My introduction to this hobby was at a very early age.
My father, Murray, and his Uncle Jack Hoelscher, kept studs of Rollers, Fantails and Pouters (English and German) in the 1950's. Even one of my Father's brothers, Weldon Jr., kept a few Rollers from time to time. I don't remember exactly how old I was at this time, but I do remember some of the trips to " The Barn" to see how the birds were doing. |
Unfortunately we also had a German Shepherd dog named King. During an out of town trip where King was left at home, he decided to break into the loft and ended up killing most of Dad's birds. This disappointment, and a very exhausting work schedule resulted in the absence of pigeons from our home for a few years.
When I was about 10 years old, I was given the opportunity to buy a pair of a breed that would be mine alone. My first task was to read the classified ads under the " Pigeons " heading in The Family Herald ( a Canada wide, rurally focussed magazine which arrived in the mail once per month.) There I found an ad by Mr. Gordon Steinacher of Fordwich ON. A phone call and a short drive later and my Father and I were standing in Mr. Steinacher's loft. While tempted by a variety of breeds, I chose a lovely pair of black Nuns as my first pair of pigeons. As time went by the number and variety of my stud increased dramatically as I tried to fill every nook and cranny of " The Barn". Fortunately, although we lived in a village of 400 souls (Linwood Ontario, Canada), in an agricultural area, so we had a small barn and local farmers with lots of grain.
Two of my hometown buddies, John Hieter and Leonard Runstedler shared my interest and had lofts of their own. A gentleman by the name of Norman ( Pete) Koebel, who bred Flying Tripplers, English Pouters and English Carriers along with various pheasant varieties in extensive outdoor flies, rounded out Linwood's fanciers. Together we stimulated each others development with encouragement and challenges. When I got my driving licence and first car, a lot of time was spent travelling around my little part of the world visiting pigeon Fanciers. I was quite a wheeler-dealer back then. Many trades were made and many birds bought and sold. John, Leonard and I would scour the barns in the surrounding farms for feral birds to take to the local stock yards. The money wasn't big but it sure was fun making it.
After a short break for my marriage to Elaine, my first job in Sudbury ON, and a new home, it was time for a loft and a few birds to fill it. Fantails were selected as my #1 breed, but since I had never been a member of a club, I found myself picking up birds "here and there" with predictable results, they were terrible at best. At my first major show, the National Fantail Club of Canada 1977 Annual, I was lucky enough to win best of colour with a young silver hen (#112). I had bought her as a squeaker, along withe her parents, from a fellow named Big John Omorrean.( John was an immigrant who had bought a farm near Hamilton and struck oil. It is a neat story in itself) The best part of the NFC show was that I came away with several new pigeon breeding friends and connections to much netter birds.
The name "Pommer's Feather Farm" originated at a time when my children, Eric and Craig, where still quite young and my wife, Elaine, had the time to run a small business raising and selling canaries for local pet stores. Canaries are banded too, and it was at this time that I started to order my bands with the personalized code letters - PFF -, a tradition that continues today for the first 300 young birds each year.
The last 20 years have shown a lot of improvement in my stud as well as the introduction of the other breeds I now raise. ( Fantails, English and Pigmy Pouters, Medium Faced Crested Helmets, Exotic Coloured Rollers, Flying Rollers, Parlour Rollers) Today I breed between 30-40 pairs of Fantails in most of the solid colours - black, white, blue, silver, cream, indigo, andalusian and checker - patterned colours - saddles and tailmarks - and some less common colours - almond, opal and reduced. The depth of quality is best demonstrated by the shelves full of trophies and boxes full of ribbons that the stud has won. But my greatest satisfaction comes from the many fanciers with whom I have shared my hobby. Most of them are within the coastline of North America, but some are also international. "PFF" banded birds may be found in Germany, France, Denmark, Holland, Bermuda, The Phillipines, Pakistan, England, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, the USA (including Hawaii), and of course, Canada. The best aspect of these shipments has been the life long friends that they have produced. It is my hope that this web page will become a vehicle towards increasing these connections.
I cannot give anyone singular credit for the stock that is a foundation for my stud of Fantails. I do bring the odd bird in from time to time, but most of what I have is the result of many years of personal breeding.
My English and Pigmy Pouters originate from the lofts of Bill Pimiskern (deceased) and Lazlo Fedor, two of the greatest Pouter breeders of all time. More recently I have introduced a few birds from Garett Ryane. My greatest colour concentration is in the reds, but I am also working on the bars and blacks.
The Rollers are British imports from the lofts of Barrett and Brown ( both now deceased). Where flying ability is equal, I choose to breed from the most interesting colours. The flying kits of 20 birds fly at medium altitudes and vary in rolling depth, but all spin very tightly.
I have always enjoyed the genetics involved with colour breeding. To this end I have produced a stud of flying typed Rollers in reduced, opal and almond ( original almonds from Cleason Clemmer). These birds seldom see the air but they are often the inspiration for what I do in my other breeds.