Black Marans exist in the US?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by HotDesertChick, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. HotDesertChick

    HotDesertChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never had any experience with any of the Marans. In various forums, the BCM appears the most popular? Why Black Copper, over Black? Are there honest-to-goodness pure Black Maran in the US? Sounds like very dark Black Copper Marans might be labelled as "Black Marans" even though genetic testing might show otherwise? Also sounds, like some "Black Marans" may have Black Jersey Giant, or Black Australorp DNA introduced as well? (Sounds like a lot of cheatin' going' on?)

    How can I tell the difference, without genetic testing? Foot color..? Eye color should be black, not bay,... in the Blacks? Why do a lot of people prefer the BCM over Black Marans?

    Call me very confused at this point. Possibly, a moot point, as I have ordered some Black Marans from Cackle Hatchery. But, it would still be interesting to gain more knowledge.

    Thanks.......
     
  2. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Marans are so amazing, though I personally have only owned one I'll do my best to help.

    First off, I think Black Coppers are more popular just because they are a somewhat unique color among chicken breeds, one you don't see as often as black (common in many breeds). Its like getting a Silver Laced Wyandotte over a Black one, the Silver Laced is the more famous color for the breed.

    As for Black Marans existing in the US, I'm not sure if pure ones do. Hatcheries usually don't care to breed pure stock (from what I hear) and often select for those that produce the best (since they will then get the most hatching eggs). This isn't a bad thing except that it doesn't save breed purity. You could try creating your own Black Marans by taking the Blacks from hatcheries and crossing them to Marans of other colors over a few generations.

    You could try contacting the hatchery and asking if their Marans are pure or not. Hatchery quality birds bred to show quality birds will produce birds that produce well and are hardy as well as beautiful and to standard/heritage appearance.

    Best of luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Coop
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2016
  4. HotDesertChick

    HotDesertChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, GitaBooks & 3riverschick for your comments and links.

    Since posting this thread, I have been scrounging more info, posted in US Marans sites, and at the French Marans Club as well. I am slowly learning a little more about Marans, but it is still difficult to find much information on the "all-Black" Marans. Still seems like the Black Copper is most popular.

    3riverschick, I have not yet pursued your links, but I DO expect to learn a little more about the "Blacks" (Many thanks, for the links!).

    Does one color of Maran lay deeper/darker eggs? Better layers (mooore eggs?). Is this why the Black Coppers seem so popular? Please forgive, if additional support on these points are explained within the links I have yet to pursue. Been very busy lately.

    Slow Learner, here. But me Welsummers and Black Marans are in the mail, as of 5 am Central Time this morning. Reckon, it's too late to make a change on "colors". At least for the "short term".

    Owning/caring for the Marans will prove interesting. I have never even personally seen one in my life. Also sounds like I likely have to wait a full six months, or more, for any eggs from any Marans?

    Again...Much appreciated the suggestions and info. BYC members are GREAT!

    Randi
     
  5. HotDesertChick

    HotDesertChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Followed the links, 3riverschick. I had already read the info at the French Marans site. Your US pdf from the NL breeder is excellent.

    Years ago, I was an "outsider" involved with some of the first Frisian Horse imports (FHANA) in the US. I owned a beautiful/athletic black crossbred for 19 years. I also trained a few horses for the "Northwest Club". I have no personal links to The Netherlands, but I was VERY impressed by how much effort (and money) many of these people went to produce & continually improve, a very unique breed of horse. The "Dutch" are great breeders of many animals. The pdf was admired, and brought back many old memories. Horses, not chickens,... but good breeders of any animal can improve a small pool of limited genetics?

    I still have a LOT to learn.......

    Randi
     
  6. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I LOVE genetics, so I may babble a bit here. [​IMG]

    Maran egg color depends on strain more then color-line. If the hens are not selected for dark eggs they will slowly begin to lay lighter and lighter eggs as time passes, just as Runner ducks slowly begin to walk more and more like a normal duck over a few generations. Selection of chickens (and all animals) should generally go like this: Health, Behavior, Production, Appearance. This means that a hen that is very healthy and friendly but has lighter eggs can be bred to a rooster that is from a strain with dark eggs and the best traits of both will likely be present in the off-spring (or at least in their gene pool). Health is most important, but depending on the reason for breeding chickens production or appearance may be your goal. Remember, however, a chicken that doesn't produce will not promote the keeping of chickens. A chicken that is show quality AND a good layer/meat producer will help the breed because it will have a reason to be bought.

