The idea of the “Backs picking block” was born out of observation
It was in 1898 when Theodor Backs starts to produce his first picking stone for pigeons in Bochum, the heart of the german pigeon sport. Theodor Backs was perhaps the best and best known german fancier of his time. As every good player he had a good powers of observation and noticed that his pigeons were picking the chalk out of the walls from his loft at high loads instead of taking it in loose form.
So the idea of “Backs picking block” was born. At first the picking block was made out of clay, quartz stones, feeding calcium and salt and it was made in grandmas oven. Soon friends asked for the picking block and the demand was increasing, so that grandmas oven quickly became to small. In order to produce professionally a factory was built up in Gelsenkirchen, after the restaurant had been sold.
At that time, he wrote his novel: “Der kürzeste und sicherste Weg zu den Höchstleistungen in der Brieftaubenzucht” (“The Shortest and Most Certain Way to Success in Racing Pigeon Breeding”), which was published in 1922. He was awarded for the novel in 1934 with the Gold Medal of Honour of the Association. Main theses in the book are still valid today.
Later the company was carried on by his son Hubert Backs, but in World War II everything had been destroyed.
Hubert Backs who was suffering at a lung disease, an aftereffect of the war, decided to settle over to Bad Rehburg a climatic health resort in the near of Hannover.
There he slowly starts to produce the picking block again.
In 1954 the products of the company were shown on the national german pigeon exhibition for the first time.
At that time there were just 4 products, which were produced. The picking block, Backs Sieger-Grit, Remedy, a home receipture for the upper respiratory tract and Darre-capsules for stomach trouble. Since then no exhibition was missed.
In 1960 Theodor Backs jun. starts to run the business. He expanded the company so that the rooms in Bad Rehburg quickly were to small.
In 1982 a new factory was built up nearby in Münchehagen to meet the increasing demand.
Meanwhile this factory was extended for the third time and the next extention was planed for the next year.
In 1993 Michael Backs, the fourth generation starts his work for the company and the product range increased again. Meanwhile the Backs company sells about 400 different products in whole Europe, China and Taiwan. Mostly for pigeons, but also for birds, rodents and dogs.
The last extention was in 2004 when Michael Backs bought the pigeon feed producer Matador in Recklinghausen in the neighbourhood of Bochum were everything started. “It is a little bit like coming home” Theodor and Michael said on the reopening party in April 2004 and “now we can mix the feed ourselves that we were looking for the last years.”
Not only in business but also in pigeonsports the Backs family is in the fourth generation. Theodor and Michael Backs race pretty successful. “It is the daily work with the pigeons that creates new ideas to make better products” Michael Backs says. “We have the same problems with our pigeons like other fanciers. It is our job to sove these problems.”
In 2004 Michael Backs took over the company Matador in Recklinghausen. Since then the pigeon fanciers can choose between various grain feed mixtures with the special know-how from Backs. Meanwhile Matador has become a international well known brand, greatly valued by pigeonmen from Reykjavik until Marrakesh. The philosophy of feeding easily digestible mixtures still finds more followers.
Since 2006, there is a group of testing lofts that tests new products for the companies Backs and Matador. The test group consists of lofts in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. So the new products are tested on various racing routes and in different racing systems. This way, it can be assured that the range of products includes only verified items.
Another important trump card in both firms are the longstanding and dedicated employees. Either in production and sales, employment to the company for more than 30 years is no exception.
In the house of Backs it is also thought about the future of the racing pigeon sport. Afther the senior had been in several honourable positions in the sport, also Michael has been very dedicated. In this way he had a great share in the restart of the Ruhrgebiedraces, being the chairman for the Friends of the Ruhrgebiedsraces for many years. It is not without reason that this unique competition attracts great international interest.
The company Backs is also involved in social activities. For a long time, the organization Doctors Without Borders has been supported. In addition, children’s homes have often been donated in the past. Environmental protection is very important. Theodor Backs GmbH has been purchasing green electricity from Greenpeace for years. Plastic bags will be replaced with cotton carrier bags in the future.