Maran Chicken Characteristics And Breed Information

If you keep chickens, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Maran chicken. 

The Maran chicken is an excellent dual-purpose bird originally from France. 

One of the most memorable traits of the Maran chicken is their dark brown eggs. 

Some describe it as a chocolatey brown egg color, which sets them apart from other chickens. 

If you consider adding a Maran chicken to your backyard chicken coop, it helps to know as much as possible about the breed and its characteristics.  

Maran chickens are medium-sized chickens. The breed originated in France and is known for laying chocolate-colored eggs and producing very fine meat. The Maran breed is popular for backyard coops and small homesteads. They are an excellent dual-purpose breed for eggs and meat.

Maran chickens are growing in popularity but are still rare in the United States. 

They are excellent choices for backyard chicken keepers and homesteaders. 

They make a decent meat bird and are also prolific layers. 

If you are considering adding one to your flock, we’ll let you know everything about the breed, so you’re able to make an informed decision.  

maran chicken colors

Maran Chicken Temperament

Maran chickens are known for being friendly and docile for the most part. They won’t put up with being picked on and will defend themselves, but they aren’t prone to starting fights with other birds in the coop. Marans are easy to handle, but roosters tend to get more aggressive around breeding time. 

Knowing the temperament of a chicken breed is an important factor to consider before adding them to your flock. 

Introducing new chickens to a pre-existing flock is tricky, but it helps if the new birds and existing birds have decent temperaments. 

If you are a new chicken keeper, it helps get an easy-to-handle breed for your first birds. 

Luckily, Maran chickens have an excellent temperament and are generally pretty easygoing birds. 

They are considered to be excellent for beginners and are a fascinating breed.

Friendly and calm dispositions make for a beginner-friendly breed. 

Marans are known for being relatively friendly and docile. 

They don’t pick fights, but they also stand up for themselves. 

This helps in establishing a pecking order without too many injuries occurring. 

Maran hens are easy to handle and don’t usually mind being picked up. 

While they are easy to handle, they aren’t necessarily cuddly, so don’t expect your Maran chickens to come hopping into your lap every time you go out to the coop.  

They have excellent foraging skills and are considered to be active birds. 

Maran Chicken Appearance

Maran chickens are muscular and large with plenty of feathers. Some varieties have plumage down their shanks and legs. Maran chickens have orange eyes, red wattles, red earlobes, and a single comb. Color variations range from black, white, red, brown, and wheat. Plumage also varies in patterns. 

Maran chickens look very hardy and muscular. 

Most have a beautiful rose comb. 

The active breed has a trapezoidal body shape with lots of thick plumage. 

The thick plumage makes Marans resistant to cold weather and helps them stay warm throughout the winter months.

Further Reading: Are Maran Chickens Cold Tolerant?

What Colors Do Maran Chickens Come In?

There are many different varieties of Maran Chickens. In France, there are nine different recognized varieties. Colors range from solid black, brown, red, orange, yellow, wheat, white, and tan. Some varieties are solid in colors, while others have patterned plumage.

The nine recognized color varieties of these French birds each have unique plumage. 

They are one of the more unique European breeds. 

Here are some of the beautiful birds making up Marans’ different colors and feather patterns.

  • Birchen varieties of Maran chickens come with solid black body feathers or blue* with silver feathers on their heads. They are considered to be one of the rarest varieties.
  • Black Marans have completely black feathering from head to tail feathers. 
  • The Black-Tailed Buff variety has a solid buff color with a black tail. 
  • Black Copper Marans are one of the most uniquely beautiful varieties. They have copper hackle feathers and saddles over a black body. Many of this variety have feathered shanks. The black feathers carry a green iridescence, and many of the chickens have coppery highlights brought out in the sunlight. 
  • Columbian Marans have a beautiful plumage pattern consisting of a white body with black on the neck, tail, and wingtips. They are incredibly rare. 
  • The Cuckoo variety of Maran chickens is the most popular. Cuckoo Marans have a light-colored background with black plumage accents. 
  • The Golden Cuckoo is one of the rarest color varieties of Marans. They have a barring pattern of orange, yellow, and reddish hues. 
  • Wheaten chickens of the Maran breed have delightful light honey and wheat coloring throughout their feathers. Wheaten Marans usually have a darker color on their heads and neck feathers. 
  • White Maran chickens have solid white feathers. They are a very common variety and have no other colors in their white plumage. 

