On the 28th of May 1983, during the Total Dispersal sale of Mr Vic Furstenburg of Potchefstroom, two pigeons were sold to a Kimberley fancier that changed the racing pigeon sport in the Northern Cape. In actual fact these pigeon’s progeny benefited the whole South Africa, as many youngsters spread over our country.
The sale was packed with quality pigeons, but none better than lot 120 and 188 on the sales list. This pair formed the basis of the famous “222” family. Lot 120 was 5977 Tvl 80, “The Ducheyne Cock”. This cock bred winners with 6 different hens and was a son of the famous Yellow eye Oscar cock and the Leeugamka federation winner – out of “Klein Kenny” and “Ouma”. This cock was therefore a Ducheyne Oscar Cattryse Puttery cross. He was a great racer, was slightly biggish built, with brown eyes. A champion stock cock.
Lot 181 (126222/82) was a De Klak Janssen hen and was bred of lot 31 (1820/79) and lot 60 (16553/77). Both “222’s” parents were great stock pigeons and were bred directly off Janssens imported from Jos van Limpt of the Netherlands. The parents of 16553/77 were a check cock 6657227 Belg 70 and the “Gepikte kop” hen (6657205 Belg 70). This pair is well known in South Africa.
Mr Tommie Botha of Modderrivier purchased lot 120 and 188. He was only a breeder and Mr Frikkie du Plessis of Kimberley raced the youngsters. On the 23rd of September 1984, Mr Botha delivered the first youngster to Mr Du Plessis’ lofts. Amongst them was a bluebar hen (175241 SA 84). Nobody knew that this pigeon would become one of the best racers ever seen in Kimberley. She was devastating and won 4 races. As a breeder she was even better. Various lofts in the Northern Cape still produce good ones off her offspring. She was bred off lot 20 and 188. It was decided to keep this pair together.
On the 26th of November of 1985, Mr Botha delivered another batch of youngsters to Mr Du Plessis’ loft. Amongst them was a cock bird “Grootneuste” 187593SA95. He also proved to be a successful racer, but was unequalled as a breeder. He had brilliant yellow green eyes with the smallest pupils you could wish for. He became the foundation of many top lofts in the Northern Cape. Still there was no end to the quality racers and breeders produced off the famous “222” pair.
On the 6th of December 1985, Mr Botha delivered yet another batch of babies to Frikkie’s loft. Amongst them was another son of this pair (194960SA85). He became well known as “60”. He produced a great number of champion breeders and won a great amount of money in sales races. In 1986 the same pair bred 05601SA86, 05604SA86 (a federation winner), 05605SA86, 16933SA86 and 16934SA86. All of them became either good breeders or good racers, but the best one was 05601SA86. He became known in the Northern Cape as “01”.
During a recent conversation with Mr Du Plessis he confirmed that 80% of his success is directly linked to “Grootneuste”, “60” and “01”.
The years that followed were filled with remarkable results. One of the present champions of Kimberley remarked recently: “I was jealous of this loft, they were unbeatable.” Mr Botha gave up pigeons some time back and next to “60” on his sales list the following words appeared: “Only breeds winners”. This was indeed so. The famous “222” was lot 11 and a bid of R1 900 (1988) was not accepted. The foundation cock 5977/80 became ill and died. On the 4th of November 1989 another sale was called by Mr Botha and “222” was lot 54. Derick Streak of Diamond Pigeon Stud gave the instruction that this pigeon must be purchased by the stud no matter the price. She moved to Diamond Pigeon Stud and was taken up into the breeding lofts.
In a very impressive catalogue of Diamond Pigeon Stud the following remark followed under the photo of “222”: “De Klak Janssen hen 126222/82.” “She is surely the best Janssen stock hen in South Africa. We don’t know of any pigeon bred by her that did not perform as a racer or breeder. She is the grandmother and great great grandmother of many club and federation winners. Without a doubt she is the greatest legend in the history of the Northern Cape. Pigeon racing started here in 1896.” Her progeny flew more than 2000 club places, more than 200 club wins and more than 50 federation wins.
We stopped counting in 1996.
On the 9th of December 1997, during a conversation with Mr Streak, it was established that the inquiries for the “222” family is still the highest in the breeding station, even though other fantastic families are also housed here. I think the results draw the clients. I had the privilege to handle “222” herself as a 13 year old at Diamond Pigeon Stud. She was well looked after, here feathers were very soft and she had the greatest yellow-green eyes I have ever seen. Her wings was shortish, but in good proportion with her body weight. Her bone structure was strong although she was not big. A true champion, that you can only dream of. She passed away recently.
