Species group: Domestic Fancy Pigeons
Other common names:
Scientific name: Columba livia domestica
The Birmingham Roller is a breed of domesticated pigeon that originated in England, where they were developed via selective breeding, for their ability to do rapid backward somersaults while flying. Originally just a flying breed, the Birmingham Roller is now bred both for show and for aerial performance.
As explained by The National Birmingham Roller Club, "The Birmingham Roller Pigeon... distinguishes itself by its ability to "roll", or summersault backwards in rapid, tight rotations. The rolling can be so fast on its axis that the pigeon resembles a ball of feathers spinning in mid-air."
"Birmingham Rollers, like all domestic pigeons, possess a homing ability which drives them to return to where they feel safe and where they find sustenance. With this natural ability, breeders launch groups of Rollers into the air to watch and awe at their synchronized acrobatics. During competition, these groups (known as "kits") are judged on a variety of factors, including the number of birds rolling simultaneously, the depth of the roll, and the quality of the roll, as well as "kitting" ability."
The Birmingham Roller Pigeon was developed by Birmingham, England breeders in the 1800s from several older species of rollers and tumblers, probably including the Dutch Tumbler, Old English Tumbler, West of England Tumbler, and the Oriental Roller. They are bred for their performance, rather than their looks, so they may resemble a smaller Racing Homer Pigeon until you see them in action. The true performing Birmingham Roller Pigeon should be capable of performing backward somersaults at such high speed that you can't count the revolutions. In the 1970s, there was a split in the hobby, with a separate line of birds being developed into the Show Roller breed.
These athletic pigeons can come in a variety of plumages, since the focus is on their performance, not their colors. They've been described as resembling a "scaled down" homing pigeon, another athletic breed.
280 - 400 grams (10 - 14 oz.)
30 centimeters (11.8 in.)
7 - 10 years
Behavior / temperament:
Birmingham Roller Pigeons can be rewarding because they're confident, non-fussy, and trainable. If you want to be a competitor, you should connect with Master Flyers, breeders, and other knowledgeable experts. They might not share every secret, but they'll help you find good trainable birds to get you started. It is worth considering the birds of prey situation in your area before you choose to work with these birds. Many of us live in a flyway for migrating birds of prey or even an area where birds of prey may reside for several months in winter, so we are not properly situated to start training Birmingham Rollers. It is not legal or right to kill native birds of prey, so know your situation BEFORE you decide to enter the hobby.
If you happen to have a single pet, because it's a rehomed or retired bird, or just because you prefer it that way, then spend time teaching your Birmingham Roller to return to you for treats and affection. Try offering safflower seeds when the bird flies to your arm. They have the ability to be charming, friendly birds if you take the time to give them attention and training.
The majority of Birmingham Roller Pigeon keepers are breeders and exhibitors who keep their birds in a specialized loft. Talk to another breeder before you design your loft, and make sure that it is easy to clean and secure from mosquitoes, raccoons, and other predators that would like nothing better than to feast on a nice tasty pigeon. Have a minimum of 4 square feet of floor space for each pair. Yes, that does mean that an aviary 4 feet wide by 6 feet long houses a maximum of 12 birds. Pigeons are messy, and their droppings and feathers can accumulate, so don't take on a bigger job than you are sure you can manage. Consider a security system to deter thieves.
Also, if you are planning to fly a performing kit, you need a specialized loft called a kit box, where you can house your competition team together, since you will train them to leave and return after each performance. For more information, it's imperative to connect with other hobbyists, perhaps by becoming a member of The National Birmingham Roller Club.
A single pet Birmingham Roller Pigeon should enjoy a rather large, easy-to-clean flight cage. Bird-proof the room where you spend the most time, making sure you can lock windows and doors from the inside when you have your pet out. These birds are good performers, but they are somewhat vulnerable to being captured by flying predators like hawks if they get outside. It is a myth that the spinning action allows them to evade or confuse predators, as hawks and other birds of prey are reported to catch some of these birds every year.
Birmingham Rollers bathe in water, so they should be allowed access to a shallow dog dish or similar bathing bowl to splash around in. Since pigeons lower the head to drink, they will need a deeper bowl for the drinking water.
The Birmingham Roller Pigeon can thrive on a relatively simple diet. Most people start with a high-quality pigeon mix from a well-regarded source. You may also mix in quality grains such as millet, barley, wheat, whole corn, dry peas, buckwheat,oats, and so on, either from a good feed store with fast turn-over or from a health food store. Special pellets formulated for pigeons can be used to supplement the diet, to ensure that your bird has enough vitamins and protein.
Chopped greens like kale, dandelion greens, spinach, or fresh sprouts should be offered each day. Some people offer high beta carotene foods like finely chopped carrot or papaya.
All Birmingham Roller Pigeons need access to a high quality pigeon grit to help them digest the tough, uncooked grains they like to eat. A cuttlebone or another calcium source is also valuable. However, calcium may not be properly absorbed without sufficient vitamin D3 if your pigeon is an indoor pet. Therefore, it is important to choose a good avian supplement that includes D3.
Written by Elaine Radford
Friendly creature, hobby birmingham rollers, beautiful pigeons, proper racing pigeon, amazing maneuvers
sure hawks, large pigeon coop
bracelets, cooing noises, worldwide competitions, gender differences
I rescued Kevin from a hawk-attack in my backyard. When I took Kevin in, he had a broken wing and a bloody beak.
For feeding and water, we stuck with generic bird food and distilled water. He pecked through the food and only ate yellow and brown seeds.
Pigeons are not for the lazy!! You must clean their cage everyday, depending on how messy they are, because their feces will stink. You will need to change out their water everyday as well.
He liked to be held and because he couldn't fly, we were able to take him outside for days in the sun. Once his wing healed, after about 6 months, we released him back into the wild. He was a great addition to out home, but was a lot of work. Not for a family with no time available..
From thenerdnextdoor Sep 21 2015 9:42PM
I grew up around these amazing birds almost my whole life. Birmingham roller pigeons are very intelligent and it is not difficult to train them. My pigeons have entered worldwide competitions and won many times. Very well behaved birds, they rarely ever go beyond the boundaries of my land. In the odd chances they do, they have numbered bracelets with contact information around their ankle. Easy to catch on to commands, such as when I whistle they fly back to their cage. With the wave of a flag they beginning rolling. Beautiful bird and though pigeons are usually seen as dirty birds, these are very clean. The only difficult experience I've had with these birds is the hawks. You need to be very careful and watch closely to make sure hawks don't snatch your bird. It's a pretty common occurrence..
From Abby299 Jan 20 2015 6:55PM