French Maran Comparison

FoodFreedomNow

Crowing
Aug 11, 2016
2,710
2,752
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KY
I think Black Copper Marans are most likely to produce the darkest brown eggs, but (as has already been advised) the exceptionally dark egg layers are difficult to find...and costly. I've been breeding them for several years, seeking that elusive "super dark" egg - and friendly birds - and was fortunate to find new stock locally that met both criteria. And this isn't even the darkest shade: some are nearly espresso-colored or have actual black spots. It's so amazing to find these in nest boxes, nestled among the pink/green/blue shades! 🤩

BE2EB9FE-581A-4557-8BB4-7D1371480E75.jpeg


It's highly unlikely you'd get eggs like this from hatchery stock, though. If you really want very dark eggs, buy from a reputable breeder and be prepared to pay for that level of quality. Best of luck in your quest!
 

FoodFreedomNow

Crowing
Aug 11, 2016
2,710
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In looking at hatchery birds for Marans, pick your favorite feather color since the egg color won't be really dark. Some might be sort-of dark.

They're only called "French" in France, here in the US they're just "Marans". Though some seem to use the French designation to differentiate between feather legged and non-feather footed like the UK birds.

No one variety lays darker than another, unless a breeder specifically bred for it. I've been working with Marans for 3 years and I get about 1/2-1 shade darker each generation. Those really dark eggs you see in pictures are from selective breeding and a dozen hatching eggs in those darker shades would set you back a pretty penny.

Because of those dark eggs and the prices they pull, it's more difficult to get decent good stock than it is to come by some poorly bred birds. In the variety there's a lot of inconsistency and not enough culling. Too many crossed lines. When you take one good line and cross it into another, you open up recessive traits and lose egg color.

If you're after those dark eggs you'll want to buy from a breeder that has been working on it without losing the integrity of the other breed traits.

The hatcheries may be compounding the problem by using sneaky wording with hybrids. "Midnight Marans" for example, are not a pure Marans variety.

The Marans are a really neat variety but they've been subjected to fad production for awhile now, making it harder to get good ones.

This is the color of eggs I started with from birds we bought through Greenfire Farms, in their "Birchen" variety. Which is really Blue/Black/Splash Silver.

View attachment 2036769

The eggs in front are where I'm at now with them, 3 generations later.

View attachment 2036770

I'm also having to work on feather quality, tails, combs, color... as a breed there are a lot of "features" to work at improving. I have not crossed in another line, so that I don't lose what I've worked towards. Every year they get a little better.

View attachment 2036771

To see those improvements I have to hatch and raise a LOT to find those worth keeping. We're dual purpose though so we have a need of the extra boys. This line has proven to be meatier than most. I had some Black Copper in 2 different lines and I sold them on for being built too lean and not making a good table bird. Their egg color wasn't any better than the Silvers.

To answer your question though, no, the eggs are not all the same color from one variety to the next, OR from one bloodline to the next in the same variety. They'll vary quite widely.

When it comes to Marans, pick your favorite feather color, get the best ones you can afford, evaluate the physical type for breeding quality and ONLY put the darkest eggs in the incubator. Repeat every season and eventually you'll get consistently darker eggs coming out of decent birds.

Or just get them for fun and don't have high hopes for super dark eggs. That's a lot easier. :lol:
Great improvement in shade and beautiful birds! Your hard work (and patience!) is paying off. :clap
 

PedalThumper

In the Brooder
Feb 6, 2020
10
26
33
To answer your question though, no, the eggs are not all the same color from one variety to the next, OR from one bloodline to the next in the same variety. They'll vary quite widely.

When it comes to Marans, pick your favorite feather color, get the best ones you can afford, evaluate the physical type for breeding quality and ONLY put the darkest eggs in the incubator. Repeat every season and eventually you'll get consistently darker eggs coming out of decent birds.

Or just get them for fun and don't have high hopes for super dark eggs. That's a lot easier. :lol:
Thanks for the info- beautiful birds and eggs! Nicely done! I ended up going with the french copper marans, so we'll see what happens!
 

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