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Black Copper Marans

While growing in popularity, Marans chickens are still not common in the United States. They originated in France and were introduced in the United States in the 1930s. Black Copper Marans lay exceptional eggs, rich in flavor and dark mahogany in color.  When females chicks hatch, they have a finite amount of pigment or coloring in their body, so as they age and continue laying, the color of the eggs lightens. This does not affect the quality or superb taste of the egg.

In our experience:

  • Marans are an extremely hearty breed and fairly tolerant of hot and cold weather extremes, provided they have shelter from the cold and direct sun and ample clean water. With good management practices, they tend to have very few health problems.

  • The roosters have rich copper colored feathers on their necks, saddle and upper wing area; black and iridescent green on their wings and tails; a black chest, plain or stippled with copper; grey or slate colored shanks; and feathered feet on the outermost toes. 

  • Hens are black with touches of iridescent green in the sunlight, their necks the same or lightly colored with copper.

  • The majority of Marans, male and female, are quite gentle.  Aggression is not a trait we want to cultivate, so no matter how handsome a rooster might be, if he is aggressive, he is culled from our flock.

  • This breed is considered of medium-size, with hens weighing about 6-1/2 pounds and roosters about 8 pounds.  A hen will lay approximately 150 large to extra-large eggs per year.

  • Hens can become broody, but in our experience, only a small fraction do.  Even when this happens, the broody hens usually remain quite docile and allow you to handle them and retrieve eggs.  In general, we find BC Marans to be very agreeable overall.

At Thornfield Poultry, our Marans breeding program is fairly simple:

  • For our dark-egg flock, we select only the darkest eggs to incubate and hatch.  Our darkest fertile eggs are also selected from this flock for shipping to customers.   We prefer SOP traits for all our birds, however with this flock, we are somewhat less restrictive and cull based on egg color more than conformation and SOP traits.  We will cull the “English type,” which is clean-legged—without feathers on the legs and feet, that is.  Other flaws for which we cull can include, but not be limited to: feathered middle toes, long shanks, yellow shanks, sparsely feathered legs and toes, a haloed hackle, shafting or excessive leakage on a rooster's breast, an white toe feathers.  

  • We maintain smaller separate flocks for SOP (Standards of Perfection) breeding and selective paired breeding.  Birds are selected according to the breed characteristics specified in the Standards of Perfection, more specifically, medium-sized birds with a balanced body type and acceptable color variations.  Some of the unacceptable traits we watch for are: an oversized or unbalanced body frame; long shanks; white feathering on adults; bare, featherless feet; feathers on middle toes; excessive leakage or shafting on the chest of a rooster; and yellow shanks.    Almost every one of our birds possesses quality traits that meet the Standards of Perfection and could make an excellent show bird or breeding stock.  Is each bird perfect?  Absolutely not.  We breed for SOP, but that does not mean every bird is flawless.  In fact, we have never seen a 'perfect' bird.  Birds are like people—no one is perfect. We are also working toward SOP birds that lay eggs as dark as our dark-egg flock, but this is a work in progress.

  • Not every chick we sell will be show-quality or flawless. 

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