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THEO RUTTEN & SON: The Secrets Out!

"De Super Geeloger". Theo Rutten & Son.
"De Jonge Merckz". Theo Rutten & Son. .
"Miss Tilly" 1st Nat Chantilly for Theo Rutten & Son.

Full Brother to "Champion Miss Tilly". Theo Rutten & Son.

"De Jonge Racket". Theo Rutten & Son.
"Miss Turbo". Theo Rutten & Son.

Theo Rutten (r) son Raymond and wife Tilly.

"Litmanen". Theo Rutten & Son.




Theo Rutten with Louis Janssen in Arendonk, Belgium.


Many times over the last few months I have read different articles on the web including paper back publications from around the world about the exploits of the Rutten strain, I thought it time to make contact with them to find out what the basis of the family are, and more importantly to check really if all the hype and hysteria about the pigeons was justified. Doing really what a scribe should be doing and informing you the fanciers of the excellent families of pigeons currently taking the World by Storm. Theo and Raymond Rutten of Holland certainly fall into that bracket with very credible endorsements from fanciers who are winning big in the following countries including Japan, China, Taiwan, Poland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, and of course the UK. This all came about as I had penned in to visit the families stand at the BHW Show of the Year in Blackpool in January to see the class of the pigeons following their win in Holland’s Most Prestigious Race of the Year with “Miss Tilly” who beat 23,193 other pigeons to lift the much sought after National Award. This was 1st National number five for the Rutten Family, in recent years. When I arrived at their stand all 45 pigeons were sold, and unfortunately no more to see as they have a very small operation and a sale such as this in Blackpool takes a whole year to plan with only the best left by, pigeons are very limited which makes them very marketable and not surprising a recent sale containing a few of the Rutten strain averaged 650 Euro each, only a few months back in Denmark.

Having finally made contact with Theo a fancier for over 60 years and his son Raymond who works as a legal advisor for the Dutch Government I set about quizzing them firstly on what strain of pigeons are mainly housed at their lofts in the Groesbeek area of Holland, the fact that through some research prior to my call I knew that 67 year old Theo Rutten is now known around his home town as “Theo the Dutch Louis Janssen”

Theo accompanied with wife Tilly have visited the Janssen Bros lofts in Arendonk and more recently accompanied with son Raymond on many, many occasions having the pick of the basket at all times, the many visits have resulted in the Rutten Lofts now containing probably one of the best crafted National winning families of the Janssen Brothers pigeons outside of Arendonk. Over the years a lot of these excellent Janssen pigeons have been sourced from Jules Wouters anybody who knows about the Janssen strain will now that Wouters bought only the extreme best, much of these are now at the Rutten loft including grandchildren from the “Prins” (Belg 82-6729585); Children from the “Racket” (Belg 79-6264440 Jonge Racketman x Goedlicht) Children also from the Super Pair the “Louis” and “Irma”. Grandchildren they also have in the loft from some of the old greats including “The 019” (Belg 73-6736019), “Oude Geeloger” (Belg 67-62282027), “Merckx” (Belg 67-6282031) and a number of grandchildren from the famous “Vos” (Belg 73-6780622). Raymond has also sourced some of the old breeding pairs of Gebr. Janssen concentrating on the line of the “Chantilly” and “Winterjongen” As the Rutten Family admit, history had told the pigeon world if you have the best of the Gebr. Janssen Family in your lofts the good results will not stay away, regardless of what system your racing pigeons are on.

Evidence of that theory is there for all to see just with the results achieved by Theo Rutten, wife Tilly and son Raymond over the years, racing in the local Reisduif Club with a membership of 75 members, around 40 of them competing each week.

Of all the years racing by Theo and the last twenty years now as a father and son partnership the Rutten loft has been 44 times x Top Prize Winner, some achievement racing from 60 miles to 650 miles. Within their local region the Ruttens compete against 4,600 competitors flying from distances of 280 miles up to around 510 miles, 2007 seen them finish runner-up in the Championship.

Breeding as mentioned at the start of this article is centered around 15 pairs, this is perhaps why their pigeons are commanding such huge figures around the World, similarly to an article on another fancier I completed recently there are many within the race team that now merit the retirement loft which have accumulated exceptional racing portfolio’s, but with the Theo and Raymond team determined to continue the Janssen dynasty for years to come they will continue as they have always done  keeping the breeding pairs as close to tree and possible. Only when eggs aren’t filled or laid will the racers stand a chance of retirement. Breeding will start on the 20th of December and they will breed around 70 youngsters for racing with a few, and only a few, kept of the widowhood pigeons for racing when they are paired together on the 2nd of February. With such class and very much sought after Janssen stock birds with many attempts made to purchase them from fanciers in the Far East, Theo a few years ago after capturing a lot of these superstars set about finding a successful breeding plan to create the best inbred line possible trying to retain the winning lines for as long and physically possible. Hector De Smet was to assist the Rutten Family with a breeding plan, Hector was a renowned selector and breeder for years on the continent and his word was regarded as gospel. So for example the Rutten Family set about breeding rounds of their 3 x No 1 pairs then they would breed brothers and sisters from the one pair back to each other, the off spring then of the brother and sister pairings, are mated back to the old pigeons of the other two main stock pairs. It is generally regarded speaking to a few of my own friends in Holland that the Rutten Lofts now house the best of the modern day Janssen lines and also the best of the Old Janssen Lines, with endorsements like that how can you expect anything else but National victories.

