I've heard some Penedescencas can lay a very dark egg. Marans from authentic French lines can also lay very dak eggs. Welsumers tend to lay a terra cotta coloured egg though I have seen much darker. Barnefelders most often lay a milk coffee coloured egg.
I think I will go with the Marans Do they produce well??
My Marans are great layers, waaayy better than my Penedesencas - very moody birds, Penedesencas are!
Marans are in high demand right now, and if you get hatchery stock, you may end up with a bird that doesnt lay an egg any darker than a Rhode Isanld Red or Barred Rock, which alot of Cuckoo Marans hatchery stock are crossed with....Just a word of caution, if you dont already know...research and educate yourself if you expect to get truly "dark" egg layers??
If I was going to order from a hatchery?? CAn I call them and ask if they are pure bred??
Hatchery cuckoo marans lay a very disappointing egg from what I have been told by people. I have to say for big, dark eggs from a hatchery, I'd go with red stars. Our red stars are prolific layers, lovely gentle hens and their eggs are huge. They are pretty dark, sometimes darker than some of the "Marans" eggs I have spent a lot of money on from breeders.