Families are often built around individual champions, but certain families are made up of a few more outstanding pigeons. That is why more top racers and breeders come forth out of such a family. The “222’s” of the Northern Cape and Diamond Pigeon Stud is such a family. They are packed with champions.
I am convinced that any person obtaining birds of the “222” family will improve their loft. Mr Frikkie du Plessis acknowledges that his loft drastically improved after these pigeons were delivered to him. Many fanciers across South Africa also share this remark, especially when these “222” Janssen birds are crossed into their own winning lines. Their progeny still perform brilliantly in the 5th and 6th generation after the original mating of “222” and “5977TVL80”. This family is a once in a lifetime phenomenon and I predict that many more champions are still to come from this line.
How do they cross?
During 1988 a cross was brought into the “222” line. Janssen pigeons from Mr Frans Fouche and Dr Bokkie Brink were added. These proved to be the same De Klak family via other lofts. The mating of these birds with the “222” line also easily produced winners. One click pair was 2032/87 (“60” and “222”) by a Frans Fouche-Dr Bokkie Brink cock that was called the “11-fighter”. His ring number was 4205/85. Their one daughter 2350/89 was a 3 time winner as a yearling, and later on became a champion breeder. The other two brothers of “60”, namely “Grootneuste” and “01”, was mated to two sisters of the “11-fighter” cock. The one hen 4260/85 (a Patterson winner) was mated to “01”. The other sister, a yearling championship winner, was mated to “Grootneuste”. Fanciers all over South Africa are still performing today with the progeny of these three crosses.
Many racing pigeon breeders are still inbreeding by using “222” as the basis. Others are following the Ducheyne line, some are crossing the “222” with Oscar de Vriendt, Hermans, Puttery, Cattrys, Lou Wouter, De Zutter, etc. and all are having success. The greatest success seems to be when these crossed pigeons are brought back to the “222” line as the common factor.
Everybody is currently doing their own thing with the “222” and many stories are being told of the success they have. One fact everyone agrees upon is that this “222” family had a major impact on the pigeon sport in the Northern Cape and South Africa. Today Diamond Pigeon Stud houses a major collection of the “222” family and direct children off the famous “222” can still be found in their lofts. At Diamond Pigeon Stud “222” was mated with various “De Klak Janssen” cocks away from the Ducheyne line to establish a more Janssen based family. All these matings proved successful, as champion racers continue to be produced.
It is interesting to note that the blood of “6657227/70” and the “Gepikte kop” hen (6657205) runs through the “222” family. The “Gepikte kop” hen was the best of the parcel that was imported from Jos van Limpt (De Klak) during the 70’s.
The question arises if Mr Vic Furstenburg was right when he said: “That 6657227/70 and 6657205/70 is the best Janssen pair ever to come into South Africa.” Was the mating of 5977/80 and “222” pure luck?
DECIDE FOR YOURSELF
Our family of the “222 De Klak” line became very inbred with the years and a serious cross of De Klaks from another loft was necessary. We chose to go to Europe and particularly to the lofts of Ian Axe of Axeholme lofts in the UK. A De Klak cock that was imported from Ian during 1994 produced numerous winners in South Africa and also birds to be clocked at night on the long distance flights. This cock encouraged me to visit Ian once again for a good selection of De Klak pigeons. A total of no less than twenty was imported and mated head to head with our “222” family. The results was amazing with a brand new pigeon appearing that was the same of those I handled at the Janssen Brothers during our visit to them in 1996. The cocks that we now produced was well muscled, strong, robust, well feathered with good length and great eyes. The hens are beautiful, silky, well balanced and very lady like.
At last we had the Janssens that handled like true Janssen pigeons. Our birds are bred to cock line of the Axholme De Klaks imported lately. Especially to two champion cocks, namely “Blue Star” that produced 28 first prize winners and 8 first Federation winners and is the Grand Sire and Grand Grand Sire of more than 40 first prize winners. He is the finest De Klak Janssen cock you can ever wish to own. The other cock that strengthens our cock line is the “F1 Cock” that produced 16 first prize winners and 4 Federation winners and is the Sire and Grand Sire of over 50 first prize winners.
We also pursue the line of our “222” family by breeding to the cock line by using “Triple Crown Landbou” and “DE 23861” as our anchor cocks. The Axholme De Klak hens are used here to establish our Janssen cross.