Articles taken from The West of England Flying Tumbler by Jeffrey Oldham
The actual date and place the West Of England Tumbler was developed has not been noted by any of the early writers on pigeon breeds. From what information that is known, it is generally thought that the West Of England Tumbler was developed in and around the western part of England. Hence the name the breed is known. It is safe to assume that the breed was developed sometime during the mid 1800's. From all information we know the two main breeds behind the West Of England Tumbler are the Turkish or Oriental Roller and the Dutch Tumbler. Just how many and what other breeds were used to create the West is not known, or at least has not been noted by any of the early writers of pigeon writings.
Most authorities on performing tumbler agree that the West Of England Tumbler, Tippler and the Birmingham Roller are all of the same basic parentage and that the three breeds differing performing abilities and general physical makeup came about because of the early fanciers varying desires. The early on West fanciers bred their birds to fly for long periods of time and at a high altitude. It was not at all uncommon for a well-trained kit of West's to fly for six hours or more at a height where they were just barely visible.
Of interest is an article dated 1930 in Pigeons of England, a long time fancier writes of the West Of England Tumbler and the Birmingham Roller. He tells about the early fanciers in an around Birmingham forming a club catering to the long rolling tumblers. Before this time the name "Roller" was not beard, there were two types of tumblers, the long, high flying type and the long, (meaning deep rolling rather then long time flying) and frequent performing type. The fanciers of the Birmingham Club would trade their strong, high flyers to the west fanciers. The West fanciers would pass along their frequent in tumbling properties birds to the Birmingham Club members. Years later the name of the Birmingham Tumbler Club changed to the Birmingham Roller Club, and so the name tumbler gave way to Birmingham Roller. The early West's were bred in all manors of colours and markings, at a later date the baldhead, mottle and self settled in as the main varieties. During the early days there were both muffed and clean legged West's, little is beard of clean legged West's today.
The modern West of England Tumbler has taken more than a century to develop into its present form. Its main characteristics or features are as follows:
1. A dual purpose breed suitable for flying or exhibition.
2. The breed is now "grouse-muffed", which means the legs are feathered to a moderate degree.
3. West fly very high and for long periods so they become specks in the sky(although now this quality has being breed out). They turn or tumble occasionally and then rejoin the group (the "kit").
4. They combine excellent flying abilities with splendid feathering and condition.
Wests are fascinating birds; they provide competition, interest in the many colours available, and a challenge to produce good performers as well as show birds.
The early fanciers in Bristol rejected the idea of a standard. The West should comprise of all the correct Tumbler and Flying characteristics.
Size : Medium and nicely balanced; not too high or low on the leg.
Carriage : Alert and errect, with the head vertically above the feet.
Head : "Pleasent-faced" , i.e rising gradually from wattle to a nice curve over the eye, with no suggestion of full cheeks, blending into the neck; wedge-shaped when viewed from the front.
Beak : Spindle-shaped; light or flesh coloured.
Wattle : Light or flesh coloured.
Eyes : Pearl or white. Position to be as central in the head as possible, when viewed from the side.
Cere : light or flesh coloured.
Neck : Of medium lenght.
Chest : Full and symmetrical.
Legs : Grouse-muffed, footings .
ideally 1-1.5 inches.Excessive muffs as in Muffed Tumblers are absolutely wrong.
Wings : Of good lenght, opening out into a perfect curve with no stepping at the extremities of the flights. The wing coverts and pinion feathers should be even in formation, and the under-furnishings full, complete and even, not ragged in formation.
Tail : Straight and of good lenght with twelve tightly folded feathers. It should fan out into an even curve and be fully covered with furnishings under as well as over, the tail coverts being complete and even.
Plumage : A wealth of silky feathers with strong, broad flights should cover the back, both when the wing is closed and extended in the hand.