Interview by Paul Walsh
First a little history of Bobís involvement in the sport. Bob flew his first race in 1955 at the age of 10 and flew through 1969 when he quit due to the usual, new house, babies and lack of funds to spare for the birds. Bob says he started again in 1976 young birds and in 1978 won my first All-American position. over 20 more have followed including 1st Big Old Birds, 1st Big Young Birds and 1st Grand All American. In 1987 Koch Loft won 1st National Hall of Fame and in all there were 5 times 1st National Hall of Fame. In addition He was awarded 4th All Time AU All Distance Loft in the highest loft category. To be listed with the legends of our sport as Tony Melucci, and Andy Adams, Bill Gault, Randall Berky, Syndicate Loft, Russ Burns etc. is an honor of the ultimate level.
He says sometimes you get lucky and in many ways his original Janssen pair was that. Soon named the Miracle Pair they were perhaps the greatest pair in the history of the sport. Five children bred 1st National hall of Fameís, and the only bird to Bobís knowledge to win both 1st AU Hall of Fame in the highest loft category and also 1st I.F. Hall of Fame the same year. The quality of their descendants continue with an additional 15 time 1st National Hall of Fame's for others directly from them to illustrate the 2 time 1st Hall of Fame bred a registered Champion bird for another flyer, Grand sire to 1st Au Hall of Fame and Gr. Grand sire to 1st IF Hall of fame. There may be an equal family somewhere but Bob knows of none superior. In 1980 he started a distance family based on Stickelbaut and Vermote, added were Aarden, Toye, Visser, Cattrysse and others to form a super long distance young and old bird family. Many 1st 300-400 mile young birds and 500-600 mile old birds have resulted. The famous chocolate pair resulted from a son of his 1165 a super long distance breeder, whose blood is Sticklebout/VanHee on a chocolate stickelbout hen bred by George Singer from Me. In 1988 he started the Hofken family on birds from winning lofts that were Hofken based. I stayed away from pedigree Hofken Lofts, as I wanted performance.
Included in there credits would be 1st Newark Fut., 1st Eastern Classic, 1st SNF plus 3rd in 1995 AU Convention Race, 3rd in the 1998 AU Convention Race, 3rd in the 1998 IF Convention Race and many other 1st through 600 miles. Finally around 1989 the Zoontjens were added and many 1st were recorded.
In 1998 Bob decided to import more and have added a few every year including children of Tours, Turbo and Raket. Probably the two most famous are the Schallie Orleans, first ace Old Bird CC Tilsburg and the Asduif 1st Young Bird long distance of 1700 flyers. She is also nest mate to 1st National Orleans 8809 birds. Her reputation proceeded her long before Bob imported her. Her grandchildren were winners in the USA. Koch says after all the awards and races won, I still fly to win make no mistake but I get just as much if not more satisfaction from providing winning stock to others. For the past 10 years Koch Loft has averaged breeding 25 1sts a year, With firsts from Maine to California. Bob goes on to say I have been fortunate to fly in one of the most competitive clubs anywhere, the Harrisburg RPC. We have had up to 7 All-American Flyers flying at the same time. To win a 1st club is many times as hard as winning a 1st combine elsewhere. Such is the competitive environment in which he was weaned. As his business is Pro Pigeon Supplies, He tells me I have a wide array of supplements and medications I can use however, after testing many, many products often using different lofts or sections to compare, I settled on using Home Art and Break Thru Products. Eventually I bought both companies because I believe in the products and I could ensure their availability and quality for the future for both YB's and widowhood OB's I use the same basic program.
For all year use Breeding Edge daily mixed with Pert W twice a week. Once a week it is replaced with Formula 72 and every 2 weeks FBB3 is mixed with it with a good feed plus grit that's it and this year I had fertile eggs from 17 year old cocks and good eggs out of 12-13 year old hens. For flying assuming a Saturday race, Saturday recharge for returning race birds, Sunday-Monday medication of week alternated between canker, E-coli, respiratory, bacterial infection. Tuesday -Formula 72. Wednesday - Breakaway with either Dyn-o-mite or basket Booster and Frudose. Thursday - same as Wednesday with FBB3 added. Friday \morning Breakaway and Dyn-o-Mite afternoon clear water. That's it, no secrets, just great birds and products and a good management program. Simple enough, you don't have to be a rocket scientist and reasonable enough, you don't go broke using it. I don't have time for a long involved supplement program. This one works for me and if its not broke why fix it.
Bob greatly prefer Old birds especially Widowhood. He enjoys watching a bird go from an uncertain yearling to an ace with 4 to 6 wins by age 4 or 5 or to get that rear super star as 3391 who won a Hall of Fame at 5 and 6 year old. This bird flew 10 races at 6 years old, won 4 races and two of these firsts were against 2000 birds. He tells me My biggest regret is that one race too many some of the champions fall victim too, one or two races from retirement. One of his greatest joys is from those champions I produce for others as the 11 times first in South Dakota or the first IF Hall of Fame the same year. The quality of their descendants continues with an additional 15 times first national Hall of Fame's for others directly from them. To illustrate the two times first Hall of Fame bred a registered champion bird for another flyer, grand-sire to first AU Hall of Fame and great Grand-sire to first IF Hall of Fame young birds and five and six hundred mile old birds have resulted.
The biggest problem facing the sport is, its too much work for some and many try to use a quick fix approach which does not work. Pigeons are a 365-day a year job; it can be expensive but doesn't have to be overwhelming. Big egos are usually the caused many people to pay ridiculous prices for stock birds and a pretty catalog for supplies. The sport has been very good to me but after all the wins and awards it's still comes down to, you must Love the Birds and love the effort you put into them. Any financial reward simply wouldn't be worth it without that love.
You may reach Bob Koch at: