Marans are a heavy, dual purpose bird. They are generally raised for their dark brown egg, but also make a good meat bird.
Marans are named after a port town in France. Over the centuries local birds were bred with birds brought from seaman coming to port. The modern Marans breed began development in the 1800’s and was adopted into the French standard in 1931. Black Copper Marans were accepted into the American Poultry Association standard in 2011.
The French standard has nine recognized color varieties:
As of 2017, The American Poultry Association has 3 recognized color:
Of these recognized varieties, we have had two. Plus two varieties not in the standards. The information on this page is based on my knowledge of the varieties we have raised.
Five Marans chicks
BLACK COPPER MARANS
Black Copper Marans are the most popular Marans variety in France.
Marans are bred for their dark brown egg. Black Copper Marans tend to lay the darkest of the these brown eggs.
Black Copper Marans were the first color variety admitted into the American Poultry Association standard. This was followed by the Wheaten Marans, and most recently White Marans.
BLUE COPPER MARANS
Because our Blue Marans are crossed with our Black Copper Marans they are genetically known as Blue Copper Marans. The hen in the photo on the left is lacking the copper in her hackles and head, but she is still considered a Blue Copper Marans.
The blue color has been around since the origin of the breed, but is not recognized in the French or American standards.
Blue is an impure color and does not breed true. Breeding a Blue to a Blue only results in a Blue chick 50% of the time. 25% will result in a Splash and 25% will be Black.
Breeding Blue chickens sometimes results in a Splash.
The splash color looks dirty white, with irregular black marks on the white plumage. This coloring breeds true, meaning if you cross a Splash cock with a Splash hen you will always get Splash chicks.
Like the Blue’s, Splash varieties are not listed in the French or American standards.
Cuckoo Marans were the first and only Marans in the U.S. for many years.
The Cuckoo appears white with black, but actually the Cuckoo has black plumage with irregular barring. Cocks are lighter colored than hens.
Marans eggs are dark brown in color. The darker the better. Of course I don’t notice a difference in taste compared to our other farm eggs, but I love the variety dark eggs add to our cartons.
Marans eggs are decent sized. They are classified as extra large, sometimes even jumbo.
Marans do not have a high lay rate. Personally, this means all our other breeds lay more eggs than our Marans. It is said that since a dark egg receives an extra layer of pigment it takes longer for the hen to produce the egg, resulting in fewer eggs. Interesting statement, but I’m not sure this is a scientifically proven fact.
Marans eggs are a beautiful addition to your egg collection: