Most Fanciers today say that picking stock birds out of the air is the answer. These same guys get very few points in a fly, so obviously, it’s not the answer. For a roller to roll correctly it has to be of the correct type, Yes sounds good, but there is a lot more to it than that.
We all know that the perfect woman is a 10, from there is no way to go but down, lets take a 3, yuk, no lets not…
OK, with rollers on a scale of 1 to 10 the perfect type is 5. And here is why. The apple body is where we’ll start and we will add to it. We don’t want the fat apple, and we don’t want the long thin apple, We want the one with the medium curve. This is our 5. So we add a 8 inch tail because this is a cock bird. Then we are going to add the wings, and they are going to be 12.5 mm - 25 mm from the tip of the tail. Then we will add the medium to thick neck, not as critical as the tail and flights. Next the head, a little raised in front and sloping down toward the back of the scull, and somewhat wide between the eyes, and certainly not pinched, I for one wouldn’t want that roll down look. I know what a perfectly balanced roller looks like, because I spent the first few years looking at the good birds in pensoms book, over ,and over, and over, Well you get the point. Take a real good look at my birds , you are looking at the perfect type, you can see the 12.5 mm - 25 mm gap between the end of the flights and the tip of the tail.
So on my scale of 10 , 5 being perfect, you can only use birds that are 4, 5 , and 6 . Birds that are slightly off type can still spin and fast, so we will take a bird with too short a tail for its keel depth, and to long of flights, this will be a 3 on our scale. Now this bird is unbalanced, and when it rolls its wings are sticking strait out horizontal. So why did I say a 5, lets add a 9 inch tail, and a 3 inch gap to the end of it, on a long thin apple, now we have an 8, lets add a 6 inch tail and the flights go past it 1 inch, on a fat apple (deep keeled bird ) and we now have a 2 . Well I imagine our 8 and our 2 could still perform, but I don’t think we would be calling it rolling, I’m hoping you are starting to get the idea, I think this next statement will help you when mating up your birds. If you took a picture of this perfect cock, and shrank it down slightly, this is the perfect mate for your cock bird. This is the main reason why father, Daughter, and mother, son matings work so well when the type is right on, think about it, the dautn_1216aghter is a smaller replica of the father, now of course this only works when you have mated the original cock bird to the proper hen. Now the hard part, balancing the rolling pigeons brain. So do we want the perfect 10, no such thing, so we’ll stick to the 5 scale. I breed my birds to roll once a minute, because I like to see them roll 40 to 60 feet, like a BLURR.
Lets say that we take birds that are rolling 30 feet 2 times a minute, so you say yes that’s what I want, but you haven’t thought it all the way through, with the twice a minute birds at 30 feet, for 20 minutes, they have to break 40 times,Well good luck getting that to happen, that means after each break they all have to snap out of the roll and re kit 40 times. I’ve watched rollers fly now for 48 years. This is the most important thing I have learned about a champion roller.
For this we’re going to take a 50 footer, Forget about a kit for right now, because we want every bird in the kit to do the same thing anyway. The true champion Birmingham Roller climbs up to a good height, lets say 100 metres, The champion roller picks the time it wants to roll. On any day with a breeze , which is most, they head directly into the wind, and when they get to the end of what I call a run, this is when the bird will start rolling, The roller must snap out of the roll and head back to the kit, and re enter the kit without so much as a tumble before they get there. And then the true champion won’t roll again until he has caught his breath and regained his composure, so he can execute another champion spin. The true champion will also not head directly back to the kit at full speed, they will pick a gradual arc and head back to where the majority of the birds are reforming the kit, they realize that this method takes up less energy and they have a little more time before they will want to roll again, This is where most fanciers make their biggest mistake, they treat their birds like machines, although at times they make you think they are one, Try and feel what your birds are going through. A roller that has performed 18 spins of 40 to 50 foot at the highest velocity, for 20 minutes, is exhausted afterwards, I let my birds rest for ten minutes on top of the loft before I feed them so they can all get the proper amount of feed, otherwise the birds that weren’t performing as much would get way more feed than they need.
Again balance is the most important thing in a champion roller. I think 20 birds rolling 40 to 60 ft 18 breaks , and yes this is stretching it. And you have the shorter birds beat, I feel birds breaking twice a minute , the birds don’t have enough time to set back up and catch their breath, if they are rolling at the highest velocity.
So to recap, we want 4,5 and 6, in our breeding program, do the math if we mate two 4s together we’ll get 3s, and some 4s, but we want 5s, so we mate 4 to 5, 5 to 5 if were lucky, and 5 to 6 , always picking the 4s and 6s that are closet to the 5, our perfect type.
One last thought, If you use a 3 for instance, of course you will get some 4s, but not 5s which is what we want, so you say a 4 is close, yes but that 4 will carry the recessive gene for a 3, which will keep popping up in your future generations, stay as close to the 5 as you can at all cost, this means cull hard and often, trying to put 40 years on one page is not an easy task, Picking type from the perch is the only way to breed champion rollers,also temperament and intelegance are also picked on the ground.