Part 3: Flagging Your Rollers Up
The next step and very crucial part of the process is is getting them into the air and flying. Some of your birds may have already done this and you are jumping ahead to read what you should do…
Open the kit box door as usual, but only this time, instead of allowing them to come out on their own, you stick your kit flag in there and shoo them out as quickly as you can without hurting them or yourself. This new trick may have surprised them and several if not all of them are flying around the backyard in this big whirlwind of motion. Don’t worry, this is normal. As a matter of fact, you can expect this from them for several days, perhaps for as long as 10 days!
They will be flying in a crazy helter-skelter fashion until slowly they start to bird by bird fly together and become a loose rag-tag kit circling at a few dozen feet high. The first couple days of this, I will let them land back on the loft or kit box as soon as they want to. Sometimes, others will follow and land earlier than you would have preferred but let them. Others will keep flying and seem to really enjoy it.
Repeat this process everyday. On about the 4th day, you can begin flagging up any bird that has landed before 5 or 10 minutes. Keep chasing them up for this period of time. If some look like they are in panic mode and want to land on a neighbors roof or a telephone pole or something, back off a bit and let them land back on the loft or kit box.
This is a critical stage where they learn they can avoid your flagging by landing on a telephone pole or neighbors roof so you have to back off a little and let them land on the kit box or loft. You have to develop a certain “touch” or instinct to know when to lean on them and when to back off. You don’t want them developing a bad habit of landing where you don’t want them.
Be aware that not all young rollers will behave the same way. Some may want to take off and fly “properly” from the start, others will have to be shooed up and encouraged to fly and then there is all the rest in between. If possible, keeps notes on those that do the best and notes on those that cause the most frustration.