Marans are well-known because of their excellent dark brown eggs. Are you considering Marans chickens? Here is everything you need to know. They are friendly chickens who can do well both on the range and in confinement.
The breeds can also do well when kept alongside birds of different breeds in the flock. If you have been considering adding them to your flock, then be sure of reaping high as long as you give them good care.
History and origin of the Marans
The Marans originated from France, in a town called Maran. They were named after the place where they originated from.
Much is not known about the ancestry of the breed. However, it is believed that the bird was developed in the late 1800s by cross-breeding game-type birds and a number of breeds.
There are no documents showing the exact breeds that were cross-bred to develop the Marans. Some sources, however, indicate that Langshans and Faverolles were possibly used.
The breeders were more interested in getting dark brown eggs. They were less interested in the appearance of the bird. Because of this, several types of Marans emerged.
Appearance and varieties
Although Marans were originally not bred for appearance, they are considered by many people as an attractive breed. The breed has a trapezoidal-shaped body.
They are a muscular breed with plenty of thigh and breast muscles.
They are known for their tight feathering, which is common among gamebirds. Their feathers lack much fluff and are narrow, rigid, and short.
The Marans have single combs that are medium to large-sized. The combs are usually upright. However, in some cases, females Marans may have combs that partially flop to one side. The breed also has medium-sized wattles and red earlobes.
There are several types of Marans. Their chicks will therefore come in different patterns and shades. It can also be challenging to sex their chicks; thus, you may get a hen when you want a rooster. Some of the common varieties include:
Black Copper Marans
The roosters of the Black Copper Marans have a stunning look in their full plumage. They have saddled feathers and copper-colored hackles.
The neck feathering of their hen has some coppery highlights, but overall, they are more subdued. Most keepers preferred them because of the deep color of their eggs.
The Birchen has a black body that is solid. The feathers around their neck and head are silvery-white, with a thin black stripe running the length of the feather in the middle. There are blue birchen and black birchen varieties.
Just as the name suggests, the black Marans are black. The variety may not be popular because most keepers prefer the colorful varieties.
Cuckoo Marans are among the most popular varieties. They have a light-colored background.
Their hens are a light wheat/honey color with darker heads. The roosters, on the other hand, look like roosters of black copper.
The White variety is among the oldest varieties. They have white feathers, and their plumage does not have any other color.
Personality and Temperament
Marans are hardy and can thrive in any climate, be it warm or cold. However, they prefer and do better in milder or cooler temperatures.
The Maran is a fast-growing breed. They are considered to be really tough and are resistant to most poultry diseases.
Generally, the Marans are docile, despite being tough in nature. They are not aggressive. However, their roosters may be slightly more aggressive. When raised in confinement, they may more likely get lazy. They, therefore, thrive better in free-range environments.
One of the main reasons why Marans are a popular breed of chicken is because of their eggs. They lay deep brown eggs.
If the hens are taken care of very well, they can lay between 160-210 eggs in a year. This means that they can lay four eggs in a week. The rate of production may be lower if you are looking for really dark brown eggs.
When it comes to broodiness, their hens are average. There are those who will care less about going broody while others like brooding. If they decide to brood, the Maran hens will most definitely make good mothers.
How to care for Maran chickens
Marans are generally a hardy chicken breed. However, they will need care for them to be more productive and have a longer life span.
The breed is usually very robust and does not have many health complications apart from the usual parasites. You can control ticks and lice by using poultry dust. Most keepers dust their chickens two times in a year to control lice.
You can also carry out worming whenever needed or regularly. It is advisable to change wormers from time to time since worms may be resistant to some of the wormers.
You must always ensure that your flock is provided with a good quality feed. Chicks will have to be started on 20% protein chick crumble.
They require a high protein supply because of their fast growth. They should therefore be fed on this until when they are about 15 weeks old.
At the age of 15 weeks, you can slowly start introducing them to a layer feed.
To keep your laying flock in a good healthy condition, you will have to provide them with a protein feed. You can increase their protein level from 16%-20% when they start molting.
This helps in maintaining a better healthy metabolism and growing back of feathers very quickly. Your coop must also have a different container of calcium so that some hens that may require extra calcium are able to access it easily.
If you are keeping your chickens in a run, then you will have to provide them with grit. There is no need to provide grit if they are free-ranging.
Maran chicken will do better if they are allowed to free-range. They are good foragers who like to roam. It is believed that their ancestors were free-ranging. Their survival, therefore, depended on the ability to find food on their own.
Coop condition and setup
Every breed of chicken requires a coop to be safe from predators and weather. Marans are larger in size and will therefore need a larger coop. The recommended space is four sq. ft for every mature chicken.
You will have to add nesting boxes and a roosting perch inside your coop. The birds are fond of roosting approximately 3 feet off the ground. For optimal comfortability, you can use a thick pole of 2 inches.
The coop will need bedding to encourage egg-laying, comfortability, and dryness. You can use regular chicken bedding like old newspapers, hay, or straw. The coop must always be dry, especially during winter.
The ability of Maran chickens to lay eggs can be affected by lighting. You will therefore have to ensure that the coop has proper and adequate lighting. Natural light can do better. However, you can add artificial lighting if natural lighting is not accessible.
Marans are mostly bred for their eggs. It might be difficult to pinpoint the best layers in the flock. However, you can use the trap nesting method to find the best layer.
A bird will be trapped in the nest throughout the laying period, thus allowing you to know the hen responsible for particular eggs.
You can determine the chicken to breed by looking at the color of their eggs. If the eggs are darker, the offspring of that chicken will more likely produce dark eggs since dark eggshell has relation with genes.
To be more sure of dark eggs, you will have to settle for a rooster that came from dark eggs. With this, the father and mother will definitely give the gene of dark eggs to the offspring. It is important to note that hens lay the darkest eggs in the early season.
Do Marans get along with other chicken breeds?
Marans are considered friendly and good-natured chickens. They can therefore be paired with other varieties of chicken in a coop. The breed will get along well with any other variety.
If you are keeping other pets, it is good to ensure that they are safe around your birds. Although Marans may not be aggressive to other pets, they are more likely to be victims of aggression. They must be separated from pets such as dogs which may see the birds as prey.
Pros of keeping Marans chicken
- They produce rich and beautiful chocolate eggs
- They can lay for many years
- Marans can be kept for both meat and egg production
- They are hardy chickens that withstand cold climates
- They are friendly and docile
Generally, Marans are a beautiful and useful breed that you can add to your flock. Their usefulness ranges from their ability to lay quality eggs to their delicious meat. They also have a great personality and can be kept with other breeds.
To increase their productivity, you will have to take care of your Marans. Taking care of them is very easy.