Cold Hardiness of Marans? Recommendations in general?

figlette

In the Brooder
11 Years
Apr 10, 2008
50
0
39
In light of Matilda being a Matt, we need a replacement bird of the same age and size of the Welsummer chicks and will be going tomorrow to pick them. We will actually be getting 2 new birds to hedge our bets against facing the prospect of only having two birds again. Matilda will be going to a farm where she can make as much noise as she likes. Note to self: stop calling her a her.

The farm has the following birds available that match our age range:

Buff Orpington - Already ruled out. They are really too big to be comfortable in our set up. (read fit through the door)
Maran - I have read that they are not all that cold hardy. Is there a definition of cold? Minnesota cold or cold in general? We are in the Pacific Northwest so our cold isn't super cold.
Dominique
Rhode Island
New Hampshire
Sussex

Any advice is greatly appreciated. It took a long time to decide on the Welsummers and I feel pressured to decide quickly since over 4 week old chicks or not easy to find.

Thank you!
 

Crunchie

Brook Valley Farm
12 Years
Mar 1, 2007
1,367
8
181
Maryland
I have Cuckoo Marans and they seem to be quite hardy. I wouldn't think that you would have a problem if you say it doesn't get that cold where you are. The breeder I bought my first ones from lived in the mountains of WV--not "Minnesota cold", but pretty darn cold! When I bought them it was in the 40s at night where he was, my chicks were 5 weeks old and the he didn't even have them under lights/heat lamps anymore. Those chicks are now 2 year-old adults, and they are quite healthy. Our winters here in MD are relatively mild, but it is not unusual for temps to dip into the teens in the winter--I've never given these guys a light/heat source as adults--they're fine. I've got several 2-week old Marans chicks running around the outside brooder right now and they already seem to not need the heat lamps (though of course I still have them on and will for awhile--they just seem to be happy away from the light even when the Polish chicks are huddle underneath of the beam). They're tough birds!

Of course, most of my birds are Polish so that's what I have to compare my Marans to--and hardy birds Polish are not! So to me, my Marans are very low-maintenance...

The other benefit to Marans, if they are of the Cuckoo variety--they are easily sexed as chicks. Pullets will be dark charcoal gray, sometimes almost black, while roos will be noticeably lighter.

I don't have any personal experience with any of the other breeds on your list.

Good luck!
 

figlette

In the Brooder
11 Years
Apr 10, 2008
50
0
39
Thank you so much. Exactly the information I was looking for. I would really like to add a Maran, maybe two, but wouldn't want to put them in a situation where they would have to wear ridiculous sweaters.


Do you enjoy your Marans? I have heard they are very nice birds and VERY good eaters.
 
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ginasmarans

Songster
13 Years
Jan 15, 2007
1,412
6
191
West Tn
I am in SW Tn and have marans. Our Winters are not super cold either, but we can have temps at 0 or under for several days in a row. Mine do fine,but mine are also lrger than buff orps. Most marans are a pretty large bird.
 

Katy

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jun 29, 2007
16,317
76
331
Kansas~50+ yrs of chickens
I've had Marans for 6 years and I live in Kansas where it gets in the teens down to zero quite regularly plus minus wind chills. Doesn't seem to bother them.
 

greyfields

Crowing
12 Years
Mar 15, 2007
4,889
31
261
Washington State
I will expand and say that I raise Sussex, Cornish, RIR, Barred Rock, Freedom Rangers
, Jersey Giants, Black Sex Links and Marans. We simply do not get the weather west of the cascades in which temperature is an issue. You can even raid Medeterranean birds as far north as B.C.
 

Crunchie

Brook Valley Farm
12 Years
Mar 1, 2007
1,367
8
181
Maryland
Quote:Yes, mine too--they are the godzilla chickens on the farm!! My roo is a beast...but I've never had Orps so I don't know how they compare.

I do enjoy my Marans. My rooster is a little too good at protecting his girls sometimes--my husband got spurred pretty good the other day when he lingered too long by one of the hens sitting on an egg. But if you're only getting hens, you won't have to worry about that. They are pretty birds, they do well free-ranging, and they lay fairly well. My two-year old hens want to go broody (actually, one is desperately trying to hatch one egg right now
) Which I hear is typical for the breed after the first year of laying. I haven't had any trouble discouraging them when I want to, though.

My hens lay a nice, dark egg and all of my birds have feathered shanks. I bought them from a breeder who had started his flock with some very nice lines. You won't get the same kind of quality or egg color from hatchery birds.

Here's one of my hens:



Here's some eggs from the end of the season last year (they don't lay quite this dark consistently now that they are in their second year of laying--but I still get consistenly nice eggs, I'd have to look at the chart again but I'd say their about 5-ish now)

 

Vamp-A-Billy Princess

Songster
11 Years
Apr 13, 2008
1,341
1
179
Indiana
I have 5 marans black/copper, blue, and salmon or golden cukoo. The weather here sucks. It should snow this weekend and it has been great tshirt weather all week. We have fierce winters and the woman I got mine from has been breeding them and raising them for years with no problem. They are so beautiful when full grown and their eggs are so cool. I cant wait til mine get all the way feathered.
 

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