Have you ever heard of the Allen Roundhead gamefowl? This bloodline may not be so popular compared to its heydays but still a highly-sought after bloodline due to its credibility.
History of the Allen Roundhead
In Mississippi, Will Allen acquired a Boston Roundhead gamecock from Dr. Fred Saunders and crossed him with hens that were a blend of Redquill and Grist Grady. Gradys are believed to have been developed by Col Grist of Georgia through a succession of battle crosses. Among the breeds included were Claiborne, Shawl neck (Southern USA Whitehackles), and Warhorse, along with a touch of Spanish blue stock.
It would appear that the Boston cock had very strong pea comb genes to pass that characteristic on to subsequent generations after 100 years or so since all these breeds have straight combs.
For the past many years, he has owned a lot of “Roundhead” fowl. He has been involved in the sport as well. In the USA, this term refers to most pea comb fowl that are black-breasted reds with white or yellow legs and which do not show too much Oriental heritage.
Now, using the generic term “pea comb fowl” has become more commonplace than referring to a specific breed. The Allen-Shelton Roundheads are usually considered when discussing the breed, however, much of its development can be credited to R.E. Walt. In my younger days, many of the Roundhead gamefowl in Oklahoma were referred to as “RE Walt Roundheads” rather than simply being called Allens.
You might ask about the Boston Roundheads who made the Allens. They arrived in the USA without an identification tag from Ireland. I was told that these birds were Irish Whitehackles-bred, just like the more common English Whitehackles like the North Britons, the Earl of Derbies, etc. However, many Irish had pea combs.
In addition to the original Kearney (and Duryea) Irish Whitehackles, I believe the Irish Whitehackles bred by my Irish friend John Tynan were called Queen Anne Whitehackles.
As a result of the colonization of India, English breeders had access to the best Oriental fowl, including Asil and even Japanese. These Oriental bloodlines were then added to the early English fowl of 500 yrs. ago that weighed only around 4 lbs.-about the size of a Spanish cock now. The Oriental crosses increased the size to about 5 lbs. or bigger, similar to what American cocks are today.
Since the Irish did not mind the pea comb, the English breeders continued to breed both straight comb and pea comb Whitehackles over the years. A whitehackle is a cock with a white under feather in the neck, which was the result of the old English custom of trimming the neck hackles close to the skin.
Blackhackle is a breed, as well as crosses of Oriental/American that are known as Roundheads. Generally, their performance level lies somewhere in the middle. However, some Roundheads are very good and some are quite poor. Many attribute the positive qualities of Kelso fowl to the combination of George Smith Roundhead blood (the same strain as Lundy) and Claret which resulted in McClanahans; this was Walter Kelso’s initial cross.
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