GETTING SET UP
When you have decided what group of Rollers you would like to start with the first question might be how many do I need to get started. I would recommend 3 pair if you are in Groups 2 thru 4. A big mistake many beginners make is either starting with too many birds or starting with not enough from one source. If I were starting over again I would start with 3 pair of birds that fit my needs from the same breeder. Keeping the gene pool small is the key to raising a good percentage of rollers. By that I mean the more birds you start with the bigger the gene pool and the harder it is to isolate the bird or birds that can provide you with a good foundation for future Breeders.
Starting small & keeping good records will save you years of Breeding time. Mate each hen to each cock. Raise 3 or 4 rounds from each possible combination. Fly the young. In the first year you will be able to see each birds potential as a breeder. Some people mate the birds together and never seperate them. I like to keep the gene pool active by moving the breeders every year. Now when you bring in a young bird that has proven itself in the air it will fit right into your program. The one thing you must do religously though is cull all non-flyers, rolldowns, non-kiters and any problem birds that don't fit in with what you are trying to do. If you just want Backyard rollers you can be a little more lenient than you can if you are trying to build a competition family. Deep rollers are great for watching in the back yard but in competitions they can cause you lots of problems. By deep I mean 60 to 80 feet. The ideal for competition is 10 to 30 feet. The deeper roller has a tendency to slow down beyond 40 feet and sometimes won't get back to the kit in time to score on every break, if you have frequent birds. The deeper rollers can also ruin the kit action of a frequent kit if you have 3 or 4 of them. They also are usually not as frequent. If after Breeding these origional 3 pair you are not satisfied with the quality you can use them for pumpers and start over. I have seen people waste 10 or more years by bringing in breeders from all over and instead of trying to build a family they like, they just continously keep adding more birds and end up with a loft full of junk. With the 3 pair you cut the time it takes to prove out the birds & it keeps your costs, if you paid for the birds, to a minimum. Let's say the origional 3 pair works out and you are flying some good young birds. You will have some good combinations in your gene pool that will allow you to stock from what you are flying. According to how close your original breeders are bred then this will give you many combinations when stocking from your holdover kit.
In building a Family of Rollers you must fly your young birds for a length of time that will allow you to not only observe the quality factor but also the faults that will surface. There are no perfect Families of Rollers out there. Just some that have fewer faults than others. That is why culling is so important. I would recommend flying from a kit box no matter which group you have decided to start in. You will not get a good accounting of your birds unless you do. Performing Rollers should be flown from a semi-dark kit box. I will discuss this in detail later.
The kit box and Breeding pen are a circle. Remember: What you see in the air and in the kit box will be the Birds producing the later generations of your Family. If you allow fault in the kit box or the air and let it return to the loft as a breeder it will eventually dominate your birds and ruin your Family. What I mean by fault is non-kitting, landing in tree's, rolldowns and anything that detracts from the kit. A good kit of Rollers are a Team. A bird that is not a Team player doesn't last long at my house. Watch for the fast tight spinning bird in the middle of the kit that rolls each time the kit break's and is never out of it's place. The best kit bird's to bring in for breeding are the ones that are excellent kitters. After a good straight roll they return to the kit almost as fast as they rolled.
The more information you keep on your bird's the less you will have to rely on your memory. If you are over 40 like I am then you probably have trouble like me remembering what day it is much less what birds out of what. I have been keeping records on my bird's since 1984 when I first started this family. Knowing which Birds produced what is very important each year as you get ready for the next Breeding season. I like to keep track of what a pair produces and what percentage of birds they produce are good. If you have a pair that last year produced 1 out of 10 good birds then I would be looking at those 2 birds in the next mating. If this rate continues then I would probably replace them in the Breeding loft. In a good pair you should get at least 30% to 40% good birds. Thats not a high percentage but it's probably a good average for most Roller matings.
My Favorite Links
Angelfire - Easiest Free Home Pages