Sooner or later, those who write a piece for a game journal has gotta say a few words about Roundheads. Tis well known and a matter of statistics that over the year, there have been more Roundheads fought than any other strain of battle cocks, bar none!
It is also a matter of common knowledge that the most popular of these was and is the Allen Roundhead - as produced by Will Allen of Mississippi. They came light red, pea or knob comb, yellow legged, brown duck wing, or spangle-sensational fighting fowl that literally had everything - clever sparring cocks, side-stepping an opponent's rush and in the clinches they turned on the fan. They were excellent cutters, physically stronger than most strains and adapted themseleves to confinement. In fact, they were ideals cocks from nearly every angle being also possessed of gameness, lacking only that awful wallop of the short heel birds. This was not widely known until the past decade, which saw the rise of the Madigin-Hatch bloodlines.
For benefit of younger members of the fraternity it must be pointed out that not every cock bearing the title Roundhead carries the old-time Will Allen bloddlines. Nearly every Roundhead breeder has put in a little shot of sumpin' or other to improve them according to his own ideas. However it is still possible to obtain pure Allen Roundheads tis said. This may be so as the strain was so widely distributed that such breeders could obtain new blood from others without going out of the family if they so desired.
At least according to what Fudd knows, the fighting weights of the Roundhead still run from around 4-6 to 6-6 with good size in the hens. They, by the way, came bluff with red neck hackles, a brown partridge color and spangle. Any of the three colors mentioned for the hens are satisfactory and most Roundhead breeders get some of each if they breed enough of them. The battle record of the Roundheads over the years is too well known to even mention, except that it might be noted that prior to the advent of the Madigin line it was usual thing for the Roundheads to win most of their drag fights, this by reason of their superior bull strength.
Fudd's own experience with the Roundhead fowl is not anything to brag about although I've met'em in the pit through the years to my financial sorrow many times. I've fed and pitted between three or four hundred of the critters, winning and losing, so if this entitles me to an opinion, here goes!
Gaffs, for instance, over the years we found that the medium point jagger pattern was the best all around heel with the high-point regulation a very close second. The exception was in using the straight Jarrett Roundheads and these executed better with a regulation type curve blade.
Among the various Roundhead families, more or less containing the Allen Roundhead bloodlines, or a basic proportion, it was Fudd's opinion that the Jarrett Roundhead family produced more winning occks in tough competition. They could meet the best and hold their own although out of hundreds of this strain fought by my old friend, the late Dr. George H. Gwynn of Tallahassee, FL, I never saw one that we'd term spectacular. They were simply rough, tough, cutting cocks and they won. His Jarretts were obtained as a gift from the late Honorable Francis B. Winthrop of the same city and one of the "Watson & Co." members. On the death of Winthrop all the fowl went to Gwynn who offered a Fudd a yard of these fowl. I refused them and I had no room to breed but here again the yard was given to my younger brother and the breeding of them fell on me anyway!
The Lunday Roundhead fowl as bred by W.T. Johnson rank right at top. The late C.C. Lunday who originated this family was a personal friend of Fudd and I observed the cocks fighting in South Georgia, Florida and Alabama over a period of many years. There ware no better fowl of the Roundhead family.
J.F. "Jimmie" Johnson of Leslie, Georgia, had a family of white leg Roundheads that many think the best in the country. Fudd has seen a great many of these cocks fight and there is no doubt, they are good. It seems to me they break higher and hit much harder than most Roundheads and there has been little question as to the gameness of this family. One of the best fighitng cocks I ever bred was out of a 2-time winning Johnson cock given my brother by W.H. Wilder which I bred over a couple of hens given to me by my friend Cal Hicks, the hens being Tait or "Old Southern" Roundhead blood that was placed out in the country with the cock just to give him a free farm walk. Cal was unhappy about these hens as they had previosly thrown cocks that wouldn't finish a down bird, which proves against that in breeding game fowl you never know.
The Lacy Roundhead family from Judge Lacy of Alabama also produces white leg cocks and they have consistently held their own through the years. Fudd likes them very much and has used many in the past. Several Alabama breeders have them "right" today and for the man who fancies the Roundhead they are a good bet. On the whole they seem to be a shade faster and dealy cutters as well.
Fudd also remembers the old Toulmi Roundhead cocks from down Mobile way and west of Pensacola, Florida, perhaps the most spectacular of the Roundhead blood. They would then and today, cut the life from the opponent cock so quickly you hardly get seated at the pit side before the crowd starts whopping and yelling, climbing all over you to collect on the Toulmin Roundhead! S'fact, ask Roy Greer about these wonderful Roundhead cocks.
The Bell Roundhead as bred by Hemingway of Atlanta, Georgia, hold their own nicely in the big time pits and Fudd points out that it takes game, cutting fighting cocks to do that today.
The old-time Alabama Roundhead family bred by Cowan and T.K. Bruner were always ace high among Roundhead lovers. Even today there is a gent up in North Country that has 'em with just a dash of Whitehackle.
Fudd has much experience with Chick Hall's killer Roundhead and must put in a plug for them, as he knew them some years ago. An old friend, Chas Parks of Tallahassee, FL, always bred two yards of these and from breeding shakes only, produced mostly heavy cocks. As stags they were too clumsy in my opinion but were always desperately game and better than average cutting fowl. Break even was about all we could do with them but you can't expect to do much better than 50-50 against the men who met 'em!
Old Fudd's hesitates not at all to predict that more and more Roundheads cocks will be seen in the pits, that they will begin to nudge out the Madigin Reds and Greys and are ideal fowl for us little Fudds, can be pulled out of coop walks and make a showing against any cocks you might mention.
This dipping into the past and prediction for the future reminds me that every now and then some game journal editorial blossoms out, recommending that game breeders keep one eye on the past and the other on the future. In this regard it might not be amiss to tell about the lady in Natchez, Mississippi, whose story told in antebellum says still goes strong. She sez: "Keep one eye on the past and one eye on the future and you can't help being cock-eyed today!" Which lead Fudd to inquire of our esteemed editors and publishers, just what the hell are they trying to make out of us Fudds's!
One of the best Roundhead families that have produced winners over a long span of years, are those bred by Emmett Mitchell Jr, down Thomasville, Georgia way. Crossed with his Brown Reds they battled out an Orlando win and straight bred are no pushover. Emmett partnered with Ted McLean of Maryland for a spell and this McLean Hatch-Mitchell Roundhead cross made some cocks that had many of us seeking the aspirin bottle and ice pack the next morning whilst wondering what would be the best method of getting more cash, a straight loan from a kind-hearted pawnbroker or robbin' a bank! Old Fudd recalls that he wished he had one of these McLean Hatch cock and a couple of measly pullets from Mitchell, in fact I did obtain a promise from these fellows to let me have such a trio - more or less conditioned promise - their reply being "when hell freezes over!"
Roundhead cocks require somewhat different feeding method than other families and you are just not going to improve them much regardless of conditioning methods. They will fight about as well and maybe cut better when picked up fresh from a walk as they will after a couple of weks enduring most of Fudd's Conditioning systems.
In conclusion, let me say that there are many more good families of Roundhead breeding in the US, Fudd has mentioned only those with which he was best acquainted although I've seen a few individual cocks from O.L. Ashworth, J.D. O'Neal, R.L. Sanders and others that were as good as any Roundheads.