Marans are best known for their unique and beautiful eggs, which are large in size and a rich, chocolate colour. However, being originally developed for meat production, these birds are wonderful table birds. With many colour variations of both standard and bantam varieties, there is sure to be a variety of Maran to suit any backyard flock!
Moderate egg production
High meat production
Cold climate hardy: Yes
Rare breed: Yes
Colour: Dark chocolate-brown
Quantity: 2-3 eggs/hen/week
Marans originate from Marans, a town located in France. These birds stand out from other varieties due to their beautiful eggs. Marans produce large eggs that are a rich, chocolate brown colour, making them highly attractive and unique. However, while mainly known for their eggs, Marans were originally developed for meat production, making them a great dual-purpose breed.
Marans come in both standard and bantam varieties, with standard varieties weighing 2.5-4kgs (hens ~ 2.75kg; roosters ~ 3.75kg) and bantams weighing 0.7-1.5kgs (hens ~ 0.8kg; roosters ~ 1.1kg). While there are many colours of Marans to love, there are 9 colours that are recognised in the French Standard of Perfection. The most common of these colours are cuckoo and black copper, but also include black, black birchen, black-tailed buff, Columbian, white, wheaten and golden cuckoo.
When it comes to egg production, there is a trade-off between quality and quantity of Marans eggs. While some Marans may lay almost daily, these eggs are more likely to be of a lighter pigment than those which lay 2-3 times per week, which generally produce a rich, chocolatey brown egg colour.
Marans are generally noted to be gentle by nature and are able to exist within flocks of other smaller varieties of birds. It is best to keep Marans free range if possible, as without adequate exercise, they are prone to gaining weight. Additionally, Marans are relatively winter hardy and are able to tolerate moderately warm temperatures, however having some available shade is recommended.