A word from the editors …….


Dear reader


With this third issue, Aviculture-Europe is going from strenght to strenght. We have a good team of editors and can offer you a varied and interesting package of articles.

At the set-up of Aviculture Europe we aimed at the ‘larger’ group, namely the users with MS Internet Explorer browser. Now the users of Mozilla and Firefox browsers can log in as well.

For practical reasons the ‘length’ of articles will now be restricted to about 1 Mb. If necessary, articles will be split into two or more pieces for reasons of clarity and limiting download time.

With the issue of Number 3, Number 2 is placed in the archives; see button on the left at the website. Imagine the incredible archives that will be built up in this way, during the coming time!

Furthermore we would like to say that we are particularly delighted with our foreign editors, whose contributions give our magazine exactly the image that we had in mind. The fanciers world-wide are our target group; we don’t stop at the frontiers of the Netherlands. Enthusiastic cooperation is coming from Belgium, South Africa, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany and Canada, for which our thanks. Likewise we thank the visitors to our Internet site for the many positive responses and the best wishes for the New Year.


Best regards,

on behalf of the editors-team,

Nico van Benten











Winning photograph of February 2006




Gaditano Cropper. Photo by Mrs. Ellen Jongerling (NL)



Do you have a special photo which deserves a place in ‘THE FRAME’? Just send it over by e-mail to

With the issue of each new edition, we will choose the most beautiful, the most special or maybe the most bizarre photo, to glitter in this frame for the next two months.

The winner gets a free subscription to Aviculture Europe for the year 2006*.

Photo’s will become at our disposal. The photographer will always be named, if we use your picture in any article.

*Only to be won once per person!












What is your 2006 holiday destination?


What about a tour around the pigeon houses in the French Department ‘Tarn et Garonne’? This part of France is not yet overcrowded with tourists. As a starting point we would suggest the medieval town of Valence d’Agen; a friendly little town with only 5000 inhabitants.


Valence d’Agen is 637 km south of Paris and 60 km south of Cahors. Other near-by towns are Montauban at 48 km and Toulouse at 98 km. Valance d’Agen has a railway-station with a direct line to Marseille and Bordeaux. South of the village there is the Auto route A62 “Entre Deux-Mers” and north of town there is the A20 to Paris.


Valence d’Agen is known for it’s many flowers all over town. You will enjoy yourself strolling along the sleepy port and the ancient canal side public washhouses, the open squares with market and church and the pigeon houses.


If you want more information about where to find the pigeon houses, just stop at the ‘Office de Tourisme’ where several routes from 18 to 33 km are available.


27, bis rue de la République - BP 100, 82400 VALENCE D’AGEN
tél., fax:
Site internet:
Open: all year Tuesday to Saturday, closed on Sundays and Mondays.


Routemap can be printed in a larger size (A-4)














To get a new breed or colour recognised in The Netherlands, one has to satisfy a lot of rules. However, in the case of a breed that is already recognised abroad, the rules are less strict. The Frankish geese are recognised in Germany, so in this case it was somewhat easier.

You have to pen at least one male and one female bird, which must have a Dutch leg ring. This was the problem last year, when we had our first try, when some of the geese, bred by Ernst Mensinger from Germany, had German leg rings. So we had to wait another year. This time, at the Noordshow 2006, we were able to pen our new offspring with the requiered Dutch leg rings.

The Standard Committee has to be supplied well in advance with the translated standard description of the breed from the country of origin. So we handed over this translation and some pictures as well, so the judges could prepare themselves.

We selected 4 beautiful birds; one pair from 2004 and one pair from 2005. The old gander was rated ‘very good’ (94 points) and his geese ‘sufficient’ (90 points). Both young gander and geese were rated ‘excellent’ (96 points).

To get the recognition, at least two birds need the rating ‘good’ (91 points), so as you can see, our Frankish geese were very satisfactory! This was officially confirmed by a letter from the Standard committee.

With this recognition, one of the long-term projects of the N.P.S. (the Dutch Poultry Society) has succesfully been concluded.

N.P.S. - J.W. Hondelink.













By: Ruud Kreton.

Photos: Courtesy of Jean-Louis Cheype


Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale.

