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Marans are a popular French breed that is used for both their tasty meat and good layers of lots of dark brown/chocolate colored eggs.
They are very active birds that make great free-range foragers. They are also quite intelligent, friendly and calm chickens. Even the roosters are calm and not known to show aggression towards other roosters. Care should be taken though if you have another rooster of another breed, especially an aggressive breed. The more aggressive breeds tend to pick on them and things could get quite ugly.
Although they are not aggressive birds and have a very nice nature they are also quite confident with a flare of independence. They are more than happy to fend for themselves in the garden and are generally weather hardy. Although it is advisable to take extra care in extreme heat as they are quite well feathered and a prone to overheating.
They adapt well to most garden sizes and take to being confined without a fuss. They are also a nice chicken to have around kids and are quite happy to go on an adventure with them.
|Country of Origin:||France|
|American Poultry Association:||Yes – They are recognized as a breed of chicken in the United States
They were admitted to the Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association in 2011
|Chicken Category:||Large Breed|
|Bantam Variety Available?||No – They have no Bantam variety|
Appearance: Marans have a heavy soft feathering which is tightly knitted to the top part of their bodies. The bottom half of their feather is almost spoofed out making them look like they have bloomers on. They are a well-rounded shape which from the side looks almost like a lopsided heart. Their wings are smallish and held quite high up on their bodies. They have light pinkish grey feathered legs (some varieties have clean legs) and four toes. They have amber colored eyes and their wattles, combs and earlobes are red.
Color(s): White, Wheaten and Black Copper
Comb:They have a single comb
Ave. Weight: Pullet: 5.5 lbs.
Hens: 6.5 lbs.
Cockerel: 7.5 lbs.
|Life Expectancy:||The average lifespan is 8 years|
|Good Starter Chicken?||Yes, they would make a good starter chicken as they are quite a friendly docile breed that is rather low maintenance.|
Eggs: They are good egg layers.
They lay large dark/chocolate brown eggs
They lay 160 – 210 eggs per year
They will lay throughout the year being more prolific during the colder months
They start to lay eggs from around 16 – 22 weeks old.
Meat: They have white skin
Although they can be used as a table bird it is not recommended
Breeding: They are not too difficult to breed
The hens get broody frequently
They make good brood hens
They will sit on their eggs
They will raise their chicks and make very good mothers
They have been known to foster other chickens/breeds chicks
Show Bird: They make really good show birds with their pretty plumage show bird
Pets: They can be kept as pets
Other: These chickens have very color personalities to match their pretty plumage.
|Health:||They are quite a hardy breed that do not have any known issues other than some breeding problems due to the short supply of good breeding stock|
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|Temperament:||They are docile and friendly at times but are pretty moody birds|
|Flyers?||They can fly|
|Noisy Birds?||They are quiet birds|
|Interaction with other chickens:||They get on well with most breeds and are not very aggressive birds and will get pushed around by more aggressive chickens.|
|Good with kids?||They are an okay around supervised children.|
|Socialize Behavior?||They tend to shy away from other domestic animals|
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|Known predators:||Always keep an eye on domestic pets such as dogs and cats.
If hawks and or foxes are in your area it is always best to take precautions.
Check with local animal shelters, zoos, vets, animal control and or pet stores about common predators in your area.
|Conservation Status:||These birds conservation status is currently not recorded.|
Garden Size: The do not mind being confined but to prefer space to wander around and forage about.
Ideal Climate: They adapt well to any climate but are especially winter hardy. They will need a lot of cool water and shady spots in the heat.
Ideal Coop: The rule of thumb for any coop is 50 cm x 50 cm per hen/rooster in the coop.
Ensure there is a good space for the nesting boxes and nightly roosting rails at least 1.5 inches wide.
Good ventilation for air but not too drafty especially in winter.
It is always a good idea to raise the coop off the ground to give the birds a dry place to roost and lay especially in wet weather.
Ideal Coop Run: It is always best to have a completely covered coop run. This ensures peace of mind for you knowing your birds have not flown the coop and gone to visit your neighbors. It is also safer for your flock.
Ideal Flock Size: They are as happy to live in any size flock.
Special Instructions: They have no special instructions and are quite a low maintenance chicken breed.
Accessories: The following accessories are ideal for your coop:
Straw for the boxes and roosting area
Animal carrier for transport purposes
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WHERE TO BUY THEM
|Live Poultry Outlets:||They are quite rare in America but there are a few live poultry outlets and farms that sell these chickens.|
|Internet Poultry Websites:||Sites like Purely Poultry usually have stock of Marans in varies color varieties. Before buying your birds from any internet or live poultry outlet it is always best to check on the quality and breed authentication of the birds.|
|Organizations:||Associations such as the American Poultry Association and conservation agencies like the American Livestock Conservancy usually have listed clubs and registered breeders and or hatcheries that have Marans for sale.|
|Breeders Clubs:||There are a few Marans clubs in America like the Marans Chicken Club USA|
|Other:||The clubs, associations and sites above usually are an excellent source of valuable information for breeding and raising various chickens’ breeds.|
Marans were developed in the town of Marans in the North of France in the 1920’s.
They were developed as a utility breed sex link breed and kept for their good quality meat and egg production.
They were developed from older breeds such as the Croad Langsham, Faverolles, Barred Plymouth Rock, Coucou De Malines, Rennes, Gatianaise and possible some Brakel breeds. Although there are still strains, such as those in America, that have feathered legs this is not an acceptable standard for the breed in some countries and is thought of as a serious defect. The Copper Black Marans in France still have feathered legs and they are usually known as the French Copper Black Marans. Thus they are not accepted in the British Poultry Standard.
Although they are a relatively new breed to be imported into America they were imported to the United Kingdom in the 1930’s.
There are four standard color varieties of the Maran in the United Kingdom, nine in France, four in Germany and 3 color varieties in America.
The American Poultry Association states that the Marans breed should have feathered shanks and the clean shanked variety will not be accepted.
In order to keep the dark brown coloring of Marans eggs, which are the ones most sought after, only chickens hatched from the dark brown eggs should be bred.
Although many people think that the dark brown eggs are more nutritious than the white they are in fact of same/similar nutritional value.
NOTES / SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
As they are registered as a “watch” conservation status they may need an extra license to own or keep in your garden. For advice on what the bird’s conservation status and orders are please check with your local conservation department.
For breeders, it is imperative that you always check your bird’s bloodlines and ensure you are buying your birds from a reputed breeder/farm. In order to sell birds of such stature, they have to be recorded and documented, always check with local animal breeding organizations for these records.
These legitimate documents are also required should you wish to show your bird(s) in various poultry shows/competition showings.
For information and advice on adopting rescued animals, you can visit or contact your local animal welfare center.
- Caring for your Chicken
- Socializing your Chicken
- Breeding Chicken
- Raising Chickens A-Z
- Hatching Eggs
- What is Molting
- Animal Shelter (ASPCA)
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- American Poultry Association
- American Animal Welfare Society
- American Animal Control
- American Animal Husbandry Society