The black Copper Marans Chicken breed seems to be trending a lot in the US lately. It’s a pretty bird that lays unique dark, chocolate-coloured eggs per session.
Its history has been filled with near extinction threats and is filled with ups and downs.
The Marans recognized varieties are many, but the one that is very special and has grabbed the attention of people living in the USA is the Black Copper chicken variety.
The Marans breed has appealed to the English because it was meant to be James Bonds’ most loved egg!
In this full guide, we will discuss the history of Black Copper Marans, looking at their rooster temperament, pullet or cockerel (and hens), recognized variety, egg-laying ability and their behaviour.
Black Copper Marans History and Background
The original Marans (poule de Marans) originated from an area around La Rochelle in southwestern France. There, the local chickens were called ‘swamp chickens’ because the countryside is low and marshy.
These original landrace birds were bred with the gamecocks from Indonesia and India brought in by the sailors and the local barnyard hens. The gamecocks were then traded by them for fresh food and water and were often plentiful in supply.
These originals came to be known as Marandaise fowl.
Years later, the Marans were further refined by the addition of Gatinaise chickens, Croad Langshan, Cocou de Rennes, Brahmas Chicken, and Coucou de Malines chickens to produce the ancestors of the Maran breed we have come to know today.
The Marans became famously known in France for the deep red color of its eggs; the plumage, however was all over the country.
- In 1921 a Mrs. Rousseau began breeding with the sole aim of unifying the collection of the birds feathers and produced the cuckoo Marians- which is still popular in today’s world.
- 1930 witnessed the setting of the breed standard in France for this egg and meat bird. They were named Marans after the French port of the same name.
- Six varieties of the Marans were recognized in 1932: silver cuckoo, white/ black, black copper neck, ermine, red, and golden cuckoo.
Fast Forward to post-war France, the breed was in slaughterhouses and was close to going off existence. The French Department of Agriculture rescued it from this disorder and began a breeding program.
One of the main goals of the program was to increase egg production, which it did. By 1952 Marans were laying around 200 eggs each year.
When the program was put to an end, the cause of the Marans was taken up by carious amateur enthusiasts who did a wonderful job of improving the breed.
Appearance and Breed Standard
The Black Copper Marans body from the side forms a wide “V” triangle. The body is long, strong, and sturdy. Also, they should be wide through the shoulders.
They have a remarkable collection of feathers covering their body. The overall body feathers are deep black which may have a green iridescence in the sunlight.
The hackle feathers are a coppery/reddish tone. The rooster also shows copper saddle feathers which cascade over his back. While the hen is not quite so beautifully decorated, it’s still a pretty bird. The Black Copper Marans are often clean legged.
The roosters weigh in around 7-8lb, with the hen around 6.5lb. There are bantam Marans, but there are very hard and rare to find.
In 2011, The Black Copper Marans was recognized by the American Poultry Association- a recent arrival! But, the clean-legged Marans were accepted o the Poultry Club of Great Britain in 1935.
In France (which happens to be the home country), there are nine recognized varieties of Marans.
The standards for the Marans vary from country to country. However, it is classified as a “Continental” breed, and the type is large fowl.
In the United Kingdom, clean-legged birds are the breed standard. In the US and France, both clean-legged and sparsely feathered legs are recognized.
The single comb, ear lobes, wattles, and face are all red. The strong beak has a slight hook to it; it should be horn-coloured. Eyes are coloured orange. Feet and shanks should be pink or slate. Soles of the feet are white like the skin of the bird.
The Black Copper plumage should be red- no yellow/straw pr mahogany tones.
The male specie must be black-breasted with little spotting on his chest. There should also be a black triangle on the wings, and he should have deep red shoulders. The copper-coloured feathers in the back, neck, and hackles are called “lancets.” The hen is black with red hackle markings; minimal redbreast markings are accepted too.
General faults in this bird are black eyes, yellow shanks, white ear lobes, ‘off’ colouring and ‘over’ feathering of the legs.
Temperament and Disposition
The BCM are agreed to be gentle and quiet amongst other birds. However, part of the Black copper Marans rooster temperament is confronting other roosters. This speaks well with the history of gamecock breeding and is said to be to a certain degree, although there are fairly docile roosters to be had.
Generally, the hens are docile, but this can differ depending on the bird line; they aren’t known for being a “cuddly” bird.
