" together these two pigeons produced many champions such as the Ottenbros who in his five years racing achieved 2x1st Ace pigeon and 2x2nd Ace pigeon competing in the then 4,500 member Zuiderkempen being beaten on one occasion by his nest brother the "16", more important though was that the descendents of the Ottenbros are still winning more than thirty years on!
From the early seventies Jan and his family made many visits to Arendonk where they obtained birds direct from the Brothers along with birds from his cousin Jos Van Limpt De Klak and De Bruin blended together they produced a family that not only won but also one that was sought after by many who are household names in the sport of pigeon racing.Sadly Jan Van Limpt De Prut passed away in 1979, racing on the Kruistraat continued under the name the family Van Limpt De Prut, this is a partnership made up of Jans three sons William, Martin and Henk along with their sister Carien and now Henks son Jan.
From the year 1971 through to 1999 they are twenty three times the First and Twice the Second General Champion, National victories include 2nd and 3rd Orleans against 87,000 birds, 1st N.P.O. National Clermont Ferrand 7,5000 birds, along with many multiple top combine positions, in East Brabant they are always at the top of the championships be it for individual pigeons or for loft performances, only last year they were "First National Young Bird Champion Rayon 3" and on it goes.
The blood of the "De Prut pigeons has been used by many top fanciers and can be found in many champion pigeons, a few that come to mind are Tini Van Herpen's "64", Zoontjes of Riel, Heesters, Gijbels, Van Kranens double National winner, Hans Broeders National Champion, Freek Romien, Van Gompel, Cor Buis, Pouw Brothers, National Ace pigeons such as the super pigeon the President of Joop Koch and the Hekken Klak, Leen Boers, here in the UK three Up North Combine winners have De Prut lines in them!
In total they keep 16 breeding couples which are paired as soon as the weather turns good in January, however this year they will be pairing a little earlier so they have youngsters in good feather for the later races, however, they do say that the later bred young birds always seem to make better birds. All the lofts are of timber construction with tiled roofs under which is a ceiling of half solid boards over the nest boxes with a latte area to the front half. The front elevation of both the young and old bird loft is a combination of opening windows and drop holes for trapping.
This year they will have 16 pair on the natural system, 12 widowhood cocks for the sprint racing and 20 cocks for the middle and long distance events. This probably sounds like a fair few pigeons but when you consider that they race from 60km miles right through to 1000km you have to have fresh pigeons to compete. In the natural loft different pigeons are selected for different distances and all of them are in agreement that playing with hens on the nest is as good as `playing widowhood`.
The natural pigeons are paired in the stages one month apart so has to have them peaking at different times, the widowers are paired the same time as the breeding pigeons. The birds are exercised twice a day and they tell me they are big believers in giving the birds training tosses and think that their father was the first in the area to train his pigeons this way, taking them 25km. Their reason for the training tosses is that its important that your pigeons leave the basket quickly. If the time allowed they would toss them five times a week but at the moment they just go twice a week.
When the natural pigeons are flying the short distance, a youngster of 1 - 8 days is preferred on the middle distance an eight-day youngster; this is also a good position for the cocks, which will also be sent driving. The other nest position they like for the hens is chipping eggs. The widowers are paired in the usual way when their youngsters are ten days old. The hens are removed and the cocks bring the youngsters up by themselves, then about one month before the first race they are put together until they have been sitting for eight days. At this stage the eggs and hen are removed and the cocks are on widowhood for their first race.
I asked Henk how they fed their birds and did it bother the older birds racing and feeding youngsters. As for the feeding the reply was each pigeon should be fed according to the amount of work you are going to ask it to do. The more work, the more food. The same mixture is given throughout the year along with a seed mix. As for the pigeons racing to youngsters their father told them that if a pigeon ever became ruffled around the neck when feeding the two youngsters the pigeon didn't have the quality to become a champion, and that all pigeons should be able to race and feed two youngsters, if not they are not up to the `Quality required`.
Although in Holland the trend appears to be `Loft Darkening` Henk and his brothers have only been darkening there's for the last few years, they are darkened for 13 -14 hours and from an early age are given there freedom after the old birds have been exercised and called in around three o clock in the afternoon and fed.
To give the youngsters an incentive small boxes are scattered about the loft, these are about 12" x 12" x 12" with a 6" opening on one side. In these they place a nest bowl and the youngsters are allowed to do as they wish. The youngsters are trained prior to the season and released basket by basket. After the private training they go then with the club on the transporter in readiness for the first race, after this again they are only trained at the most once or twice a week.
Henk has no complaints about youngsters that have been darkened and some of his best yearlings were subjected to loft darkening. In their first season as yearlings Henk has had them with one flight to moult when coupling them but he told me that is has never been a problem they just moult it as normal.
At the end of the season the birds are completely rested so they can enjoy a good moult after which they are treated for worms and vaccinated against paramyxovirus. The youngsters receive their paramyxovirus injection after six weeks of age. All the birds droppings are examined prior to breeding and once the pigeons are sitting eggs they are treated for Trichomonosis for six days. The droppings are also checked three times. Flying against such lofts as `De Klak`, Gijbels, Hiesters, `Borgmans Brothers` and many more since 1971 until 1999 they have been 24 times 1st General Champion and twice 2nd General Champion of Reusel. In the "Zuiderkempen " which has 3,700 members they have won just about every championship there is to be won over the years. Amongst the many provincial wins are Quivrain 1st, 4th, 6th, 10th, 17th etc. Soissons 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 15th, 18th, etc, Heverlee - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, 12th, Houdeng 1st & 5th. On the National races they have had many birds in the top ten, Jacky Durrand was 1st N.P.O. National 7,500 birds and I think all though Henk would never say his biggest disappointment was when they had two birds arrive at the loft together and instead of trapping one and clocking he trapped them both to only to finish 2nd & 3rd against 87,000 birds in the biggest race in the world the Orleans young bird National, in fact they lost the first place by two seconds.