 ( supplement of the article ‘Concerning poultry’ in this issue)


The Latin name is Taraxacum officinale. Tarax comes from ‘taraxis’ meaning: eye disease and acum comes from ‘keomai’, meaning: to cure. In the Middle Ages this plant was used to cure an eye-disease that was named ‘Taraxis’. In the Dutch language this plant is called ‘Paardebloem’ (horse flower) but it has many nick names as well, like  Papenkruid (Whinchat’s weed), Boerenverdriet (Farmer’s grief) or Pluisbol (Fluffy ball). It is at home in all parts of the north temperate zone, in pastures, meadows and on waste ground. However, it will be found in your garden as well, because of its enormous seeding capacity. This native perennial plant belongs to the family of Compositae (= many florets compound to one flower).

The leaves form a rosette pattern as they emerge from a weak central tap root, which is firmly rooted in the ground. The hollow flower stalks form a single compound flower of many golden coloured florets, which open in full sunlight only. They flower in April-May and in September. They differ in leaf shape, ranging from very curly leaved to broad leaved. The whole plant, including the root, contains a bitter tasting milky fluid. In the Middle Ages, this fluid was used as a liniment for the eye disease Taraxis. In homoeopathy nowadays, this plant is used in the production of water loss pills and for relieving stomach bloating and wind. It has also been used for gallstones and arthritis.




The name Farmer’s grief is because of the weak tap root, the rosette-forming leaves and the fluffy seeds. Once settled in the meadows, it is nearly impossible to eradicate. The tap root shoots again after breaking; the rosette prevents the grass from growing and the fluffy seeds make new plants everywhere. This all causes the farmer a lot of grief.

The name fluffy ball comes from the form of the bunch of seeds, crowned with their tufts of hair. Once out of flower, a large gossamer ball takes the place of the golden florets. Its silky whiteness is made up of myriads of plumed seeds, connected with a tiny stalk to a little fluffy parachute, which will be transported by the wind. (see photo above)

The name Whinchat’s weed refers to the little bird that is always around the ripe seed balls to eat the seeds.


Chickens love to eat dandelion leaves.  (Also see the article ‘Concerning Poultry’ in this edition). It may be given as well to the little ones from two weeks old, cut into small pieces. Dandelion leaves have a high supplementary nutritional value and contains various vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

When you start to feed green feed, start gradually, in order to give the digestion time to become accustomed to it. Mostly there will be no problems. Eating too much dandelion leaves can be laxative or promote water loss, depending on the susceptibilities of the chickens. 

Photo: Mark Koers                                                                 


The young leaves can be eaten as a vegetable. Already in the Middle Ages they grew ‘Mole lettuce’, which was an improved species of the dandelion. They had noticed that the rosettes beneath the heap of soil, made by the moles, were of a pale colour and tasted not as bitter as the green leaves. In the gardens of abbeys and castles they started to cultivate and ‘blanch’ the leaf rosettes for human consumption.

Much later, with the introduction of chicory, the cultivation of the mole lettuce disappeared. But just lately some new mole lettuce varieties with very broad leaves have been developed for the hobby farmer. It sure will be nice to try out some of this ‘luxury’ vegetable! Different from the old days, one does not have to cover the plants up with soil; the same result can easily be gained by using black plastic foil.


Not only the leaves, but the root can also be used, fresh as well as dried. The fresh root is not used as a vegetable, but in small amounts it may have some medicinal value. Dried roots are used as a coffee-substitute. In the second year the roots are big enough to dig up. After drying they are roasted and ground. This can be used as a coffee substitute, not tasting as savoury as the real coffee, but at least it is caffeine-free.


As you see, the dandelion is different from what you thought it was and certainly not ‘just another weed’.










In ‘De Spiegel’ (meaning: The Mirror of our fancy) at this Show, fan­ciers can show their new creations to the public.



This cock was introduced here as ‘Flakkees Naakthals’ (‘Naked neck’ from Flakkee)

According to the breeder, A. de Penning from Oolt­gens­plaat/Flak­kee, this fighter is the result of a mating between a naked neck ban­tam hen and a large Malayan cock, who ‘jumped over the fence’ four years ago.

