Circus Lofts

Home of the aerial performers

Training Buff and Tuff Husband FOR's

This is from my friend C.j. Scherrman who has had great results training and flying his Buff and Tuffs. His strain is the same as mine.

Many people ask me how I got into Flying Oriental Rollers. I was fascinated by their multiple performances at Jim Moo's place in Sioux City, Iowa. Even though I had Birmingham Rollers I wanted Oriental Rollers too, so my father obtained an Almond cock and a Blue Grizzle hen from Jim Moo's. I later got a recessive red hen and a Black self cock bird from Rome Sponders after being referred there by Jim Moo's.

I'd make trips back to visit Jim Moo's on my bicycle and come home with a new bird or two after helping Jim clean his upper loft. I was just 12 years old.

As I do now, I bred and flew them. Each one had their own unique style of performance and I saw some nice rolls etc. That was until I had to leave for college at age 19.

I had Almonds, Creams, Blue Almonds, Blacks, Reds, Yellows, Red Bars and Blue Bars. Jim Moo's obtained his stock from various sources. So they all were a little bit different from the others. Most were Turkish strains and old school American strains out of Utah

He had both flying type and show types and had them separated. The show types were housed in the rear loft the flying types were housed in the front of the loft where he free flew them

For the most part, I had the flying types

I got back into them in 2006. I would have been back into them in 2004 or 2005 but I couldn't locate what I was looking for in flying type. I went through a few rip-offs and hassles until I finally came across the type I was after. That was when I spoke with the legendary Paul Sisk aka "Sippi" A couple of people I befriended over the years knew Sippi, so I got my restart again from Gregg Sales who had both direct Dale Husband Tuff & Buff stock and Hartmut Fehrholz birds he got from Alan Bliven. And Roy Cook contributed me two stock cock birds

I love the FOR's because they can do two things
1 they can perform and put up aerial acrobatic performances.
2. they can evade Birds of Prey when bred for evasion tactics.

I got back into them after i started having problems flying my own competition Birmingham Rollers due to the Birds of Prey being thick around here.

They roll.. they barrel roll.. they twizzle, sometimes all in one shot, sometimes just a few flips then rolls, it's soo variable that no two are alike in the air. 

My goal is to strive for perfection in evasion type FOR's that can also perform well.

They are more alert and more agile birds than most pigeon breeds when bred and trained properly they can out fly and outwit a Bird of Prey.

They usually start evading with a side to side snake like motion as to confuse the BOP as to whether they'll go left or go right.

I have seen a veteran team of FOR's cut off a path that the BOP is honing in onto one of its kit members flying straight across in between them. They evade in such various degrees and situations that it would take a good deal of writing to describe them all.

As an example, I had two Sharpshin Hawks on one kit of seven FOR's from high noon til around 4:30 pm. They were attacked all day long and I still had seven FOR's after they all trapped in that evening.

Most of my frustrations usually come from trying to get unflown fat young birds on the wing come spring, during the spring migration of the BOP. Those that survive it usually survive the rest of the season and after. I fly them during migration on purpose. I fly them very hard and heavily and let the BOP weed out the poor evaders. I then fly them even harder as yearlings during fall migration sometimes two times per day.

I have a two season rule in effect here. If a FOR does not survive the two seasons of four different migration periods it is not bred from, simple as that. The survivors are the ones that make the stock pen.

I wean them before they are fully feathered out under the wings and put them in a wire pen on top of the box they will be flying out of. Before they can even fly they learn of their team mates when all are introduced at the same time. They should be in the wire pen at least one week before liberation, learning where to land and where to go in by placing the wirepen in front of kitbox trap

The best care and health is a priority over handling and training.

My theory on breeding serious FOR's is not focused on colors but rather working with what I have at the end of two years of flying.

I keep the flyers on a high oil diet' such as finch seed and wild bird seed with no corn ensuring the birds are lean and in the best shape possible.. young birds are placed on the kitbox and allowed to get to know their surroundings. It takes about a week or 2 after they are fully grown to take short flights around they are only allowed to land within 10 feet of their kitbox. Flying them daily except when raining is a required practice as they start to get fly fit, they then start flying longer flights.. I do not baby them, if it's windy they still go out unless winds are 20 mph or higher, as young birds I wait till they are older and very lean flying machines before they go out in winds higher than 20 mph, up to 28 mph it builds them up gives them a real good work out'' which is needed for evasion tactics.

The FOR cannot be rested for a week on rich will make them fat and out of shape I kick them out at noon. I will not feed them until 1 hour prior to dark it teaches them not to come down early looking for food. My ideal is a bird that can fly 3 to 4 hours. one important thing I must press is give them water prior to flying it will aid in them being hydrated while being chased by BOP. To liberate a kit of FOR's they come out and go on top of the kitbox for 5 to 10 minutes to stretch out before forcing them up.. I keep 10 in a 2x3x3 box with no perches.. I run 2x4's across the floor. They use those as perches, it trains them to be team mates instead of who's dominant.

When FOR's are in their peak and lean, I then keep them flying hard.. once migration comes it is time to test their abilities by flying at high noon, the time when BOP are at their peak. I will kick them out every time I see a coopers or sharpie nearby. They should be very alert and on edge jumpy with a vibration the more they are chased the better they become.. in the beginning I had a 40% kill ratio after eliminating the originals that were producing the 40% my evasion stock improved drastically. I then proceeded to breed out the ones that were still around after 2 migration seasons.

Evasive FOR's should be slender and sleek with very tight vents and tight tails. Half of my evaders have split tails for some reason. After breeding and flying them very hard for 6 years I have seen dramatic improvements in their young's evading abilities.

I forgot to add that if a BOP grabs a young bird it is the handler's error, if a BOP picks off a bird not in lean flying shape it's the handler's fault, but if a BOP grabs a FOR that is lean and in flying shape it was not meant to be bred from and didn't possess the proper tools for evasion. It's better to let the BOP pick those off.

And breed from the ones that had the tools to begin with to build a better BOP resistant family of FOR's. Performance is already there, what is valuable is they can both evade and perform, usually performing when they are most calm and not being chased.

I know ill get some rap for it, so what, I can take it because I know what's happening here after keeping track and intensely observing etc for 6 seasons in the air, not even focusing on performance at all because they have it already in them.

Feeding them a rich diet makes them fat and really puts them at a disadvantage vs a well sculptured, lean BOP that has been hunting and is very experienced. BOP are athletes and FOR's need to be athletic to be at their best. If you think about it, a BOP that gets his meals handed to him would be a fat BOP that cant catch his meals right? XD

Circus Lofts Home