The history of the Zoontjens strain.

The beginning of this famous pigeon strain goes back for more than 60 years when father Jan Zoontjens became a member of the pigeon fanciers in Tilburg and started a very exceptional career as pigeon fancier. Jan was nearly 6 years old when he housed his obtained pigeons in the chicken house at his parents.
These pigeons he became from his nephews Jac Wouters and Jac Wouters, living in Riel and Baarle-Nassau.

Wal en Hans Zoontjens

From the beginning Jan Zoontjens showed a natural aptitude for the racing pigeon sport and soon he did win first prices and championships.In the early thirties Jan Zoontjens went to a Belgian pigeon fancier, named De Kimpe who lived in a small village Wortel. De Kimpe was a Customs House Officer and a family friend of the famous Janssen Brothers, living in the Schoolstraat in Arendonk, Belgium. De Kimpe did buy the famous Janssen pigeons from Driekske Janssen and via de Kimpe the Janssens came to Riel and were used for crossbreeding with the pigeons Jan had in his loft. Herewith he created a strong base for the future Zoontjens pigeon strain.

But the Second World War did stop the further building up of the Zoontjens strain.
Jan did hide three pairs of his pigeons underneath the floor of the chicken house. When the war was ended, Jan easily could make a restart in the pigeon's sport and with these 3 pairs of hidden pigeons he founded the base of a strain which showed its quality for more than 50 years now in pigeon races of all distances.
Jan also visited excellent regional pigeon fanciers to buy from the best pigeons they had in their lofts.
He went to the pigeon fancier's combination Jolen-Tijssen, living in Tilburg. Here he bought a cock, pure Janssen Arendonk. This cock did become one of the pillars of the Zoontjens strain of that time. In the fifties Jan Zoontjens went to the famous pigeon fancier Neel de Volder, father of Ad de Volder, in Goirle and here he became a son of his legendary "Vetvleugeltje". This son of the "Vetvleugeltje", named "De Neel" was mated with "Het Vlug" and they became the parents of a lot of famous pigeons in the loft of Jan Zoontjens, such as "De Aap", "500" and "501", "De Bliksem", "De Dikke" and so on. Each of them was an excellent racing- and breeding pigeon.
Johan and his son Albert Verhoeven, also living in Goirle are pigeon fanciers who fly on a spectacular way with the Janssen pigeons. Jan Zoontjens and Johan Verhoeven were close friends for many years, and exchanged from each other best pigeons.
A cock of these famous Janssen pigeons of Johan and Albert Verhoeven came to the loft of Jan Zoontjens and was mated "Het Witpenneke" and again he scored the bull's eye.

This Verhoeven cock, strongly related to the earlier mentioned cock "De Neel" of Neel de Volder, and the hen "Het Witpenneke" did become the parents of a lot of excellent pigeons who did fly on the top of the One-day races for so many years now.
Jan Zoontjens just had one aim this to have a pigeon strain that could fly on top of the distances from 100 to 1000 km. If not, there was no place for those pigeons in the lofts of Jan Zoontjens and removed very quickly.
Jan started inbreeding with these pigeons, to treasure these qualities in the descendants. He practises the inbreeding method even in a very close way. Jan did use these inbred pigeons in a cross breeding with the best he could get or buy from other excellent pigeon fanciers.

Jan Zoontjens

His spot stayed focussed on his chosen object "Flying on the top from 100 to 1000 km." Throughout the years several pigeons were successfully introduced. They came amongst others from Frans De Hoogh, Rijen. Frans De Hoogh also had Zoontjens pigeons successfully introduced in his loft. The pigeons of the Heesters Brothers, living in Reusel were also brought in.
The Heesters Brothers have many Janssen pigeons via Borgmans Brothers and Jos van Limpt (de Klak).
A cock coming from the Heesters Brothers was mated with "the 191 hen", one of the best hens in the stock loft and already mother of several ace-pigeons on the One-day races. And again it was a hit in the bull's eye.
Of the present day there are still several descendants of these Heesters pigeons present in the loft of Wal Zoontjens.
Unfortunately father Jan Zoontjens died in the month of Mai in 1985 and all pigeons were sold to the Asian area.
In the meantime Wal Zoontjens had started the pigeon racing sport on his own and would develop the Zoontjens strain to to-days strain.

The continuation of the Zoontjens strain.

