Black Copper Marans
There is no doubt that one of the most popular breeds of chicken is the Black Copper Marans. It is a beautiful and stunning chicken that also lays beautiful chocolate-colored eggs.
The Marans, French: Poule de Marans, is a breed of chicken from the port town of Marans, in the department of Charente-Maritime, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France. It was created with the local feral chickens descended from fighting game chickens carried from Indonesia and India. Those original Marandaise fowl were "improved" for the table through recombination with imported Croad Langshan. A favorite at poultry shows, it is a dual-purpose fowl known both for its extremely dark eggs and fine meat qualities.
The Marans originated in Marans, France, and were imported into the United Kingdom in the 1930s. The breed became popular and a hit in France primarily because the eggs that it lay were very much sought after. Due to extensive fighting in France during the World Wars, the breed almost became extinct. Because of that, the Department of Agriculture in France started a breeding program in an attempt to rescue the breed as well as to increase egg production. The program was a success and in 1952, the Marans hens were producing about 200 eggs per year. When the program stopped, many chicken breeders took up the opportunity to raise Marans on their own. Fortunately, they did a great job of caring for and improving the breed.
The Black Copper Marans has great plumage. Its body feathers are deep black and shine iridescence green under the sunlight, just like a green beetle. The eyes of a Black Copper Marans are colored red. Its feet and shanks are colored pink or slate. Its soles are colored white just like its skin. A Black Copper Marans rooster has black breasts with minimal spotting. It has an obvious black triangle on its wings as well as deep red shoulders. It has lancets or copper-colored feathers in its neck, back, and hackles. A Black Copper Marans hen is colored black with red markings on its hackles. It has slight red markings on its breast. The ear lobes, wattles, and comb of the Black Copper Marans are all colored red. It has a strong beak with a slight hook structure in it. The beak is horn colored. A Black Copper Marans rooster weighs between seven and eight pounds while a hen weighs around six and a half pounds. There are also bantam Black Copper Marans although they are quite difficult to find. Different countries have different standards when it comes to Marans. But in general, they are classified as a large type of fowl and of Continental breed.
Black Copper Marans are primarily known for their large dark chocolate brown eggs. Black Copper Marans eggs are the darkest of all the Marans varieties. As with all dark brown egg layers, the eggs are the darkest at the beginning of the laying cycle. The eggs will lighten slightly then return to the darkest color after a period of rest. Marans are historically a dual-purpose bird, prized not only for their dark eggs but for their table qualities as well. The eggs of Black Copper Marans are known for being dark brown and chocolate colored. These eggs are widely sought after. A Black Copper Marans hen that lays fewer eggs will have darker colored eggs. If your hen, however, lays eggs more frequently, you can expect the egg color to be lighter. On average, a Black Copper Marans hen will lay about three eggs per week. This equates to about 150 to 200 eggs per year. This means that in terms of egg-laying, Black Copper Marans are just average. However, the eggs are considered to be the ones at the top in terms of quality. The hens are also good nesters and mothers. But they are not extremely broody.
Black Copper Marans do well free-ranging, causing less damage through heavy scratching. These feathered legged birds are fast growers and are a good dual-purpose breed for the homestead or backyard flock.
In general, in terms of temperament, Black Copper Marans are considered to be gentle and quiet. However, the roosters tend to be aggressive at times with other roosters. Black Copper Marans are not as cuddly as other breeds of chickens; however, they are generally docile. Black Copper Marans also like to be active at times. They enjoy free-ranging and foraging. But they do tolerate confinement well. They are also somewhat cold hardy. This means that they can live in areas with cold climates, but they should be given proper and adequate shelter and housing.