Marans, Dark eggs ...light eggs...

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by iajewel, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    Im absolutly stunned at the people that think you need chicks from dark eggs to get dark eggs.. Someone needs to speak up here.. Dark eggs come at the start of a laying season, the eggs lighten as the laying season goes on. the chicks from a light egg are the same as those from a dark egg and will produce the same dark eggs at the start of thier laying season.. Will someone PLEASE disscuss this?
  2. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

    Oct 16, 2008
    I didn't know that [​IMG]
  3. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    iajewel, you are correct, they do lighten late season (some lines far more than others). But when ordering hatching eggs people do want early lay eggs to prove that the hen has the ABILITY to lay dark eggs. There is little trust out there right now due to the increasing number of rip offs it seems.

    I have to say I have seen hens that are called marans that even early lay cannot produce a dark shelled egg that would truly qualify them as a marans.

    People get a false sense of security getting dark shelled eggs. Even the dark shell does not guarantee the chicks will produce the same. If the rooster they are bred to is garbage then what?

    Overall I would have to say that if anyone gets into Marans be prepared to do some work and selection no matter who they buy from. There is still a lot of room for improvement of the stock in North America.
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Yes, the eggs will naturally lighten over their laying cycle. I think the point of hatching the darkest eggs is then a person knows that the potential for laying nice dark eggs is there with that line of birds. That is the reason I only hatch the darkest eggs from my hens.
  5. MaransGuy

    MaransGuy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 25, 2007
    Greenfield, MA
    Quote:IA, you are absolutely correct, and absolutely wrong, depending on how you understand your claim. First, it is true that the darkest eggs TEND to be laid in the beginning of the laying cycle. However, this is not always the case and often a pullet will lay a paler egg, darken up for a while, and then tend to fade over time. To show an example of where you would be correct in your statement, if you have a hen than starts out laying a 6 or 7 and eventually fades to around a 4 over time, you can take that 4 and hatch it and potentially get good birds that will lay similar eggs. In order to trust that you will be getting the potential for dark eggs you would need to either know the history of the breeder or completely trust their word. Obviously the genetics of the chick inside is not determined by the shell color but the potential still needs to be there.

    In an example of where you would be mistaken, not every pale egg is a result of late season laying. Many Marans simply never lay a dark egg, ever. You could hatch every one of them and still not get any improvement in color because the genetics are not there. Additionally, the best birds simply do not fade that much over time. It is not like you have a bird that goes from a 9 to a 2 during a season. The best hens will start out very dark and then fade to "dark". Unless there is a very specific reason to dictate otherwise, I would never hatch eggs that are faded out to the point of being similar to a regular brown egg laying breed, no matter what they started out like. The reason is that those birds fade out too much and are not something I would want to reproduce in my line. Additionally, it would be highly unlikely that those eggs ever started out very dark anyway.

    There are many factors that affect egg color and none of them are understood very well. The genetics of the rooster has just as much of an influence on egg color as that of the hen as well. While your claim does have a bit of truth to it I am afraid that it is a vast over-simplification of how it really works. There is constant selection that needs to be made generation after generation in order to maintain and improve the coloration of the eggs. Even full siblings from very good lines can have different laying abilities. It is for that reason that I say you may have the POTENTIAL rather than WILL GET. Outcrossing dark egg laying birds to a different dark egg laying line can actually result in very pale eggs if the genes do not compliment each other. The fact of the matter is that working with this breed is a constant challenge that is both frustrating and rewarding at the same time. If dark eggs are what you are looking for it is very unlikely that you will find it coming out of a pale egg.

  6. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    I have three marans pullets and only one is laying dark eggs, so those are the only eggs I am hatching, even though the other two hatched out from dark eggs themselves, they are not laying dark. They are a result of a F1 cross between lines of two well known and respected breeders, so some genes may not have been complimentary to the others on the two light laying hens. Luckily for me, I kept three roosters, which all my friends said was overkill for someone with only three pullets. Now I have three different looking roosters to rotate with the growing flock. One is too brown, one is too black and one is just right. That way I can manipulate feather color while working on egg color at the same time. All three roos came from very dark eggs, but all are the same F1 cross, so I am sure I will have many pullets that do not lay like what they hatched out from either. Feed, rake, brood, hatch, feed, rake, brood, hatch.... and just pick the best. That is what I am doing.
  7. iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    Thank you all, and thank you Richard for your explonation. My point was more that people are paying huge prices (wonderful for those selling dark eggs) but not understanding what they are buying. There for when they get thier birds home.. and the eggs are not a beautiful dark color all the time.. then what...To many people don't have the Maran education they should.. thus this post..

    Again.. thank you all for helping this post to be eggucational.
  8. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    How dark do your birds lay, aside from start of cycle and pullet eggs?

    I guess it just depends what you are happy with. I have a splash marans I am waiting to see what she lays. If she lays an egg the color of silly putty even, I will not get rid of her, I just love her anyhow. I have Copper Black Marans that lay just below fours and I am going to trade both girls for a pair of Golden Cuckoos, a roo and a hen that lays dark. To each his own, and it varies from bird to bird, depending on what else they contrubute to my sense of well being during the day. That splash hen just makes me feel good when I see her pecking around. Those copper blacks just irk me when I see them pecking around.... such is life.
  9. iajewel

    iajewel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 22, 2008
    Corning IA
    I am in full agreement with you that it doesn't matter what you have, as long as you enjoy buying feed for it. Before today, I ddn't care what color eggs a chicken laid. I saw a 12pack of brown eggs at walmart for 4.00, the white eggs just next to them, and bigger were 1.00... That was an eye opener for sure.
  10. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Chicken Obsessed

    Oct 16, 2008
    I personnally would take the latest eggs that were the darkest for hatching.. what it seems to me is that is what some people are striving for.. darker for longer..

    think about it..

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