Black Copper Marans (pronounced Maran when singular, but ALWAYS spelled ‘Marans’) are fine dual-purpose chickens that originated from France. These birds were originally bred as fighting cocks, but with the change in matings produced a bird that became popular for backyard keepers. The French began showing Marans in 1914 under the name Country Hen. By 1920, the next standard was created - mahogany brown eggs. Unfortunately, the popularity of Marans dramatically declined in the 1930s, when Nazi occupancy made farming very unprofitable. After this event, many forgot about Marans. In the late 1950s, the future of Marans as a purebred was at risk, as commercial poultry breeders began using them to create sex links. Fortunately, a few committed enthusiasts carried on the heritage breed and returned them to the Black Copper Marans we know them to be. Interestingly enough, France had been showing Marans since 1914, in America, they were not recognized as a breed until 2011!
It took the grueling work of a few dedicated breeders along with the Marans Club of America to present stock that lived up to the French standard. Once a standard was established, they were recognized by the APA. Thanks to their popularity and success in the show ring, true Black Copper Marans became one of the top heritage breeds in America.
Although Marans are an excellent meat bird, their outstanding and unique attribute is the shell color of the plentiful eggs that they lay. Marans lay an egg that has a shell the color of dark chocolate; so dark that at times it borders on being black. It’s this extra deep brown egg that draws many French chefs to only cook with Copper Marans eggs. When cracked open, the yolk sits perfectly centered within the white and holds an ideal dome shape. In addition, they produce eggs that are bright orange, bursting with vitamins, protein and fats from its healthy lifestyle. Black Copper Marans eggs are reason enough to choose this breed as your go-to layer.
Black Copper Marans have a rustic and traditional appearance. They stand confident and dignified! The hens are plump and the roosters strut with a proud pose. They stand with a perfect V-shaped triangular form that lends to their familiar features. With their upright stance, feathered legs, and perky tail you can’t help but realize Marans are the ideal heritage breed to complete any homestead.
Our hens can lay dark colored eggs around a 7, 8 and 9 on the 2018 Marans color chart. However, egg color varies seasonally – even from the same hen. There is a correlation between the number of eggs laid and their color. The fewer eggs Marans lay, the darker their eggs. For example, Marans generally quit laying in the winter and as they begin to lay, their eggs are super dark. However, as the season goes on, egg production increases and their color lightens.
At Elk Valley Farm, we are working with exceptional stock from champion bloodlines to strengthen the genetic foundation available to breeders and backyard flocks around the US. We're not just another Greenfire Farms reseller! Our Black Copper Marans roosters are straight from Greenfire Farms newly imported stock, while our hens are from Bev Davis, Wade Jeane and Greenfire Farm (A line) lines for diversity. We sought out to find a line that would reliably produce dark colored eggs as well as follow the breed standard for this unique breed.