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.