Marsh Daisy - Chicken

Brown Marsh Daisy cockerel

Marsh Daisy Details

Uses
Eggs, broody
Origin
lancashire, England, Great Britain
Class
Light, soft feather
Colour
Black, brown, buff, wheaten, white
Comb
Rose
Eggs
Tinted
Weight, cock
2.5 kg
Weight, hen
2 kg
Parentage
White Leghorn, Black Hamburgh, Old English Game Bantam, Malay, Old English Game (Pit Game), Sicilian Buttercup.
Sitter?
A reliable sitter that goes broody easily
Autosexable?
No
Breed Club

Rare Poultry Society

Breed Ratings
Temperament
Hardiness
Egg Laying
Table Value
Flightiness
Brooding

Marsh Daisy Description

The long process to create the breed was unwittingly started by Mr John Wright in 1880

 

John Wright maintained a small flock of Old English Game bantams which he crossed with a Cinnamon Malay cock.

A cockerel produced from that cross was given to a  Mr Wignell who mated the cockerel to his White Leghorn hens. A cockerel derived from this cross was given to John Wright and later crossed with a flock of rose-combed Leghorns that came from a previous crossing between a black Hamburgh cock and white Leghorn hens. A closed flock of the offspring were maintained for 30 years.

In September1913 Mr Charles Moore purchased two hens from John Wright and mated them with a Pit Game cock as there were no cocks of the white strain remaining in John Wrights flock. The offspring were mated with a Sicilian Buttercup which fixed the green legs and this led to the creation of the Marsh Daisy. The Sicilian Buttercup was most probably used because it was an exciting new breed that had recently been introduced into the UK by a Mrs Colbeck in 1912. The Wheaten, white and buff were the first colours and were created by Charles Moore of Hatfield Woodhouse near Doncaster at about the same time prior to 1920. The Brown was developed circa 1925 by a Lord Canterbury who lived in Norfolk not Kent as the name may suggest. The black was probably created by Mr E.C Parsons of Williton in Somerset circa the same time as the brown.

 

The Marsh daisy is a very friendly and docile breed, not flighty or aggressive. They can be purely utilised for back garden egg production where they continue to be productive over many years although not usually in such great numbers as once was recognised for the breed. Unfortunately egg size is small and egg colour varies greatly depending on strain from pure white though tinted to pale brown. The main concern with the Marsh Daisy is its inability to breed true. The Marsh Daisy is one of few native breeds that is on the degenerative downward slope to extinction and has been for many years. Although the Marsh Daisy comes in many colours, they were probably never truly fixed in the first place. The result of a sheer desire at the time to get the breed known to the public, to promote its qualities and attempt to make it commercially viable as quickly as possible. In hindsight a common mistake of many newly developed breeds or varieties of the early twentieth century is that they were released before they were fixed and breeding true. For example the Norfolk Grey had breast lacing on some specimens shortly after being launched to the public.

 

The problem today is that the existing colours have been bred together, particularly the wheaten and brown varieties. Therefore many years of selection lie ahead from dedicated breeders to ensure each colour breeds true.

 

The Marsh Daisy was developed to be a utility breed and this is clear by the breed standards inclusion of 20 points for ‘laying power’.  Therefore when exhibited, the specimens potential to be a good layer is also assessed. Unfortunately the breed was not productive enough to challenge well-established breeds such as the Sussex on egg laying ability and so gradually fell out of favour. Today if the breed were to be stabilised the Marsh Daisy could prove exceptionally useful as a low appetite breed, a persistent layer of eggs over many years and as a friendly breed for children.

 


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