The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Poultry & Waterfowl => Topic started by: Liam_86 on August 20, 2013, 02:58:40 pm

Title: cuckoo marans
Post by: Liam_86 on August 20, 2013, 02:58:40 pm
Afternoon all.

I have a pair of cuckoo marans that i bought at about 18 weeks old in may. They run with the rest of the flock but they dont seem to be laying the dark brown eggs that i expected. In fact i cant really tell the difference beween them.

How do you get the really dark brown eggs?
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: doganjo on August 20, 2013, 03:09:08 pm
 Are you sure they are pure Marans?

This is from the Omlet site

The majority of the Marans we see today in the UK are cuckoo coloured, ranging from a very dark grey colour down to silver. They have bright orange eyes and white legs. Best of all they produce an almost chocolate brown egg and very succulent meat. They were popular as show birds in the 1940s where there were far more colours including a gold colour cuckoo.
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: Liam_86 on August 20, 2013, 03:26:01 pm
hmmm yeah the fit all the descriptions of a pure bred one, and the person i bought them from is a trusted local breeder so i cant think?
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: Steph Hen on August 20, 2013, 03:37:51 pm
You could ask the breeder, and maybe ask to see some of the eggs from their breeding Marans flock.
Take your eggs alone and explain you're not too happy... Maybe they'll do you a swap for some dark egg layers?
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: darkbrowneggs on August 20, 2013, 05:09:45 pm
Not all pure Cuckoo Marans will necessarily lay lovely dark brown eggs, though they really should lay a better coloured egg than a normal tinted egg layer

Often it is the strain which is the most important.  What has the breeder (if they are good and knowledgeable breeders) been breeding for.  If they are looking to win prizes with their birds at the major shows then the colour eggs their birds produce will be of little or no importance to them and they will be putting all their efforts into breeding birds with correctly coloured feathers and the right amount of points on the comb

If you want Marans which lay dark brown eggs then go to a breeder who is concentrating on this quality, and ask if you can see the general colour and quality of eggs his flock produces.  Also check whether they are breeding purely for egg colour in which case you may find you have birds which lay you very infrequent eggs.

Breeding good Marans is a tricky and time consuming I always used to say ..... if it was that easy you would be able to pick up a box of half a doz at the supermarket. 

You can look at my website ( for lots of info or go to the Marans Club website ( 

It would be good if a few people would join the club and help take the breed forward, it deserves it and needs some help at present.  And there is a huge latent demand for quality stock and hatching eggs. 
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: Anke on August 20, 2013, 05:31:09 pm
I have just started to get really dark brown eggs from my French Copper Marans, but they came from really dark brown eggs... so I reckon the best way would be to get some hatching eggs from someone who has both parents to view before you buy...
I have got a spare cockerel if any one wants it....
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: Victorian Farmer on August 20, 2013, 05:39:02 pm
sue did you ever get hens laying 8 - 9 Exceptional colour Maran eggs rarely produced if all goes dawn hill i will do marans and legbars for the dairy farm shop in granton and give up on the marts its a lot of travailing fuel time etc
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: darkbrowneggs on August 20, 2013, 05:51:15 pm
Yes - these were laid by hens from my own breeding, and the one on the bottom left is a 9. 

You will normally get the darkest eggs in the first spring of lay once the weather begins to improve but is not too hot.  And to get the best coloured eggs they need the best conditions

Scientists have now found that strength of egg colour is used as a signal from the females to the males of good health and vigour, so the cockerel will favour those females producing the richest coloured eggs.  So to get good colour eggs your birds need the best of food water and living conditions.  When they are happy and healthy they will lay the best eggs.

But don't get totally hung up on the shell colour, you still need a bird which is a good layer, and in the case of a Marans true to type, in that it will give a good meaty carcass from the spare males or spent hens.  So to be a good Marans it really needs to be a good "all rounder"  Well bred it is my ideal dual-purpose bird.

Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: Victorian Farmer on August 20, 2013, 06:27:08 pm
this is as good as it gets sue but not as dark as youres
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: darkbrowneggs on August 20, 2013, 06:35:50 pm
Nice eggs  :thumbsup:    6 ish I would say  :thumbsup:

The trick is to get the flock laying consistently dark eggs and the only way I know it can be done is by individually ringing the birds and trap nesting which is very time consuming, but then you can just keep those birds  which meet your standards.

You certainly are onto a good start with those  :thumbsup:   Are they pure Cuckoos?
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: Victorian Farmer on August 20, 2013, 09:29:50 pm
Iff you remember you sent eggs to the black isle and when i spoke to you about the legbars i told you then i had 3 of you re hens. I got 6 that's are good but getting a dark cock bird that keeps the eggs dark is hard. Naw you re stock is in Scotland i just hope some 1 has kept you re line.
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: doganjo on August 20, 2013, 10:04:39 pm
We have, Gary - two young cockerels waiting to go to their new homes - Happy hippy and Moregin.  And soon I'll have a couple of young females here.  Big Light has two of the cockerels we hatched, and Fifesmallholder has the fifth one. They all have CM hens already. So the lines will be carried on in Central Scotland.
Title: Re: cuckoo marans
Post by: Victorian Farmer on August 21, 2013, 09:47:20 am
That's wonderful doganjo next spring i hope to get the legbars on track we naw have barnveld er Marian welsh summers from pat grog an silver lace wyndots roads light Sussex and bared rock am rock Marian from me all these breeds are good qwalatey so things are looking up for Scotland, I do hope the marts gets stock to spared about inc eggs to smallholders, ,The hens have not been bred in numbers iv only done a 1/4 of all stock. I lost the pilgrim geese i had 6 wether fine let them out mid morning cloud bust killed them so things looking up with the wether Autumn will arrive next week then the harvest and its late this time,