Black Copper Marans are a majestic breed of chicken, renowned for their striking appearance and unique egg color. They are known for their dark brown eggs, a trait that sets them apart from other chicken breeds.
Originating from France, this breed has a rich history and has become a favorite among poultry enthusiasts and breeders. They are charming, hardy, and adaptable, making them an ideal choice for backyard chickens.
Raising Black Copper Marans can be a rewarding experience, and this article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about this unique and beautiful breed.
Black Copper Marans Chicken Overview
|Dual-purpose (meat and eggs)
|Rooster: 7–8 lbs (3.1–3.6 kg);
Hen: 6.5–7.5 lbs (3–3.4 kg)
|Black with copper brown
|Quiet, gentle, docile, calm, friendly
|Known for Broodiness:
|150–200 eggs per year
|$10–$60 per chick
Black Copper Marans Origin and History
The French Black Copper Marans traces its roots back to a French town named Marans, the place where the breed was named after. They were also known as “swamp chickens” due to their origin in swampy areas.
These birds were crossed with gamecocks that sailors brought back from Indonesia and India in the early 19th century. At that time, people referred to them as “Marandaise Fowl,” which were famous for their dark red eggs.
Later, these chickens were further developed by being crossed with other breeds, including the Croad Langshan, Brahmas, Coucou de Malines, Gatinaise, etc., to create the ancestors of the modern-day Marans breed.
The breed’s dark brown eggs and black and copper plumage quickly caught the attention of French poultry fanciers in the early 20th century, leading to its widespread popularity by the 1920s.
Various Marans chicken varieties were recognized as official breeds in 1921. By 1932, there were six recognized varieties of Marans chicken, including the Black Copper Marans.
However, the breed’s journey wasn’t always smooth. The Marans became nearly extinct during the devastation of World War II.
Fortunately, their cultural significance to the French led to a successful conservation effort by the French Ministry of Agriculture.
They were able to increase egg production through selective breeding, and the Marans were saved from extinction, securing a bright future for the breed.
Today, Black Copper Marans are still celebrated for their rich, dark brown eggs, attractive appearance, and gentle temperament.
Black Copper Marans Appearance and Breed Standard
Black Copper Marans are a striking breed known for their rich black feathers that shimmer with a greenish tint under sunlight.
Both the hens and the roosters have beautiful coppery red hackle feathers. Moreover, Roosters are easily identifiable by their copper saddle feathers, which further enhance their stunning appearance.
These chickens have clean legs and a robust body that forms a wide V-shape. Their combs, wattles, faces, and earlobes are a vibrant red, while their eyes are orange.
The Black Copper Marans breed standard varies across different countries. Interestingly, it’s a fairly new breed in the United States and was only recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 2011.
In the UK, the standard requires that they are clean-legged. Meanwhile, countries like France and the United States recognize both clean-legged and sparsely feathered legs.
They should have a red single comb, face, wattles, and ear lobes. The beak should be horn-colored, strong, and slightly hooked.
Moreover, the shanks and feet should have a slate or pink color, and the soles of their feet and skin should be white. Regarding plumage, the copper color must be true copper, without any hints of mahogany or yellow tones.
Males must have a black breast, and there should be a distinct black triangle on their wings. Meanwhile, hens should be black with red hackle markings, and subtle redbreast marks are generally accepted.
Black Copper Marans Size and Weight
The American Poultry Association (APA) considers all Marans, including the Black Copper variety, to be large fowl.
The roosters of this breed usually weigh between 7 and 8 pounds, making them a formidable addition to any flock and an excellent source of meat.
On the other hand, hens are slightly smaller, usually weighing around 6.5 to 7.5 pounds. Their size does not affect their egg-laying abilities, as they are known for producing a good number of dark chocolate-colored eggs.
Overall, Black Copper Marans boast a robust build with well-developed muscles, making them suitable for both meat and egg production.
Black Copper Marans Temperament and Behavior
Despite their large size, Black Copper Marans chickens are docile and easy to handle. They are known for their calm and friendly nature, making them an excellent choice for families and backyard poultry enthusiasts.