National wins include 1st National Orleans 17,211 pigeons competing (360 miles), 1st National Montlucon 7,000 + pigeons competing (470 miles), 1st National St Quentin 6,611 pigeons (180 miles), 1st National St Vincent (650 miles) beating 2,424 pigeons (winning with a Gebr. Janssen pigeon).  Last but not least 1st National Chantilly 23,193 pigeons (270 miles). Also over the last couple of seasons the loft have finished 2nd National Peronne with 33,043 pigeons competing, 8th National Chantilly 15,323 pigeons and 7th National Peronne, so there you have it - 4 National positions in the Top 8 of the result in 6 races they competed in, with an average of 21,000 pigeons.

The latest winner for the Theo, Tilly and Raymond as mentioned at the start of this article was “Miss Tilly” named after Theo’s wife and also because the race was from Chantilly, you would nearly say with co instances like that it was made to be won by the Ruttens. The Lt Cheq hen racing widowhood was timed at 4.12pm flying 270 miles and recording a velocity of 1209ypm. The breeding is as follows her Sire is “De Super Geeloger” he in turn is from a son of the “De Jonge Geeloger when mated to a daughter of the “Burgess Hen” The G/Dam on the sire’s side is “De Goede Kweekduivin, who in turn is a daughter of “De Geeloger Van 67” when mated to a daughter of “De 019” (the Rutten team own a number of grandchildren of the “De 019”) The Dam of “Miss Tilly” is the “De Laatste Topper 384” who’s Sire is “De Super Geeloger when mated to a granddaughter of the famous “019” once again. So as you can see, here we have an uncle and nephew breeding similar breeding to what Hector De Smet had advised the partnership to do. “Miss Tilly” was sent to the race on the Widowhood System, and mated to another hen sent sitting on 4 eggs. Raymond and his mother Tilly look after most of the Y/B Racing and have opted over the last few seasons to move the youngsters onto the Widowhood System following the completion of the 3rd race on the programme. The youngsters are where the partnership put the most amount of work in, they all must produce a winning ratio of 60% that means finishing at least in the over-all 10% of the birdage in each race. This means if 6,000 pigeons are sent, the youngster must be in the top 600 of the result, if not there is no guarantee they will see the winter in the loft. It is a dedicated and regimental regime but one that as this report proves is just not producing results for the Rutten Family themselves but more importantly for many lofts around the world. This could very well be the continuation of the Janssen strain for yet many more generations.

As for all the medical issues which I always find interesting on the European stage, Raymond was telling me that before the season starts the pigeons are given a variation of medicines over the space of a 5 week period. First will be a five day treatment of Baytril along with their food, they then will get a break of a couple of weeks and following that will be put on a course of Bisonforme, mixed again with their food. Rinadozole will be the final piece of a 3 part treatment plan. They will continue to get Rinadozole every three weeks when racing for 1 and ½ days in the water. The racers will always come home to electrolytes in the water after a race and the father and son partnership have always had, and continue to have great faith in Pigeon Tea, this they get twice per week, with the preferred choice being Colombine.

The feeding and training system for the O/Bird racers which number around 50 is somewhat different obviously to the systems that we race. All the pigeons are placed on Widowhood and are mated together on the 2nd of February, they will rear one round and will be separated upon lying up the second round of eggs. The hens would then be placed within a section of the 36 ft loft, the section would be semi dark, keeping the hens as peaceful as possible each day the darkness would stop around 4.00pm when the cocks are out for a fly. The pigeons are only out once a day for a period of 90mins, the cocks go first at 4.00pm followed by the hens at 5.30pm for the same amount of time. No particular choice of corn is preferred although the father and son partnership have a tendency to mix their own from a number of sources. After a race the pigeons would be put on an easy digestible mixture for a couple of days and gradually built up to the zoontjes mixture once again, with the last few feeds before basketing consisting of the Turbo high performance mixture and candy seed again hand mixed by Theo and Raymond, the candy seed would contain a few different small seeds including milkthistleseed and flaxseed. The cocks get a tea spoon of this every evening from Tuesday onwards until basketing, whereas the hens get it only twice before basketing, otherwise they will become over-heated and begin to mate to each other. They are all bathed on a Monday in semi warm water, with salt and vinegar added to repel lice and mite.

Some similarities to our system there, the hens are shown to the cocks for about 5 minutes before basketing for any race, then on return they will spend around 1 hour together this will change when the loft competes in the one day long distance events, then the hens and cocks will get somewhat more time together and will be parted in the evening.

I will pen of on this occasion by wishing Theo, wife Tilly and son Raymond many more enjoyable years in the sport of pigeon racing and I have a feeling we are now probably reading about the next winning generation of the world famous Janssen Strain. A strain of pigeons that have been at the top of the pigeon world for what has been a lifetime.

In this day and age in the competitive sport of pigeon racing good pigeons aren’t expensive, its all the bad ones that make the sport of pigeon racing expensive. With such a small set up and no mass production with this loft, the over-all percentage of churning out the winners must be pretty high and no doubt we will now be reading, and probably hearing much more about the successful partnership of Theo Rutten & Son from Holland, now the secrets out.


Adie McCormick
Ireland’s Own Pigeon Auctions
Tel. 028 92 604778.

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