A visit to Kees

Kees who?  Not well known outside Holland, he is often overlooked when I hear people discussing the top Lizard breeders, yet in my opinion Kees Everaers is one of them (1).

I have known Kees for over 25 years and regard him as a good friend and a very generous and talented Lizard breeder.  I have helped him and he has helped me, but on balance I have gained the more.  He is one of those survivors from the nineties that has stayed true to the British ideal: birds with large spangles and profuse rowings, deep ground colour, and a bold cobby shape to display those features to their best advantage.  He is a rare example of a Dutch breeder who can see the Lizard canary through British eyes (2).

He founded his stud on birds from two breeders whose own birds were descended from the Knighton strain.  One was Norman Reeve who went on to dominate the Lizard show scene for the rest of the nineties.  In other words, the best.  Better still, Kees has effectively kept a closed stud, and remains one of only three breeders I know whose birds can claim to be directly descended from that glorious Knighton/Reeve bloodline (3).  No wonder his birds ‘click’ with mine.

Kees lives in Renesse, a small but popular seaside town in Zeeland.  It’s a nice part of the world, but remote from other Lizard breeders and Lizard shows, which may help to explain why Kees is not better known.  His birdhouse is located in an immaculate garden populated with Cochin bantams.  A neat timber structure, it is modest in both size and facilities.  He uses traditional box cages and his management methods are simple but effective.  Any British visitor will feel at home.

For many years Kees also kept Norwich canaries obtained from Bill Gee in Birmingham, whom Kees would visit whenever he needed an outcross.  Kees is a good breeder and the result was overcrowded cages after the breeding season with inevitable problems of feather plucking, which offers another explanation why Kees failed to win as many prizes as the quality of his birds merited.  Unfortunately Bill’s birds were stolen and Kees was unable to find an alternative line that was compatible with his own.  Since then he has concentrated on his Lizards but he still runs out of cage space!

My most recent visit was on my return from the Lizarddag.  Kees had not taken his birds to Keijenborg, so this was an opportunity for me to assess his current crop. On this occasion he had cage space to spare, having sold many of his youngsters.  You can see two of the birds that caught my eye: a broken cap gold hen and a clear cap silver hen.  Unfortunately the photos I took of a broken cap silver hen that Kees considered his best bird were failures, unlike the bird herself which went on to win a bronze medal at the World Show in Zwolle.

No doubt some visitors to the show will be looking at his birds, checking their catalogue, and wondering why they have never heard of C.C.J. Everaers before.  Kees may not be as well known as he deserves to be, but I hope this article will assure them his success has been years in the making; it was well deserved.

Footnotes:

  1. For the benefit of British readers, Kees is pronounced ‘case’.
  2. Unlike top breeders in Belgium and Italy that have a good understanding of the classic Lizard canary.
  3. This statement needs to be qualified on two accounts.  Firstly, credit must be given to Stan Bolton and Albert Durrell, the two top Lizard men of the 1980s, whose birds provided the foundation for the Knighton strain.  Secondly, this line is now being developed with considerable success by a number of British novices, thereby taking it into its fifth decade.

13 thoughts on “A visit to Kees

  1. Nice typey birds, I for one haven’t heard off or read about him before, as I’ve said before, if we had non colour fed classes at the brittish classics it would attract many European top guns to come over and let us get the chance to view the birds, this would greatly promote our breed to others in the uk, and it would be nice to meet these breeders, Kees sounds a lovely guy