Though these chickens are not commonly used as pets, they are docile creatures that enjoy human interaction, which can be especially great if you have children in your household.
Moreover, Black Copper Marans are adventurous and love to explore their surroundings. They are comfortable in confinement but also enjoy free-ranging.
Despite their adventurous spirit, they don’t tend to wander far from home, making them easy to manage as backyard chickens.
Keep in mind that the roosters of this breed can be protective of their flock. Hence, it’s not advisable to handle them too much or allow small children to be around them unsupervised.
Nevertheless, both hens and roosters are generally easygoing. They are not aggressive towards other breeds and often get along well in mixed flocks.
Egg Production of Black Copper Marans Chickens
The Black Copper Marans chicken is known for its impressive egg-laying abilities. A hen lays around 150 to 200 eggs per year, which is quite substantial compared to other breeds.
Of all the varieties of the Marans breed, they lay the darkest brown eggs, a trait that sets them apart and makes them highly sought after. This color is due to a pigment known as porphyrin.
Interestingly, the color of their eggs can change over time. The eggs at the beginning of the laying season are typically the darkest.
A hen that lays more eggs will eventually produce lighter-colored eggs since there will be less pigment in each egg.
Furthermore, Black Copper Marans hens may be able to lay a lot of eggs, but they also have a tendency to get broody every once in a while.
When this happens, the hens become extremely protective of their eggs and may even stop laying eggs and care for them until the chicks have hatched.
Nevertheless, the Black Copper Marans is an excellent choice for those seeking a chicken breed that offers both quantity and quality in egg production.
Noise Levels of Black Copper Marans Chickens
Black Copper Marans are renowned for their relatively quiet demeanor, making them suitable for urban or suburban settings where noise could be a concern.
These chickens are generally not loud or disruptive. However, individual noise levels can vary from bird to bird. Some Marans may be more vocal than others, particularly if they are stressed or excited.
So, if you’re looking for a chicken breed that won’t disturb the peace, Black Copper Marans would be a great choice.
How to Take Care of Your Black Copper Marans
Raising Black Copper Marans is both an exciting and rewarding experience. However, to ensure they thrive and remain healthy, it’s crucial to understand their specific care requirements.
This section will provide you with comprehensive insights on how to take care of your Black Copper Marans, ensuring they lead a happy, healthy, and productive life.
Lifespan and Health Issues
Black Copper Marans are robust birds with a lifespan of around 8 years. They are resistant to most diseases, possibly due to their origins in swampy conditions.
Having once cared for a flock of Black Copper Marans, I can attest to their toughness and resilience. However, I learned the importance of regular check-ups when one hen developed mites.
Quick action and a clean coop helped it recover, and I was reminded that even the hardiest breeds need attentive care.
Moreover, I’ve found that Black Copper Marans can be lazy at times, which makes them prone to obesity, so giving them plenty of opportunities to run around and play is essential.
A balanced diet is crucial for Black Copper Marans’ overall health and productivity. These chickens are not particularly picky eaters, but they do require a diet rich in nutrients to thrive.
Start with high-quality poultry feed as the base of their diet. This should be specifically formulated for laying hens and contain a balanced mix of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Protein is particularly important for egg production and feather health, so ensure the feed contains at least 16% protein. However, during stressful periods like molting or caring for chicks, a higher protein diet is advised.
These chickens also enjoy roaming and foraging for food, which can provide them with a variety of nutrients and keep them entertained. Seeds, bugs, and worms are some of the things they will snack on while foraging.
Coop Setup and Roaming
Due to the size of Black Copper Marans, it is a good idea to provide them with extra space, although a minimum of 4 to 8 square feet per chicken can work.
Moreover, each chicken should also have 8 to 10 inches of roost space in the coop. It is also recommended to place nesting boxes in their habitat that are the standard 12 x 12 inches in size.
There should be at least one nesting box for every three chickens. Further, Black Copper Marans thrive when given the opportunity to explore and forage, so consider letting them roam from time to time.
