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pigeon A Special Challengepigeons
By Larry Schlattmann

Published in NBRC 1st “Roller Special” Bulletin March 1995

Regardless of the strain of family of Rollers that you fly, it is challenging to put up a good, or specially a great kit year after year. Hawks and falcons are increasing in numbers each year. Certainly birds of prey take their toll on my loft. Over flies can still happen inspite of being more careful and observant about when to fly. When you raise excellent birds, they get in demand very quickly when people find out you have them. If you are not careful, here in this matter, you will find yourself with nothing to fly. In helping people you cannot be over generous. Now you already knew all of those things, so what is the SPECIAL CHALLENGE? Here it is. Raising rare color Rollers to the same performance standards as your strain or family that you have invested years into. Why would a successful roller man even want try this hand at taking the special challenge? I will try to explain. I fished for many species of fish for many years and had success and enjoyed it. One day my wife bought me an ultra-light rod and reel for my birthday. The ultra-light really put the pleasure back into my fishing like I had never had before. This is similar to what some rare color Rollers can do for you when you raise them and the time comes when they roll tight and fast with depth, frequency, good kitting ability and control.

How does a rare genetic factor get from never even found in a Birmingham Roller to aerial champion? At this point, I’ll just choose a gene. How about Indigo. Now I don’t know who first decided to do this. An Indigo pigeon of some kind that was probably close to a roller size wise and body wise, was mated to a performing roller that likely was a darn good one. An Indigo youngster from that mating (1/2 Roller) that was closest to a Roller in size and body was again mated to a good Roller. The best ¾ Roller Indigo was again mated to a good Roller. You get the picture. This process went on and until one day a pigeon of Indigo color was produced that looked like a Roller, rolling like a Roller and was for all practical purposes a true Roller. Now there are several roller men who have the top notch, first class, I mean aerial champion level Indigos.

Virtually, all successful endeavors involving rare gene Rollers is accomplished by line breeding and/or inbreeding to ones BEST stock. That is why they become part of your family of Rollers and that is why they can perform as good as anything else in your loft eventually. You can get to the point that these birds get no preferential treatment over anything else in your loft and they get looked upon the same way you would look at your grizzles, baldheads, recessive reds, red checker, blacks and so forth.

I realize that there are a good number of Roller men in the hobby who would say that this rare roller business is just so much hogwash, but I say seeing is believing. I am convinced that these guys suddenly went totally color blind and they were watching these rares that have fully made the grade perform, that some would surely say “I sure would like to have that one in my loft.”

Learning pigeon genetics is easier now than it is ever has been with all the resources that are available. Success demands a working knowledge of pigeon genetics. You can learn if you really want to.

More and more long time hard core performance only roller breeders are finding out how much fun this aspect of the hobby can be because they have taken the SPECIAL CHALLENGE. If I can be of any help to you just call or write me. Keep ‘em flying and try taking the SPECIAL CHALLENGE yourself.

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