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  • Tag Archives french marans
  • Breeds of Chickens, Which one is Best?

    Which breed of chicken is the best?  Ask any proud Chicken owner and you will get a multitude of different responses.  Most will ask you a question in return to help them answer your question.  They will ask you what you want the chicken to do for you.

    When it comes to chickens there are many breeds to choose from.  Here at Dark Eggs Daily we love the French Marans such as the Black Copper Marans, Wheaten Marans, the various cuckoo Marans, etc.  We love the dark brown chocolate gourmet eggs they lay. They are also very winter hardy for our cold Michigan winters, very disease resist, and and docile chickens.

    We also like the Large Fowl Cochins.  Cochins are known to be good pets for the backyard flock owner, as they are very easily tamed and regarded as one of the most ‘friendly’ chicken breeds that their is. Cochins are a very quiet chicken.

    Like I said, “there are many breeds of chickens to choose from.”

    You have chickens that lay dark brown eggs like our French Marans breeds, chickens that lay lighter brown eggs like the Sussex breeds and the old standard Rhode Island Reds, and Barred Rocks, chickens that lay white eggs like the Ancona and the more commercial leghorn breeds.  You also have chickens that lay blue and green eggs like the Ameraucana, and Araucana.

    You have chickens that come in all different colors; some have feathers on their legs and feet and some don’t, some have a crown of feathers on their head such as the polish chickens and others have a crown of fine hair like fuzz like the silkies.  You also will find chickens with many different styles of combs on their head from the standard single comb to the bowl like comb of the buttercups.

    Chickens come in different classifications such as commercial layers like the leghorns, and heritage breeds such as the old timers, Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock, Buff Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex, etc.

    You also have the LF or large fowl birds and then their is the Bantam varieties that offer you a small chicken if space is an issue.  Bantams breeds of chickens have become increasingly popular as pets for many backyard chicken fanciers, as well as for show purposes because they are smaller and have more varied and exotic colors and feather patterns than the large fowl or standard breeds of chickens.

    Some chickens make excellent pets and do well around children and other breeds of chickens and others should only be kept in with their own breeds.  Some rooster of different breeds will do well with other roosters and some will fight to the death if another rooster is introduced to the flock.

    So as you can see there are many things that should be taken into consideration before getting your first chickens to start up your backyard flock.  One thing I know about chicken fanciers or Chicken Junkies as a couple of my friends from West Virginia call them, is that we like to share our thoughts and opinions about the different breeds of chickens we like to raise and why.

    If you are keeping a flock of chickens in your backyard or on a small acreage, tell us which breeds you have come to admire and why, in the comments section below.  So it is a two part question…

    What is your very favorite breed of chicken?

    What are the special or unique characteristics of that breed that make it your favorite?

    An example would be like I started this post with, “Here at Dark Eggs Daily we love the French Marans such as the Black Copper Marans, Wheaten Marans, the various cuckoo Marans, etc.  We love the dark brown chocolate gourmet eggs they lay. They are also very winter hardy for our cold Michigan winters, very disease resist, and and docile chickens.”


  • Choosing the Right Breed of Chicken to Raise.

    Choosing a Chicken Breed to Raise

    Do you want Dark Brown eggs?  Maybe it is light brown eggs? What about Blue or green? Perhaps the white egg best suites the person who just can’t handle the change from buying your standard white eggs from the local grocery store.

    Fresh eggs just plain and simply taste great and are packed with nutrition.  A flock of chickens producing the many colors of eggs available is also just pretty to see. Brown, white, blue, and green eggs mixed together in a bowl setting on the Kitchen counter are very nice to look at. Add in some dark chocolate brown eggs from the Marans breed and the visual pleasure increases.

    There are varieties of chickens to raise. Choosing a breed will depend on the kind of chicken that you want to raise. There are chickens that seem healthy but their egg-laying capacity is frail while other chickens give out lots of eggs every day. Before finally choosing the right chicken to raise, you have to consider a lot of things.

    Different angles must be taken into consideration like the place where your chickens will live. Do you have a big backyard? Is it wide enough to let your chosen number of chickens to roam? Do you live in the city and does your city have any ordinances against raising chickens within the ciy limits. You have to think about this factor because chickens differ in breeds – some chicken breeds are small and others are very large.

    Also, another factor is the environment you are living in. May chicken breeds are Hardy enough to survive the cold winters like we have here in Michigan.  Other chickens may not be as cold hardey and you will have to have a heat source to keep them healthy during the long winter months.  One of the reasons we love the French Marans, Cochins, and Sussex breeds are because of their winter hardiness.

    You will also need to take into consideration on the size of the chicken.  Your choice will be the large fowl or the Bantam chickens. You may want to go with Bantam chickens if you are limited on space.  You will need to use 2-3 eggs for your baking or scrambled eggs in the morning if you choose the bantam as their eggs are very small.

