How to peak a Marans?

VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
560
1,125
222
Southern Chester County, PA
I am thinking about getting some decent Marans from a breeder friend to raise for meat. I love their eggs (best in the world!), but my Marans roo is looking mighty tasty (j/k, he's a pet). I am terrible at judging weight, but I would guess he's between 5 and 6 pounds at 5 months old. I'm planning to get some chicks, both layers and roasters, from my friend to raise through the winter. If my plan is not economy, but instead succulent flavorful meat, how do I treat the meat birds differently from my layers? What is the ideal age to slaughter? Do they have times in their lives when hormones affect flavor positively? How do I encourage healthy weight gain while ensuring the weight is mainly tasty meat and not excess fat and water? Any tips for finishing? General advice is helpful, but breed specific is really good, since Marans seem to do everything their own way. Thank you!
 

VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
560
1,125
222
Southern Chester County, PA
Thank you! My birds already get 18-20% protein between their feed, treats, and insects. We love farm fresh earthworms here! I want to try slaughtering the Marans at at least 1 year because they are reputed to have exceptionally tender meat. I want to learn how to peak the birds like the old time poulterers did, and that means bye bye young chicken. I want more flavor, tenderness is just a bonus.
 

VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
560
1,125
222
Southern Chester County, PA
To peak a bird means to harvest at their peak, the point of maturity when a bird offers the best possible combination of flavor, meat quantity, tenderness, and all other characteristics of meat quality. Actually, the term peak refers to the process of optimising those characteristics as they develop to mature the bird to its best possible "peak". Chicken raisers did not always harvest their birds prior to sexual maturity. Adult birds offer stronger, more robust flavor, and a healthier balance of protein and fat in the meat than younger birds. Tenderness usually reduces with age, as the maturing muscle tissue is exercised and develops texture that is more toothy, or in the case of an old bird or a non-broiler breed, more tough. Marans is a breed specially developed to maintain the tenderness of their meat into maturity, allowing adult flavor to develop in meat that remains as tender as much younger birds of other breeds. These attributes, along with their outstandingly rich, flavorful, and abundant eggs, make them prized fowl in their native France, although in America they are mostly treated as little more than a curiosity for their dark brown egg color. Most Americans have no idea what chicken is...myself included, which is why I would like to learn. But if poultery is truly so lost an art that I can get no advice, I guess trial and error will have to do.:idunno
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,988
4,776
361
North-Central IL
Yeah, running them longer like that isn't a big thing here in North America, I don't think. Would be interesting if you do it and report back :)

Might want to look around and talk to the Bresse people, they seem to be more into doing things like the French.

Do you have the Marans already? If so, where did you get them? I know there's somebody around here that's breeding Marans and focusing on meat qualities.
 

VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
560
1,125
222
Southern Chester County, PA
I have 3 layers and a roo now from Kim Rittenridge, the District 1 leader of Marans Chicken Club of America. She breeds SOP, but did not have any specific information for me about raising Marans for meat, as she personally does not. I guess I could ask Marans Chicken Club. My birds now are for laying and crossbreeding, but I want to get some more for a small meat flock.
 

Canuck88

Songster
Jul 17, 2019
165
524
166
BC
Following along as I am also considering raising Marans as a dual purpose bird for meat and eggs :)
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,988
4,776
361
North-Central IL
Okay, didn't find exactly what I remembered, but I'm pretty sure the poster I'm thinking of is @mandelyn . I know she has Marans and I know she's focusing on meat, so she should have some good ideas/thoughts regardless :)
 

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