Unlike Any Others (in our opinion)
Taking its name from the town of Marans in France, this breed has in its make-up such breeds as Coucou del Malines, Croad Langshan, Rennes, Faverolles, barred Rock, Brakel and Gatinaise. Imported into this country round about 1929, it has developed as a dual-purpose sitting breed. Like other barred breeds the cuckoo Marans female can be mated with the males of other suitable unbarred breeds to give the sex-linked offspring of the white head-spot distinguishing characteristic. You'll be able to read more about this in our upcoming blog. Join the club to keep up to date!
Why keep Marans?
The traditional British Marans are a gentle bird with a distinctive cuckoo barring feather appearance with a gorgeous lustre. Marans are a good-sized bird and famously known for their wonderful dark brown eggs. Keeping Marans is an excellent way to introduce children to the world of poultry as they have a mild nature but are hardy in most environments. The Marans breed is great for beginners due to their modest temperament. If you'd like to breed then these birds are also an excellent choice as the Cockerels usually have a calm nature too, although can fight with other males.
As a useful side note there are some breeding strategies that allow the sexing of chicks at one day old! You can read more about this here
What special about the eggs?
Marans eggs are a beautiful dark brown colour, a really classic looking egg. They are also delicious to eat, a bright yellow large yolk makes them excellent for dipping!
The history of Marans
Though in modern times Marans are kept mainly as pets or by small holders historically these birds were introduced to the UK for different reasons. Lord Greenway introduced Marans into England from France in 1929 after a visit to the Paris Exhibition due to him being attracted to their fleshing qualities (fine textured white flesh) and their fast growing attributes. Unfortunately due to import restrictions Lord Greenway was only able to smuggle a few eggs into the UK in a luncheon basket as “hard boiled”
J.S Parkin, Lord greenways poultry manager hatched stock from these eggs and discovered the wonderful brown egg factor, he was so impressed that after the restrictions were lifted he imported 60 day old chicks. These early birds had both Silver and Dark Cuckoo markings with feathered legs.
Lord Greenway went on to show Marans in numbers achieving success at the Crystal Palace in 1934, then subsequently at the World Poultry Congress in Rome and London. The interest in the Marans was born!
If you are interested in showing Marans at poultry exhibitions then you can check out the breed standards for both English Marans and French Marans (which have wider array of breed colours) here. Please also feel free to get in contact if you need anymore help.
What's a bantam?
A bantam is a small variety of poultry, especially chickens. Etymologically, the name bantam is derived from the city of Bantam, once a major seaport, in Indonesia. European sailors restocking on live fowl for sea journeys found the small native breeds of chicken in Southeast Asia to be useful, and any such small poultry came to be known as a bantam. (from Wikipedia)
Being smaller they are suitable for today's world as they do not need so much space whilst they can still lay well, though the eggs are smaller than the larger birds. The Bantam eats the same type of food as a normal bird but less of it.