Central Roller Club



Author Unknown

Contributed by Bill Harris, Toronto, Canada

Taken from IFIA Bulletin No. 52, Sept./Oct. 1983


To start and develop a stable blood line, you need at least a good Stud Cock (A). When (A) is crossed or mated with even a mediocre hen (B) the hens from this mating will usually retain the qualities or genetic traits of (A), which as stated hopefully are very desirous. In matings we should always remember that the genetic traits are transmitted in the young, thus meaning that the hens from the (A) + (B) mating will have the Cock's dominant or recessive coloring and abilities. Any young cocks from this mating will have the Hen's (B) traits. Since the mating was made on the assumption that the cock had all the desired qualities then the hen (B) can be qualified as unstable. Any young cocks from this mating could also be classified as unstable, or when mated to an unstable hen (or in other words a hen whose genetic traits are unknown) we don't know what qualities the progeny would have. If "N' and "B" produces a good cock (D) as well as a good hen (C) then (D) should be kept in mind for a future mating to a stable Hen.

To achieve this stable hen and also to verify the desired qualities of the original cock (A) we then mate (A) to (C). From this mating the % of good cocks and hens should be much higher, again considering that "A!' was a desirable bird with the desired traits.

Any flaws of "N' will show in the (A) + (C) mating. If per chance (A) was from a roll-down breeding but happened to inherit just better spinning, flying and body characteristics, then the worst of his genetic traits will be visible in the progeny from the (A) + (C) mating. If (A) was actually a well bred bird then, the (A) + (C) mating, the progeny will have mainly the desirous traits and the bloodline will be almost stabilized.

To further stabilize or develop the bloodline then, (if A + B) happened to produce a good or even fair cock (D) - take a young hen (E) from the (A) + (C) mating and put her back with the young cock (D). From this mating if any good young hens (H) are produced then put her back to "N'. If there was also a good cock (F) produced then he should go back to his grandmother "C" any progeny from this mating could go back to the (A) + (H) progeny safely.

Once we arrive at the (A) + (H) and the (F) + (C) matings then the bloodline is pretty well established and basically the % of quality birds should be quite high, in comparison to the outright culls. From this point on it is totally up to the individual as to which way the birds will develop.

Throughout the previously mentioned matings various things are to be taken into consideration. One of the items being color.

Color seems like such a small point but when getting into the idea of the transition of genetic traits, we know that various color traits are dominant while others are recessive.

In the Pensom strain, the checker serfs are the dominant followed by the other colors. The dominance of the color is usually in direct relation to the various quantity of white on the birds. From the aforementioned statement then, it can be concluded that the more pronounced the check darkness and pattern the more dominant the bird is and vice-versa, i.e. the lighter the bird (red grizzles, blue grizzles, light torts, almost checkerless or ash red, to slightly marked whites to self whites) we go down the scale of dominance.

Even in the checkered birds the amount of dominance varies. If the bird is a self, either red or black check then it is on top of the dominance scale. ff the bird is bearded, balded or ticked it is slightly lower on the scale. If the bird is white flighted or white ended then it is lower still on the scale. The color factor of dominance proceeds down the scale to all white.

In the black family the dominant is in the black or blue. From the two mentioned colors we may go down the dominance scale to blue check (heavily marked) to lightly marked blue check to smutty blues or blue check. A diversity from this color is the true silver (not melee which is a recessive to the reds).

The reds dominancy is basically the same as the checks and reds. The red check self being on top of the scale and the red grizzle being on the lowest.

The most difficult color quality to determine dominance is in the tortoise shells and the grizzles, but even in these wildly marked birds the same general rules apply. The more pronounced the check pattern, the more dominant the bird. Also the darker towards self, black or red the bird, the more dominant it is. On the other end of the scale, the lighter colored (towards white) the bird, the less dominant genetically it is.

The color is important in that usually, especially in the Pensoms, the more dominant the bird means that they have more control of the spin factor. As quite a few old hands of Pensom breeders have noted, the more frequency and quality of spin decreases. Quite a few of these old hands have come to the same conclusion from experience and observation. That conclusion being that the spin, velocity, depth and frequency decreases in proportion to the matings of the dominant colors.

Bill Pensom himself was the originator of this simple breeding rule. He himself followed the dark to light (dominant to recessive or control to spin) which was simply stated my Mr. Chandler Grover of California who knew Bill Pensom in the early 40's and learned a lot about rollers from conversing with the late Mr. Pensom.

