General Information

Breed Purpose
Dual Purpose
Climate Tolerance
Egg Productivity
Egg Size
Egg Color
Dark Brown
Breed Temperament
Friendly,Easily handled,Docile
Breed Colors/Varieties
Silver Cuckoo, Golden Cuckoo, White, Copper Black, Black, Wheaten, Black-tailed Buff, and Ermine. MANY colors in development!
Breed Size
Large Fowl

The Marans, or French, Poule de Marans, is a French breed of chicken from the port town of Marans, in the département of Charente-Maitime, in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France. It was created with the local feral chickens descended from fighting game chickens carried from Indonesia and India. Those original Marandaise fowl were "improved" for the table through crossing with imported Croad Langshans. A favourite at poultry shows, it became a dual purpose breed known both for its extremely dark brown eggs and fine meat qualities.

Marans are generally quiet and docile; but they are quite active, taking well to free ranging in rough terrain and are also tough and disease-resistant. Their gentle temperaments and quiet demeanor makes them ideal for suburban backyard chicken keepers, as well as any assorted farm flock as they rarely bully smaller breeds. Marans are historically a dual-purpose bird, prized not only for their dark eggs but for their table qualities as well. Though the original Marans could also be feather legged birds, British breeders preferred the clean legged version, and thus feathered legged Marans are now mainly found in France. The Australian Poultry Standard recognises both feathered and clean-legged birds, while the Marans Club of America only recognises feather-legged birds.

Marans egg

Marans chick

Marans juvenile

Marans hen

Marans rooster

For more about the Marans breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here:

Latest reviews

Pros: Docile, healthy, good flock member. Faithfully & reliably lays 1 large brown egg per day.
Cons: None at all.
Just a great little addition to any flock. Gets along with other flock. Hasn’t missed a day since she started laying to present me with a darkish brown egg. That’s at least 6months now. I love Betty!
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Pros: Dark brown eggs, a potential show breed, doesn't destroy grass, better egg layers than I expected.
Cons: The hens are bullies to smaller chickens, embryo development during incubation is difficult to detect.
Black Copper Marans are one of the nicest breeds I have owned so far. They lay extra large dark brown eggs but gradually get lighter as the hen's age increases. I also get 5 double yolks from 3 hens each month by my best evaluation. The hens and rooster are easy to catch and don't mind being touched. They are far more docile than my easter eggers. I have also kept the rooster with only 2 hens and he doesn't overbreed at all. He always feeds the hens and chicks and takes well care of them and has been acting like this since he was only 6 months. They are so non destructive for some odd reason, they don't eat the grass. I actually had taken such enthusiasm in this breed that I commenced a breeding program.

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Rooster. (Molting Pic)
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Purchase Price
Purchase Date
October, 2017
Pros: Egg color and shape. Temperament.
Cons: Eggs can be difficult to hatch. Not most productive hens.
My venture into Marans started in 2009 after stumbling across some egg photos on the internet. Quickly I convinced my parents i need this breed. They surprised me with 25 cuckoo Marans pullets for Christmas.

My research quickly made me realize that these pullets had a very slim chance of giving me the egg color I desired. Before these pullets had even reached point of lay I found a guy who bred Blue and Black Copper Marans. I purchased 6 chicks from him and they quickly grew and were producing beautiful eggs I desired.But still that hadn’t been enough. While I was picking up my chicks he had shown me his flock, he had happened to have 1 Wheaten Marans hen. I was obsessed she was so beautiful, and the photos of the black and orange roosters next to the lovely wheaten colored hens made me realize I needed and wanted to breed Wheaten Marans.

I now have a gorgeous flock of Wheaten Marans. They are productive enough for my needs 3-5 eggs a week and while not as dark as some strains of the BCM they still produce gorgeous eggs. I also love the shape of the egg which is not always mentioned, both ends of the eggs are rounded making it difficult to determine the bottom from the top. This egg shape makes it hard to determine where the air sac is, which can make it difficult for incubation. The extra layer of pigment can also affect incubating successfully.