*Read more: Are Blue Maran Chickens Friendly?

Maran Chicken Eggs

Maran Chicken Eggs

One of the unique traits of the Maran chicken is its eggs. Maran hens lay chocolate-colored eggs. They lay about 150-200 rich and deep brown eggs annually. This works out to about 4 eggs per week. Those who lay more eggs tend to have less pigmented eggs. Broodiness varies between hens.

Related Post: Maran Chickens And Broodiness

Maran hens are excellent layers and an ideal backyard breed for a backyard coop. 

They supply enough deep chocolate-colored eggs for a small family who isn’t looking for a surplus of eggs to sell. 

Marans are famous for the unique coloring of their eggs. 

If you are intrigued by the colors of Maran eggs, you’ll find a lot of delight in going out to collect the dark chocolate-colored eggs each day. 

What Do Marans Eggs Look Like?

Maran eggs are unique in their coloring. Many describe the color of their eggs as a deep and rich brown, almost the color of chocolate. The Maran hens are famous for their chocolate-colored eggs. The eggs are medium-sized, and most hens lay about 4 eggs per week. 

The Maran chickens are excellent layers. 

They usually lay about 150-200 eggs annually, making them fairly prolific layers. 

While they may not lay enough to have eggs for sale, they are enough to support a family’s needs. 

Do Marans Lay In Winter?

Maran hens do not lay much in the winter. They are cold-hardy, but egg production decreases as the temperature drops. Adding a light and heat source to the coop may help promote winter laying for your Maran hens. Some Marans do not lay in the winter despite heating efforts. 

Some people equate cold-hardiness and winter-laying as the same. 

However, this could not be further from the truth. Maran chickens are incredibly cold hardy birds. 

Their thick and dense plumage helps to keep them warm in the winter months and cold climates. 

Despite this, their excellent egg production will usually slow down to a complete stop once the cold winter months set in. 

Some chicken keepers have luck encouraging their ladies to start laying by adding a heat light or heat lamp to keep it warm and cozy in the coop. 

However, Marans are not considered to be excellent winter layers. 

What’s The Difference Between A French Black Copper Maran And A Black Copper Maran?

black copper maran (1)

The French Black Copper Marand and Black Copper Marans are often confused due to the similarity of their names. The French Black Copper Maran is considered a higher quality chicken, reflected in the price. They tend to have darker eggs than Black Copper Marans. 

Many people consider the French Black Copper Maran one of the finest varieties available. 

They are considered to be the original layers of chocolate-colored eggs. 

This variety is believed to be from the original breed of chicken originating in Marans, France. 

The French Marans variety usually has feathered feet. 

Check out our chickens with feathered feet on our list at the link.

Black Copper Maran chickens are sold with both feathered and non-feathered legs. 

Black Copper Marans are usually less expensive and more common. 

The dual-purpose breed still lay brown eggs, but they tend to be less deeply pigmented than the French Marans. 

Speaking of dark brown eggs, check out this list of chickens who lay brown eggs.

Are Maran Chickens Rare?

Maran chickens are still rare in the United States. However, they are growing in popularity for backyard chicken keepers and farmers. Some varieties of Marans are rarer than others. The chocolate brown color of their eggs makes them very desirable and is helping them rise in popularity. 

Maran chickens are more common in France and other countries in Europe than in the United States. 

As backyard farmers and chicken keepers become more popular in the US, Marans are slowly becoming more common. 

