Eggs: Decent Layer of Large Dark Brown Eggs
Class: None (French)
Non-Recognized Color Varieties:
Marans are coveted for their dark, chocolate brown eggs. Cuckoo Marans have a pattern of light and dark bands running across each of their feathers. The Black Copper Marans are almost all black, with a touch of gold on their necks, and feathered feet. They have a single comb and red to orange eyes.
Personality: Marans are very active chickens. They love to roam and forage and will do best if they are given free range. If you have a garden, these hens will stay on active pest-control duty for you, keeping your beds free of snails and other bugs that eat your plants. They are fairly easy to handle, but most prefer not to be held.
Eggs: The large, dark, chocolate brown eggs of Marans are in very high demand. What makes a Marans’ egg different than other brown eggs? The brown coloring on most eggs is the result of a pigment that is part of the makeup of the egg shell. The dark coloring of a Marans’ egg is the result of a coat of pigment which is spread onto the developed egg shell as it passes through the hen’s oviduct. You can actually scrub this pigment off of the egg with water, which you cannot do with other brown eggs. When the pigment is spread onto the shell, it can come out smooth (evenly colored) or spotted. The darkness of a Marans egg waxes and wanes through a hen’s lifetime. She lays her darkest eggs when she first lays because it takes her longer pass the egg through her oviduct, and therefore more pigment is coated onto the egg. Marans hens are bred by selecting the hens that produce the most pigment over the longest period of time. This makes the breeding process very expensive, and in turn, makes Marans chickens and eggs expensive.