Personality is great I don’t raise them as pets so I don’t need birds that want to sit on my lap, but I would say they are far from flighty. They are calm birds who will come up to me looking for treats when I go out to the pen, but quickly lose interest and leave when I do not have any. They are descent foragers who are happy to free range or be confined. The hens have never shown aggression to each other beyond establishing the pecking order. I’ve only had one or two hens go broody. Only one hen successfully hatched a clutch (they were duck eggs and she was a great mom). All the other times a bird went broody moving her to a private pen to sit on her clutch always broke her brooding. Roosters have never shown aggression towards me or any other human, but like all roosters they have shown aggression towards other roosters. They are also great with the hens I’ve never had them over breed any one of their hens.

Overall I’ve had a great experience with this breed and will always have them in my flock. My one piece of advice for anyone looking into this breed would be, do your research and aim for getting birds from a good breeder if you want the best chance for a dark egg layer. Also take the time to talk to the breeder about the tempermant of the birds and the quality of their stalk to make sure they are what you want.


OK, I agree with you! Started Marans, Black Copper, about one year ago...hatched out some, success!! Lived about seven months, and delivered lovely terra cotta eggs, then were eaten by coyotes!
They seem very resistent to affliction and pretty tough.
Do you vaccinate your chicks?
If so with what, when and how many vaccines do you use. I plan to hatch some eggs from the second batch of Black Copper Marans I got and wonder if I should vaccinate them.
These are my 1st chickens I have ever had, got them last spring and they were slow to start laying. I agree they are not heavy layers. Unfortunately a hawk got one and then lost 2 others and down to just 3 hens now, 1 went broody and now the other 2 have also. Keeping the coop 40 degrees with heat lamps on timers, 13 hours of light and no eggs now for about 3 weeks. I have been taking them off their box's and making them get out and walk around but 20 min and they go back in and sit, not eating well either.
They are the best tasting eggs I too have ever had, they plump up so nice ( used to buy my eggs from a local farmer)
Any ideas on how to get them to eat - I have tried cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, bread, grapes, strawberries. also cracked corn. they eat a little but not much - have made a mash out of the pellets with oats - have a bowl of grit and oyster shells that they did eat some but since they started sitting in their box non stop its been a battle.
The don't eat near as much when they are broody. I've never had all my hens go broody at once though. When they are that dedicated I just let them have a few eggs to hatch. If you don't have any fertile eggs you might borrow some from someone else. If that is not an option there is lots of advice out there on how to break broody hens. Just do a search on BYC.
I have to admit, as much as I love my marans I do keep other breeds around for egg production. The orps are so great at laying through the winter! If you are frustrated at the lack of eggs in winter I would get a few orps. Also a minimum of 14 hours of light are recommended for egg production but I've found that most breeds slow way down when it is really cold no matter how much light they receive. Good luck!
Well, we have 2 lavender and 2 black, and the lavender's haven't laid yet at all. The black lay only occasionally. I didn't realize this would be the case when we incubated and hatched them. They are beautiful birds. Our Americana's and RIR's are the good layers, but one of my Americana's just went broody on me! She looks really peaceful in her box, even though she isn't sitting on anything! Maybe I will get her some fertilized eggs and let her hatch them.
Well I am in Michigan, and the cold bath, and seperate cage in an unheated garage is not an option right now, and with the snow and cold they really are not going out much - so we blocked off the box's for now and it is suppose to warm up for a few days - perhaps they will get out some and can break the cycle. Do not have the ability to hatch eggs or have little chicks right now -- too cold ... so will be the trial and error method for now. thank you both for your comments
X2 on the hatching and no, it wasn't the shipped eggs. There are some tricks to hatching marans eggs and after about 5 attempts last year and 3 or so by two other people from my very fertile eggs, the best I could do was with a broody. I had a lot of them get to day 21 and never make it out or even pip.