They are becoming more popular as people become aware of their unique egg coloring and excellent role as a dual-purpose breed. 

Are Maran Chickens Noisy?

Maran chickens are not noisy birds at all. This breed of fowl is not known to make much noise or have vocal outbursts. The most you’ll hear from Maran chickens is a rooster crow or egg-laying songs. This makes Maran chickens an excellent choice for urban farming and backyard flocks. 

Choosing a breed of chicken when you have close neighbors is a tricky ordeal. 

If you are in this situation, it is vital to consider the noise level of whichever birds you add to your flock. 

Maran chickens are a fantastic choice for those living in urban or suburban areas with nearby neighbors. 

They do not make much noise at all and are docile birds. 

Vocal outbursts are common among some chicken breeds but not Marans. 

The most you’ll hear from these friendly birds is an egg-laying song from a Maran hen in the nesting boxes or a rooster crow from the rooster. 

Further reading: Do chickens make noise at night?

Are Marans Cold Hardy?

Marans are extremely cold-hardy French breed. They have thick and dense plumage to protect them from the cold. They are known for being well-suited for colder climates and the winter months. Maran chickens tolerate the cold temperatures well and are considered a cold-hardy breed. 

Living in a colder climate does limit what chicken breeds will thrive in your location. 

If you live in an area with harsh winters and extreme cold, you’ll need cold-hardy chickens. 

Marans are incredibly resistant to cold weather.

However, they do tend to suffer from stress caused by extreme heat. 

If you live in an area with very hot summers, we recommend looking elsewhere. 

The dense and thick feathers making up a Maran’s plumage are too warm for the hot and intense summer heat. 

What Is It Like To Own A Maran?

Owning a Maran chicken is a great experience, especially for beginner chicken keepers. They are friendly and docile. Maran chickens tend to be quiet. They love to forage and free-range. Their personality, noise level, and egg production make them excellent backyard chickens. 

People who own Maran chickens are usually crazy about them. 

They love their unique eggs and various color shades. 

They are great layers, averaging about 4 eggs per week. 

Maran chickens are a fitting dual-purpose breed for those living with nearby neighbors. 

They are very quiet and have a minimal noise level. 

The Maran is a friendly fowl for beginner chicken keepers and is very easy to handle. 

Maran chickens love to free-range and forage. 

Having a nice area to peck and scratch about will keep them happy and healthy. 

They don’t require too much space, so a section of a yard will suit your flock of chickens well. 

Marans tend to do well with other birds and aren’t prone to bullying other flock members. 

They still stick up for themselves, which is an important part of the social pecking order of the flock. 

Should I Get A Maran Chicken?

Maran chickens are an excellent addition to any flock. They are unique and friendly chickens which award them an enthusiastic population of fans. Their chocolate-colored eggs are sure to turn heads. Due to their deep genetic pool, there are plenty of colors, patterns, and variations. 

If you seek to add more fowl to your flock, Maran chickens are an excellent choice. 

There are a few key factors to keep in mind before incorporating any of the many breeds of chicken into your flock, but in general, we think it’s a no-brainer. 

Marans are friendly and docile. 

They are productive egg layers and get along well with other flock members. 

There are plenty of colors and patterns among the many Maran variations. 

The dual-purpose breed is a great choice for backyard chicken coops. 

Before getting a Maran chicken, make sure this excellent breed is well suited for your climate. 

It is also important to purchase from reputable breeders. 

Dedicated breeders help to ensure you are getting healthy and not any of the hybrid breeds. 

Here are a few things to consider before running out to grab a Maran chicken from your local hatchery:

  • Marans are cold-hardy but do not tolerate extreme heat well in hot climates. Make sure your climate suits the dense plumage of this excellent breed. 
  • Maran chickens love to free-range and forage. Activity and exercise are great for health and mental stimulation. Make sure you have some extra square feet for these excellent foragers to roam and enjoy. 

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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