Which "chocolate" layers have the darkest eggs?


11 Years
Aug 12, 2008
San Diego, CA
Ok, so here's the deal. Hopefully this spring I'll be ordering my last batch of chicks (it will put me up to my limit of 25 so will be maxed out after that). I'm doing it mostly for the banties I want but am also getting a Salmon Favorelles and hopefully a BLRW (waiting for those to be available). I am ordering from MPC because it will be a small order and I'm considering adding a chocolate egger for the really dark eggs. Here are the breeds they have listed for chocolate eggers.

Silver Cuckoo Marans
Black Copper Marans
Partridge Penedesenca
Rare Marans Collection (Black Copper, White, Golden Cuckoo, & Blue Splash) - don't think I'll risk this one because the blue splash are supposed to be lighter & I won't know what I'm getting

If I'm getting one more just for dark eggs, I want them to be really dark since I already have a flock of brown egg layers. The other reason I want to know is because only the Welsummer and Silver Cuckoo are normal priced chicks at $3.75 (which really means $5.25 after marek's vaccination and the extra for a pullet). While I'm not completely opposed to spending $6 for a chick (plus the $1.25 for the vaccine and female) I want to make sure it's worth it. I also would love a chicken that looks different from the other breeds I already have. I think the Silver would get lost among my barred rocks and dominique, plus I read their egg color can be lighter so I'm almost positive I've ruled that one out. If I go with the Welsummer would it be easy to tell her apart from my Brown Leghorn? (Easy enough for my non-chicken hubby to tell.)

I am leaning toward a Black Copper I think, but would she get lost in my four Black Australorps?
Also, do marans have feathered legs? In the pictures MPC has, all of them look like they do except the Silver and Gold Cuckoo.
HELP!!! I feel like...
trying to decide.

Lastly, because all of us love looking at them, if anyone has any pictures of the breeds I'm considering and their eggs that would help I think.
Well Black Copper Marans have the darkest ones I've seen. They don't look like aussies, so your hubbie should be able to tell them apart.

Barnevelders, though their eggs aren't as dark as a good Maran egg, have interesting colour/pattern if that is a factor. Our Barnevelder eggs were so much darker than our other brown egg layers (Orpington, Australorp, Wyandotte, New Hampshire) that we could tell the difference, but good breeder quality Marans can lay almost-black, really really dark ones - expect hatchery birds to lay lighter than that though. The original french Marans have feathered legs, but a lot of Marans out there don't, I
if hathcery Marans have feathered legs...

Your chicken-confused hubby might not tell the difference between Welsummers and Leghorns that easily, I know others have confused those breeds.
I got hatchery Welsummer and Cuckoo Maran and I can't tell their eggs from any of the others as far as darkness goes.
Okay since you're getting these from a hatchery I don't know how to help you - Hatcheries claim a lot of things, and their Black Coppers probably won't lay any darker than their Cuckoo Marans and Welsummers (who are quite light!)

Me, I don't really even like the thought of people getting Marans from hatcheries, because getting them is looking for quality - And that isn't what hatcheries are about. But, regardless - Black Coppers naturally have much darker eggs than any other, but it really depends on the quality you have. (ex. - Most Wheaten Marans are pretty light, about as light as Hatchery-quality Marans, but ours in the incubator have been improved, and you really can't tell them apart from our BC Marans eggs.

So, I would recommend Black Coppers - Or anything but Cuckoo Marans and Welsummers, as both of those have been a part of hatchery stock for a very long time, and have run down in quality. Black Coppers are a brand new thing to hatcheries, so their bloodlines are quite unknown, regardless of what hatcheries claim.
Thanks so much for the replies! Maybe I'll look into seeing if anyone is breeding any around here instead. I know Tommy's Pet Paradise is a few miles from me but I didn't think he had "regular" chickens just the really rare ones.
Black copper marans are known for thier dark eggs. I have some blue marans that came from eggs that were really dark too (as dark as the black coppers eggs I had) I think the blue marans eggs are under rated lol. Some of the wheaten marans eggs get pretty dark as well.
Your DH can tell the difference between a Welsummer and a Brown Leghorn by looking at the earlobes. Welsummers do not have WHITE earlobes, Brown Leghorns do.
Splash Marans have been known to lay a lighter egg than other Marans but their egg should still be very much different from that of your other birds. You should be able to tell.

eta: I know nothing of hatchery birds, but I would be leary of a Marans coming from a hatchery. That is just my opinion though.
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Why not call the hatchery and ask them to describe the difference in egg colour among their chocolate layers. Don't imply what you want, just say that you have heard that there is a lot of variation in hue and depth of colour between different breeds and varieties, and ask which of theirs lay which colour. (For example, some "chocolate" eggs have a lot of red in their hue; others are much more like dark, bittersween chocolate.)
That's a very good idea Sonoran, I might just do that. Still haven't decided if I'm going to add one yet but it would be good to find out.

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