Volume 3 Page 7
Training & Flying Oriental Rollers

My experiences with the Flying Oriental Roller has been a source of great pleasure to me ever since my first encounter with them at the age of twelve. My enjoyment of the breed is derived from both functions, flying and exhibition, and if either was not there, some of the appeal would be lost. The flying and training should be of most importance when breeding the Oriental Roller, but one must not lose sight of proper type and color. The Oriental Roller possesses a unique style of flying and performance like no other breed.

One of the greatest commitments you will have to make is to be consistent with your training in order for the birds to achieve their potential. This consists of flying them everyday, weather permitting, and feeding correctly. The following information is based on my experiences and is specifically written for those of you who are new to the breed and need some guidelines on training your Oriental Rollers.

TRAINING THE YOUNG - It is of most importance to begin training your young Oriental Rollers as soon as possible (approx. 4 weeks old). While weaning the young, you will need to establish a specific sound to familiarize them with feeding time. The shaking of grain in a can or whistling are the most common methods. While the young Oriental Rollers may not be able to fly yet, they should be placed on top of the kit loft in a wire cage. This will allow them to get familiar with their surroundings and also protect them from predators. This procedure should be done daily for about an hour.

After the birds have been weaned they should be placed in the flying loft. The next step is to attach a wire enclosure to the exterior front of the trap door which allows the young birds freedom to go in and out through the trap, while the trap door is maintained open. This method will easily teach your birds to use the trap.

FEEDING - There is no set feeding method. What is important is to supply your birds with a high carbohydrate diet with some protein especially during their developing stage. I feed approximately a tablespoon per bird daily. This is not a set rule and you may have to experiment a bit to find the correct amount. There are some breeders who feed twice, a bit before they fly and the rest after. It will be up to you to find what works best for your birds.

FLYING - After you have established your feeding and your youngsters are familiar with the surroundings, it is time to give them a bit of free flight. It is important to release them hungry so you maintain control over them. At this time, remove the wire enclosure from the front of the trap door and replace it with a landing board. Allow them to bask in the sun and stretch their wings for an hour or so daily. When you are ready to put them back into the loft, open the loft door, call them in and feed them.

PERFORMANCE - Once your birds are established in their flying loft and are feeding properly, it is time to force them up. For this I use a twenty foot pole with a flag on the end of it,

At first they will fly somewhat scattered and low across the sky. This should proceed for a week or so. Once they gain confidence, the day will come when they will go up on their own accord and begin to fly high and develop their acrobatic feats of cutting and diving through the sky and tail glide while falling to great depths.

Oriental Rollers have a unique flying pattern unlike other rollers. They fly in a more open pattern covering a wide area, zig-zagging and flying in a figure eight pattern. Contrary to rumors, Oriental Rollers do kit excellently, as long as they are flown with their own kind.

Successful Oriental Roller kits average around 6 to 15 birds. They are a combination high flying, rolling pigeon that can fly with ease for two to four hours. The Oriental Roller is a slow developer compared to it's cousin the Birmingham Roller. Some will not begin to roll until they are six to nine months old, but at full maturity they are capable of rolling at great depth and speed.

In conclusion, the Flying Oriental Roller offers many challenges, not only in the air, but also with it's unique style, structure and color it will challenge the best of breeders. In dedication to the Flying Oriental Roller, a specialty club has been formed in order to preserve, educate and maintain it's original characteristics.

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Mark Orme F.O.R.S. Publishing Editor