Not a Marans, then what is it?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by millebantam, Jan 1, 2010.

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  1. millebantam

    millebantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Little Rhody
    For my New Years "chicken resolution", I would like to gain some clarity on a subject that has bugging me for quite some time. It is nearly impossible to have any discussion about Marans and their egg color, without someone chiming in with the totally senseless statement "If it doesn't lay a #4 on the egg chart, then it is not a Marans". I would think that anyone who throws that statement out there with conviction, surely would have a definitive answer to what the chicken truly is that doesn't lay the #4 egg. I'm sure there are others who would like to know the answer as much as I do. I mean, what does it become? a Silkie?

    If you have a hen hatch from two genetically pure Marans chickens, out of a dark egg laying hen, and it fails to lay a 4, it is still biologically a Marans? What about a hen that lays consistant 4's and 5's, then lays a 3 for a couple of days, for whatever reason. Does that chicken change from a Marans to an Orpington? And what about if she starts laying the 4's again after a couple of days, does she change back into a Marans? It is entirely possible for that scenario to play out, and often does, since egg color changes during the duration of the egg laying cycle. Some breeders claim that diet can effect egg color. Is the bird a Marans if it eats a diet of whole oats and other grains that helps it to lay a 4, then change into a different bird when it's eating layer pellets? Let's not even discuss the roosters, that don't even lay an egg at all. What are those? Cocker Spaniels? Would a DNA test on the substandard egg layer show it to be a separate breed?

    I've read posts from others who brushed upon the subject in other threads, but I've never heard a concrete answer as to what the chicken becomes from anyone, especially those who use the statement, and consider it a fact. The best explanation that I've heard so far as to why someone says it, is because they heard someone else say it. The only context in which it would remotely have any merit, would be if one was speaking about having Marans in a mixed flock, and using egg color to determine which egg was from a Marans, and which was not.

    Dunno, maybe I'm just a dummy, but I would appreciate someone smarter than me to let me know definatively what breed the chicken becomes when the egg color drifts, or the progeny doesn't lay as dark an egg as it's parent stock, which are 100% genetically pure Marans. There, I feel better already.
     
  2. fla_native

    fla_native Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Heck, every fad always has its share of self-appointed experts.
    I have a cochin that actually lays every day...so is it REALLY a cochin? [​IMG]
     
  3. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

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    This is how I see it. I am NO EXPERT, but here's my take. The bird that lays a #3 or lighter egg is a brown egg layer of pure marans blood. If it is genetically pure marans, and you crossed it with a roo from very dark lines and totally lucked out and got a flock of offspring that laid 4+, you would have a flock of marans. If you crossed one of those roos back on the mom, and got some pullets that could only pull off a three, you'd have a few new brown egg layers with potential to produce marans. I had a hen that hatched from a decent dark egg, five or six. She was a COMPLETE disappointment when she first laid her eggs. Here is one of her eggs, far right, can't miss it, LOL.
    [​IMG]

    well I contacted the breeder, bayhorsebonne, and she said "Don't get rid of her yet, she could lay darker next year. Well, I fed her for a while and just got SICK of looking at those tan eggs, so I gave her away, along with a roo that needed a home. That guy kept her and fed her for a few months, never got a single egg from her. She must have been moulting... anyhow, I went out and picked her back up, told him eat the roo, which he was happy to do, and when I got home, there was a message from him saying he was cleaning out the coop and found her eggs! She had been laying behind a box under a shelf near the floor instead of using the nest box, and that her eggs were as dark as mahogany. Next day she laid me a DEEP brown egg, deep red mahogany with that coffe ground overlay. I don't have a picture of it because I dropped it. She has laid dark ever since, darker than any egg in the photo above. Is she a marans? Yes, was she ever not a marans... I don't think so. She got really sick right before point of lay with fowl pox and infectious bronchitis and I think it may have affected her egg color for quite a while. What I am saying is, it isn't that cut and dried.

    Example #2... I bought a splash "marans" from a lady. Well, come POL time, she clunks out these GINORMOUS eggs that are no better than RIR eggs. Ever. Two seasons, never a change in color. Is she a marans? no, probably her parents and grandparents weren't either. I still use her in my EE/olive egger pen.
     
