Jorge y Ángel Armenteros, posing with two of his best pigeons.

Jorge & Ángel Armenteros, new champions of Derby Internacional Costa del Sol 2020

We are very excited about the interview we are presenting you today. The Armenteros brothers (Jorge and Angel), champions of the 2020 Costa del Sol Derby, are giving us some tips about their passion for the sport.

Still early in their pigeon racing career, these two brothers from Salamanca are already making an impact.

We hope you enjoy it!

1.- When did you decide to try pigeon racing? Why?

We come from a rural, farm orientated family. A good friend of our parents, Manuel Dominguez, gave us our first pigeon. Angel got involved in the local club and started racing.

Some years later, as Angel moved from Salamanca due to work, Jorge started taking care of the pigeons and also got involved. We starting in the Pigeon Racing Club of Salamanca but, in 2009, we decided to found our own club with some other young members, putting in place new techniques, changes and renovated passion for the sport. From that moment we belong to the Bellota Charra Club.

In 2013, with the ambition of getting involved in a larger racing schedule, we started a partnership with the Columbus Club from Madrid, opening up a loft in northern Caceres to compete in over 20 races each year. Nowadays, that loft is still Works on its own with 6 to 8 fanciers racing alongside Columbus Club.

This achievement is one big milestone in our career. Imagine tripling the competition in one year from 6 to 20 races. It was amazing! What a quick start!

From 2018, due to personal reasons we went back to only compete with our club but, if Covid-19 allows it, we will be back with Columbus in 2021.

Our competition plan is based on races from 200 to 550 km with a final one on-sea alongside Madrid that varies between 600 and 800 km.

Our next Project is to connect all fanciers of the region to the Benzing Live system and improve not only the accuracy of the records but also to introduce technology and efficiency to the clubs.

Right now, pigeon racing is a way of living that we share and enjoy.

 

2.- Can you give us some details about your loft?

Our racing loft is currently split in 3 sections: cocks and hens, with a capacity of 24 nests each and a third section for 35 youngsters.

The breeding loft consists of 9 modules for breeding and two modules for hens and cocks that we combine as we decide.

Layout of the breeder loft.

3.- Which origins can we find in your loft?

Since 2007, we have based our loft in two lines. The Grondelaers, daughter of whom made us champions of the Vinaroz Derby 2008 (500 km), an all road line always making good positions in different distances.

In the last decade we have controlled over 50 pigeons in on-sea races, out of those, 30 come from the Grondelaers line, including 2017 and 2019 regional champions and many top positions in Provincial races.

To really appreciate this line, consider that is very difficult to find another loft in our region that controls over 30 pigeons in such distance on the same period of time.

The second line, more traditional and local, is the Vazquez Loureiro, whose hen was a present from Francisco Vazquez Loureiro, head of the National Federation in the Xacobeo Derby 2008. This breed is known for its resilience in races between 200 and 500 km with high temperatures.

Other influence is Marquez Prats, these pigeons were often used in long distance races until 2014. From that moment we introduced Heremans (from Eijerkamp, Gaby…).

This seek of excellence was also triggered by our improvement in our local competitors, specially Manuel Delgado, winner of the Andalucía Derby 2014 with “Manuela”, known to be a fantastic breeder for derby competitors in recent years. The hen is currently owned by Gonzalo Valero.

Racing against the best always makes you keep improving to stay competitive.

In the most recent years, we have come back to derby competitions, being our last achievement the Costa del Sol Derby 2020 with the cock Raw Sablon-Kannibal Dirk Leekens and a hen from our friend Jose Gazapo, As Pigeon in the Andalucia Derby 2014.

 

4.- When do you usually breed? And, what methods do you use?

We don’t really have a scheduled breeding plan; it depends on our expectations on every couple. If they are derby pigeons, we adapt to the racing plan. On the hand, we don’t rush on the pigeons for domestic competitions.

In 2019, we won the last FOND with an August born yearling.

We also have to take into account the location of our loft, in Guijuelo 900 meters over sea level, when in winter, temperatures drop below -5ºC at night.

