The Birmingham Roller pigeon originated sometime in the mid 1800's, in the Birmingham/Midlands area of England, hence its name. The exact breeds used to create the Birmingham Roller are not known but it is believed that the Dutch Tumbler, Old English Tumbler, West of England Tumbler and the Oriental Roller were used to create this breed.
The Birmingham Roller is a performance breed. Therefore there is no nationally approved show standard for this breed.
Generally speaking, the Birmingham Roller is a medium to small bird. They are between 7-10 ounces and of a wedge (apple bodied) shape. Every part of this bird should be in balance with each other, meaning that no feature should be overly large or small. They should have the appearance of a scaled down racing homer.
In the 1970's there was a push towards “Dual Purpose” rollers. These are rollers that were supposedly bred for show and performance. This created a major rift in the hobby between show and performance fanciers. What ultimately occurred was the creation of the Show Roller breed and the separation from the performing Birmingham Roller.
The following is a description of the performance of a Birmingham Roller that was penned by William H. Pensom many decades ago that is still an accurate description today. ”The true Birmingham Roller turns over backwards with inconceivable rapidity through a considerable distance like a spinning ball.” What this means is that the roller does consecutive backward somersaults at such a speed that you are not able to count the revolutions. Also, the drop should be straight and true without any deviation. They should also drop anywhere from 10 feet to 60 feet, and sometimes even deeper. The better performers will roll at least once a minute and after the roll fly straight back to the kit (team), ready to do another roll.
GENERAL CAREThe Birmingham Roller is a very hardy breed and they do not require any special care. They are very good parents and are able to raise their own young. Just follow the basic rules of not overcrowding, keeping the loft dry, clean feed, grit and water, and the birds will thrive.
HOUSINGBeing a performance breed, the Birmingham Roller flyers need to be kept seperate from your breeding stock. The breeders can be kept in an open loft but the flyers should be kept seperate. One reason for this is that the breeders and flyers have different feeding requirements. The most important reason is that you don't want to fly a hen that is ready to lay. There have been instances of hens injuring themselves and even dying by rolling while carrying an egg.
Most fanciers keep their flyers in small pens called kit boxes. These kit boxes range in size from 3' x 3' x 3' to walk in sized pens that hold an average of 20-25 birds. The main reason for these seperate pens is to have control of the feed and exercise that each kit (team) receives. Also, you are able to seperate your kits by age/performance to get the most performance from your kit. Even if you raise rollers just for fun and never fly in a competition I believe that you will have a greater enjoyment of your birds if flown from kit boxes.
If you do a little research on the web you will find a lot of different designs for kitboxes. Some are very small and dark, with very little sunlight entering the box, and others are large with lots of light and ventilation. There are many differing views on housing your kit birds. I suggest that before you start building, do a little research to see what best suits your needs.
MY KIT BOXES
AVAILABILITYThe Birmingham Roller is a fairly popular breed and because of this there are quite a few birds that can be found for sale.
One word of caution. The Birmingham Roller is a performance breed. There are a lot of people selling "Rollers" that are rollers in name only and their performance is unknown.
I feel that the best way to purchase birds is to locate fanciers in your area and visit with them. Visit as many fanciers as possible and don't be in a rush. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Join the local club if there is one. Fanciers will be more willing to let you have decent birds if you really show an interest in the hobby. Even if you are not looking to get into competitions, I feel that you will get more enjoyment out your birds if they were perfromance bred.
If you don't have roller fanciers in your area you can do your research on the web. Look at the club sites and see who's winning the competitions. Log on to the forums and ask questions. Roller fanciers are willing to help new fanciers, especially if the new fancier is sincere and shows a genuine interest.
Prices for these birds can run from free to several hundred dollars per bird. Just because a bird is expensive doesn't mean that its a good bird. Do your homework!!! Buyer beware!!!! The best birds that I have right now, besides the birds that I have raised, are birds that were given to me.
THE JUDGE, DOING HIS THING
THE JUDGE (W/HAT) CALLING OUT THE SCORE AND THE SCRIBE WRITING DOWN THE SCORES
There are basically two types of competitions held for the Birmingham Roller. There is a 20 bird fly and an 11 bird fly. The 20 bird fly promotes kit performance and the 11 is more for the individual performer.
The general rules for the 20 bird fly are as follows:
The kit (team) consist of 15-20 birds.
The kit is scored for 20 minutes.
To score, at least 5 birds have to roll simultaneously.
The birds have to roll for a minimum of 10 feet.
If there are 2 or more "outbirds", scoring stops. An outbird is a bird that is away from the kit, flying by itself and not trying to return to the kit.
The general rules for the 11 bird fly are as follows:
The kit consists of 11 birds.
The kit is scored for 20 minutes.
To score, the bird has to roll at least 10 feet and be of an above average quality.
The bird has to roll from the kit to score, but there is no penalty for outbirds.
The complete rules are posted on the NATIONAL BIRMINGHAM ROLLER CLUB website. http://www.nbrconline.com/Competitio...b=FALLFLYRULES
and the WORLD CUP FLY website. (click on Constitution and Bylaws) http://worldcupfly.com/
There are 2 major fly competitions held for the Birmingham Roller in the U.S. One is the World Cup Fly, held in the spring and the NBRC Fall Fly, held in the fall.
The World Cup Fly is an international fly with 10 countries competing at this time. It only holds the 20 bird competition. This past year (2008) there were over 800 kits entered with 72 kits in the finals. It took the judge 10 weeks to complete the judging of the finals. The winner for the World Cup Fly was Rich Hayes of Montana, with a score of 1950.72.
The second major fly in the U.S. is the NBRC Fall Fly. The Fall Fly is a United States only competition and consists of the 20 bird fly and the 11 bird fly. This year there were 466 kits entered in the 20 bird fly and 160 kits entered in the 11 bird fly. The winner for the 20 bird fly was Kevin Monroe of Texas, with a score of 1721.76. The winner of the 11 bird fly was 7 year old Nathaniel Solorio of Colorado, with a score of 178.
In England the National Birmingham Roller Association holds numerous flys and has yearly awards for young birds, yearlings, ect. In England they also hold a fly called the Anglo Africa Cup. This consists of a team of flyers from England competing against a team of flyers from South Africa.
Here is a link to the NBRA site. http://www.nbra.co.uk/
The best part of the competition is visiting other fanciers
CLICK ON VIDEO
2010 World Cup Roller Fly Judge, Adrian Gasparini of Australia, on the right.
Whether you are a backyard flyer or a hardcore competitor remember that this is a hobby and that hobbies are supposed to be fun.
National Birmingham Roller Club - http://www.nbrconline.com
National Birmingham Roller Association - http://www.nbra.co.uk/
National Performing Roller Club - http://www.performingrollers.com/
Rollerpigeon.com forum - http://www.roller-pigeon.com/Roller_Discussion.html