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The world’s most expensive pigeon, described as the “Usain Bolt” of pigeons, will help start the first black racing pigeon club in South Africa.
South African pigeon fanciers Mark Kitchenbrand and Samuel Mbiza are the proud owners of Golden Prince that was sold on auction by PIPA, the world famous auction house in Belgium.
Golden Prince was the star of the Gino Clicque auction, raking in a record-breaking price tag of €360 000 (about R5m). In total, 405 pigeons were auctioned off at a combined price of R30m. The auction attracted bidders from as far as Poland, Canada, Malaysia, Germany, Morocco, France and India.
“The purchase of Golden Prince will not only have a huge impact on South African pigeon fanciers, but South Africans in general. We now have the chance to change people’s lives and create opportunities for others in our country,” Kitchenbrand told Fin24.
Mbiza echoed this view. “This will give me the opportunity to introduce pigeon racing to our black communities and in specific the underprivileged communities,” he told Fin24.
“I would love to keep children off the streets and away from drugs and alcohol by introducing the pigeon sport to them.”
Although racing pigeons can’t be insured, Mbiza said Golden Prince is a big investment and must give a return on investment and at the same time create opportunities in the black communities.
Mbiza has great aspirations. “I would like to start the first black racing pigeon club in South Africa in Soweto and create a lot of jobs through this process.”
The South African duo, who were set on owning the male pigeon, faced stiff competition from Chinese bidders. “The Chinese always buy the best but we gave them a bloody nose,” said Kitchenbrand.
He explained that Golden Prince’s genetics are winning genetics and that is why the pigeon was so sought after and expensive.
“Golden Prince comes from one of the best genetic blood lines available. His grandfather performed at the highest level with many winning achievements.”
Golden Prince himself was a champion, winning the best long distance title out of the whole Belgium in 2014. “His flying co-efficient was the best ever in the last 20 years in Belgium,” said Kitchenbrand.
“He has unbelievable balance with a strong muscle structure. His back is firm and solid and he has a beautiful wing. When looking at his eye, those that will know, will tell you that he will make a brilliant breeder.”
The two pigeon farmers from Gauteng purchased Golden Prince in a 50/50 business venture. “We have access to the genetics as we are both pigeon fanciers and we will share in the financial model with regards to return on investment.”
Kitchenbrand and Mbiza decided to leave Golden Prince in Belgium with PIPA where the bird will stay in the care of experts.
“PIPA has an elite breeding station where Golden Prince will be paired to produce about 20 babies a year.”
Some of these babies will be returned to South Africa to enhance the genetic pool in the country. Some of the birds will also be sold on the PIPA platform and the balance of the birds will be sold offline to visitors of PIPA.
The offspring of Golden Prince will be sold at an amount determined by market value. “We assume this to currently be €20 000.”
Kitchenbrand is the owner of SAPIR LOFT and Kitchenbrand’s Loft. Samuel Mbiza is the owner of Samuel Lofts in Walkerville.
The journey to and how pigeon racing works:
– Pigeons as small babies are allocated a ring or ID tag. On this ring will appear the organisation, the year the baby was bred as well as his personal ring number.
– These rings are issued by our sports governing body SANPO to each federation and club.
– The rings are placed over the babies’ feet when they are very small. When they have matured the ring cannot be removed.
– As soon as the babies can drink and eat on their own, we wean them into our race loft from our breeding loft.
– We then let them out over a period of time so that they can orientate themselves.
– We continuously feed them morning and night letting them out once daily and they quickly accept the loft as their own.
– After the homing process is completed we start exercising the birds around the loft for at least 2 hours and start ranging them away from the loft. When they are ready to be taken away from the loft, the birds are placed in baskets onto a vehicle.
– The first training flight will be approximately 15km. The birds are then liberated together, they form a pack and start flying home.
– If this training flight is successful it will be repeated, and the birds will be taken further away from the loft. After exercising for at least 2 months the birds will be ready for racing.
– We now allocate an electronic ring which has a unique barcode number, this is like a tag used on clothing to avoid theft in shopping centres.
– This ring will be placed on the other leg of the racing pigeon; and the tag will be linked to the permanent ring by means of a computer programme. These two rings are effectively married to each other.
– The software is downloaded on a electronic clock for clocking purposes on race days.
– The day before the race the fancier will select his birds going to the race and take them to his local club to be entered.
– At the club he will scan the electronic rings across an electronic scanner to enter them in a race. This information will be downloaded at the same time to his electronic clock.
– At the club all the club members’ birds will be placed in baskets. These baskets are loaded on a truck, which picks up all the baskets from the different clubs.
– The pigeons are then liberated at the predetermined racing point where they will all race home to their different lofts.
– The member takes his clock home and connect the clock to the racing pads/scanners.
– At the race point the GPS coordinates are taken, and before the race season commences all of the race members’ loft co-ordinates are taken where the birds enter the loft over the electronic pads/scanners. We therefore know the exact distance from racepoint to every members’ loft.
– When the bird arrives from the race they enter the loft over the scanners and the clock identifies the tag and captures the time and detail of the bird.The member then take his clock to his club where the clocked pigeon’s information is downloaded and the race results are calculated.
– Time over distance give you meters per second, and the bird with the highest meters per second wins the race.Source: Fin 24