  4. millebantam

    millebantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Little Rhody
    Thanks for the perfect example Patty. I've had similar, although not as extreme as yours, type scenarios pop up around here too. It's always nice to see someone lay their cards out on the table once in a while.

    This thread is "eerily quiet", for some reason doncha think?, lol.
     
  5. nutmeg1980

    nutmeg1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a wheaten maran who usually lays very large very dark mahogany eggs with speckles - sometimes with a beautiful lavender stain over-top the dark pigment. Today she laid the weirdest egg I have ever seen - it was lavender/grey, but when I got it a little wet I could see the dark mahogany underneath. I didn't get a picture since I broke it as I was examining it..... darn. The breeder I bought her from was positive that she is a pure bred wheaten maran. I don't really care about that, but her eggs sure are gorgeous!

    I also have two black copper marans from the same breeder who lay beautiful shiny eggs that aren't very dark. They're a littler darker than my sussex's eggs, sometimes they have one end that's more terra-cotta than the other and they all have a very nice sheen to them and tiny little spots. Once again, I don't care about the pureness of the breed and I am delighted by how pretty their eggs are!
     
  6. amazondoc

    amazondoc Cracked Egghead

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    It's not a matter of anyone being a "self-appointed expert", it's a matter of meeting French standards. The French state that a bird can't be considered a Marans unless it can lay a #4 egg at some point during its laying cycle.

    Performance and conformation requirements are fairly common for European breeds, whether poultry or dogs or whatever. They require more than just a pedigree. Beaucerons (a French breed of dog), for example, must undergo a strict evaluation by a panel of judges before they can be registered with the French beauceron club. It's a different mindset than the "if it's got a pedigree it's a purebred whatever" mentality we have here in the US -- and, IMHO, it's not altogether a bad thing.
     
  7. lildinkem

    lildinkem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Until the APA approves of the Marans, does it really matter? About egg color. Does anyone ask for the eggs the bird lays at any shows? Are there any shows to take them too? How about the Roo's. Are they a real Marans? I think egg color is over rated TILL the breed is accepted by the APA. It is a novelty breed. Unfortunately, APA does not like the size of the majority of the breeders birds. Most breeders are concerning themselves with egg color. Not conformation. Plus, to start out, who knows what you have till 15 months go by. Your best Roo for dark egg color, mght be scrawy, featherless legged. And a mess for conformation. It will be years and years before the breed has a chance of being approved by the APA.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
  8. amazondoc

    amazondoc Cracked Egghead

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    Quote:Yes -- we (members of the Marans Chicken Club USA) hold egg shows at APA shows, and we set up educational tables with egg displays as well. Many many people are interested in the eggs at the shows.

    I think egg color is over rated TILL the breed is accepted by the APA. It is a novelty breed.

    Egg color is the defining characteristic of the Marans breed. If we lose that, we'll have just another beefy barnyard bird.​
     
  9. lildinkem

    lildinkem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Without size the APA judges will be sayin " Where's the beef? " lolol
    If it is true the egg color gene comes from the cockerel, you might not know which is the better cockerel to keep for quite sometime. And till then what do you do? You raise for size. And have a butt load of cockerels to raise till their 2 years old. Very much a dedication to the breed is needed. And be ready to take notes. I have 5 cockerels and one Roo. And spread them on all my girls. I will take time.
     
  10. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

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    I have plenty of size in my Bev Davis flock. Here is a really bad pic of one of the hens. You can see how broad her frame is. She lays at least a four egg, but not anywhere near a six. She is marginal on the egg color. I think she is useful as breeding stock simply because of her big, beefy frame, as well as full poofy britches, calm disposition, but her comb is no good. Would I toss her out on her keister because she has a tall, laid over comb, not at this point. Time will tell what she produces with the one blue roo I have. He is young and I have not hatched any of their eggs yet. I tried and they were due today, but a temp spike ten days ago wiped out that go round. GAH!!!!!! Try try again... bator's full though. I need to fire up another one, but if I do THAT... too many chicks at one time in my near future, if I could only be so lucky as to have "too many" marans chicks from such a big, stout hen and roo... He's young still, just growing his first sickle feathers, maybe six/seven months old right now. He is getting 100% fertility on the eggs though... [​IMG]
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