This bird has made a name for itself as one of the world breeds that produces chocolate brown eggs. It is highly prized by chefs, both for it's color and quality. However, it does not have a APA (American Poultry Association) Standard of Perfection, so there are many varieties, but the French Standard is your best bet. Unfortunately for us though there is no single strain that is the French Standard, so you might want to use the criteria below to find the one closest to it that you can. Though this may not be important to all of you, if this criteria is not fulfilled the chicken will probably not be pure Black Copper Maran, and not lay it's legendary dark eggs.
- Male: One of the more complexly colored roosters, ideally this has: a continuous shade of copper on the head, and hackle (back and sides of neck). Then there will be a slightly darker shade of copper on the saddle (swoop of back), and a mix of this darker shade with black feathers as you move towards the wings. On the lower part of the wings, and tail, there should be all black feathers, with a very prominent green sheen. Other parts as you move to the chest and under the wings will also be black, but without as much of a sheen, if any at all.
- Female: A female has a nearly completely black body with copper on the head and neck areas, as above. It is good to have intense copper in these areas, but if any is found in the chest, or back, it is considered bad genetics, so you might want to stay away from mothers who may have these characteristics if you are going to breed your chickens. Also look out for white spots anywhere.
- Face: Red
- Comb: Large red single or rose comb
- Earlobes: Red
- Skin color: Yellow
- Beak color: Yellow
- Eyes: Red-Orange
- Legs: Slate gray, with a pink underside. Preferably feathered, this is what is considered the French standard, but only on the leg and outer toe.
- Weight: Rooster-8 Hen-6.5 Cockerel-7 Pullet-5.5*
- Purpose: This chicken is dual-purpose.
- Origin: Marans originated in France.
- Common: Rare
- Egg color: Chocolate Brown. This color is achieved by a coating that is applied in the last part of the laying process, that since it is only on the surface, you can rub it off with a little work.
- Egg size: Large to X-Large
- Eggs a week/year: 3-4 eggs a week 150-180 a year, but of it's legendary eggs.
- Broody: Occasionally*
- Confinement: They generally take confinement well.
- Compatibility: They typically get along well with others.
- Hardy: They are good with cold because they were initially bred in a damp environment.
- Bantam: Yes*
- Personality: Not as vocal as other chickens, generally they are active, but may become lazy if not given the proper space.
- Available from: In this chickens case it is bad to buy from hatcheries because they will not reach all of the standards, and will not lay dark eggs. However below I have listed severaly popular lines of this chicken, and sellers.*
Photo courtesy of Flickr user: ninjapoodles
Information courtesy of: http://blackcoppermarans.org/
*For more information on terms above see Key to Chicken Entries