Breed Advice 1933

Feathered World Year Book 1933

From an article by Mr J Blackmore, successful breeder of Marsh Daisies for utility and exhibition.

Looking through the Feathered World Year Book of last year I note that Mr Hemelryk, in his notes criticizes the Palace birds on the score they were too large.

Club Show at Crystal Palace. This fault has, I think, been checked this year, although one or two birds were to my mind still rather on the large side, particularly, I thought, Mr Insley’s winning Wheaten hen at the Palace. But it should be noted that she is eight years old, but she won the Moore Cup and the same breeder carried off the Canterbury Cup with a really nice Wheaten male, a nice sized bird, not too large.

I thought that the Wheaten Marsh Daisies were really a very even lot of birds, the females particularly so, although the two second prizes both went to Mr Parsons, with two really excellent Blacks, both of which had achieved the regulation willow leg, albeit not quite as nice a shade as is required; this breeder has consistently shown good blacks and is to be congratulated on the excellent type of Black Marsh Daisy emanating from his pens. Third prize went to me with Buffs, I think that I was rather fortunate.

It is pleasant to record that we had 28 entries against 23 the previous year, although we were more than sorry that Mr Stott was unable to fill his pens.

The Club supported three other shows during the past year, viz. Norwich, Eastbourne and Lincoln. At Norwich the Hon. Alice c Hawke, Mr Insley and myself carried off chief honours; at Eastbourne Miss Hawke and Mr Hemelryk were the principal winners, although I particularly liked Mr Parson’s second prize winning Black male and I think he was unlucky not to get premier award and at Lincoln where only Mr Insley showed, one exhibitor was unable to send his birds as his labels did not arrive until the morning of the show, so this show was rather a fiasco.

I should like to state what my views are as to the correct Marsh Daisy type. I think it should be impressed that the Daisy is a utility breed and that a bold eye, short beak and tight feathering are essential. We do not want the squat, fluffy type of bird but rather a blocky shape with a fairly long back and good breast with plenty of capacity at the back, as befits a good layer of large eggs. As a utility breed the Marsh Daisy is definitely making a name for itself, several farms now have taken up the breed in large numbers after trying them out during the previous twelve months. In this respect I note that the Marsh Daisy/Light Sussex sex-linked cross is receiving more support; I can personally vouch for the excellence of this mating, they have all the stamina of the pure bred Marsh Daisy and are just about the best layers at present known.

I have not had a second grade egg from the pullets of this cross. The cockerels make excellent table birds as they have white legs and white flesh and mature about two weeks earlier than the pure Light Sussex, these showing a good profit even in these hard times. In this respect it is, I think, not generally known that the pure bred Marsh Daisy makes an excellent table fowl, with an abundance of meat on the breast, cockerels should scale about 5lbs at five months of age, the game ancestry of the Daisy no doubt largely contributed to this good culinary quality.

Several good performances have been put up by Marsh Daisy hens during the past year; one seven year old hen with over 1000 eggs to her credit laid 98 eggs of 2 ¼ ozs this year. Five three year old hens have laid over 30 first grade eggs each during the 50 days commencing on 1st October this year, while a pen of 22 Marsh Daisies, 18 months old, averaged 18 eggs each during last October, completing a year’s average of 202 eggs per bird.

Once again I must quote Mr Hemelryk and say that Marsh Daisy breeders are rather a retiring body, who simply keep the breed for commercial egg farming and the only way that information can be gleaned is to go round and meet these breeders, otherwise the Marsh Daisy practically never has its praises sung, especially as we do not employ a publicity bureau and it may seem rather harsh, but I am persuaded that if the Marsh Daisy had only hailed from Holland it would, ere now, be enjoying a veritable boom, but alas, the Marsh Daisy is only a British breed.

In conclusion, for the benefit of the staunch band of Marsh Daisy breeders, may I quote the words of one of our greatest judges and breeders of poultry, writing to me after the Crystal Palace Show who said “He thought that the Marsh Daisies were a great improvement on what he had previously seen”. This I think, will be questioned by no breeder with any knowledge of the Marsh Daisy.