    More eggs can also be selected for quite easily, though care must be taken that a hen remains healthy, as some chickens that lay a lot will die years before a hen that lays fewer eggs but remains in production longer (such as many of the heritage breeds). Again, it depends on the strain. Show strains tend to be rather poor producers since they are selected for appearance alone (like with show dogs) while production or hatchery quality birds tend to not be of proper shape, behavior, color, ect but to produce a good amount of eggs.

    Most chickens will begin laying between 16-25 weeks of age, so yes, it should take 6-8 months to get your pullets to begin laying. However, if raised in a healthy manner they just may be better producers then if you had bought pullets. Give them good food, exercise and space. It has been proven that a production animal does better when raised from a young age in a proper manner.

    As for your question about horses, a good breeder can keep limited genetics healthy but often with limited genetics one method that ends up being used is out-crossing to similar breeds and using their genetics for health while selecting for the appearance, behavior, ect of the first breed. It is sad that the breed has to be muddled, and few people are willing to do it, but inbreeding is what led to most of the health problems seen in dog breeds today and it is very important to avoid it. It is similar to the struggle of endangered wildlife, except they do not have anything to out-cross them to. The important thing is to preserve all the genetics possible, breed all the individuals you can to keep all the variety with-in the breed/species alive.
    It is said to have a healthy, sustainable population there should be at least 1,000 individuals. Species have been brought back from only a dozen or so, but great care must be taken because even in wild animals, which naturally tend to be has fit and healthy as can be, inbred populations suffer health affects. This can be seen in the issues with cheetahs (which have little diversity).

    Sorry if the post was long, but I'm studying genetics so I can't help but talk about it. [​IMG]
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Some varieties of Marans do lay darker eggs. Copper Marans are known to lay the darkest eggs, that's why they are so much more popular than other varieties. Cuckoo Marans tend to lay the lightest.
    Marans, like most breeds, start laying at about 20 to 25 weeks.
    Breeding chickens is a bit different than breeding mammals. Birds have a lot more genetic diversity than mammals. It takes several generations of very intense line breeding for serious issues to arise.
     
  8. snowbird

    snowbird Overrun With Chickens

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    The Black Marans are being worked on by several people. Check out Marans Fanciers on FB
     
  9. HotDesertChick

    HotDesertChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, for more comments, wonderful BYC members.

    snowbird, I will try reading the Marans Fanciers on Facebook. I dropped my FB account several years ago, and I sometimes have problems viewing content at the site.....but me will try!

    I reckon I can say I now have "Marans experience" (albeit severely limited) as my wee tykes were picked up from the P.O. about 5 pm tonight. Cackle shipped two extra Black Marans mademoiselles (a total of twelve...and no doubt at least one is a roo?) & 7 Welsummer damsels (one extra, which may be a roo as well?). "Standard" (not Express) Priority got the box from Lebanon, MO...to my southern NM city in 24 hours, heat pack still toasty, and babes Happy Campers.

    Now....If I only know how to "grow and cull" the robust wee ones?! This may be a difficult project, as we only have room for a limited number of chickens, and even though we live on five-acre parcels, one neighbor may gripe about "noisy roosters"? (Do rooster collars work?)

    My "gene pool" will likely be smaller than most, especially with no local breeders.

    Still sounds like fun though.


    [​IMG]

    My husband thinks I've gone over the Deep End (Perhaps,...hmmmm,... he's right?)
     
  10. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes they do exist!! At least they do on my farm lol. I swear I read somewhere that they are semi extinct in France now? Anyone know anything about that? If that is true, I am ramping up my breeding program big time because that would be a crying shame to lose these great birds! Severe health issues prevented me from doing anything with them last year. This year is gonna be different....
    Black Marans cocks.

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    Black Marans pullet- This little pullet grew into the most Gorgeous black hen. I will try and get a recent pic of her.
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    Black Marans cockerals (Blackjack and Voodoo) at 1 month. Lost one of these to a fox the other is doing good. They lose their little baby white feathers when mature.
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    My Black Marans egg color. They are the four eggs on the left. A little on the reddish side of dark lol.

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    Last edited: May 3, 2016

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