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Noel Lippens of Belguim

The racing home of the world famouse "DE Vital" winner of 1st National Ace Pigeon Long Distance. 2nd Nat Montauban 6814 birds. 6th national Narbonne 6531 birds. 9th nat Cahors 8078 birds.

"De Vital" is sire, g-sire, g-g-sire etc of birds to win all over the world including the Gaby Vandenabeel "Champion Blikem"the pigeon of 2000.


The set up is brilliant and the view is just as good for this loft and bungalow that is set in grounds that are a pleasure to be in and built with pigeons in mind. I have had the information on this National winning fancier for well over 12 months but have been unable to get the full facts together but as with all reports we get there in the end and even now I have had to collect more information on the recent results. I am going to start with the loft because it is what we would all like to race to and designed with a minimum amount of work to be undertaken each day. This is a brick structure and a continuation of the garage and living accommodation. The main highlights with the loft being a wide belt fitted below grilled floors to take the droppings away. This same system is also used in the nest boxes where a flick of a switch and it is all cleaned out, an ideal system. These lofts are a long way from the old lofts that Noel raced to when "Vital" was 1 st National Ace Pigeon long distance because that loft was a two story affair and not quite as easy to manage as the modern day system. The lofts also have water troughs between 3/4ft off the ground where they have an incoming water supply and a plug to let the water away. This works well because when you walk down the corridor you can see the water pipe coming downwards and then there is another pipe to take the water away whenever changes are made. The watering may be done communally but the feeding is all done to the individual birds in their boxes, this allows you to know what each pigeon is eating and also if a particular pigeon needs any additions for whatever reason. The feeding is based on the Gaby Vandenabeele mix from Beyers, there is also the addition of the Versele Lag mix of Gerry Plus which is given 100% for the long distance races. Everything is done for ease and convenience and who can blame anyone for not making the best advantage of what is available and of course their pocket can stand and now he has retired he can spend more time observing the birds. When you consider that Noel houses a good team of pigeons then the easiest ways are always the best, that team consists of 32 old cocks, 31 2yo and 32 yearlings. The continental systems are always different than the majority of lofts in the UK because they class and race their birds differently with maturity. They are raced with the future in mind and not sent too far too early which is a benefit with the long distance races in mind. Anyway Noel has 96 cocks that are raced on the widowhood system with their hens being housed in lofts away from the racers.


I had spoken to Frans Rigole about Noel Lippens on several occasions mainly because of a pigeon called "Vital" who was 1 st National Ace Pigeon, more importantly followed by a string of good winning pigeons. What fanciers from the UK very often fail to recognise is the fact that many or should we say most of the top Belgium fanciers exchange birds quite frequently and they are not the pure family that many believe. These exchanges are why so many maintain such a high level of competitiveness and stay amongst the leading pack year after year.

Noel is one such fancier with his own excellent breeding ideas and more importantly the new blood that is brought in at regular intervals. Just to give you an idea here are a few results achieved through the selections that Noel makes include and I must point out that these are just part of the National results. 2 nd 2 nd 3 rd 3 rd 5 th 6 th 6 th 7 th 8 th 8 th 8 th 9 th 9 th 9 th 9 th 9 th plus approximately another 80 positions in the top 100 during the last 20yrs. What you must also remember is that Noel is more inclined to go for the distance races that is more suitable living in this part of the Country. Going back to Noel's top winning "Vital" and it's breeding, I was told about this pigeon some time ago and probably due to the language barrier this information was interpreted incorrectly, which has now been put right. The breeding of "Vital" is very prominent at the present time in the breeding of many good pigeons, there are direct children of this cock in many top lofts and Noel must be pleased with the success's from this line. Not one of Noel Lippens racers but a fine example is "Vital Pomerol" winner of 1 st National La Souterraine 11,300b. 2 nd National Cahors 11,838b plus other top positions. To highlight the way the continental fancier's breed all you need to do is study such pedigree's and in this case we see that the main breeding comes through "Mercks Duivin" from Decroix Bros and "Blois 76" that originated from Gust Taveirne of the Taveirne-Rigole partnership on both sides and are the main base of this family. You could also add to that the "Blauwe Docker" another direct cock from Tavernier-Rigole who figures prominently in the breeding. However as with all good pigeons there is the cross brought in and in this case it is with the Erik Vermander "Old Witpen" winner of 8 top 100 prizes in National competition. When you study the top pigeons in recent years for Noel they more or less all have one thing in common and that is "Vital" is in the breeding. The best of 2002 are the same, look at "Clinton" winner of good prizes including 5 th National San Sebastian and is a son of "Vital". "Armstrong" is a winner of 4 th National Montauban, 8 th National Soulliac and is also from similar lines as is "Jackson" winner of 1 st National Soulliac Derby in 2002. They also win for others with such prominent fanciers as Gaby Vandenabeele who's wins include 1 st Provincial Poitiers with a g.son of "Vital". Jonckheere of Torhout won 1 st National La Souterraine and 9 th Nat Cahors with the same pigeon that is three quarters Noel Lippens. Erik Vermander wins 3 rd International Pau and 3 rd National Beziers with Lippens pigeons, as do many other fanciers so you see they also win for others they are highly rated on the continent.


As far as the racing goes as pointed out earlier it is all done on the widowhood system but there are differences, remember earlier how we said that the team is made up of yearlings, 2yo and old birds. Well the yearlings are the only ones who rear a nest of youngsters. What happens is the 2yo and old birds are paired and allowed to sit eggs for in the region of 8 days then separated but the yearlings rear a nest and then separated. Noel has found that this system suits his ways of racing and also bonds the pigeons to the boxes in their first year of racing. All racers are paired early in February; they go through the first cycle and are then re-paired around the third week in March just for a few days. They are then separated again and put onto the widowhood system and do not see their hens again until they return from the race, they are sent to the races with their encouragement being that the bowl is turned over and that it that, once the system is in full swing the pigeons know what is expected of them.


We have not mentioned a great deal on the stock birds that are made up of 20 top pairs and are put together in December, the youngsters from this round are all sold and not retained. Noel rears his quota of youngsters in March but with his interest growing in the young bird championships that could change. Prior to this season Noel has not taken much interest in racing youngsters but like everyone who races pigeons if you want to stay at the top then you must review your system and make changes from time to time. Noel has not raced the darkness but like other areas in the sport there may be a change of mind should he wish to extend his competition even further for the youngsters. To keep the pigeons healthy Noel does take time out to look in on the vet for inspections of his pigeons, this is something that a lot of top continental fanciers do. He does treat them on a precautionary basis for Trichmoniasis for five days prior to the season starting and there are further treatments every three weeks. If the conditions are poor for any race they are also treated for respiratory disease.


It really was a pleasure to visit Noel and we must thank him for his time, I know that he has retired now but not when we made our visit.

This place really is a pleasure to visit and with Noel being such a nice chap it made the visit all that much better even though the language barrier stopped a lot of direct communication. I would like to call again in the near future to see what changes have been made since Noel retired and many thanks for your time Noel.