Paul Gamino's Parlor Rollers

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An article by M.F. Hankla  Topeka, Kansas (1897)

The Inside Tumbler

    As the above variety has always been my favorite, I have often thought I would like to write something on the general culture of them, but, as I am a poor writer in the fancy, I trust the public will deal gently with me; and if what I can say will even benefit the amateur breeder, I shall not feel that it has been in vain.  This variety of the Tumbler family derives its name from its inability to fly away from you, and it performs indoors as well as out in the open space.   Some tumble so close to the ground that only turning room is necessary, while other rise from 6 to 24 inches and  other higher, ect.  In breeding this variety it should be remembered that their nests should be within reach of the birds so as to cause no flying or attempts to fly in order to be successful in raising young.  I believe they should be bred in small houses, say not more than 4 x 6, partly wired with one-half inch mesh to protect them from cats and rats, ect.  In such a size house I generally have about four pairs of breeders; and when the young are sufficiently old enough to take care of themselves, they are transferred into the same size house.  I never breed the Parlor Tumbler in a loft where there are other varieties.  This variety begins to mature or tumble at about two months or five months.  They vary much as to the time performance begins.  As soon as the wing power of the bird begins to lessen, the propensity to tumble sets in; and you will not have to wait very long for his ability to be determined.  I have never let color stand in the way of performance, and I consider its ability to tumble the chief requirement.  Its value may be placed by how close it performs, how graceful, ect.

    To amateurs and other fanciers who have no practical experience in the breeding of this variety, I would say do not expect every bird to be a prize winner.  While some may turn out to be wonderful performers, the chances are good for many poorer ones; but keep on trying.  Don't get discouraged.  If you do not raise over two good ones in a season, don't get discouraged.  Keep track of their breeding, remembering this variety like all other, requires time, patience, and perseverance in breeding them up to the desired point.  I find it's a pretty good sign when a young bird begins to tumble immediately after leaving the nest; that you can pretty nearly count him as a good one; yet I have known  them to fly about the loft until they were seven months old before showing signs of tumbling, so you see that all tumblers do not tumble.  In the training of these birds, when you desire to see them perform, whatever method used should be a sudden one as every bird that tumbles-- it simply means an effort fly.  Some fanciers kick at them, other use a little stick, while again other snap their fingers at them.  There must be something to startle the bird.  In my mind nothing furnishes a more pleasing spectacle then to make a basketful of these little acrobats and empty them out upon a nice green lawn upon a summer's day.  Then startle them and simultaneously see them all turn somersaults, and repeat as often as you desire.  In such entertainments I have found pleasure enough in the past 16 years to full repay me for the painstaking. 

A note from Paul Gamino... please don't take your birds out to a grass area and roll them over and over again.  Parlor Tumblers I have very limited experience with, however, Parlor Rollers it will do great harm and is totally unnecessary due to the fact that a Parlor Roller will not benefit from excessive drilling or practice.   Try to remember that we as breeders expect these "Little acrobats" to roll great distances, and then expect these little acrobats to shut off their great rolling ability in the breeding pen.  Parlors are not born nervous they are made nervous and lose the ability to control the roll.  For all of you who have this type of bird in your loft might consider limiting the times you perform your Parlor Rollers.  Ever wonder why this phenomenon occurs?   All the empirical evidence points to rolling the birds too young and too many times in the birds life time.

In the immortal words of Bill Mustin, "Something to think about."

Good luck breeding these "Little Acrobats"

Paul Gamino