The Maran Chicken
The Maran chicken originated in France. It is a dual purpose breed and lays large, brown eggs. The variety Black Copper lays a dark chocolate brown egg, much darker than the brown eggs of most other breeds. The town of Maran is located twelve miles north of La Rochelle and the chicken takes its name from the town.Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:7oeufs.JPG
Breeders set about improving the breed and the first Maran chicken was exhibited in Paris in 1929. This was at the Poultry Breeders Society. After the Second World War, they became very popular show birds and were available in a range of colours from white, blue and birchen to gold and silver cuckoo.
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The Maran is also renowned for its fleshy, tender carcass and became very popular in London as a table bird. The dark cuckoo colouration is most common in the United Kingdom with birds ranging from very dark grey to silver. Silver cuckoos are more easily obtainable in the United States although the breed is not recognised by the American Poultry Association. The Maran has both standard and bantam sizes.
Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maranshahn_kupferrot_001.jpgThe Maran is medium in length and like all good meat breeds it has good width and depth.The head is neat with prominent eyes and a single comb. The tail is carried high. The eyes vary from bright orange to red and the earlobes are red and legs white.
The Maran is generally fat and lazy, a heavy breed but quick to mature with six month old birds reaching a weight of six or seven pounds.
This breed is very placid and tends to sit around a lot. If confined, the vent area can quickly become dirty and clogged and will need to be manually cleaned. They are much less trouble if kept on free range and given plenty of space. They are quite disease resistant but will need good protection from the cold. They are not as easy to look after as many breeds so perhaps it is not surprising that they are now quite rare.
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They are rather flighty and not particularly friendly. The hens don’t go broody very often and are not terribly good mothers. It would be best to hatch any eggs in an incubator as the results are likely to be more successful. The day-old chicks are easy to sex as the male chickens have a large white spot on the top of the head. The spot on the hen chickens is smaller.
Despite the few drawbacks to raising Marans, they are quite a striking chicken with colourful plumage contrasting nicely with white legs and a bright eye.