In his youth Wal Zoontjens was also interested in the pigeon racing sport. At that time Wal and his father visited many famous pigeon fanciers in the Netherlands and Belgium.
In the pigeon racing sport Wal got the best lessons from his father. Till 1968 Wal joined his father in the pigeon racing. They did fly in the combine Tilburg.In 1968 Wal did build a house of his own in Riel where he went living with his wife.
At the same time he also build his own lofts in the back garden.
And of course, the first pigeon's (28) Wal started with in his stock- and racing loft came from his father Jan Zoontjens.

Among them were 7 children of one of the most famous stock birds of father Jan.
One of them was the famous "Merckx".
It was an exceptional champion and won 50 prices in the first 10% (1:10) of the race and 5 times he won the race (against an average of 2.550 pigeons)
The brothers and sisters to the "Merckx" were wisely put in the stock loft and would take care for the best descendants for so many years now.
Wal also keeps his population on high level by inbreeding. Basically were the ace-pigeons and first price winners. For further improvement of the quality of his pigeon strain Wal also went to the best pigeon fanciers and tried to become descendants of their Ace-pigeons and first price winners.

Wal was able to obtain a pair of eggs of a very famous stock pair which Johan van Boxmeer; St. Oedenrode (N-Brabant) had in his loft.
This stock pair was the famous "Conimix" pair, and both were pure Zoontjens pigeons. Johan van Boxmeer is a close friend of the Zoontjens family for many years now.
The young pigeons coming from the "Conimix" pair were the cock "Conimix King" and his sister "Conimix Queen". Both of them created another extra dimension to the existing Zoontjens strain.

In the pedigree of many Ace-pigeons and first price winners coming from the loft of Wal Zoontjens and son Hans we find this "Conimix" pair.
They did already take care for provincial- and national winners.
Also a breeding agreement was made with the Zoontjens pigeons of Henk van Laarhoven, living in Tilburg (N-Brabant). Henk van Laarhoven won the National Championship on the One-day races (500 - 700 km) in 1995, The "Bruine" came to the lofts of Wal for one year and one of his descendant is the famous "Tim".

A first class champions with many top classifications. In the meantime "Tim" is already father of several excellent pigeons.

A descendant of the national ace-pigeon of Jan de Crey, Rosmalen (N-Brabant) is the "Pikker", a crossing Janssen x van Loon. The "Pikker" is father of many excellent pigeons. Especially on the Middle Distance races they show their excellent class.
From the champion's hen "Sissie" of the loft of Ad Schaerlaeckens, Baarle Nassau (N-Brabant) descendants came to Riel and were used for further outcrossing with the Zoontjens strain.
From Joop Koch, Eindhoven (N-Brabant) a national top pigeon fancier with mainly Zoontjens pigeons, came a brother and two daughters of the world famous "President". Via Joop Koch also youngsters from the "Gouden Frans", an Ace pigeon on the long distance and of the sort of Frans van Wel, living in Bakel (N-Brabant) came to Riel. Wal also paid a visit to Frans van Wel directly to buy from his long distance strain.
From the combination and champions Braad-de Joode, living in Woudrichem (N-Brabant) Wal obtained several pigeons from the line of the "Chateauroux" (coming from the line of the "Amerika duif" of Wal himself) and also of the line of the "Orleans duifje".
Two grandchildren of the famous "Gouden Koppel" of Hans van der Veeke, Westdorp (N-Brabant) came also to Riel. Hans van der Veeke is a great champion on the One-day races.
A daughter of "de Witslab" of Maurice Voets, Kessel, Belgium, was mated with the cock "the Turbo" of Wal Zoontjens. They became the parents of the 1e price national Etampes in 1999. (Rayon 2 against 15.422 pigeons).
A very important asset of the last years was the "Donkere As" obtained from the combination de Laure in Tilburg. He was a phenomenon on the One-day races.
He did win 11 prices in the first 4% of the races (1:25), and was also champion on the One-day races and 3e Ace pigeon on Provincial level. After that he went to the stock loft.
Two of his sons already won several first prices against thousands of pigeons, while the youngest one became 1e Ace pigeon in combine "Hart van Brabant".
All these pigeons were used for outcrossing with the best Zoontjens pigeons and when Wal was successful with these pigeons they were used for inbreeding or linebreeding.
In the inbreeding or linebreeding Wal does not bring in the pigeons closer than the nephew and niece combination and always goes back into the family lines. This method came to fruition for so may years now.
The pigeons keep flying in champion's style and give top pigeons in many generations.
Before a new pigeon is brought into the strain, first she has to prove a good health, meet the quality to win top- and first prices and also give good results in the breeding loft.

When they don't bring any improvement the new pigeon and her descendants will be removed very quickly. Till now only a few pigeons from other fanciers could stand to the qualities. Every time Wal is successful with a new outcrossing he can go on for the next years.