You need to go out and get a few Maran chickens right now. These birds give you lots of eggs, entertainment, and an unsuspecting favorite pet. But don’t just take our words for it. Below we have the best Marans chickens: pros and cons. You can see from this list that anyone would be lucky to have a Maran in their flocks.
What Is A Maran Chicken?
Marans come from the town of Maran, France. And you guessed it, we Americans mispronounce it. The French pronounce it with a long “A” and silent “S,” but since Americans all over say it as Muh-rans, we might as well stick with it.
What’s fascinating about Marans is that no one knows their exact cross. Breeders suspect that they are a combination of local chicken breeds and maybe some Indonesian. The breeders chose all of these breeds to produce the darkest eggs possible. And they succeeded.
Pros Of Marans Chickens
The first part of Marans chickens: pros and cons, is looking at the positive side. Below you will see all of the fantastic qualities and benefits of keeping a flock of Marans. You might even be able to think of a few pros to go along with these!
While having real chocolate eggs would be great, that’s not what we are talking about here. The Maran chicken eggs color is such a deep chocolatey color that you will want to take a bite out of them. But we strongly discourage this. They make a gorgeous addition to your egg baskets, and if you sell your eggs, people will seek you out for them.
Not Overly Broody
Marans chickens are perfect for the beginner owner because they are not overly broody. Broody chickens don’t lay eggs as often, and if your hens are frequently broody, it will cut into your yearly counts. Low broodiness doesn’t mean that they are challenging to breed, though. When your hens go broody on fertilized eggs, they make wonderful mothers. Your Marans sit on their eggs dutifully and watch after their chicks well.
Long Laying Years
Most Marans lay strong for the first four years of life. Some owners even say that they get eggs reasonably regularly up until six years old. Sure they might be a little spaced out, but they still are delicious. That’s longer than most other high production birds that only lay for three years at most.
Fresh eggs are great, but farm-raised meat is another benefit of the Marans chickens. Hens get a plump 6 pounds while roos can get as large as 8. So raising a few Marans as table birds is an excellent idea. Marans meat is sweeter than regular chicken, and they are ready for processing as early as four months. In fact, the Maran served as a meat bird only. It wasn’t until more recent years that people have realized the potential for beautiful eggs.
Northern dwellers are always on the lookout for chickens that can withstand harsh winters. To all of our Northern friends, look no further than Marans chickens. Marans don’t mind the cold weather at all. All you have to do is keep the coop clean and slather them with a little Vaseline to prevent frostbite.
If you live in urban areas, having a quiet flock is essential. You want to keep your neighbors happy, and it helps to get extra sleep. With a flock of Marans chickens, you and your neighbors will sleep soundly. Marans are exceptionally quiet chickens. They love to talk to you and cluck peacefully to each other. But they are never louder than normal conversation levels.
Docile And Friendly
People love Marans for their kind temperaments. Marans get along peacefully with everyone in the flock. They love people and don’t mind handling if you train them early. Marans are the perfect pet that gives back. They more than makeup for their care by giving you eggs, fertilizer, and bug extermination.
Roosters have a terrible reputation for being aggressive. But a Marans rooster temperament is similar to the hens. You will find that your roosters are nice and friendly toward everyone. If you have kids, we highly suggest Marans roosters. You won’t have to worry about aggressive behaviors or your kids being terrified of the coop.
For new owners, there is nothing worse than getting a chicken breed that gets sick frequently. Marans are perfect for new owners because they are a hardy breed with superior genetics. Marans don’t get sick easily, and they aren’t prone to genetic defects. As long as you keep them clean and well-fed, nothing gets in their way.
Maran Hybrid Chickens
Marans are excellent candidates for creating Olive Eggers. When you cross Marans with either Ameraucanas, Araucanas, or Cream Legbars, you get hens that lay beautiful olive eggs. So your egg baskets can include chocolate, blue, and olive-colored eggs. Everyone will come running to your egg stands come springtime.
Maran Chicken Colors
Our last Marans chickens pro is that they come in nine color variations. The only recognized colors for show and breeding are Black, white, black copper, and wheaten Marans chickens. But you can also get them in colors like Birchen, Black Tailed Buff, Columbian, Cuckoo, and Golden Cuckoo. You can even get striking Lavender Marans chickens.
But not all of them are created equal. Which Maran lays the darkest egg? That would be the Black Copper Marans. Cuckoo Marans are also rumored to have the best meat as well. So you might as well get a few of all of them for good measure!
Cons Of Owning Marans Chickens
Now comes time for the not-so-great sides. You can’t have Marans chickens: pros and cons without admitting that not everything is rainbows and sunshine. Below we have just a few aspects to consider before getting Marans chickens.
Low Egg Production
Everyone raves about how beautiful Marans eggs are. But something to consider is that they are not a high-volume egg producer. One hen can only make about three eggs a week, totaling only 150-200 eggs per year. So if you were planning on selling these eggs, you might want to reconsider.
Washing The Color Off
Speaking of that chocolate coloring, you have to be extra careful when washing these eggs. If you wipe too harshly, you could wipe most of the brown off. How is that possible? Marans chickens do lay darker brown eggs. But the bulk of the color comes from the mucus produced in the egg-laying process. It’s even possible to wipe color off when collecting freshly laid eggs accidentally.
Lightening Through The Year
And there is one more catch to these dark brown eggs. Young hens lay dark brown eggs consistently. But as the years pass, you might find that the eggs start becoming lighter and lighter. Some hens might even begin with chocolate eggs in the spring, but they only lay light brown by fall. But don’t worry, by next spring, your Marans will be right back to laying darker eggs.
No Winter Eggs
Just because Marans can withstand harsh winters doesn’t mean you will have eggs. Most Marans need a little break during the winter and stop laying. It would be best if you didn’t try to encourage winter laying though for these birds. When Marans don’t get a break, they don’t produce quality eggs. It could even result in illness and inability to keep warm.
Slow and steady wins the race with these chickens. Most Marans hens don’t start laying eggs until they are 8-9 months old. So depending on your hen’s hatch day, it’s possible not to get any eggs from them until the following spring. But this isn’t always a bad thing. For one, it contributes to the Marans’ long lifespan.
If you have a mixed flock, you might want to consider personalities before getting Marans chickens. If your existing flock is dominant or aggressive, the Marans won’t stand a chance. You will find that your Marans are too submissive and get picked on.
Hard To Incubate
The Marans chicken breed thrives best when the hens do the raising. Incubating Marans is difficult and requires particular humidity and temperature settings. Too high or too low, and your eggs won’t fair well. Even if you are only off by one degree, it could end in disaster. So it is best to leave it to the mothers on this one.
You can get Marans chickens from just about any hatchery. These chicks cost as little as $10 per bird. But they usually aren’t well-bred. If you want quality meat and dark eggs, we recommend going to a quality breeder. These chicks will cost slightly more than hatcheries, but they are well worth the cost. Some rare colors can cost as much as $30 per chick. So they aren’t the cheapest of all the chickens out there.
So Are They The Right Bird For You?
Did we convince you with our Marans chickens: pros and cons? No matter if you raise for meat, eggs, breeding, cross-breeding, or as pets. These chickens fit the bill for every need. And while we can’t tell you to go out and get one of every color, why not? As long as you have space, there’s no reason not to!
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!