Eleanor of Aquitaine and her husband King Henry II ruled over England and much of western France in the twelfth century. It was a time of knights, castles, and fighting chickens.
At that time, English ships often stopped at the port of La Rochelle near the tranquil fishing village of Marans in France for supplies. One of the cargos they often unloaded was the victorious roosters from the shipboard cockfights.
The hardy roosters of course fell in love with the local French hens which lived in the swampy farmlands. Those fighting cocks had quite different colors from the local hens. The hens conceived from these pairings in turn laid rusty red, maroon, and dark chocolate brown colored eggs.
It sounds like a fairy tale! And the Easter rabbit will have some stiff competition with these hens laying their pre-colored eggs in your garden.
Proud, Champion Birds with a Thousand Year History
Dressed like French nobility from medieval days, the Black Copper Marans are in their full regalia from their comb to their cape, back, saddle, and iridescent tail feathers — all the way down to their feathered feet. Yes! Feathered Feet.
From those fighting shipboard cocks and the French country hens, come today’s Marans chickens, to which the proud attitude and the massive figure testify. It’s truly a wonder to watch them grow from chick to pullet to hen or rooster. They’re like the shapeshifter of the backyard chickens.
We’ve sourced our champion bloodline Black Copper Marans from Greenfire Farms – the hatchery we trust the most.
Robust Chickens that Care for Themselves
Marans are curious and peaceful chickens that definitely know their keepers and come up to them. As a breed, Marans are robust and lively and like to run outdoors to find most of their own food. They can easily run around and take care of themselves. They are also suitable if they are to run in the garden and you leave them alone.
Marans can also be kept in an outdoor enclosure. Since they can fly very well for chickens, the enclosure must be planned accordingly. Here we mean “higher.”
“Did someone say garden? Yes! We’ve found the same people who love organic gardening see the value in backyard chickens. Plus, you can grow veggies to feed your chickens.”
Red Egg Layers — a Cross Between Chocolate and White Layers
Among laying hens, Marans have a unique selling point: they lay large, extremely dark, red-brown eggs, also called chocolate eggs. This is true at least for young laying hens at the beginning of the laying season. After a few weeks and with age, the eggs generally become lighter.
Eggs can be reddish brown, rusty brown, maroon, chocolate brown or dark brown in color. There are many Marans eggs with quite a few darker speckled or irregularly spotted spots in addition to the uniform ones.
In addition to the Marans, the Barnevelder and Welsumer chicken breeds also lay quite dark eggs, though the eggs of the Marans are still significantly darker.
In Days of Yore, We Ate So Much More
The average American eats about 280 eggs a year. But 100 years ago we ate more than 500 eggs a year! Did everybody have backyard chickens back then?
Marans hens lay about 200 large-sized, chocolate-red colored eggs a year. That’s enough eggs so you won’t run out of Pizza Frittatas any time soon!
However, you’ll need another hen or two if you’re going to supply the kids with Easter eggs!
Bring a Taste of France to Your Table — Bonne appétit!
When searching for backyard chickens, your family should consider this gorgeous breed. The chicks mature in about 8 months slightly longer than the 18-week average. They lay about 3 eggs a week, just perfect for that wonderful French Omelette Julia Childs taught us how to make. The hens weigh 6 pounds and the roosters weigh 8 pounds.
You don’t need roosters in order for Black Copper Marans to lay eggs either. This is good news for municipalities that don’t allow roosters but allow hens.
Graywhale Farms has a mission to bring the country to the city, making families in the Midwest healthy and happy.
From our hatchery to your homestead.
Made in Door County.