Like so many others, I jumped on the Black Copper Marans bandwagon last fall, not to make money breeding them, or selling fertile eggs but to add their beautiful eggs to my pastured, organic egg flock. I sell these eggs locally and have an excellent reputation and following. I bought 10 chicks from a very popular breeder near Atlanta in December, of Wade Jean lines, went and picked them up and into my brooder with Startena, Start' n 'Grow, and sugar water, which is the standard I have used for 21 years and have not lost more than 2 chicks in 80+. I lost 2 chicks in the first 2 weeks and the breeder was very solicitous; called me and commiserated for which I was grateful. But now, the chicks have matured - they have been out with the flock for a month in Premier 1 electric mesh foraging over 1/4 acre and I feel that there are genetic problems...Out of the 8 remaining chicks, I have 3 roos, 4 hens and one of indeterminate sex. I have a roo without a neck. He clumps around, but has to eat squatting down or lying down because he has just a short, little neck. One roo has large corners of his eyes from the corner to where the eyeball begins, although he is very large with a deep, fat breast and has beautiful color. The 3rd roo appears to be ok and correct although he does not have the deepest breast. The 4 pullets are sound but very different in coloring; one is almost black with 3 or 4 hackles showing color, one has a lot of colored, penciled feathers and the others are in between these two extremes. The mystery chicken is black with a smaller comb and wattles than the 3 definite roos, but larger than those of the pullets. Its tail is feathered more like a roo, but not as large and plumy like the other roo's tails. Also, it is the size of the pullets...? My fear is that so many folks are buying this breeders' chicks and breeding them to sell chicks and their eggs for hatching that these shaky genes are going to be even more compromised than I feel they already are. I will cull the 2 bad roos and keep the hens for eggs and maybe the correct roo and see what he turns into. I know that this breeder is probably a really good person - he seemed to be very knowledgeable, and his eggs were really, really beautiful and dark, but all of us who are buying these chicks and breeding them could really run into genetic problems shortly. I will definitely get some new stock with different genes to prevent the problems that I have run into. AND, everyone out there aspiring to make a "killing" in the Marans market...please really be willing to kill faulty birds and to get outside of this tiny genetic sesspool before it sends us all down the drain!