Plus, they are active birds that love free-ranging and foraging but can handle containment fairly well. They also fairly winter hardy, so they can handle Northern climates if provided adequate shelter and housing.
Egg Laying and Color
Black Copper Marans are well known for their chocolate/very dark brown eggs. All Maran’s birds lay a dark brown egg, but the Black Copper is sought after for first egg colour for being “chocolatey,”
Want to know an amazing fact?
The lesser eggs a Black Copper hen lays, the darker/chocolate-y the colour. If your hen is an excellent layer, you will not get the darkest colour on the eggs. The pigment overlay of the egg is a finite source, so once the “ink” (so to say) starts to get low, the colour gets lighter.
Do not be surprised if some eggs have the darker coloured speckles- much as Welsummer eggs do.
Egg colour can also occur in cycles- at the start of the laying season, you will get very dark eggs, but by the ending, the colour will have become much lighter.
Averagely, a hen will lay for you about three eggs per week, which amounts to around 10-200 eggs/year.
This translates to mean that the Maran is an average layer in quantity, but the quality of the egg cannot be compared to any.
Though not overly broody, the hen’s are said to be good mothers and setters.
If you would like to buy the Black Copper Marans, here is a good buyer’s tip for you:
Be careful when buying hens based on the colour of the eggs in a photo. Eggs exposed to the air for a certain period tend to get darker. The red pigment oxidizes in the air and turns the pigment darker.
This secret trick has been used plenty of times by immoral folks who want to sell you an “average bird” as the real one. Rely on any feedback you may find or the reputation of the breeder.
Is the Black Copper Marans Right for You?
If you are searching for an egg-laying Chris Brown- the BCM will surely disappoint you. But if you are looking for an eye-catching marked hen that lays very dark eggs, the Black Copper Marans pullet or cockerel and hen is for you!
Please note again that the hens that lay the darkest eggs also lay the fewest; the quicker the egg that comes out, the lighter the shell colour.
The Marans society has come up with a colour scale for the eggs labelled 1-9 with “9” being the darkest and supposedly the best- do they taste different? I don’t know. The hen that lays less than a “4” egg is not said to be a Marans.
If you want the best quality, be ready to spend some serious money.
Yes, you can get hatchery for less than $10.00 each, but this is cheap compared to better quality and more expensive birds.
A single bird from a quality breeder can cost you between $30.00 – $ 60.00 per bird – a bit too pricey? Instead, try some hatching eggs – around $75.00/dozen.
If you believe the price is too much for you, take a walk around your neighbourhood and notice the difference between the breeder stock and hatchery.
At times, it might be hard to spot the difference with some breeds, but not this one. The plumage should be coloured in splendour, not washed or muted. The birds should also stand proud and stand tall and be muscular through the shoulders- the roosters seem to wear their colours very regally.
Marans Recognized Variety
- Black Copper
- Golden Cuckoo
- Black-Tailed Buff
Black Copper Marans vs Cuckoo Marans
The black Copper Marans vs Cuckoo Marans: These two breeds are different colours of the same breed. The CM rooster weighs around 12lbs. They are massive, tall, robust, and stunning to look at.
At 11 weeks, the BCM’s juveniles easily weigh 2lbs! Isn’t that great? Marans can take a while before they bloom, so give them the time they need.
Brown-red Marans Description
The cock must be “black with copper finery, the small of the back, and the lancets of the hackle are largely copper-red edged, and a lightly or black reddish-brown marked beast.”
The hen should be black coloured with not too many glints, with a coppery hackle and a black or lightly reddish-brown marked breast.”
Description Of The Marans Fowls And Aims Of Breeding Them
Healthy poultry that are fairly strong, of average size, plumage close to the body, portraying a strength look without looking awkward and heavy. The best eggs should be dark-brown coloured and very regally.
In the US, Marans are still seen as being rare, especially the Black Copper Marans. However, they are much more common in France (their homeland).
This is why these birds are expensive. The effort and time to produce such a beautiful bird that can breed true down the line is huge!
A good quality bird is just gorgeous with the contrasting copper and black plumage.
If you mean business on getting some rare gems, it makes total sense to buy the best you can. That way, you can work on producing good quality chicks of your own.
Do the black copper Marans cost and dark chocolate eggs worth it? That’s left to you to decide.