Black Copper Marans are remarkably hardy and able to tolerate a wide variety of weather conditions. They can thrive even in extreme cold, provided they have a shelter to take refuge in.
Their dense plumage acts as natural insulation, keeping them warm even in cold temperatures. However, it’s worth noting that hens may produce fewer eggs in colder climates.
What I did for my Black Copper Marans during the coldest months was to install a coop heater, especially since my roosters had larger combs. This helped me prevent frostbite in my chickens.
On the other hand, during the warm summer months, I made sure that they had access to plenty of shade.
Always ensure that your coop is well-ventilated, and consider providing a fan if temperatures become extreme. Fresh, cool water should always be available to help them regulate their body temperature.
Breeding Black Copper Marans Chickens
Breeding Black Copper Marans chickens can be a rewarding experience for poultry enthusiasts and breeders alike.
This breed is known for its unique characteristics, including its dark brown eggs and striking black and copper plumage, which can be passed on to the next generation.
When breeding these chickens, it’s important to select hens and roosters that adhere closely to the breed standard. This includes traits like body shape, feather color, and egg color.
The rooster significantly influences the egg color of his offspring, so opt for one from a lineage known for producing dark eggs.
The goal is to produce chicks that maintain the breed’s distinctive features and high-quality egg production.
If incubating chicken eggs artificially, remember that Black Copper Marans eggs have thicker shells and may require higher humidity during incubation.
After hatching, chicks should be moved to a brooder and fed a protein-rich starter feed for the first six to eight weeks, followed by a grower feed.
With careful selection and proper care, you can successfully breed and raise these unique chickens.
How Much Does a Black Copper Marans Cost?
The cost of a Black Copper Marans can vary significantly, depending on the source and the quality of the chicken. If you’re purchasing from a hatchery, you can expect to pay under $10 per chick.
However, you should be careful when buying from hatcheries, as it’s possible that these chicks won’t display the breed’s desirable traits as strongly as those from a dedicated breeder.
When buying Black Copper Marans from a reputable breeder, the price can range from $30 to $60 per chick.
These chickens are often of higher quality, showcasing the breed’s distinctive black and copper plumage and dark egg color more prominently.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in hatching your own Black Copper Marans chicks, you can also purchase hatching eggs, which typically cost around $75 per dozen.
In case you’re looking for some tips on hatching Black Copper Marans, check out this video:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Black Copper Marans Good Egg Layers?
Black Copper Marans are considered good egg layers, producing approximately 150 to 200 eggs annually. This equates to about three eggs per week, a solid average for chicken breeds.
However, what sets them apart is the quality of their eggs. Black Copper Marans eggs are highly sought after due to their remarkable dark brown color.
While they may not be the most prolific layers, the quality and uniqueness of their eggs make Black Copper Marans a valuable addition to any flock.
Why Are Black Copper Marans So Expensive?
There are several reasons why Black Copper Marans chickens are often more expensive than other breeds.
Firstly, the breed is known for its distinct characteristics, such as its striking black and copper plumage and dark chocolate-colored eggs.
These traits are not only visually appealing but also require careful breeding to maintain, which can be a time-consuming and costly process.
Moreover, the breed’s popularity contributes to its higher price. Many poultry enthusiasts and breeders are willing to pay a premium for these chickens because of their unique egg color and overall appearance.
Lastly, Black Copper Marans are less common than some other breeds because of their smaller breeding populations, and this scarcity can drive up the price.
Are Black Copper Marans Good Backyard Chickens?
Black Copper Marans are a great choice for backyard chickens due to their calm and gentle demeanor. Because of their friendly nature, they make great pets and additions to any backyard.
Furthermore, their gamecock genes make them active and adventurous, although they are generally not overly aggressive. They are also strong and adaptable, thriving in various weather conditions.
Whether you’re a seasoned poultry keeper or a beginner, Black Copper Marans can be a rewarding addition to your backyard.
We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights into the world of Black Copper Marans chickens. If you have any experiences or questions about this chicken breed, please share them in the comment section below.