    Bantams can also be a little bit hardheaded. They love to fly around.

    If you are looking for a cheap egg-laying chicken, you can settle with a leghorn. The leghorn chicken is an egg laying machine and is the source for most of your white eggs you will find in your local grocery store. You may have to eventually clip their wings because they are flighty. Also, they are a bit scrawny so watch out! Some breeders dare not choose a leghorn because they are ugly and are high strung.

    Looking for a chicken that’s sweet? Try the Cochins and the Sussex breeds. My Cochins are gentle giants that I love to watch out looking for insects in the yard. Speckled The Sussex breeds have a personality that you will just fall in love with.  They will roam around the chicken yard happily chattering to themselves.  One of the Speckled Sussex I have we named Dora as she loves to go about her day busily exploring her surroundings. Breeds such as the Cochins and Sussex bloodlines are amazing because of certain qualities like sweetness, manners, and you have a very good breed that can easily be noticed in exhibitions.

    The Cochins and the Sussex breeds will lay a nice medium to large light brown egg and plenty of them.

    Americaunas are another breed will be soon adding to our line up of chicks we are shipping.  They have an impeccable beauty that is more radiant because of their feathers. They have a color resembling a falcon’s – dark, golden feathers. Their beaks are almost similar with a falcon’s because some breeds have pretty curved beaks. The Americauna chickens are especially known for their beautiful blue, green, and pink eggs.

    I guess my favorite birds in the flock have to be our featured breed the French Marans.  They are a light feather legged breed that lay the darkest chocolate brown eggs you will ever find.

    This breed, which originated in western France in the town of Marans, is best known for its dark chocolate colored eggs. It is a fast grower, cold hardy and does well in damp areas, having been developed in a marshy portion of France.

    The marans chicken comes in many different colors and varieties including;  Black Copper Marans, Wheaten Marans, Cuckoo Marans, Silver Cuckoo Marans, Gold Cuckoo Marans,  Black Tail Buff Marans, Buff Marans, Blue Marans, Blue Birchen Marans, Black Marans, Birchen Marans.

    The most defining characteristic of the Marans breed is the large, DARK chocolate brown eggs they lay.  The dark brown color in Marans’ eggs is the result of a layer of pigment deposited over a finished egg as it passes through the oviduct.

    At Dark Eggs Daily we breed for the darkest chocolate brown eggs as possible.  Although breeding for the darkest coating on the eggs is desirable, it is also very difficult, since the genetics are basically unknown.  It is thought that several genes may be involved, all playing some role in the final outcome of egg color.  We are finding the best results are obtained by breeding pairs from the darkest eggs, and who lay the darkest eggs for the longest period of time.  As the season progresses the eggs will start to lose some of the darkness and start to slightly lighten in color.

    Young pullets tend to lay darker eggs than very old hens. However, pullets that have just begun to lay may also produce relatively pale eggs at first. Therefore, one should not judge the egg-laying abilities of a pullet until after she has laid at least 12-20 eggs, by which time her egg color will have had a chance to stabilize.

    I hope this article helps shed a little light on helping you decide which breed of chicken may be best suited for you.

    Try out the Dark egg laying Marans as I am sure you will be happy with your decision.  They are a beautiful addition to any back yard flock.


  • Marans Chickens

    About the French Marans Chickens Breed

    The French Marans is a breed of chicken originating in France. It is a medium breed compared to others, popular for poultry shows and is a dual purpose fowl known both for its extremely dark eggs as well as for its very fine meat qualities.

    Appearance:  There are 9 recognized colors in the French Standard: Cuckoo, Golden Cuckoo, Black, Birchen, Black Copper, Wheaton, Black-tailed Buff, White and Columbian; other colors not officially recognized (such as Blue Copper) also exist.

    Black Copper (black with copper feathers on the neck) and Cuckoo (barred feathers, giving a black and white speckled appearance) are the most common of these.

    The breed as it was when first brought to England was very variable in appearance. The only colors at this time were the white and brassy black. The breed became more of a standard breed than a country fowl due to the vigorous breeding standards of early British breeders, however this was only started fairly early in the 20th century, To the present day there is still much work to be done as “throw backs” are prevalent in the form of white and black birds being bred from other colored strains.

    Sporadically appearing yellow coloration to the legs and beak rather than the preferred white is also a problem found in the breed.All have red or orange eyes and white feet. They are in the medium weight class, generally rather smaller than the more common Rhode Island Red.

    The original Marans have feathered legs but this has been bred out by many UK breeders.

    Characteristics:   Marans are generally quiet and docile; but they are quite active, taking well to free ranging in rough terrain and are also tough and disease-resistant. They were originally bred in the marshy areas of France and can cope with damper conditions.

    Marans lay around 150 dark brown eggs each year. Marans are an historically dual-purpose bird, prized not only for their dark eggs but for their table qualities as well.



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