Paul Gamino's Parlor Rollers
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Reprinted with permission from Ms. Alice Roche. Also appeared in the American Pigeon Journal January 1977, Page 17.
Where Are The Parlor Roller Breeders?
By Robert Roche
After placing a very successful ad in the APJ and answering all the inquires I deiced there must be a reason for some of the strange request and comments I received. Since there are no books on Parlor Rollers, and since we are lucky to have one article or less on Parlors submitted to the APJ each year, it is not to hard to understand requests such as, “Could you sell me six pair of birds that will roll 75 feet each?”
I remember Jill Clark in her article in the Roller Special telling about one of her birds rolling 80 feet in a contest. She made it very clear that it is not an everyday occurrence by every bird bred. When I was getting started in Parlors, I corresponded with and purchased some very good birds from Lloyd Drent of Neb. He told me of a bird that rolled 96 feet. That was one time only performance. I too have bred some very long Rollers. Some of them roll the 50-foot maximum of my yard and continue to roll against the side of the house until picked up or collapsing from fatigue.
These exceptional performing birds are no easier to obtain than a champion Fantail, Jacobin, or any other champion of its breed. I believe that if you took a year’s absence from your responsibilities and had a Rockefeller fortune to back you up you would be hard pressed to obtain six pair of Parlors that could roll 75 feet each. I don’t make that statement because I don’t think it is possible; it is just that no one knows where they are. Out side of my own birds and those of Jill Clark of San Diego, Lloyd Drent of Neb., and Elmer Smith of Oakdale, Calif. I have no idea where one could find superior performing Parlor Rollers. I don’t think you do either.
Stop and think, if you wanted to get a start in almost any breed, it would be a simple matter to determine and locate the five top fanciers in any variety you choose. Why is this? It is because most breeds have many active fanciers who promote their favorite breed on a continuous basis. Parlor Roller fanciers apparently choose not to share their experiences with others. The show reports identify the top breeders in any prospective new fancier. Where are the Parlor Rolling contest reports?
Another breeder wanted to know why his birds creeped around the pen in a crouched position. The answer is simple, the solution is more difficult. The birds are creeping out of fear of rolling. The fear probably comes more from not having any control over their rolling than the roll itself. This breeder kept his birds in a pen much too large and had wire floors. Some Parlors never get use to open spaces beneath them. Others get along just fine in any pen suitable for other breeds.
If you have Parlor Rollers that appear to have a nervous condition I suggest a small pen 24” x 24” x 16” high, solid on all sides except the front and solid on the top and bottom. The privacy and confinement seems to give the birds a feeling of security. I also find that an enclosed nesting compartment works much better than the common pulp nest bowls during breeding season. The reason is that many eggs are kicked out the nest bowls from the bird spinning on the nest. This is caused by a sudden movement or noise. The enclosed nest compartment gives the bird additional security and prevents loss of eggs.
Birds that roll 10 to 20 feet that are excessively nervous, and as a result are difficult to manage are common in the Fancy. However, it is possible to have beautiful, full feathered, and calm easy to manage birds that will roll 50 feet or more. They are not common or easy to obtain by purchasing or breeding, but that is the challenge to the serious Parlor Roller breeder.
I keep my breeders in the two-foot square pens described previously, have eliminated fear from my birds, and do not lose eggs from breakage any more. My youngsters are kept in a community pen until rolling is fairly well developed. At this time, I place them in individuals pens also. This prevents uncontrolled spinning and makes it easier to pick up the bird when I want to work with the birds on the lawn. Parlors should only be worked on very short cut lawn or a carpet large enough for high quality Roller is difficult and where to store it when no in use is a problem.
Many breeders are mistaken in believing that long Rollers are only produced from long Rollers. That idea is completely false and long Rollers are disappointing in the breeding pen in many cases. For the most part these birds are produced from breeders that roll only 12 to 20 feet. Any bird that rolls 10 feet or more and is from a high performance family has the potential to become a breeder of long distance Rollers.
After purchasing birds from all over the United States I firmly believe that sever inbreeding is the shortest method of obtaining top performers. For example, my best family is from one hen that I breed back to the best son of the previous year. I have repeated this procedure for three years and so far no webbed feet, no crossed beaks or any other visible defect. The youngsters are 100% performers and my best looking as well. My experience in using good performing unrelated birds has resulted in very poor results.
My advice to beginners with Parlor Rollers is expect to pay $30 per pair or more for good stock birds. Do not make the mistake I did and complain about your new birds if they are not what you expect upon arrival. After traveling for hours or days, they can’t possibly be in top form until after they have had a chance to be settled in their new home. Any bird that rolls 10 feet or more is worth what you paid for it. Of course, if you can get 30 or 40 foot Rollers so much the better. Do not expect to buy Parlors, dump them in a pen with other birds, and expect to be a successful Parlor breeder. Do not expect to buy a breeder of champion birds, be happy if you can get close related birds. On the other hand if you want a challenge, get some Parlors and be prepared for some unique breeding problems. Then share you experiences and thoughts on this interesting bird though the pages of the American Journal.
When starting out I wrote to at least 20 breeders of Parlor Rollers and Ray Gilbert of Utah who kept about 400 Parlor Rollers on hand when he was active in the breed, indicated to me that he shipped hundreds of birds all over the world. The question is where are all of you? The American Pigeon Journal averages one on Parlor Rollers per year. As I said at the beginning of this article perhaps, I am the one who needs to be straightened out on raising these birds. If so I would like to hear about it. I know you are out there and have information to share.
A new International club for Parlor Rollers has been formed and is head-quartered in Minneapolis. If any of you are interested, contact the secretary, Dan Gibson, 678 East Ivy Ave., St. Paul, Minn., 55106, the dues are $3.00.
Written 25 years ago, this is still an absolutely great article for the beginner, and the hard core Parlor Roller breeder.
Thank you Alice...