We like to start pairing couples in March so pigeons are born in April but it is always considering derby schedules.

Jorge makes really good analytics with all the data collected in order to choose the right timing. Some of these analyses are even published.

For sure this is not exact mathematics but it helps you a lot in your decision making.

This also applies to our style of pigeon: allroad, good for distance between 100 and 600 km, balanced, medium size, good colours, wide back and compact.

Male loft.

5.- What is your competition diet like?

We use a mix from Versele Laga. Feeding pigeons for high level competition is complex but a premium grain mix is the starting point. That is something we learnt from other top competitors.

We, then, make use of our experience, books, articles and advice from other colleagues.

Across the campaign we can use up to 5 different mixtures of grains: Jerry Plus, Champion Plus or Energy, always depending on the race, training and day of the week.

For the past years, we have been using a black labelled brand which contains “black” corn, full of antioxidants, which give us good results.

All together is a complex process if you select the grains from different brands, don’t balance well legumes and cereals or proteins are not correct. You can have problems in the loft.

 

6.- When introducing new breeds in your loft, what are the features you look for?

We like to pick here and there, you never know 100% what may give you good results, but always keeping loyal to our line.

We believe that whoever think they have all the work done with a winning couple is wrong. It is always positive to introduce new blood in the loft.

Sometimes you might be right others not…

We like to exchange pigeons with friends, buy from derbies or directly in Belgium, The Netherlands or Germany. Always aiming for excellence.

Nowadays, there are very good pigeons in Spain and Portugal brought in for derbies. You can even see pigeons sold on action for 500€ whereas some Pipa breeders might triple that price. There is a very competitive level in Spanish pigeons and you have to always pay attention on what is going on around you, especially if you like to breed with young breeders like we do.

We encourage fanciers to risk and buy. Obviously, quality comes at a price if you want good derby positions or renowned lofts.

Pedigree and ancestors are also important. In our case we look for our derby style of pigeons.

Central European pigeons usually show very strong features due to the long selection process behind. Wide backs, vent bones, strong muscles and excellent feathers are some of the main features.

Unlikely, in Spain we don’t have the opportunity to have the type of races we would like in order to improve in that lane of selection.

“Candela”, 1º FINAL Derby Internacional Costal del Sol 2020

Pedigree of “Candela”, 1º FINAL Derby Internacional Costal del Sol 2020

7.- What do you think about the “eye theory” for breeding selection?

We do not take this into account at all.

 

8.- What do you consider is the key factor for long term success?

Work, work and work, a good loft, Constance and dedication, strong selection, good training, feeding and only trust “the basket”.

Look how simple it looks in just a couple of lines and how difficult it is to archive.

 

9.- If I was starting in the sport, what would be a good starting point for you?

Firstly, build a proper loft. Avoid old buildings made for other purposes or brick buildings.

Secondly, get away of the “don’ts” (don’t buy, don’t give, don’t train…) and be open to new ideas and advise.

And last, get yourself a good racing team, adjusted to the characteristics of your competition. Use pigeons that have worked for others in the same situation as you, breed without paying too much attention to pedigrees, only using what it works for you, and keep a good-sized number of pigeons to maintain all of them at a top level.

DERBYS RESULTS
YEARDERBYFINAL(KM)RESULTSNº PIGEONS
2008DERBY VINAROZFrom Lille – 500km1º Final y 1º AS PALOMA
2016DERBY DE ANDALUCÍA455km26º, 76º y 214º (26º AS PALOMA)817 pal.
2018DERBY RIAS BAIXAS410km18º y 22º (4º AS PALOMA)643 pal.
2019DERBY DE ANDALUCÍA455km12º y 124º FINAL (5º AS PALOMA)651 pal.
DERBY DE MIRA TOPS50km
185km
255km


12º

1440 pal.
1303 pal.
DERBY RÍAS BAIXAS186km
214km
260km

39º
16º
1004 pal.
DERBY COSTA LA LUZ (INVIERNO)500km14º FINAL (a 51 seg. de la 1º)646 pal.
2020DERBY COSTA DEL SOL ALICANTE400km1º y 2º AS PALOMA632 pal.