Marans (the name is always spelled with the ‘s’ whether talking about a single bird or many birds) are fine dual-purpose chickens from France. Marans is a port town in France, and the breed originated from a now untraceable mix of chickens that were left in the town by seafarers in the 1800s. The birds were originally bred as fighting cocks, but some random combination of matings produced a bird that became popular for the barnyard. By the early 1920s the breed had been clearly established. From France the breed migrated to England and then in the past few decades to America. In 2011, black copper Marans were accepted into the breed standard by the American Poultry Association.
Although Marans are an excellent meat bird, their outstanding and unique attribute is the shell color of the plentiful eggs that they lay. Marans lay an egg that has a shell the color of dark chocolate; so dark that at times it borders on being black. And when cracked open, the yolk of free-range birds is bright orange, bursting with vitamins, protein and fats from its healthy lifestyle. While a typical store-bought egg has a yolk that is runny and flaccid, the free-range Marans produce yolks that have ‘muscle tone;’ little orange domes that jut skyward from the egg white. Marans have the reputation for laying the best-tasting chicken egg in the world. (Perhaps, for these reasons, the author Ian Fleming identified Marans eggs as those most preferred by James Bond.)
At Greenfire Farms, we are breeding three varieties of imported Marans: black copper, black birchen, and blue birchen. Prior to 2015, four bloodlines of black copper Marans had been imported into the United States over a period of decades. In 2015, we imported a fifth, new bloodline to address some of the deficiencies often seen in the American flocks. For example, black copper Marans hens should have deep copper color in their hackles, but often American hens had none or very little. The hens we imported carry rich copper coloring in their neck feathers and produce very dark brown eggs. Our black birchen Marans are known to reliably produce some of the darkest chocolate-colored eggs in this country, and Greenfire Farms has the only flock of blue birchen Marans directly imported from Europe. Blue birchen Marans follow typical blue genetics: they produce blue, black, or splash offspring. We expect to release our blue birchen Marans in 2016.
Greenfire Farms sells only unsexed day-old chicks of this breed. Each chick is $59. Because these are bred in very limited numbers, availability may vary. Shipping charges are a flat rate of $35 per chick box. Up to 20 chicks can be shipped in a box. All orders are subject to our Terms and Conditions. If you would like to order some chicks, please email: