The Marsh Daisy

The Marsh Daisy is one of the UK's most endangered breed of chickens.

Listed on the Rare Breed Survival Trust Watch List and protected by the Rare Poultry Society there are still less than 200 breeding females in the UK.

Why so rare?

A question those of us that breed Marsh Daisy can not answer!

The originator …Mr Charles Moore, discovered these [hens] in a little village near Southport where the ground they ranged over was a veritable swamp in winter, and yet these birds continued to lay when no one else’s birds produced an egg. And it is from this they get their name of Marsh Daisy.” Sussex Agricultural Express 20 July 1923

“…a British product viz., The Marsh Daisy as its name implies will thrive in a swamp…. and these birds will lay as well in their third or fourth as in their pullet year… Owing to their game blood they make an ideal table fowl, and a Marsh Daisy cockerel mated to Light Sussex Hens gives one brown pullets and white Cockerels”Letter in West Sussex Gazette December 10 1925 - Francis J Hemelryk Dec 4th, 1925

“There is no reason why they should not become one of the best of the utility breeds whilst maintaining those attractive show characteristics that have already made them so popular…”

"The Marsh daisy are great show birds as they love posing in their pens. The first time I saw the breed was many years ago, I loved the type and character" - Sharon Smith (former Breed Registrar and long -term breeder)

With its distinctive rose comb, stunning green legs, upright stance and striking colouring, the Marsh Daisy is certainly a breed worth preserving. Great for first time breeders, the Marsh Daisy is very gentle with even the males showing little or no aggression and being kind to their females.

“…I have to say personally, for me one of the main reasons for continuing to put a lot of effort into the breed 10 years ago, was the non-aggressiveness of the males– Jane Keys (former Breed Registrar and long-term breeder)

Marsh Daisies are particularly happy in free range conditions, they do not mind the rain. They generally lay good numbers of reasonably sized brown eggs, laying well into the winter months and rarely go broody. Some breeders report excellent laying qualities and egg size and breeders are working on improving those utility qualities lost in some flocks.

Marsh Daisy are standardised in five colours: Wheaten, Brown, Buff, White and Black. See the range of colours and more photographs of these beautiful birds here.

The Marsh Daisy has a fascinating history, follow this link to find out more.


Marsh Daisies were rescued from the brink of extinction. They are still very rare which has led to some problems due to inbreeding and it is challenging to breed birds that meet the breed standard. Find out more about the aims of the Marsh Daisy Breeders group here AND about the Marsh Daisy Rescue Project here

If you would like to join the Marsh Daisy Breeders group or are interested in buying some birds please contact us.

LATEST NEWS: There is building enthusiasm for the Marsh Daisy breed - as a result of our collective efforts in promoting the #savetheMarshDaisy campaign at the start of the year we had 15 new breeders wanting birds - we have managed to arrange birds or hatching eggs for most of them but as a result of the Target Breeds Campaign and RBST involvement we now have 20 new members looking for cockerels, pairs and trios! It’s busy busy but isn’t that a fantastic start to the “Rescue the Marsh Daisy Breed Programme”?


You can also find some very good advice on selecting birds for breeding from the articles in the Feathered World Yearbooks of the 1920s and 30s written by prominent breeders of the day. All copied exactly and in full by Charlie Peck: 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934 and 1935. You can also find photographs from the Feathered World Yearbooks in the photo section.

Follow this link to join the Rare Poultry Society.