Pure breed chicken
Varieties: Cuckoo (dark, silver, gold), French Wheaten, Copper Black
Average Annual Egg Production: 200
Garden Suitability: Medium – should be free range
Best Features: hardy chicken, easily tamed, chestnut brown eggs,
Maran chickens originate from the French town of Marans, where they were first bred in the mid 1800’s. Originally bred as a dual purpose chicken, the Maron become popular in the UK simply because people liked their dark brown eggs so much! UK breeders developed the breed further in the 1920s into the attractive chicken you’ll see today.
Marans are classed as heavy weight chickens, so they are fairly substantial birds. Most UK bred Marans are said to be cuckoo-coloured, but in fact range from a light silver to a dark grey colour, with a speckled feather pattern. Most Marans for sale in the UK are now dark cuckoo-coloured, the other variations having fallen from favour in the last 50 years or so. All Marans have white legs, and red or orange eyes.
The French Wheaton Maran is gaining popularity for its large chocolate-brown eggs and pretty honey-coloured feathers, perfect for incubating eggs on a nest. French Wheaten Marans can become very tame if you handle them, and will come running if offered food, so they make good pets.
Marans tend to be lazy if given the chance and quickly get fat, so your Marans will benefit from being free-range rather than in a small run. However, they are hardy chickens, happy on rough or marshy areas, so you can pop them in otherwise unproductive corners of your garden.
Marans are a gentle, quiet chicken by nature, and are also disease-resistant, making them ideal if you want a reliable, peaceful free-range chicken breed with high quality meat.