Unfortunately, there hasn’t been in depth research on this subject and what is available isn’t easily accessible as far as a scientific conclusion as to why these pigeons roll. There are references to a study that found the gene called the “ro” gene which is said to control the rolling/tumbling behavior. In the past, some erroneously attributed tumbling or rolling to a form of epilepsy which has been since proven wrong. Research has found that medication which suppressed epileptic seizures in the brain did not suppress tumbling. If you are familiar with the breeds of rollers, it’s apparent that many seem to be performing at will when in flight. By observing a roller during flight, one can sometimes predict exactly when it will roll using pre-rolling cues. Many good kits perform in concert or ‘break’ in high numbers. It would be very unlikely that a kit of rollers, which usually number in the tens or twenties, all have an epileptic seizure at the same time and seem to not crash with each other while doing so.
It’s highly recommended that you purchase rollers from fanciers with strong reputations and that you trust. The highest satisfaction when purchasing roller(s) and what most experienced fanciers recommend is to purchase rollers that you have seen perform. With a little research, you should be able to find a reputable fancier who will fly their kit for you and permit you to choose rollers from it. In addition, many fanciers are eager to help folks new to the hobby and even donate rollers. We also recommend that you purchase a membership with the NBRC as many member’s contact information is found within monthly bulletins. You can browse through the list of NBRC members on the NBRC member’s directory which is listed by state. Unfortunately, their contact information isn’t listed. The alternative would be to visit local pet shops and purchase rollers from there however in doing so, typically you are given no information on the pigeon’s background. In the near future and when available, we may have a few rollers available for sale. Please use the contact form if interested.
Yes, unless they aren’t properly homed (ability to locate their homes) or something out of the norm occurs such as a predator attack, strong winds, etc. Many people are intrigued by the fact that fanciers can actually open their loft door & allow their rollers to fly out. They do come back. Of course, as stated above, the birds must be homed  first in order for them to return to their lofts. You can find more information about homing and training rollers on this site and many others.
Training seems daunting initially but is relatively simple once you go through it a few times. It involves a few phases including weening, homing, trapping, and flying. The key is consistency in both feeding (amount and time of day) and flying (number of days a week and fly time. See the Bare Bones Roller Care page or some of the blog posts for more information on training. 
A rolldown is a highly unstable roller that has little control over its impulse to roll. As it develops, it loses its ability to stop rolling at will and upon executing it will hit the first object it comes in contact with on its way down (tree, roof, floor).
No. There are enough good and outstanding rollers (fast and stable) to breed from and one should set aside and/ or cull rolldowns. The pigeon may in fact be from a good family or line but a rolldown should not be bred to avoid passing on the characteristic. In addition, breeding a rolldown that will likely yield more is cruel. As the hobby continues to evolve, the amount of rolldowns bred in general should decrease.
No. It is highly unlikely that you will get better results and in the case of a Parlor for example, most if not all may be unable to fly or rolldown. There are enough quality Birmingham Rollers out there that will yield the results one wants to attain. By crossing the breeds you will in essence take the hobby and efforts of many fanciers back decades dismissing the years of hard and disciplined work and improvements the breed has made.
This is very difficult to answer as there are so many quality strains & successfully bred families. It’s also very subjective and there are many factors that play into the dynamics of rating strains/ families. Research the various strains and families and decide which is to your liking. Make it your primary goal to visit as many lofts as possible so you can learn from the loft owners, and watch them fly and perform. The more lofts you visit, the better you’ll get acquainted with the slight differences and what family you’d prefer. You will find that most fanciers are striving toward the same standard and some strains/ families have relatively insignificant differences.
Yes and No. You do not need to add special feed or grains when eggs have hatched are born. Days before the eggs hatch the parent pair develops something referred to as “crop milk”. The newborn squabs receive this crop milk for about 3 days to 1 week (before they can swallow grains). After about 1 week the parents begin feeding solids (grains). It should be noted that it is recommended that you give your pigeons feed that has a higher protein percentage than the average during the breeding season. 15% or higher protein percentage is recommended.
Do not hurt BOP/ raptors. Most if not all BOP’s are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) which states “it shall be unlawful at any time, by any means or in any manner, to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, attempt to take, capture, or kill, possess, offer for sale, sell, offer to barter, barter, offer to purchase, purchase, deliver for shipment, ship, export, import, cause to be shipped, exported, or imported, deliver for transportation, transport or cause to be transported, carry or cause to be carried, or receive for shipment, transportation, carriage, or export, any migratory bird, any part, nest, or egg of any such bird, or any product, whether or not manufactured, which consists, or is composed in whole or in part, of any such bird or any part, nest or egg.”. This site does not condone the abuse of any animal, including BOP’s however frustrating it can be. It is illegal.

There are a few things you can try to avoid attacks by predatory birds. You can assess when they are more active and prone to hunt by flying very early or very late in the day. It is said that early in the morning is when there is less BOP activity. Also, learn about their migratory pattern and when higher numbers arrive in your area. During this time it’s advisable that you do not fly your rollers (this can last 3-4 months of the year). If you happen to see one on the ground or near your loft, simply startle it with a loud clap or similar so it can fly away. You will find that your presence alone is enough to scare it away. Again, do not hurt or intent to hurt it. It is against the law.

Approximately 18 days after it has been laid and sat on (+ or – one or two days depending on weather).
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