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pigeon Working the Genetic Angle pigeons
By: Ken Easley 08/01/01

There are few that will ever claim they have it all figured out and I am no exception. I will however let you read my conclusions at this point in time.

I mention ďthis point in timeĒ because the goal may be the same but the techniques used to attain the result may change as new information surfaces. This is just one checkpoint in my expedition of roller breeding.

To begin, let me explain what I perceive to be the three major components to be considered in producing rollers. We have the physical strength, the mental strength (control), and the impulse to roll.

Each of these characteristics has a high and a low end. We have the physical strength to consider whether it be at the top of the scale or the weakling at the lower end of the scale.

We have Mental strength in varying degrees from great control to no control.

Last we have the intensity of the impulse to roll itself. Some birds may have the impulse to roll so strong that it cannot be overcome regardless of the physical and mental control. On the other end of this scale we see birds with little or no impulse to roll. These may tumble or not perform at all.

These three major characteristics must be drawn against each other in equal and correct proportions to form a triangle of balance or the champion roller. If one side of the triangle is out of proportion we have failure.

There are other pieces of the puzzle that play a smaller role such as feather quality and type but these things are easily correctable.

Mating to correct type and feather as in the building of birds for show is fairly simple to master for most.

Breeding show birds for the show pen can give valuable experience to better understand feather and type and how to produce it.

I donít recommend rollers for showing as they are for sporting purposes, except in displays for true spinning rollers to gain knowledge of type, feather, and character. (not for prizes)

To be able to use the three major components, (physical, mental and impulse to roll) we fly out the young and make mental and written records of their strengths and weaknesses in these three areas. This way we can choose mates that will give us the desired results in the offspring.

Let us say that our goal is to produce more frequency.

To do this, one would use birds that were almost at the edge of being overcooked as breeders.

When I say overcooked I am not referring to roll downs. There is not a bird in the loft that cannot be used in the breeding pen if you know how to use them. This was more common in the beginning of the breed and is no longer required to make good rollers.

Birds that can fly and stay in the kit while spinning hard and fast for ten or twelve minutes without hitting or rolling down, but land early, are on the verge of being overcooked. They show the spin while still maintaining an important piece of control. (Not hitting the ground)

These types will give us more frequency in the youngsters while keeping stability.

If we are looking for birds that will fly tight and set up for the big explosion, we will be better off using birds that have more control and can hold onto the roll until time for the break. Birds can attain this status by age or genetic structure.

When birds are balanced out to the control side or favor the control side of the triangle more, they may have to be stimulated a little to take them to the edge again. This may be achieved through changing the feed type, weather, worming, bathing, mineral powder etcÖ.

Some of these type rollers can be violent in the spin but without stimulation may be stiff.

Stiff breedsí stiff and heat breeds heat.

I find that if I want more heat in the air I must use a little hotter bird in the breeding loft than what I expect to see in the air.

This is a good rule of thumb.

When we are standing at the loft door counting the breeders that we have flown out and know all their weaknesses and strengths we can make wise decisions as to the mate that will best suit them. On the other hand if we are standing at the breeding loft door pointing to the breeders and saying to ourselves, I donít know (what they did in the air) I donít know, I donít know, we have to guess at what may be produced. This is using the hit and miss breeding technique. This will produce some good results too, but most of us prefer to rely on reason and facts in our program.

Let us say that we have flown out all of our breeders and know that hen A is hot and frequent in the air and we want to keep the heat. We would not mate her to a cock that was stiff in hopes of throwing more heat. The best mate is one of mental strength and control but also with a touch of heat.

It is easy to see the benefits of flying out the breeders. I do believe that after many have been flown out and a picture has been built of a several generation-inbred family, birds may be picked off the shelf, so to speak without major concerns.

Flying them out will always be the best choice if possible.

Sometimes what we perceive to be a shortcut in reality is a setback.
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