Marans lay three eggs a week. Poultry people prize Marans for the dark brown or chocolate colored eggs. Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond novels helped popularize the eggs and the breed by making their eggs the favorite of 007. Raised in a damp region of France, Marans tolerate wet conditions well. However, they run the risk of frostbite as do all breeds with large comb or wattles. The poultry world often overlooks the meat producing capabilities of the Marans. Marans grow quickly and produce a succulent, fine-textured, white meat.
Owners describe the breed and quiet, friendly, and docile. They make a great pet or 4H fowl for young people. One breeder who had raised hundreds of Marans roosters claimed that he had never had an aggressive Marans rooster. Marans breeders have noted that they need a greater number of aran cocks per hen. The Marans need one rooster per seven hens. Marans handle wet conditions better than most fowl. They adapt well to confinement during the cold months. Breeders describe them as the cleanest fowl that they have ever raised.
The British Standard has sanctioned nine Marans: Cuckoo, Golden Cuckoo, Black, Birchen, Black Copper, Black-tailed Budd, White, and Columbian. Most poultry affection ados recognized the common Cuckoo Marna. The hen looks like a white on black fowl; whereas, the rooster looks like a black on white. To put it another way, the rooster has a lighter appearance. Both the hen and the rooster have a full, broad tail. Marans have a very five-point, red, single comb with long matching wattles and earlobes.
Buy from a reputable dealer. The popularity of the Marans dark brown egg has lead to unscrupulous sales practices surrounding the breed. Doctored pictures or misleading advertising copy lead the list of cons used to dupe a public. Legitimate breeders have developed a MaranEgg Color Scale. Only buy from breeders that can verify #4 colored eggs. Raise Marans free-range to keep them active. Mix with other breeds to encourage movement. They like organic layer food, corn, and greens. Have realistic expectations of your Marans. Egg color can vary throughout the year. Darker eggs come in the spring. Darker eggs take longer to lay. If you want a darker egg, you may sacrifice some production.
Marans came from the port village of Marans in France. Lord Greenway from Britain saw them at the Paris exhibition in 1929. Britain had a restriction on livestock importation at the time, but a basket of the eggs disguised as hard boiled found their way into the UK. Marans had their first showing in England at the Crystal Palace in 1934 and gained acceptance as a breed in 1935. Breeders have crossbred Marans to produce different variants or to maximize the dark egg producers. Given the complexity of egg color factors, their breeding has often lead to disappointing, detrimental results. Although popular, the Maran has yet to gain American Poultry Association sanction.