The Black Copper Marans (“BCM”) is not a “rare” breed these days. Undoubtedly, just about everyone getting into chickens has heard of, wanted, or ordered the chocolate egg layer from France. They’re likely in thousands of flocks across the country and sold through nearly every hatchery these days. The name “Bev Davis” has found its way into descriptions from Backyard Chickens to mypethicken.com, making the once hard-to-find hen the very definition of poultry democracy. So what’s the deal? Why do we bother with the most ubiquitous of “rare” breeds? Glad you asked…
History of the Black Copper Marans
About 100 years ago in Northern France, in the port town of Marans, this farmyard breed was officially recognized. But the story of the Marans started centuries earlier, when English sailors would bring their favorite fighting cocks into France, where they were crossed with the native marsh hens. Half way through the 1800’s, amid the Asian poultry craze, a few breeders were fascinated by the Langshan for its quality of meat and color of eggs. In an effort to further the quality of local poultry, the farm hen of Marans was crossed with the Langshan of the East. Born of land and sea, the chicken from Marans was first exhibited in 1914 under the name of “country chicken.” By 1920 the name had changed to the “Hen Marandaise,” and by 1921, one Mrs. Rousseau was selecting for the “size and color of the egg.” The French Marans was born.
More than chocolate eggs, but oh those eggs…
For most it’s an egg obsession. The desire to have a dark chocolate egg-layer has led many from varieties like the Cuckoo Marans, to its more heralded cousin, the BCM. While we certainly appreciate how beautiful these “extra-red” eggs are (the French refer to them as “roux” or red, not brown), we love them for other reasons. Strong and rustic, the Marans is the perfect farmyard chicken. They are curious, but not overly.
Their triangular shape, feathered legs, and overall “plump” appearance is the essence of fortitude with style. That they take time off in the winter from their laying duties is not frustrating, but a reminder that all good things have a season, like summer garden tomatoes or spring asparagus. Watching the Marans go about their daily lives invites the observer to slow down, enjoy a loaf of rustic bread, a hearty red wine and some farmhouse cheese. Life it too good to rush.
Sunbird Farms has been raising Black Copper Marans for years. Our current lines are directly from Greenfire Farms 2016 release of their APA certified imports. If you’d are interested in our Marans, you can find pricing on our store page. You can also send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org