The lighter colored birds were and are the genetic carriers of the quantity, velocity and usually depth of the spin. By the regulated matings of the clashing colors and types we actually determine the type of bird that we produce. The serfs generate the control mechanism which allows us to enjoy the various depths and types of spin that we want to see. The amount of light colored birds produce the spin factor (depth).

The color, then, should be viewed as an important factor in any matings that one makes. Therefore in any coop there should be quite a spattering of colors. If in any coop the individual has all checks or grizzles or torts, depending on how many years that individual intends to remain in that color, breeding problems will arise within a minimum of three years. If the individual consistently crosses like colors his problems may range from a decline in depth and frequency of spin to very little control over the spin, remembering that the lighter colored birds are the deeper birds.

One item here, the torts, and or, the grizzles can be bred successfully but the individual that maintains these bloodlines is walking a very fine line between a well disciplined and spinning kit to depths and frequencies that border on roll down.

Another item to be taken into consideration in the development of a bloodline is the body size and type. Some may take the two as one but there are definitely differences between the two. The size of the bird means the overall length and largeness. The roller can be bred as large as small homers and still spir4 but the smaller bird will be a tighter and higher velocity spinner. In comparing the small bird's spinning ability i.e. velocity, number of revolutions while spinning with the same qualities in the larger bird one could compare the wheels on their boat trailer (which are quite a bit smaller) and it is easily seen that the small wheels revolve at a 3 to I or 4 to I ratio in comparison to the larger wheel in covering the same distance.

Observations indicate that the smaller bird produces a much tighter and higher velocity spin than the larger bird while not even covering the same distance.

The size of the bird will also determine the amount of fly that it has. The larger bird is naturally much stronger and better winded than the smaller bird so that it will tend to fly a lot more. Here again we go into personal management of the birds. The quantity of feed will also determine the amount of fly attained by one's birds.

Since our Club the T.F.R-, our competitions only span over 20 minutes from release to stoppage of count, then why should the Club members be flying their birds for hours, or even one hour for that matter. The fly time and show time is a maximum of 3/4 of an hour. To attain the ideal fly time is again up to the individual fancier simply by his management or mismanagement.

The other factor to take into consideration when breeding is body type. We all seem to strive towards the ideal body type, but again personal preferences usually win out over ideals. The "Apple" body is the ideal type. This involves the total makeup of the bird, overall length, chest size and build, keel, length, stance etc. Most of the aforementioned characteristics determine the balance of the bird. ff a bird is too wide in the chest area then, when it spins it will tend to wobble. If the bird's keel is too long, then the chest will tend to be thin and the bird will tend towards being long cast. This bird will be a loose and sloppy in its' performance. The evenly built bird will produce the more quality spin. There are well bodied birds that can tend towards long and rangy but again this depends on the breeder. The ideal birds will be rather short and cobby with a nice apple chest and relatively short keel.

The preceding are just some ideas and learned education derived from many fanciers and articles. The information was summarized just to, possibly, help myself if not somebody else interested in attain quality rollers.

In summerary then, to produce a good stud of birds one must start with at least one quality cock and at least one half decent hen. Depending on the individual likes and dislikes of the individual fancier then will be determined the quality and type of rollers that will be seen. We must all also realize that to develop a good loft of birds will require a minimum of three to five years, unless one is fortunate enough to purchase a stable family of at least three to five pairs. The determinant of quality, frequency and velocity of spin all rest of the shoulders of the individual fancier. The fine breeding can be done safely for generations as long as one does it methodically and knowing what he is doing. The line breeding itself will help the individual to bring out, the most desired traits of the birds that they have or vice-versa. Again the point stressed here is that the individual's loft is basically a reflection of the fanciers taste. By out crossing birds continuously then the fancier will continually maintain a large bird loft. This is not a preaching for line-breeding but plain and simple genetic facts.

The aforementioned can be observed in many fine bred animals that man has experimented with. Some of these examples are horses, cattle, pigs, poultry, and dogs. Even our agricultural products were attained by line breeding or self pollination.

The experiments of man has produced the giant Belgian draft horses right down to the small toy poodles, which populate many homes in the world. Therefore, if one is a believer in the small bird/higher frequency and velocity idea, it would be safe to conclude that roller fanciers would tend towards the smaller birds. I may mention here that from personal experiences and observations, in may lofts that I've visited the fancier's best bird, i.e. spinner, was usually a small hen, not some crow. Even if the fancier's best bird was a cock, the bird was almost always small and typey.