By Dr. W. Anderson
The Sport of Pigeon Racing
This family was founded by M. Charles Wegge of Lierre, near Antwerp, and is generally considered to be the greatest of all the old original strains.
The foundation birds came from M. Schewych of Antwerp and from the schoolmaster at Vrembe. This combination produced birds of outstanding brilliance, among them 1st Mont de Marsen.
Later he introduced birds from M. Vekeman of Antwerp which were procured at the latter's dispersal sale. He also exchanged birds with M. Gits and M. Pletinckx.
He practised inbreeding to a marked extent, but was always very careful in the selection of suitable birds. He must have been a foremost figure in the Sport in its early days. (M. Jules Janssen, one of M. Wegge's oldest friends, considered him to be the greatest fancier of all time).
M. Wegge had his own methods of making his selection and preferred to be alone when arranging pairs in M. Janssen's loft, a duty he performed for many years prior to his death in 1897.
For stock he favoured birds over medium size, and in his inbreeding he did not lose size and managed to keep to type. Pearl and red eyes were common among the birds, heads were well developed and strong. They showed little cere or wattle. Feather was silky and rich. The keel was often strong and inclined to be long and well developed.
In his select colony he had a large number of mealies, reds and blues. At his dispersal sale in 1897, record prices were made, and the birds were eagerly sought after and distributed to many of the best lofts in Belgium.
They excelled in structural qualities and in addition were courageous "heavy weather" flyers, particularly in adverse winds. They proved an idea cross in many fanciers hands.
Among his greatest pigeons may be mentioned: "Le Vieux Pale", brother of 1st prize Bilboa and from a sister of "Vendome", "Le Vieux Rouge", "Le Rouge Vekeman", "Le Vendome", "Mont-de-Marson", "Le Petit Noir", etc.
The Wegge blood is found in many of the foremost strains, as, for example, the Red Check Cock of M. Jules Janssen which produced so many winners and helped to found the loft of M. Stassart and others.
The Baclenes which did so much to establish Dr. Bricoux's loft were also Wegges, and the Sions contain much of the same blood. Also in the old Stanhopes the blood is represented by the Vekeman family. For example, the red Calf hen is a progenitor of the famous "Excel", etc.
The name Servais is also prominent in the old Stanhope pedigree, and in an old record I note that this family was composed largely of the Wegge-Ulens combination of blood.
The Wegge blood was recognised as of value when crossed with the Van Schingens, as in the famous Janssens stock pair already described.