The Marans, French: Poule de Marans, is a breed of chicken from the port town of Marans, in the département of Charente-Maritime, in the Poitou-Charentes region of western France. It was created with the local feral chickens descended from fighting game chickens carried from Indonesia and India. Those original Marandaise fowl were “improved” for the table through recombination with imported Croad Langshans. A favourite at poultry shows, it is a dual purpose fowl known both for its extremely dark eggs and fine meat qualities.
The Marans originated in Marans, France, and were imported into the United Kingdom in the 1930s.
There are 9 recognized colours in the French Standard: Cuckoo, Golden Cuckoo, Black, Birchen, Black Copper, Wheaten, Black-tailed Buff, White and Columbian. Black Copper (black with copper feathers on the neck) and Cuckoo (barred feathers, giving a black and white speckled appearance) are the most common of these. Other colors not officially recognized (such as Blue Copper, Blue, and Splash) also exist.
They should have orange eyes. The shanks are usually slate or pink, the soles of the feet should always be white as Marans have white skin, not yellow. Though the original Marans could also be feather legged birds, British breeders preferred the clean legged version, and thus feathered legged Marans are now mainly found in France. The Australian Poultry Standard recognises both feathered and clean-legged and the Marans Club of America only recognizes feather-legged birds.
Marans are generally quiet and docile; but they are quite active, taking well to free ranging in rough terrain and are also tough and disease-resistant. Their gentle temperaments and quiet demeanor makes them ideal for suburban backyard chicken keepers, as well as any assorted farm flock as they rarely bully smaller breeds.
Marans lay around 150-200 dark brown eggs each year depending on the variety. Marans are historically a dual-purpose bird, prized not only for their dark eggs but for their table qualities as well.