Gino Clicque is an honest man, who does everything he can and needs to do. A hard worker, a winner, a fancier who knows what he wants.
As we drive towards Wevelgem, we immediately think of the classic cycling race “Gent – Wevelgem”, known as the Belgian classic with the “Kemmelberg”, where many racing cyclists give up – they have to be tough guys to make it to the end. When we arrive at Gino Clicque’s loft, we notice that here, too, his athletes have to be hard workers. Gino was born into a working-class family in 1962. “You have to put in a lot of effort to accomplish your goal”…. But luck was not on his side. At a tender age, he lost his father Germain (1978) and then as an adolescent, had to continue running the business and the pigeon sport both – with both he became “big”. His father showed him the ropes and sent him to a master: De Smet & Son, where Gino learned a lot about pigeon racing. He quickly found out that if you want something, you have to work for it.
The first few years, pigeon racing was just a hobby, and although he always took part he was classified in the national championships as a “beginner”. Aside from that, he successfully created his own business in the construction of log cabins, terraces, etc. These past few years, pigeon racing has taken up all his time and attention. He worked hard for it and now he’s at the top.
A fabulous colony, with a very strong base. Surely everyone remembers the super auction of the Clicque pigeons bringing in record prices in the spring of 2017. There was the pressure, the results, but also a lot of quality with top pigeons such as Golden Prince 3031767-13 (1st National Ace Long Distance KBDB 2014), which took 3rd National Brive against 3,850 pigeons – 4th National Tulle against 5,731 pigeons – 14th National Limoges against 6,907 pigeons; The Devil Prince – 1st National Montluçon against 19,298 pigeons; Prince Rudy – 1st National Limoges against 6,275 pigeons; Gabriella – 1st National Agen 2016 against 2,932 yearlings – 1st International; Mario – 1st National Limoges against 7,221 pigeons. All top-class pigeons of the highest quality!
2017: Gino started with a large group of yearlings and youngsters from 2017, all bred from the golden stock of top pigeons. These have the golden blood of top colonies such as Figo of Anton & Hilde Reynaert and Noël of Robert & Chris Dobbelaere and Lucien, (Lucien Staelens) and since 2012, a golden move with the reinforcement of the bloodline of Bliksem of Gaby Vandenabeele (which has already produced 3 national winners). All old and famous basic bloodlines of a superior middle distance racer with many first prizes and a national victory in Bourges paired with hard-as-iron long distance racers, stemming from a National Ace Cock Long Distance KBDB. Plus the superb Wittenbuik – Bliksem line of Vandenabeele: “Power, speed and endurance, everything collected here in a very nice way.” There was also reinforcement from some other top pigeons, but the most important are these 4 bloodlines.
Care-taking at the highest level:
Those who think they are meeting a ‘loft manager’ here are completely wrong. Pigeon racing here is more than just a “full-time” job. Gino has put together a good time plan, in which he is helped by his wife and son. His wife Kristien is responsible for the administration; the pedigrees, etc. His son Jasper is there each morning to provide the pigeons with fresh water and fresh mineral mixes (here they prefer Röhnfried minerals because they are of great quality).
During the season, Gino starts at 7am. First, the hens (these race on the total widowhood method) are trained for one hour, once a day. Next come the cocks. In spring the cocks (also racing on total widowhood) train once a day and then come the cocks that are raced on pure widowhood. Later in the season, when the pigeons know their compartment, all cocks train together and if possible, train twice a day. The racing pigeons are paired in March and can “sit on the eggs”… they get used to the nest, but do not raise any youngsters. The advantage here: they become much more attached to their box, the pairs know each other quite well and the hens will not pair that easily during the period before the races.
In the first weeks, the pigeons have to be hampered as often as possible. They need to work hard, but they always receive top feed to do so. During the period before the races, the birds get Avidress Plus in their drinking water almost every day. That lowers the risk of infection. When you participate in races with such a large team, it is very important to avoid all risk of infection! During the season, he always uses this product on Mondays and Tuesdays and when the pigeons arrive home from the races, they are always given Avipharm (electrolytes) in combination with Mumm. It is important that the pigeons get everything they need. He learned that from his father Germain: When you work hard, you need to eat well, too! Never go to sleep on an empty stomach.
This last season, Wevelgem was confronted with “bird flu”, a problem in pigeon racing in which Belgium still lags far behind neighbouring countries when it comes down to the protection of the fanciers. During a 3-week period, Gino Clicque was not allowed to participate in the races. Lucky for him, he was just a few metres outside the circle where the pigeons had to remain in the loft, and so he was allowed to train them. The first national races had already been successful, but how could he solve this? He chose the following tactic: the birds trained every day, twice a day; to avoid them pairing, the cocks and the hens could come together twice a week, usually on Wednesdays and Sundays. When he was allowed to participate in the competition races again, the next race on his programme was the national race from Limoges on July 8th. The whole team was hampered! The hens remained at home for 3 weeks and the cocks even 4 weeks! Nevertheless, the result was superb; with only yearlings in the competition, he won on the national level against 10,554 pigeons: 6, 12, 17, 32, 35, 40, 58, 59, 84!!!!!! Or 9x Top 100 national! It wasn’t an easy race; the pigeons were released at 7am and the first was clocked at 15:49 at a distance of 603km (a speed of 1,193m/min) and they followed quite quickly….15:49-52-54-57-57-59-16:01-01-05-11-13-16-16-17-17-18.
If you have quality in your loft, your pigeons are in good health and have been trained very well in the run-up to the season, they will be able to do a lot. When those birds arrived home, he immediately decided to hamper them again one week later. All birds arriving home before 5pm would be participating in the next race. So they would have to be fed well, given extra oil and RO 200 (conditioning powder) on their feed and they are allowed outside only once. On Wednesday, they were hampered for the national race from Jarnac (617km). Again, the team scored fabulously with 3x Top 10 National against 5,117 yearlings: 6, 7, 8, 18, (11x Top 100 National). The first two pigeons arrived together and were clocked at 15:18:44 (1,274m/min) and 15:18:49 and the rest at 15:19-22-23-27-33-33-34-34-34…He succeeded with 30 of 46!!!! Two weeks later, that same team went on to the national race from Tulle (595km), again with superb results against 9,578 yearlings – we found the name of Gino Clicque on 12, 13, 15, 23, 27, 54, and 96 or 7x Top 100 National, this time at a speed of 1,563m/min for his first clocked!
We took note for you
- A lot of oxygen, in front of each compartment there is an open aviary, where the pigeons, especially the youngsters can stay around the clock.
- Every week, the pigeons can take a bath (with Röhnfried Badesalz) also the breeders and all other birds kept inside. For the racers, it is usually the day they are hampered. If they do not take a bath, you should be careful.
- Every day, the drinking bowls are cleaned. Regular use of Avidress Plus avoids a lot of problems.
- Every day, the pigeons get fresh minerals, a good mix keeps the digestive organs in good condition!
- When you have to work hard, you need to eat well! The addition of top-quality supplements such as oil and RO 200 conditioning powder provide for reserves and top results.