On the other hand, I do love the marans as a chicken. You can sex them fairly early, they lay by 5- 6 months, the eggs come regularly and get to good size within a month. We've had no winter problems with them and the roos are a nice butcher size. We have blue, splash and black. Last year gave us two that are a pretty powder blue that we hadn't seen before. Bad thing is that they don't breed consistently with the coloration and type. There is a lot of work to be done on them for consistancy.
You hit the nail on the head! I would track the shelled chicks and think I was going to have a fantastic hatch. Every thing was right in the inc and hatcher and then BANG! nothing! i thought it was my temp/humidity bought different gages... same thing over and over again.
Would love a link to the tricks of hatching the buggers.
X2 about coloring. Out of one hatch from last year...2 blue birchens- one light blue and one dark, 2 black birchens- one verrryyyy muddy and one very pretty, and two BCMs- one with a deformed leg (culled) and one just fine. And on that hatch I had set 18 eggs. That one was better than my first and that was from local eggs- set 24 got one live hatch, 10 fully formed just didn't hatch... so **** frustrating!
Just bought a dozen Copper maran eggs... hoping to hatch 50%, but now I'm nervous... anyone know why they are hard to hatch?
I've speculated that it's the small gene pool, but somebody else with a longer history may have a better answer. By the end of last year I was seening a better hatch rate- 12 out of 18- for my final hatch. The roos are now getting old enough to see what's here and who won't be here in a couple of months. The pullets are pretty decent with shank feathering and some are better than others about hackle coloring, but I would definately say they are a work in process.
I hope you have a great hatch, Amber. By the end of our season I didn't buy any eggs that was more than 500 miles away from us. I don't know if that had anything to do with getting better hatches at the end, or maybe they were just better eggs- who knows!
I did buy eggs from a guy- won't name him or where he's from- gave a huge amount of money- kinda ashamed- and not one of his eggs was fertile! He refused to do anything about it- so...really watch who you buy from.
Good Luck!!
i have one and hatching his first crop of eggs right now. He is from some very nice show lines of French Standard Black Copper Marans
I totally agree with Mary Ann, I also have 2 Marans, they havent laid much this winter, maybe an egg once in awhile- but a very large, dark egg every time. They are beautiful and get along with all my lother ladies of assorted breeds but are shy of humans. During the warmer months, though they lay if not every day, then every other day- It is february and cold still here. I got one egg from one of my Marans this week, after a warm day and it was huge. Sadly, though, my egg tray in the fridge is otherwise empty.
I incubated 4 Marans eggs and got only one to hatch and it's a She. Maranda is currently 13 weeks old and she is great. She could become my favorite Pullet. Some say incubating at a slightly too high temperature kills the cockerels.
But not true- if anything you'll kill the pullets, as pullets have only one shot at each gene set working (ZW for females instead of XX females like mammals), all birds are by default male ZZ instead of XY in mammals so if any lethal genes show up in a female they females die, the males are just carriers for that nasty gene.
ronott1 took back the temp thin in a private message. So my marans might have a bad gene... got it. Hatch eggs from a new backyard chicken lover!
^This is exciting to me as I have two CuckooMarans babes! (2 weeks old). Can't wait to see those beautiful chocolate colored eggs!
Hi. I just purchased 5 Black Copper Marans last week at 3 days old because I wanted the DARK brown chocolate looking eggs. I don't think you will get that with the Black Stars. So it's basically if you're looking for colored eggs. The Splash I think are the ones with pretty brown eggs with dark brown speckles on them and the blue copper are brown too. I have no idea what Wheatons lay? I read about the BCMs and love how docile they are and of course the darkest eggs out there. Have fun picking some out. :) KIm
Avoid Cuckoo at all cost, they're almost always hatchery quality and with disappointing egg color and lack true Marans characteristics. Wheatens are always gorgeous, egg color can be nice too it depends on the strain. Blue Coppers are a good sub for Black Coppers if you don't like the color, but Black Coppers are the most reliable for a good dark egg. Blue and Splash Marans aren't too reliable with egg color. Blue Wheatens are excellent but very rare. They're probably my favorite. I used to breed them but lost my blue wheaten male.
Oh and don't forget - Marans has an S at the end, plural or singular.

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