Breed Spotlight: The Marans

The Marans may perhaps be one of the most popular chicken breeds in the US currently. Thanks to Instagram, many flock owners strive for a flock that produces a rainbow of egg colors, and these breeds can lay one of the darkest brown eggs you’ve ever seen.

Origin

The Marans breed originated in Marans, France, in the early 1900s, which is how the breed got its name. They are a relatively new breed in the US, only being officially accepted into the American Poultry Association as a recognized breed in 2011. The APA currently (as of 2021) only recognizes 4 color varieties in the Marans breed: Black, Black Copper, Wheaten and White. Many other color varieties exist and you’ll find that Meyer Hatchery breeds several of those non-APA colors. Since this breed is so popular in the US, we can hope that it’s just a matter of time before the APA recognizes some of the other color varieties.

The Marans breed is generally a quiet and very calm breed. The personality generally carries across all color varieties, but keep in mind that any breed can have some high-strung individuals that may “go against the grain”. Hens tend to go broody and are usually attentive and protective mothers.

They were originally bred to be a dual-purpose breed for both meat and eggs. But over time, it has now developed into a breed best known for its eggs.

Wheaten Marans hen - Meyer Hatchery blog

Egg Color

All Marans varieties lay a brown egg, but the degree of pigmentation that makes the egg super dark chocolate in color varies between flocks. The Black Coppers is noted for laying the darkest egg of any of the color varieties. If your goal is to get super dark eggs, you will want to be sure that the hatching eggs or chicks are coming from parents that produce what you are looking for. Keep in mind that social media photos may be somewhat unrealistic, as some will use filters to enhance egg color. Hens lay an average of 4 eggs per week. Their eggs tend to be medium to large in size.

Breed Spotlight: Marans
Breed Spotlight: Marans
Breed Spotlight: Marans

Adult roosters are usually laid back and can get along well with other roosters. They tend not to be the dominant rooster in a mixed-breed flock, especially with other stronger personalities such as a Rhode Island Red, Leghorn or Andalusian roosters. Males weigh on average around 8 pounds and hens around 7 pounds.

Breed Spotlight: Marans

Leg Feathering

The APA-recognized Marans varieties should have a moderately feathered leg. But the non-recognized colors may or may not have leg feathers. Contrary to popular belief, having the word “French” in the breed name doesn’t indicate the presence of more leg feathering. All Marans are French Marans since the breed originates from France. So if you have a French Black Copper Marans and a Black Copper Marans, it’s the same breed. Both should have leg feathers, lay brown eggs and have black bodies with copper feathering accents.

Marans can have feathered or unfeathered legs, though here in the United States, the American Poultry Association only recognizes the feather-legged variety, which is a part of the Continental Class. Since the APA Breed Standard calls for feathered legs, if you intend to show your Marans chickens, ensure they have well-feathered legs.

Learn More About Specific Marans Breeds

Roosters have a protective spirit over the hens and love sounding out the alert to the ladies when he finds food or when it is time to take cover.  They are gentle souls when it comes to humans. They are a great breed to consider for families that are looking for a family-friendly flock.

Consider adding this popular breed that has a sweet personality. The Marans can be a good breed for older children who have a little experience with owning poultry already and are ready for a larger breed. Tell us about your Marans in the comments below.

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