Bert Braspenning - King of the Sprint

55 Years in the Pigeon Sport

Bert Braspenning started keeping racing pigeons in 1946, when he was 9 years old. He flew his first race, in 1948, entering two birds and taking 1st place from 105 km. From the age of 9 until he turned 17, Bert was every year the youth champion. When he turned 17, Bert began as a bicycle racer and won many prizes. He continued as a competitive racer in the cycle racing sport for nine seasons, but he always maintained his pigeons during this time.

Besides his family, life is pigeons and the cycle sport. Bert served as president of the cycle club for many years. He also has served many functions within our wonderful sport of racing pigeons. Since 1959, Bert has been 27 X 1st Champion at the sprint races. This year is his 24th year as an official racing pigeon show judge, and for the past twenty years he has written many articles for the racing pigeon publications of Europe.

Bert is an honorary member of both the Dutch pigeon sport and of the Dutch cycle sport. Though now retired, he was for 38 years a salesman of office furniture.

The Janssens

It was immediately after the Second World War, that Bert saw his first Janssen pigeons. He lived near the Van Boxtel family in the south of the Netherlands and it was in their lofts where he saw such beautiful Janssen pigeons that he never forgot them. In 1952, Bert bought his first original Janssen birds. At that time, he crossed the Janssen birds with other racing pigeons, but at the end of 1970, he sold most of them to Asian buyers.

From 1970 forwards, Bert has kept only Janssen birds with no other birds crossed in. Through many years of breeding and the application of a strong selection system, he has successfully bred what is now known across Europe as the famous - Braspenning birds. During the past 10 years, he has won 150 X 1st Place, many championships and has bred many champion birds.

The Loft

His loft is comparable to a beautiful wooden house. Downstairs is located the pigeon office and breeding loft with a nice attached aviary. Upstairs, on one side are the old birds and on the other side the young birds. He has three sections for the youngsters (total 10 meters) and also 3 sections for the old birds (two for the widowhood cocks and one for the widowhood hens). In front of the young bird sections are aviaries.

Bert now clocks the birds with an electronic timer and for him this is fantastic. Now he can see all his birds come home. Before the electronic timer, Bert would go into his loft to clock a bird and could not see the other birds coming home. When more and more pigeons were coming, he had to stay in the loft and was only able to witness the first bird coming home. With the electronid timer, he gets to see all the birds come home.

The Pigeons

So now you know Bert has only the Braspenning birds which have as their base the most important Janssen birds: The Merckx – Young Merckx – Geeloger – 019 - Ijskop – Schouwman. He has experienced great success breeding from two direct sons of the Jonge Merckx. With this family of birds, Bert has for many years remained the KING OF THE SPRINT.

During the early 1990’s, Bert bought two super hens. To the first hen he gave the name LEONTIEN and she was the 1st Ace hen of Holland in ’90. This was the same year that his own world famous DE FELLE was the 3rd Ace cock of all Holland. To the other hen Bert gave the name VAN MOORSEL (for many years the best female cyclist in all of the Netherlands and perhaps the world, was named Leontien Van Moorsel). The Van Moorsel had won 20 first prizes and was in 1989 – 1990 – 1991 the 2nd Ace Hen of all Holland. In 1992, she was the Best Sprint pigeon of all Holland (better then all the widowhood cocks).

Many fanciers advertise the name Van Moorsel, as they have ˝ brothers or sisters of this famous hen. But until now, few ever knew that the Van Moorsel (and four full brothers and sisters) resided in Bert’s loft! He sold Van Moorsel to Louella Pigeon World at the end of 1993 after having bred many good ones off of her during the year.

Bert is not a fancier that keeps many birds. He maintains 28 pairs of racers and 24 pairs of breeders. Every year his best racers go to the breeding loft. His breeding loft contains only champion birds and first place winners.

Bert’s birds are well known across Europe. The impact of his birds, have been so great in the UK, that Louella Pigeon World has purchased an additional 300 Braspenning birds over the past 10 years.

When Bert wins, he does not do so by chance. Take for example three races flown in 2001; on September 1st, he placed 18 of the first 20 birds clocked, on September 8th, he placed the first 21 positions and on September 15th, he placed the first 16 positions.

In 2001, Bert won 13 X 1st at the short and middle distances, and 2 X 1st at the long distances.


Bert tries to maintain a regular schedule for his birds and applies the same training techniques to the whole race team. His birds are always exercised at the same time, feed at the same time and given a bath on the same day. With this system, he has found that even the average bird comes into a very good condition.

Bert flies a double widowhood program. One section for the hens has perches and the two other old bird sections are for the cocks and have nestboxes. The hens exercise from 7-8 in the morning and 4-5 in the evening. The cocks fly from 8-9 in the morning and 5-6 in the evening.

The youngbirds loft has 3 sections, which house the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounds as they are moved over from the breeding loft. Later in the season when all the youngbirds have matured, he will often fly one section on “natural” and the other two sections on an “open door” system. With the “open door” system, the divider between the hens and cocks is opened for half the day before basketing.

Normally, the youngbirds exercise from 9-10 in the morning and 6-7 in the evening, which fits well with his old birds exercise schedule. When Bert is using the “open door” system, the young hens are flown in the morning and the young cocks in the evening. You should remember that in Europe the old birds and youngbirds are often flying overlapping race schedules.

The birds are always fed after flying so the hens are fed at 8 and 5, the cocks at 9 and 6, and the youngbirds at 10 and 7. In the winter, the birds are fed at 9:30 and 4 in the evening.

Insights on Winning

Only with super healthy pigeons you can win the races. It is Important that the birds not only fast fly, but they must have it in them to quickly and easily orientate towards home. Those are the winners!

Don’t make the mistake of thinking pigeons will fly better with medicines, vitamins or other pills. Don’t look to much to beautiful names (fancy pedigrees). Search for fanciers who obtained super results, for many years, with few pigeons in their loft.

In order to reach the top in large competition and stay there year after year, you must possess more than technique, you must, as Bert says; “have it in your fingers”.

To receive more information about Bert Braspenning or to make arrangements to import birds from his loft, contact: John Vance

Click here to view the fantastic results of DE FELLE who was 21 times in the top 1% against many thousands of birds in each race.