We are in close contact with the users of our respiratory protection equipment. Their experiences are extremely valuable to us and we use the comments as inspiration for future developments. For this interview, we visited Jan Karsten, a successful pigeon fancier who knows all aspects of the sport thanks to his many years of experience.
What about pigeon racing in the Netherlands and Belgium? Is it a widespread sport?
Certainly, pigeon racing is a big sport. Not only in the Netherlands and Belgium but almost from all corners of the world you hear about pigeon racing. Unfortunately, it is also a very expensive sport and for fanciers with a small budget it is therefore not always easy to participate with many pigeons. It is also difficult for youngsters, they often need help from their parents or other pigeon fanciers to get started.
What does a day in pigeon racing look like? What does it all entail?
In summer when the races start, I release the cocks (male pigeons) at 7 o’clock in the morning and then clean the loft, get everything ready (water, feed and a pool) and around 8 o’clock I call them in again. When the cocks are back inside I release the youngsters, here I also prepare everything and repeat this with the hens and the breeders. Usually I finish this whole process around 10 o’clock. Because I no longer work, I have enough time for this, when I was still working I could only feed them in the morning because I had to leave early. I also often spend the afternoons training my pigeons, with a different pigeon group flying around every hour.
Online you sometimes read stories that people develop lung problems in pigeon racing, is this common? And is there anything that can be done about it?
The very fine pigeon dust is the biggest problem, so I have the loft windows open day and night for air circulation. As an extra measure, I also have an extraction system in my loft. When I was working for a construction company, I often came into contact with air pollution. Unfortunately, in combination with my love for pigeon-keeping, I got a lot of fine dust over the years.
The issue of particulate matter is that you only notice the problems after many years and even then it is often not taken seriously. Especially among older pigeon breeders, you often hear that lung problems flare up. With good protection you can prevent a lot, but unfortunately this is not always used.
You are a loyal customer of the Kite, you even have 2! How did you discover it? Have you ever tried masks or hoods?
In 1996, I developed problems with my lungs, the doctor immediately sent me to the pulmonologist and so I was soon in hospital. After the pulmonologist told me I had pigeon fancier’s lung, he told me to get rid of my pigeons and not to go home until the pigeons were gone. I was hugely upset and after some thinking I secretly left the hospital. When I got home I thought about how to proceed. I couldn’t get rid of my pigeons, pigeons were my passion.
I started looking for a solution and through Koudijs, a company from Epe, I got a 3M dust helmet with P2 filter. Unfortunately, I kept having lung problems with this helmet, so I had to look for something else. Fortunately, the solution came not much later; Koudijs also started selling the Arbin Kite. The P3 filter provides the perfect protection against the pigeon dust. We are now 25 years later and, thanks to the Kite, I still have my pigeons!
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