How to peak a Marans?

VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
249
427
122
Southern Chester County, PA
Following along as I am also considering raising Marans as a dual purpose bird for meat and eggs :)
Good to see you again Canuck! Were you able to find a breeder in your neck of the woods?

You know already how much I love my Marans. Just made some more French toast a few days ago with Marans eggs. Scrumptious! My BCM is off lay right now molting, and I really miss those eggs! You should see how my Red Marans roo is shaping up, he's really looking tasty lately! Pics don't do him justice, even though his enormous comb is clearly not SOP (I understand carnation comb pops up in Marans and is a fault. I don't care, he's plenty meaty enough to keep for breeding!).
IMG_20190817_180852_kindlephoto-52655884.jpg


Mosey, thank you for your help! I will look her up.:)
 

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Canuck88

Songster
Jul 17, 2019
158
500
156
BC
Good to see you again Canuck! Were you able to find a breeder in your neck of the woods?

You know already how much I love my Marans. Just made some more French toast a few days ago with Marans eggs. Scrumptious! My BCM is off lay right now molting, and I really miss those eggs! You should see how my Red Marans roo is shaping up, he's really looking tasty lately! Pics don't do him justice, even though his enormous comb is clearly not SOP (I understand carnation comb pops up in Marans and is a fault. I don't care, he's plenty meaty enough to keep for breeding!).
View attachment 1904974

Mosey, thank you for your help! I will look her up.:)
I did! I bought a gorgeous 13 week old pullet from a breeder near me, I will try and get some pics of her later. I am on a wait list for a blue pullet from her as well. I had a gorgeous roo from her that I stupidly gave away earlier in the year :he

I also have a couple of 8 week old chicks from another local breeder that I hatched in my incubator so I'm interested to see how they turn out.
 

VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
249
427
122
Southern Chester County, PA
@Canuck88, no worries! I'm always happy to admire baby pictures, as long as they're feather babies!:lol:

@aart, great idea, thanks! Good advice no matter what kind of bird you're handling.

I'm going to search online and see if I can dig up any secrets of the lost art of poultery. I will share anything I find. I've just been so stressed this week over my chicken yard situation, I haven't had a chance yet. C'est la vie.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
Apr 13, 2016
2,789
4,102
351
North-Central IL
I'm going to search online and see if I can dig up any secrets of the lost art of poultery. I will share anything I find. I've just been so stressed this week over my chicken yard situation, I haven't had a chance yet. C'est la vie.
That would be great!

All I've picked up so far is to keep them in a smallish area to prevent too much exertion and that they feed ground corn and milk to finish. Possibly buttermilk.
 

mandelyn

Crowing
10 Years
Aug 30, 2009
2,434
908
331
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
My Coop
I found you guys! We raise Marans for dual purposes. I like them best between 20-28 weeks. Sometimes we have them at 16 weeks depending on if it was a boy heavy batch or not. It just depends on how they're growing, how much space is available and how the boys are acting in their coop/pasture.

We keep them on 18% feed and transition them over to more pasture time after 10 weeks. We separate boys from girls at that time.

Marans have a thicker than average skin, which makes them good for baking. They carry a rich dark meat on their thighs/legs and tend towards having more of that than breast meat.

When we're growing out the boys and looking for the next breeding pen candidate, we're looking at width/depth to the body and fullness under those feathers. Each generation we see improvement.

You get the most flavor from a natural finishing, with grass and bugs and such. If they only have access to feed then you'll get a milder flavor.

The picture is a BCM cockerel at 20 weeks. He was built on the short/stout side but had side sprigs and other breed flaws that kept him out of the breeding pen. He filled the pan nicely though.

marans12.jpg


We ended up parting with the BCM line, they were more inconsistent than the B/B/S Silver line I have. The Silvers have been consistently stout and chunky.

There are a lot of different body types floating around out there and for dual purpose you will need to breed towards that thicker type. The hatcheries are putting out leaner birds built more towards that efficient layer type. The breeders who go towards the SOP will have better type but you'll need to keep an eye on laying productivity. Sometimes you get the wonderful table type from the boys but you might be waiting on eggs from the pullets after the 8 month mark. We try to balance type with utility, keeping an eye on how they grow, when they fill out, how they lay and when they start laying. Then we also have to balance that with the traits they're expressing, from feather colors and quality to comb characteristics and demeanor. Lot's of details to pay attention to.

Our line has slow feathering cockerels... the pullets will get feathers sooner than the boys, while the boys get really chunky and thick while still covered in fuzz with little stub tails at about 3-4 weeks. I sort them then, looking for the chunkiest to grow out separately so that I know who to make picks from later on based on early growth.

This guy so far is my strongest contender for the breeding pen next year.

bsm23.jpg
 

VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
249
427
122
Southern Chester County, PA
Very informative, thank you! Grass and bugs make up the majority of my bird's diet, with enough grain to keep them healthy and happy. Just discovered soldier flies breeding in my compost bin, the Marans and Brahmas went gaga over them!!

You've got some nice looking birds! My Marans are from Kim Rittenridge and Bill Moyer (I think?) of Marans Chicken Club of America. I am very happy with their health, vigor, and shape, although my Marans roo developed a touch of splay leg as a young adult. He has a ginormous carnation comb and wattles like a Jersey Giant, but that's why I was able to have him, so I don't mind. SOP is not my thing, I intend to crossbreed with Brahma and Jersey Giant. His shape is mouthwatering, the picture above does not do him justice. The pullets have that nice, classic, slightly plump French Hen look, and although the 2 Red Mottled aren't laying yet, the BCM is laying 6 2oz eggs per week and promises to be a fine broody too.

My boy Zonk is a pet/breeder, so I will someday get to taste what older Marans is like. I will keep your advice close at hand in my future breeding (and harvesting) efforts. Thanks again!
 
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