The traditional (natural) method (part 1 of 3)
Ever since their childhood the Koehoorn brothers have put much time and effort in pigeon racing. This is the reason why they are amongst the best pigeon fanciers of Friesland. The Koehoorn brothers deliberately chose the traditional (natural) method as their method for racing pigeons. In the past they've also raced pigeons by the more contemporary method called 'widowhood'. Although they've had good result using this method Sander states that as a real pigeon fancier widowhood is not the most satisfying method. The reason for this is that this method does not allow the pigeon fancier to spend a lot of time among his birds. Sander is a real pigeon fancier who likes to spend a lot among his pigeons to give them a lot of attention and to play with them.
In the last five decades, the drive for a higher efficiency in pigeon racing has caused a lot of pigeon fanciers to say farewell to the traditional (natural) method. Nowadays, the traditional method is only popular amongst long-distance pigeon fanciers. To gain succes on the short and middle distance races it is generally not advised to choose the traditional method. There are only a few pigeon fanciers who excell on the short distance races using the traditional method of pigeon racing.
The traditional (natural) method (part 2 of 3)
Among these fanciers are the Koehoorn brothers who have shown that their results are no less impressive as their competitors who mostly have chosen the method of 'widowhood' as the method of racing their pigeons. The 'forme' of their pigeons is determined by their health and not by the position on nest or, as in 'widowhood', by the drive to see their partner.
The essence of the traditional (natural) method is the bond between the pigeon fancier and the pigeon. In these modern times, in which people don't seem to have time for anything, this may be the reason why most pigeon fanciers abandon the more traditional method of pigeon racing and choose for the less time consuming method of 'widowhood'. In this way the pigeon becomes an instrument to gain success and publicity.
The Koehoorn brothers however, even in bad times, still know what the essence of pigeon racing is: that is the bond between the pigeon fancier and his pigeons!
'Simplicity' is the magic word in the system that the Koehoorn brothers apply. There is no room for luxury. It's all about healthy pigeons of good quality, solid accomodations and a dedicated pigeon fancier. That is a pigeon fancier who is willing to invest a great deal of time and effort in creating a good relationship between him/her and him/her racing pigeons.
The traditional (natural) method (part 3 of 3)
If the pigeons lose some spirit after raising a couple of youngsters the Koehoorn brothers don't alter their system. Nature rules. It's all about the quality and health of their pigeons. Pigeons raced the natural way are no less in results compared to a pigeon raced by the method of 'widowhood'. Sander: 'I like to play a lot with my pigeons. In this way I create a good relationship between myself and my pigeons. When I enter the pigeonry the pigeons are happy to see me. By extending my hand in the region of a breeding box they leave their nest to defend it. In this way I can exploit on the hatching instinct of the pigeons.'
The source of the motivation of their pigeons is their own natural behavior and their natural environment. All the brothers do is try to create an optimal environment. Sander: 'I don't take away pigeons or switch youngsters or other kind of tricks to motivate them. Why not? Maybe because I'm an old fashioned pigeon fancier who doesn't like to play tricks. My pigeons have shown good results without tricks. So why change a winning team? I don't even want to try it as an experiment, because it's not really necessary.'