golden cuckoo marans

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Origin: France

Type: Heavy Bodied Fowl
Size: Large (7-8 lbs)
Rarity: Very Rare
Colors: Varries (Mixture of Red and Blue)

Egg Laying: Excellent (200/year)
Egg Color: Dark Brown
Egg Size: Large

Cold Hardiness: Great Winter Tolerance

Heat Tolerance: Great Heat tolerance
Docile: Yes
Setter/Broody: Occasionally
Personality: Generally docile

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This information is taken from www.thehappychickencoop.com​ which is a fantastic source of information on all things chickens and the raising of chickens.

Background and History

The original Marans (poule de Marans) come from the area around La Rochelle in south western France. The local chickens were known as ‘swamp chickens’ because the countryside is low and marshy.

These original landrace birds were crossed with the local barnyard hens and game cocks from India and Indonesia that were brought in by the sailors. The gamecocks were traded by them for fresh food and water and so were often plentiful in supply.

These originals came to be known as Marandaise fowl.

In later years the Marans was further refined by the addition of Croad Langshan, Brahmas, Coucou de Malines, Coucou de Rennes and Gatinaise chickens to produce the ancestors of the Maran breed we know today.

The Marans became well known locally in France for the deep red color of its eggs; the plumage however was all over the place.

  • In 1921 a Mrs. Rousseau started breeding with the intention of unifying the plumage and produced the cuckoo Marans – still popular today.

  • 1930 saw the setting of the breed standard in France for this dual purpose bird. They were called Marans after the French port of the same name.

  • By 1932 there were six recognized varieties of Marans – silver cuckoo, white/ black, black copper neck, ermine, golden cuckoo and red.


Skipping forward to post war France, the breed was in a shambles and was near to non-existent. The French Department of Agriculture rescued it from obscurity and began a breeding program. One of the goals of the program was to increase egg production, which it did. By 1952 Marans were producing around 200 eggs/year.

Appearance

The Golden Cuckoo color variation is one of these fabulous new Marans varieties, and it is truly striking.

 

Golden Cuckoo Marans Chickens have golden cuckooing and striping that varies in shade as it moves over the birds.

 

Hens have lighter golden heads and necks that change into a gray, silver cuckoo pattern with deep golden spangled throughout. The tails of the hens are dark with some light edging.

 

Roosters are very flashy with large combs and wattles and bright golden and copper striping from the head and over the shoulders, wings, and saddle. Tails are blue-gray.

 

Both sexes have pinkish horn-colored beaks and legs. Golden Cuckoo Marans Chickens have clean legs.

 

Male chicks are usually a bit lighter than females which makes early sexing easy.

Breed Standard

Carriage: Active, compact and graceful

Type: Body of medium length with good width and depth throughout; front broad, full and deep. Breast long, well fleshed, of good width, and without keeliness. Tail well carried, high.

Head: Refined, Beak deep and of medium size. Eyes large and prominent; pupils large and defined. Comb single, medium size, straight, erect, with five to seven serrations, and of fine texture. Face smooth. Wattles of medium size and fine texture.

Neck: Of medium length and not to profusely feathered.

Legs and feet: Legs of medium length, wide apart, and good quality bone. Thighs well fleshed, but not heavy in bone. Shanks clean and unfeathered. Toes, four, well spread and straight.

Plumage: Fairly tight and of silky texture generally..

Handling: Firm, as befits a table bird. Flesh white, and skin of fine texture.

Male Plumage: Hackles bluish-grey with golden and black bands, neck paler than saddle. Breast bluish-grey with black bands, pale golden shading on upper part. Thighs and fluff light bluish-grey with medium black banding. Back, shoulders and wing bows bluish-grey with rich bright golden and black bands. Wing bars bluish-grey with black bands, golden fringe permissible. Wings, primaries dark blue-grey, lightly banded, secondaries dark blue-grey, lightly banded, with slight golden fringe. Tail dark blue-grey banded with black, coverts blue-grey banded with black. General cuckoo markings.

Female Plumage: Hackle medium bluish-grey with golden and black bands. Breast dark bluish-grey with black bands, pale golden shading on upper parts. Remainder dark bluish-grey with dark black bands. Cuckoo markings.

Temperament and Disposition

Marans are said to be quiet and gentle although the roosters can have a tendency to be confrontational with other roosters. This fits with the history of gamecock breeding and is to be expected to a certain degree, although there are fairly docile roosters to be had.

The hens are generally docile but this can vary from bird to bird, they aren’t known for being a ‘cuddly’ bird.

They are an active bird that enjoys foraging and free ranging, but will tolerate confinement fairly well. They are also quite winter hardy, so suitable for the Northern climates given adequate housing and shelter.

Egg Laying

All Marans birds lay a dark brown egg.

The fewer eggs a hen lays, the darker the color. If your hen is a good layer you will not get the darkest color on the eggs. The pigment overlay of the egg is a finite source, so once the ‘ink’ starts to get low, the color gets lighter. 

Some eggs will also have the darker colored speckles – much as Welsummer eggs do.

Egg color can also be cyclical – at the beginning of the laying season you will get very dark eggs but by the end, the color will have lightened considerably.

On average a hen will give you around 3 eggs/week, which works out to around 150-200 eggs/year. This means that the Maran is an average layer in quantity, but the quality of the egg is said to be unsurpassed.

The hens’ are said to good setters and mothers but not overly broody.