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Sorry, But There Is No Eye Sign For Rollers.First, the eye sign theory says that the circles in the eye, pupil, iris, the lines of separation, the lines crossing over, the splashing effects are all indicative of some physical or mental characteristic in the roller being examined.In the world of racing homers, many people point to eye sign as a way of identifying champion caliber pigeons. It appears to be demonstrable in racers therefore the eye sign is studied and believed as fact in rollers.

 

As I began researching this topic for the questions the site has been receiving, I was not overwhelmed with information on the topic as it relates to rollers. To begin with, on its face, eye sign in rollers appears to be extremely controversial if not an outright myth. My questions are these:

 

  • What do those promoting have to say about it? 
  • Are they merely identifying specific indicators in their own roller family? 
  • Do those specific indicators apply to mine? 
  • If they do not, why don’t they? 
  • If they don’t, are they applying wishful thinking? 
  • If wishful thinking then is eye-sign in rollers is a myth?

If the answers to these kinds of questions cannot be answered adequately and if they are not broad enough truisms to apply as a general rule, as far as this site is concerned, “eye sign” for rollers will remain a myth. So far, I have not seen any evidence in my own birds that there is something to see in the eye to tell me if it is a good roller, breeder, roll-down or champion. For every general rule I can recite, there is always the exception.

So I don’t argue the exception to make it a general rule.Generally speaking, when a belief is widely held, there is usually some truth to it. Such as: “my dog barks therefore all dogs bark”, “my cat had kittens therefore all cats that have kittens are female”.If I say, “my best rollers are all bull-eyed, therefore all bull eyes are good rollers”, there would be many who would rightly disagree with that statement and could back it up with average or worse bull-eyed rollers.

Does this make my statement false? Yes. Or, if I say that, “line-breeding in rollers is a bad practice and is not natural, again there would be many who would disagree and could show proof as to why this is not true. Does this make my statement false? Yes, again. If I say “eye-sign can be used to judge good rollers and determine the best birds to breed from in all roller families”. Am I making a true statement? No. Why? Due to the fact that the eye-sign theory in rollers, is generally believed by experienced Fanciers to be false. Does this mean that it is not? Not necessarily.

Remember, Columbus showed the earth was not flat as was widely believed at the time. So why can’t eye-sign theory be proved true? I say because there is not demonstrable proof that it is outside of anecdotal stories or experience. Are those who are promoting it, simply seeing what isn’t there? The emperor has no clothes as it were? Are they seeing a trait because they want to? Is it observable? Can it be quantified? Can it be demonstrated? If it has merit, does it have merit for all breeders or just some? I don’t use it to judge my rollers. I breed for performance and try to pair best to best using the 5 Primary Traits.

Eye-sign is not considered when I select breeders or determine a rollers value. However, I prefer an eye that is the most of what ever it is. If it is orange, I want all orange, if pearl, all pearl. I prefer to avoid cracked eyed birds in breeding or one eyed bull, however, the best breeding hen I ever had, had a bull eye.

As I study rollers more, I find that breeders have subjective experiences and spot indicators for certain traits with their own Rollers and then fall into the trap of applying these characteristics to all other roller families. This is fallacious thinking. Knowing your own birds in an in-depth way benefits the Fancier. Applying what you learned about your birds may not work for me. In my own loft, I can virtually pick out the good uns’ from the nest.

They have a look, an expression, and a temperament that I can spot almost every time. Does this mean I could go to your loft and do the same? Probably not, but if we had birds from the same family and had similar breeding goals, then yes, I perhaps could.

Tony Chavarria

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