"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spot on Cuckoo Marans ( chickens)

~This is one of my Cuckoo Maran roosters. I love the cuckoo pattern on poultry, for that is what the term 'cuckoo' is referring to. The hens of this pattern or color, are darker than the roosters. The Cuckoo Marans resemble the Barred Plymouth Rock chickens, but the Plymouth Rocks are an American breed and the Marans are French. The Marans and the Rocks come in several different colors. The first batch of Cuckoo Marans I raised came from Sandhill Preservation Center in Nebraska, and true to the breed, some had feathered legs, some didn't. The current pen of Cuckoo Marans came from Murray McMurray, and none of them had feathered legs, and none of them are laying the dark chocolate brown eggs I desire. ~This is one of my Maran hens. Because she has seriously deformed feet I keep her only with a Maran rooster. Really, I should have culled her, but she survives qiuite well and lays eggs most days. The eggs shown below are from her. As you can see, they are not chocolate brown. ~Here is a basket of eggs collected from my flock. You can see the variation in color. I am getting only 2 dark brown eggs every day or so and believe they come from the only two survivors of my previous flock( the rest of the flock was killed by dogs) and 3 year breeding program directed at getting a certain color of brown eggs. ~Here are the survivors( below), and they are 3 generations of Welsummers and Marans bred together for dark brown eggs. I would have my bantams brood only the darkest brown eggs and raise the chicks. I think I am going to find another source of the Marans and Welsummers, the Murray McMurray Marans seem to be laying almost white eggs. Hey, even Barred Plymouth Rock eggs are darker than these. Meanwhile, we will use the bounty of eggs the flock we have produce, and I so enjoy watching my flock of chickens. ~"The Maran chicken was developed in France in the mid 1800's , imported into England around 1920 where most of it's improvement ocurred. The vast majority of the Marans are cuckoo coloured ranging from very dark grey to silver, red / bright orange eye color and white legs. The most notable charasteristic of this hardy chicken is it's very dark egg colour.." UK Maran Blessings: chickens, eggs

13 comments:

Mildred said...

A very interesting post today and the pictures are beautiful. Hope you have a fun weekend.

LindaSueBuhl said...

Is it an aesthetic thing about wanting the dark brown shell? 'cause the inside is the same as far as I know. Still waiting for the Lord to make a way for us to do a coop and chickens this year - time and money seem to be the issues (well DUH Linda Sue - isn't that always the issue?) Interesting and I googled for hatcheries - wow that is a big business in my part of the world.

shadow mountain jacobs farm said...

There is a fantastic breeder of the Cuckoo Marans just north of us, they breed the french version and really dark red/brown speckled eggs. HYPERLINK@creefarm.fateback.com/ (Cree Farm) is the farm name. If I get that breed next year I will buy from them.

Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

Hello Kathy! I love the color of those eggs.

Please come over to my blog to pick up your Premios Dardo award.

Miss Linda said...

This was so interesting! I truly hope you can find the right gene pool from which to get your chocolate brown eggs. I've never actually seen dark brown eggs and would love to see pictures!!

Lanny said...

I just love the feel of warm eggs. And for some reason when I see chickens I want to pick them up and cuddle them like I used to when I had just six girls and lived in the heart of the city. At that time we had one cat, one dog and six chickens so my girls got a lot of attention.

Sometimes I think that M. M. should say "a chicken that looks a lot like a 'fill in the blank' chicken"

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

Great post. I think these chickens and the dark chocolate colored eggs are so neat!

Good information, do you have any idea about the Marans from Cackle hatchery? I was thinking of ordering a few marans, but the chocolate colored eggs was the reason. If McMurray's Marans lay very light eggs, I don't think I want to pay extra for them. I might as well buy some less expensive regular brown egg layers.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I love cooking with farm eggs and, when pressed to, only buy brown eggs at the grocery. I'm looking forward to farmers' market season! Your eggs look delish!
Do you know the old trick of browning egg shells on a stove - we always used the wood stove to slowly brown them - then feed them to the chickens? It makes their shells much, much harder which is a good thing. Also cheaper than buying oyster shells.

Pamela said...

I'm so sorry your McMurray Marans aren't laying dark eggs. I got my marans from Ideal Hatchery last year, and most of them are laying either very dark eggs or pale eggs with lots and lots of extremely dark speckles.

Perhaps you want to try them? I was really pleased with my order from Ideal last year.

Got a small incubator for Christmas from husband and am going to try to get dark olive green eggs--hatching the darkest of the maran eggs that have been fertilized by Idiot, the americauna rooster. Keep fingers crossed for me.

KathyB. said...

Mildred, thank-you!

LindaSue, you are so funny! Chickens really require so little for what you get. So I hope you get some this year...takes about 6 months for the chickens to start laying...so get your order in!And yes, the shell color is an aesthetic thing. The brown is the same as the white which is the same as the blue or green. All just egg inside!

Shadow Mountains, I think I will look them up. The Marans are very hardy and I think they are pretty chickens, but I do want those chocolate brown eggs!

Mary, thank-you. Gathering eggs every day is like Easter or even Christmas. I don't get tired of it! Litle oval packages in varying shades of brown and cream, perfectly nutritious and tasty!

Miss Linda, I will ...I am on a mission for good Marans.

Lanny, you need to tell your city chicken stories! And yes, sigh....I should have known by now that MM is a bit loose with some things in their hatchery..they sell and deliver healthy chicks, but don't expect to get the very best for show or egg color!

Shiloh Prairie, no, I have been interested in Cackle, but never ordered from them. They claim to have the producers of the darkest eggs don't they? Let me know if you try to raise some and how it turns out.

Thistle Cove, farm fresh eggs REALLY are better aren't they ? I have not browned egg shells before. I just might start doing this for my hens.

Pamela, Ideal Hatchery ? Might google them too. I used to get the olive green eggs from my Americauna crosses and always wanted the minty or blue green eggs YOU get! Oh fun! Incubating chickens and raising them. I just love my chickens!

Daisy said...

This was an interesting post, Kathy. I always learn something on your blog. The chickens killed by dogs--was it wild dogs that got them? You sure have to fight off your share of wild creatures in order to keep your animals safe.

noble pig said...

I love all the colors eggs can take on. Theya re always beautiful to photograph. The chicken are also beautiful.

KathyB. said...

Daisy, no, sometimes my poultry are victims of my bird dogs. I know, how silly of me to keep so many birds AND bird dogs!

Noble Pig, I never tire of gathering my chickens eggs and marveling at how really amazing the simple egg is.