Mating the offspring during 3 years now results in quite uniform types, like the cock in the photo. There still is some variation in colour though.
















Feather abnormalities, like split quills or blood quills, are mostly put down to vitamin deficiency, but it is striking that split quills as a rule are  seen in those pigeon breeds where more than the standard number of 12 tail feathers are required.


Such a breed is the Spanish Gorguero Cropper, whose tail feathers are firstly required to be broad and secondly a number of 13, 14 or even 15 is seen as a racial characteristic. By the way, it is impossible to ‘breed’ a pigeon with 13, 14 or 15 tail feathers. It is just ‘in the genes’ and reveals itself spontaneously. Even the offspring of two parents, both having 13 tail feathers, is not guaranteed to have the 13 as well. And two parents with the ‘normal’ number of 12 tail feathers can sometimes suddenly have a youngster with more tail feathers. The Gorguero Cropper flies (maybe because of the greater number of tail feathers?) with a hollow tail, which distinguishes him from the Jiennense Cropper; the last one being a look-a-like of the first, in the eyes of the untrained pigeon keeper.




The middle tail feather is split and is implanted in the tail in a very peculiar way, like a reverse V.









The feather in question shows a blood clot at the splitting point. Although it could be that the feather was damaged during development.













In a modern, digital poultry-­magazine such as Aviculture-Europe, a little article about transporting hatching eggs may not be amiss, at the begin of the breeding season. 

In the past, huge boxes filled with all kinds of stuff were used in order to prevent the shaking and / or breaking of the eggs. This way of transport did not only cost a lot of money, but was also  ineffective.

A simple and more effective method for the ‘handyman’ is described below. Depending on the size and number of the eggs that you want to transport, you take 2 pieces of polystyrene, which when placed upon one another must be at least 2 inches thicker than the length of the egg. (Or take one thick piece and saw it into two.)

Mark the centre of the ‘egg holes’ in one of the pieces. Now prick a pin or some ironware at the marks and carefully push the other piece on top.

To make the holes you best use a so called ‘7 hole saw’ (or drill) which you can adjust to the size of the eggs.

Next you saw/drill the holes in both pieces, each as deep as half an egg.

And now your transport box is ready!


You can roll the eggs in tissue paper and put them in the holes. To make it a ‘normal’ post-parcel, just wrap it in packing-paper and the ‘box’ is ready to be send as parcel post.


Note: All hatching eggs that have been transported, must have a 48 hours rest before you can put them in the incubator.









Important historical news!






On Wednesday, the 25th of January, the Chaamse Hoenders Club and the Milieu Educative Centrum  signed an agreement to cooperate in breeding the exclusive Chaams Hoen. This was symbolically confirmed by putting a cock in the breeding pen. The M.E.C. is the first educational breeding centre for rare breeds in The Netherlands.

Photo: Breeding pen of Chaams Hoen.


More good news:

The Chaamse hoenders are officially recognised at the Noordshow in January 2006.  The Dutch Standard Committee decided that the quality and perfection were good enough to have this breed recognised and included in the Dutch Poultry Standard.

Another great success for the breed, is the recognition by the world famous organisation Slow Food Foundation, making this fowl the fourth culinary regional product of The Netherlands.

Regaining these cultural and historical qualities will certainly result in seeing the Chaams Hoen again walking around at the old farms and estates in Brabant.


On behalf of the Chaamse Hoender Club,

Ad Taks



The Chaams hoen is an ancient Dutch poultry breed with ‘Royal airs’. Around 1900 the breed was almost extinct. As early as the year 1600, this fowl was praised for its excellent taste and very popular at the Dutch court.

The breed is now re-bred in a good quality and this historical, rare breed is preserved from extinction.











Do you prefer to read the articles in your own language? Maybe you can help us to publish Aviculture Europe in more different languages!


We are looking for:

Enthusiastic pigeon-, poultry- and waterfowl lovers, who want to become a member of our team as translator:


* Dutch to English, French, Spanish, German



* English to French, Spanish or German.


You do not have to translate the whole edition, may be just the pigeon-part or the poultry-part or a single article only. Any help will be welcome, preferably at a regular basis of course. Many hands make light work.


Please contact Nico van Benten