Outbreeding Rollers Made Simple
By Jay Alnimer (J_Star) 2005
Most breeders begin in the roller hobby by outcross breeding utilizing the selection of unrelated stock possessing many of the desired features as far as visual form is concerned for because of the lack of knowledge of the family history of their rollers other than what were told by the seller.
This method of breeding can produce a small number of good spinning rollers, providing the pairing clicks, and the genes responsible for influencing the desirable qualities gain dominance.
When selecting stock to form your stud, choose only active rollers that display good health and vigour, which are essentials in all matings. Avoid breeding a roller, no matter how good it maybe in type, if it is lacking in stamina and never attempt to keep more birds than you can accommodate. By not overcrowding, you will be able to allow your stock adequate space, which will allow them to develop fully without stress.
Outbreeding continually brings together birds of different genetic makeup. The variety of ancestry produces stock with what is reflected to as hybrid vigour. This in its way produces stock, which are quite different in type. The breeder should keep some form of record keeping if related matings are to be avoided.
In mating unrelated birds, the breeder has no way of knowing from past experience or records if the good type features will prove dominant and be expressed, or if the weaker features of the mating or ancestry will gain dominance. Therefore, it is easy to understand that this variety of ancestry is an obstacle to those who wish on producing uniformity in type.
To start your outbreeding, a small stud of six pairs can be bred from only three years. At the end of this period, all the young will have ancestors in common. A new stock has to be brought in after the three years period if the breeder wishes to maintain a policy of unrelated matings. This method of breeding is illustrated in the following diagram:
Assuming that a breeder buys twelve unrelated rollers and identifies each bird with the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L and pairs them together as shown in the diagram above. Combining the letter of each parent identifies the young from each mating. This means that the young from the pairing of A with G becomes known as AG.
These double letters young mated together in the second season, their letters are combined to identify their young. For example, the young from mating of AG with BH become known as AGBH, and so on with the others.
If the breeder continues with the policy of unrelated mating, half of the stock has to be replaced from now on. The common practice is to buy in some new birds each year rather than replacing so many in one season.
Another alternative method of outbreeding is known as ‘best to best’ breeding method. This system can work out quite well if all the rollers are of high quality. In studs where the quality is not so high, and in which some features are quite deficient, it will still be nessary to ensure that both partners do not possess the same faults.
When breeding with rollers of varied genetic makeup, and with no previous knowledge of performance of the young they produce, there is no reasonable degree of certainty that the good qualities will be passed on. The reverse could occur and the weaknesses may dominate. Also, never waste a super roller by mating it to a very mediocre one in hope of balancing up quality.
Whenever possible, double up on quality by having the same good features on both sides of your matings and never retain any roller which possesses a major fault. Providing that a roller is of good spinning quality, type, character and has only minor defects, it can be paird with a superior mate with expectations of producing young showing an improvement.
Let me add also that most successful breeders tend to concentrate on one variety of pigeons. If an interest is taken in too many varieties, it is difficult to concentrate sufficiently on any of them to attain the desired quality. A diversity of interest makes success more difficult to achieve and the success will not be the same degree as the level attained by those who specialize in a single variety.
Breeders who have a great deal of spare time maybe able to handle more than one variety successfully. Many fanciers do not have much time. Therefore, it is important to become single minded and take up no more than one or two varieties.
However, should a fancier have no interest in building a performance strain, then it would be possible to enjoy a wider variety of pigeons.
In conclusion, outbeeding does not give the breeder the chance to stamp a personal interpretation of the Ideal and uniformity throughout the stud of rollers. It is a more carefree method of breeding and it does not involve the breeder in keeping very detailed records.
The decisions which have to be taken are simpler in that they are confined to the performance and character of each bird only. There is no need to constantantly refer to ancestry or family traits.
A task which many fanciers find very tedious and not in their nature to do. In addition, the outbreeder would not have to face problems of loss of stamina, low fertility among others, which the more intense forms of breeding can reveal.