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pigeon The Ultimate Challenge Rare Colored Rollerspigeons
By James Turner

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

In 1946 at the age of six years old, I got my first pigeons. They were of the common wild variety, caught in a dairy barn. After a few years, I started talking to my Dad into buying me a few pairs of pure breeds. From this time until 1960 I had at one time or other, about every kind of pigeon available. I then got my first rollers and was completely fascinated with them. From that time until the present, I have had rollers for all but a couple of short periods when I relocated.

Even after I got rollers, I still had a few pairs different breeds. This continued until the early eighties. I always had the rollers but constantly changed the other breeds. I was completely hooked on the performance of the roller, but I liked the beautiful colors of the other breeds.

I realized the reason I never got out of rollers was the challenge. I don’t think a true rollerman will ever be satisfied with his birds. You can enjoy what you have but with every breeding season, you strive for better.

Rare color rollers were showing up but the ones that were available to me performed poorly or not at all. I disposed of the other breeds and started a project to put color in my family of performers. Many roller breeders told me that it couldn’t be done and it would only destroy my birds. “The ultimate challenge!!”

I think because of this “ultimate challenge” I may have improved on all of my birds. My standards were a little higher, I was determined to prove that my birds wouldn’t deteriorate.

The first five years or so it was really tough. The progress was slow, but then I started to see some real spin. The standards for a rare colored roller is the same as blue check. I don’t raise these rare colored birds in large numbers, but the percentage are getting better every year and the spin has not been compromised.

The so called colored roller got a bum rap because many breeders bought a pair of the non performing birds and tried to breed spin into them. This simply doesn’t work, you need to slowly add the color gene to the proven spinner over a period of several generations. You have to add color to spin, not spin to color.

This is not easy matter but the rewards are great. From the time the egg hatches the fun begins. By observing the beak color and the down length you can start to determine the probable color and the sex of the young bird. You can’t wait to actually see the feathers developing on the bird. The combinations are endless. To raise one of these young birds and to see it develop the same as the common colors indeed rewarding.

There are several breeders across the United States who are now breeding some really good rare colored rollers, so if you accept the challenge contact one of these people and save few years.

For those of you who are interested in the ultimate challenge welcome to a whole new dimension in rollers.

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