    Now would that not be fantastic

    Thanks for the pics Huw

    1. M. Maclean,

      As a Lizardbreeder since around 1985, I have been a member of the LCA in 2014 and 2015 and as of today, I respect their decisions, if not only for saving this fine breed. What follows is my own personal opinion.
      I had a lovely time in Zwolle especially looking at the “traditional” birds of Stan Bolton, a real journey in time. On top of that M Robin Thiemann entered some colour-fed birds, the difference was striking.
      I do not know M Thiemann but recognize his method. Neither do I know the colour feeding method of Stan Bolton, but there is a big difference in result or outcome. Maybe Huw can provide some pics.
      Still, it’s my opinion both use the same DNA (thoroughbred ‘yellow’ lizards) and the same active colouring product: Canthaxanathine. There is just a difference in the way they supply the product. Let me explain.
      Despite what some English expect, M Thiemann did not cross the “red factor” into his lizards. Inspired by ‘the red canary by Tim Birkhead’: subtitle The Story of the First Genetically Engineered Animal, they fear the “kapoetsijs” – ” red hooded siskin” DNA. A real danger indeed, as is shown in Zwolle by the whole Blue class (not todo about red, but about dominant white DNA). Let’s pray M Thiemann himself does not prove me wrong on the matter.
      In partnership with Frank Kokke I enter lizards on local shows. This is Frank’s colouring method on “red factor” canaries or european birds (bullfinch linnet etc):
      He uses can-tax by versele-laga, on the box some english according European laws: Complementary feed for birds. Red coloration with Canthaxantin for an even red plumage. Directions for use: 1 even measuring spoon(=1 g) per 100 g orlux egg food or 200 ml drinking water.
      It is very important for Frank to get the active product into the yolk. So he provides drinking water with the product even before the pairing. I guess he is inspired by the chicken yolk at breakfast. Every day the breeding hen gets this drinking water, so the hatching chicks already show some redness in skin and their first feathers, including wing and tail feathers, get this red colour from food and water provided by the parents. This is the main difference between the birds of M Thieman and Stan Bolton. The flags on the wings of M Bolton’s birds are yellow.
      One can order Carophyll red on the site of the LCA https://sitekreator.com/lizardcanary/l_c_a_rings.html
      On the internet, you will find this Carophyll’s active product is the same as Can-tax’s: http://www.ecshoponline.nl/nl/carophyll-red.html
      so it’s the same chemical.
      I am convinced some continentals like the colour fed birds by Stan Bolton. Maybe they can combine a fancy show in Britain with a city trip to London or Cambridge of for that matter Scottish “natuur”.
      Maybe Huw Evans can convince Stan Bolton to share his colour feeding method as i guess he did with M Horton.
      One brexit is already to much for Antwerp Harbour.
      mvg Gust Truyens

      1. Feeding canthaxanthin before the egg is laid is standard procedure for continental colour canary breeders, but by tradition, British Lizard breeders wait until the moult. That probably explains the difference you have seen.

        1. Nice summarization, I hope it starts a debate among the LCA members on what they want in a colour-fed lizard and their reasons for imposing it so strictly.
          Regards, Gust

      2. M Truyens,

        My birds don’t get colour food until the tail and flights are just about finished growing, hence the reason for the yellow flags on the flights ( unflighted ) then they get half strength of carophyl red for 2 weeks then on to full strength every day except Monday until they Finnish the moult, on a Monday they get vitamins only, my full strength mix is 1 heaped teaspoon of carophyl to 1 kg of soft food, I mix Emp and supablend soft food together 50/50 as a base

        I didn’t realise that the European enthusiasts were feeding caraphyll before the eggs were laid
        I myself wouldn’t be keen on this, sounds a little dangerous to me to have the embryo grow with a chemical in the yolk, too much of this could cause problems later on with internal organs, hence why I miss the Monday and feed vitamins in their water, my opinion only tho and not saying it is wrong

        I agree with your comment on having a mixed show for colour fed and natural Lizards, only the Lizard breed will lose out if we don’t all agree on this, it would be fantastic if everyone would realise this needs to happen, lets bury the axe and try this for 2 seasons and see the results, we may just be pleasantly surprised with the outcome, we’ve lost too many years arguing over it, so whether we agree with it or not, let’s try it out

    2. Alex that is Exactly why we are doing what we have at the East Anglian Lizard Canary Association ALL Lizard show in October. It is hoped all being well that some of our European friends will come over this year to show….some have already made plans to.

      1. Excellent News Andy, hopefully the other clubs will follow suit, my birds are all colour fed but I believe that we’re all the same, natural colour Lizards are just as beautiful and should be welcomed on the show bench competing with everyone else’s birds, I honestly think it’s time for the LCA to bite the bullet on this, patronage clubs would follow them, then we can say we are moving forward, I’m hoping to bring my birds down south next year so may be at the EALC show if all goes well

  2. i have heard of Kees and have seen some of his birds and i can say they are birds off very high quality. i will take a close look at his birds tomorrow when i see them at Zwolle. david allen

  3. Just home from Zwolle.
    Seeing Kees Everaers lizards, one notices what Huw means when he mentions the British view (eyes) on the chubby types. Broad chest, wide shoulders and large head somewhat like a bodybuilder (Schwarzenegger) or should I mention a gloster canary.
    The “normal” overall size (length) of this stud took me by surprise. I expected taller or larger birds. It’s my opinion Bart Deckers sometimes makes the difference thanks to the size of his birds, but he seems to have lost this advantage over the past two years.
    In Zwolle 2019 the taller lizards are by Italian Massarutto but not all of them are of the wide chubby type.
    mvg Gust

  4. Very nice birds, and a nice “eye brow” on the silver hen , would be nice to know if the other side of the bird is as good

  5. Congratulations on the excellent article. I remember Norman Reeve’s Lizard when I was in UK 20 years ago, at All Lizard Show. They were beautiful Lizard and had prominent breasts, perhaps he used an aviary to develop flight muscles.

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