Monday, April 1, 2013

Marans Egg Facts and myths

Marans chickens are well known for laying dark brown, almost chocolate colored eggs. I've heard them referred to as "the most expensive chicken eggs in the world" and until recently they have been fairly hard to come by. They are said to be prized by French chefs and are slightly harder to hatch then other breeds. 

Many people are only familiar with the name Marans because James Bond was said to only eat the speckled eggs from Marans hens in From Russia With Love. While I can't comment on Mr Bonds particular idiosyncrasies I've had Marans for several years and I have to tell you, not all those other rumors are true! 

Black copper Marans eggs myths

Most chickens start of laying smallish sized eggs and their eggs get larger as they become more experienced layers. Marans eggs are the same except for a few differences:

1) Marans eggs change colors. When a Marans pullet starts laying she will lay very dark brown eggs. As the laying season progresses her eggs get lighter. After a molt or seasonal break, her eggs start out dark brown again. She will repeat this cycle throughout her lifetime however they will lighten up a bit after the first year or two. They'll still follow the pattern of darker in the spring and lighter by fall though they'll never again get as dark as that first year.

2) The color can be wiped off of a Marans egg. Isn't that odd? If you try to clean a Marans egg and wipe too hard, the color will come right off! 

3) The color is on the egg shell, it is not the color of the egg shell. It's a wet mucous like coating which dries quickly after the egg is laid. Sometimes it doesn't dry quickly enough and gets marks on the color from nest box bedding.

4) Some eggs are speckled, some are not.

5) The color of a Marans egg is hereditary. If the parent stock lay very dark eggs, the offspring will also. However if the parent stock lay lighter brown eggs, their offspring will also.

6) They can be a little harder to hatch. Humidity is a very touchy thing with these eggs, more so then other brown eggs. Slightly higher humidity seems to help them hatch better but too high and the chicks don't make it. Hens seem to get a better hatch rate then incubators with these eggs.

and the big bad secret no one wants to tell you....

7) They taste the same as any other farm fresh egg. OMG I admitted it! lol I can't even count how many people have told me "I've heard Marans eggs are the best tasting eggs in the world" Now, that's just silly! I mean, compared to store bought eggs then yeah...sure, Marans eggs are better. If you compare them to my other free range chickens though, you can't tell the difference. 

on second thought.......we should probably just keep that last one between us. Especially if Mr Bond asks!

~L 

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20 comments:

  1. I have three Marans - the eggs look a lot like yours. I have a question - are your Marans noisy hens? Mine are far and above the loudest, most vocal hens in the barnyard!

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    1. I thinks it's in each ones personality. Cleo and Sister are noisy as can be, but the triplets are very quiet. The rest kind of fall in the middle. Then again, I have Guineas too...so maybe I'm underestimating everyone else's noise level. LOL

      ~L

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  2. I wish my Maran eggs would have hatched :( The egg color is beautiful!
    I had such a hard time with that hatch. But not with these little banty Cochins, they are popping out like cockroaches LOL!!!

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    1. They can be harder to hatch then other breeds. Watch your humidity...keep it lower in the first 18 days and higher for lockdown. Banty cochins are awesome...so darn cute and fluffy. Congrats on the hatch!

      ~L

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  3. Those are some cool lookin' eggs!

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  4. Great post! Beautiful eggs :)

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  5. I have two Cuckoo Marans and their eggs are not that deep brown I was hoping for :( Mine are hatchery quality and I am sure that makes a difference too. I do love the look of that dark deep brown though :)

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    1. That sometimes happens with hatchery eggs. :-( I've never had cuckoos....only blue, splash and black copper. Do you like them?

      ~L

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  6. Lol! Love the colors :) I've always wanted some Marans, but the cost made me think twice. I'd love to have you stop by and share your post on The Creative HomeAcre Hop today!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/04/the-creative-homeacre-10.html

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  7. I am expecting some Cuckoo Marans in the mail this week, and am curious to see what shade of brown egg they lay. I love the variety in your tray!

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    1. Thanks! Good luck with your new chickens!

      ~L

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  8. I have a hen that was given to me when we first started out about 18 mos. ago. I was told she was a black copper necked Maran...now, at the time, I didn't know diddly...still don't. Later someone else told me she was just an ordinary sex-link.
    But she is the only one I have that lays a speckled egg. It is light in color, like the lightest one in your photo above...but the speckles are dark like some of your darker eggs.
    She is black and has coppery/golden long feathers in a ring around her neck.
    Very Bossy chicken.
    Do you think she could be a 'black copper' maran?
    I came here via FFBH, Pat

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    1. She could be. The Marans club of America website has a list with the breed standards. See how she compares....sounds close to me!

      ~L

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  9. I'm so excited to get our Maran this spring - just a few more weeks!

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    1. Yeay! Congrats and good luck with her!

      ~L

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  10. Ha ha. I had one Maran, and she expired as a baby chick? I was so sad. I have not replaced her yet, but I will. I love to have a variety of egg colors in my flock.
    xo Kris

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    1. Awww, that is sad! I like to have different colors too. We lost our blue egg layer and I want to replace her but haven't gotten around to it yet, Maybe this year.

      ~L

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  11. I LOVE the color of the Marans eggs. If I had more property, I would definitely add them to my little flock! Right now, I have Red Stars, just two, because we live on .18 of an acre. I would get more, but we also have 3 bunnies, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. :)

    I'd like to invite you to share this post and up to two others at Farm Girl Blog Fest #28, which is live right now. You would be a great addition to the wonderful posts that are shared!

    Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest #28

    Hope to see you there!
    ~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You

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