Feathered World Year Book 1928
Article by Charlie Peck, Surrey
Mr G W Stott, Hon. Sec. Marsh Daisy Club
Although the Marsh Daisy is now getting fairly well known, I shall write of it here as a new breed for the benefit of any reader who may not have seen it, or read anything about it.
It presents the upstanding features of the O.E.G. and carries the bright, alert and active features of the Leghorn. The Malay blood is not so evident in all specimens but evidence of its presence can be detected in any flock of Marsh Daisies, some specimens showing it very distinctly. It is owing to the combined influence of the first-named that the Marsh Daisy gives the observer a graceful, clear-cut and symmetrical appearance not often met with in the domestic fowl. Its neat head (we debar excessive head finishings), its alert carriage and the graceful lines of its contour combine to make it one of the prettiest breeds.
The photo on the left is a BUFF MARSH DAISY COCK - The property of Mrs J Larkins
Winner of Best Buff cock at the Club Show Birmingham 1925
Marsh Daisies are bred in five colours – Wheaten, White, Buff, Black and Brown. The Wheaten, the oldest and therefore the best stabilised in the breed’s characteristics, is to my mind the prettiest of our colours. The male is a golden-brown colour, with gold hackle, deeper gold saddle and a black tail with beetle-green sheen in abundance. The female has a light wheat colour of breast and underbody colour and a brown wheat-coloured back slightly dappled by reason of the edging of the feathers being of the white wheat shade. These delicate shades of plumage combine very harmoniously with the pale willow green leg. The tail is a flat black, with red wheat edging to the feathers.
The Buff (and by the way, we specify a golden buff in both sexes and buff to the skin) is making great strides towards perfection since Mrs Larkins took them up so thoroughly and though we could wish for a little tighter feather, we must concede to this colour the place of honour for white almond shaped lobes and pale willow green leg.
The White has troubled us very much to make very much. First to fix the pale willow green leg and next to get a pure white plumage; but it is now shown to be possible by Mr Hemelryk’s pretty white hen exhibited at the Crystal Palace, 1927. She won second prize in our AOC class. Both sexes must be white to skin.
The Black is now coming fast and making good headway towards perfection. This colour has troubled us not a little in fixing the pale willow green leg but the lobes have been white and of good shape for some time now. Both sexes must be black throughout.
The Brown, our latest colour, has really done well as it is already fairly well established. This is not surprising in a way as they are really a sport from the Wheatens and we get fairly good Brown males from a mating of Wheatens, as may be expected from the Game blood in the breed. The Brown male is very much like the Old English Game Black-Red male in plumage but his rose comb nicely spiked and with one leader half an inch long, level with the comb and his white lobe and pale willow green leg (these are common to all colours of the breed) tells the observer that he is not a Game cock entirely. The female is really a Partridge and we specify the tickings and barring on the back, with gold-with-black striped neck hackle and salmon-coloured breast and underbody parts. A perfect specimen of this colour will be a lovely bird. Really all the characteristics of the Partridge.
I have reserved my observations on the utility aspects of the breed until last, not because they are secondary or little thought of by Marsh Daisy fanciers but because the observations can be said to refer to all our colours. The Marsh Daisy is a good layer of large, tinted eggs (the Wheatens and Buffs can be said to be exceptional layers of large eggs). The breed gets an average weight of 6 to 6 ½ lb. for cocks and 5 to 6lbs for hens and they are a really good table fowl, as they are light of bone and the flesh is of a splendid texture. They are very hardy indeed and withstand damp, marshy ground very well. They have a longer useful life than most breeds and pay to keep until they are four years old. The chicks are easy to rear and are very hardy.
We get a single combed specimen at times. These should be killed as day olds. Lobes require attention if we must come up to the older breeds and green leg, though considerably improved, still requires attention. A Wheaten male with too mush black in surface feathers should not be used for breeding Wheatens.
Last but not least, do not choose your 220 egg hens to breed from. Never mind making a show at Laying Tests so long as the scoring is based solely on number. Keep up the egg size even if you reduce the number from 220 to 180 eggs per year.
Some very useful descriptions of the colours and detailed description of the ideal comb and leader are given here by Mr Stott and also confirmation that the colour and markings for the Brown hen should be ‘Partridge’.