The Marans is a French breed of chicken from the port town of Marans, in western France. A favorite at poultry shows, it became a dual purpose breed known both for its extremely dark brown eggs and fine meat qualities.

Marans are generally quiet and docile; but they are quite active, taking well to free ranging and are also tough and disease-resistant. Their gentle temperaments and quiet demeanor makes them ideal for suburban backyard chicken keepers. Marans are historically a dual-purpose bird, prized not only for their dark eggs but for their table qualities as well. The original Marans had feathered legs, but British breeders preferred clean legs. The American breeder clubs only recognize feather-legged birds.

Marans Chicken Club USA:

Facts about Marans
  • Marans is both the singular and plural, as it refers to the town of origin.
  • Marans are not sexable at hatch, but as early as 5 weeks, the sexes can usually be picked out based on comb size.
  • Even though Marans originated in France where both their meat and eggs are prized, it is incorrect to refer to any Marans as a “French Marans” as that is merely their origin.
  • Ian Fleming mentioned Marans in the James Bond books. When at home, 007 preferred to have the eggs of a Marans hen for his breakfast.
  • While Black Copper Marans are rumored to lay the darkest eggs of any chicken, egg color is not linked to any particular color and can vary widely by strain and even individual hens.
  • A Marans hen usually lays her darkest eggs early in the laying cycle, with the egg color fading as the season progresses. Molting or otherwise stopping laying will usually reset the dark color.
Breed Standard
  • Single comb
  • White skin
  • Feathered legs, but not the heavily feathered feet you find on Cochins.
  • Dark brown eggs, generally the darker the better
APA Accepted Colors
  • Black Copper
  • Black
  • White
  • Wheaten
Other common colors in the US
  • Cuckoo – these are commonly sold by hatcheries and as a result usually lay lighter brown eggs
  • Blue / Splash – most often Blue Copper and Splash Copper
  • Lavender
  • Black Silver
Our Marans
  • Copper Marans Our breeders originated from 3 different sources, and most will lay very dark eggs. I have found them to be more productive layers than some previous strains I tried. They can produce blue, black and splash chickens.