Breed Advice 1930

Feathered World Year Book 1930

From an article by Francis J. Hemelryk a leading breeder and exporter of Marsh Daisies

We have now been breeding Marsh Daisies for ten years and I think we can say that we have definitely fixed the Wheaten Type, both in the matter of leg and ear lobe. Our undercolour of blue-grey, such a fascinating feature, is there all right.

Judged by the Club Show, our great danger is in losing size. A good big one is always worth more than a good little one.

The Buffs are certainly getting better but breeders should not imagine that a Wheaten without undercolour is going to help to get the true Buff colour throughout, including the tail and sickle feathers.

The Browns as shown the last two years are coming fast and judging by their utility qualities, deserve more popularity than they have achieved so far.

The Blacks and Whites are both really fascinating varieties but so far I have only seen four white and six black pullets with the willow green leg and no cockerels with a leg true to type.

Some of our leading Mendelian experts say that we shall never achieve the green leg with either a black or a white but if you can fix a yellow leg on a Leghorn and a blue leg on a La Bresse, it should stand to reason that you can fix a green leg on a Black or White Marsh Daisy. I have succeeded in my own yards to a certain extent but in two years’ time I shall be quite prepared to dogmatize on the subject. Meanwhile, let us “wait and see”.

These are the five varieties accepted but I hear whispers of a Blue Marsh Daisy and I have an Exchequer Marsh daisy here at Partridge Green. Whether fresh varieties are to be considered an advantage I do not know but personally I think we have quite enough on our hands to fix five varieties.

I think that after ten years we may justifiably look back and say, “What have we achieved and was the trouble worth while ?”.

Well the Marsh Daisy has not replaced the Leghorn or the Wyandotte in public favour but was it to be expected ? That it has progressed and is now beginning to be well known, every intelligent breeder must admit.

One of its main characteristics is it’s hardiness. “They can thrive in a swamp”. Outside ducks I question whether any breed of economic domestic fowl can advance the same claim.

These lines are being written in the exceptionally wet and stormy weather in December and as I have several hundred chicks running out on grass and have had since late November with quite negligible casualties – one got shut out at night and the other could not get back under the hover – I think it is not unnatural to surmise that the birds are hardy and easy to rear.

The origins of this Lancashire Breed of Fowls has been dealt with in previous issues of this Year Book, so it would be redundant to go over the ground again. They were bred for hardiness and long laying life but they were not bred to lay 300 eggs a year. I hold very strong views on this point, because, although I am a devotee of the utility side of the industry as opposed to mere show points, I think the great fault of the utility egg farmer is that he or she thinks in numbers of eggs in the pullet year and ignores what is more important, a long laying life, good rearability, hatchability and fertility.

As many, if not most, of our better Marsh Daisy breeders are careful to keep these figures in the 90 and over percents, I claim that from any economic point of view the Marsh Daisy should command a far greater measure of public interest than she has secured hitherto.

When we review our progress of the second decade I make bold to say that the position will be different to what obtains today.

It may interest our readers to know that one of our breeders had until last season a hen which laid 236 eggs in her pullet year and just over 200 in her seventh year. She died in Marsh from over strain having laid an average of 3 ½ eggs per week from October until her death. Another breeder has a hen which laid 220 eggs in her fifth year and 18-20 eggs per month last October-November, the time, be it noted, when eggs are worth over 3d.each.

With a few years or more careful breeding and selection, I think that we shall be able to claim that from a utility point of view, the egg farmer need not look further for his IDEAL.

In conclusion, we have only one standard and the bird that can win in a laying test can also win in the show pen.

The Marsh Daisy, being a Gold, is supreme for sex linkage but only with the Buffs and Wheatens. The cockerels have all the advantages of the Game blood and the pullets will fill the winter egg basket for several seasons.