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U.S. History of the Oriental Roller (Part 1)
Dale L. Husband
(Master Breeder with over 60 years of experience in the breed.)

The Oriental Roller pigeon origins come from the Middle East and Asian countries, namely Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan, which is northern Iran, Iran and other countries in the Asian part of the world.

Orientals are a very old breed and are known for their performance or rolling and their different style of body.  It is believed that this bird was used in crossing with other birds to make the present day rollers.  The Oriental Roller has stood the test of time and is still in its original form and type.  The bird does not have an oil gland, which is one of its characteristics.  The Oriental carries its wings below its tail and it has more than the normal twelve tail feathers.  An average of fourteen to sixteen is common.

The old writing about Orientals gives the colors as black, dun, almonds (various combinations of almonds.)  Some show mostly black and white, dun and white, and the standard almond background color.  No doubt there were many other colors, but these are mentioned most.  Now, we have just about every color in Orientals that there are in pigeons.

In the past, the Oriental Roller had lemon or yellow eyes as well as pearl eyes, but over the years the lemon eye was bred out.  Now, it is rare to see a bird with lemon eyes.  Whites have dark or bull eyes, but some breeders are trying to breed them with pearl eyes so there are a few of them around now.

The Oriental does not fly in a kit as well as does the Birmingham Roller.  They prefer to be more individuals and do their own thing in the air.  Smaller kits of ten to fifteen birds do much better than larger ones.

U.S. History of the Oriental Roller (Part 2)
Dale L. Husband
(Master Breeder with over 60 years of experience in the breed.)

The Oriental Roller was imported to the United States in 1927 to the Bronx Zoo.  There may have been earlier importations, but this one is documented.

From this time on, the Oriental Roller has spread all over the U.S.  In the early 1930's, they were shipped to Salt Lake City, Utah from New York by J. Leroy Smith to a Mr. Graham who had a great variety in colors and bar patterns.

Mr. Graham sold his birds to Paul Buttle who kept them until 1938 or 1939 when I was able to acquire his entire loft. There were yellows and reds, silver bars, buff bars and blue bars, bronze and some colors that are not named.  I think it was about 1940 that Bob Evens sent me two pair of black Oriental Rollers that he had bred and flown.  Bob disposed of his Orientals when he started raising Pensom Rollers.

I got started in Oriental Rollers in 1936.  A small blue hen strayed in with my father's Racing Homers.  I liked what I saw but didn't know what kind of pigeon it was so I went to my friend, Ray Gilbert, to find out and he told me it was an Oriental Roller.   From then on, I was going all over the valley looking for any I could acquire.  Friends would tell me where I could find some, then I would buy or trade for the Orientals.

From that time on, the Oriental Roller has made its mark in Salt Lake City, gaining from a few breeders in the 1930's to a great many now.

Some of the people who had Orientals in the 1930's and 1940's are: Paul Buttle, Melvin Colt, Jake Denter, Stever Peterson, Paul Bradford, John Fife, Wayne Myers, Norm Drecksel, Billy Woodruff, Professor Reed, Dave Camomile, and Dale Husband.

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