The Black copper marans chickens are good dual purpose birds. They will make sure your egg tray is full of chocolate-colored eggs and your family has enough meat.
These chickens have amazing personalities and make good pets for your kids. However, the black copper marans roosters can turn to be rowdy especially when integrated with other rooster breeds.
Are you looking for a breed that will range and look for its own food on the backyard? This is the right one for you.
In this article, I am going to take you through the history, characteristics, temperament of black copper marans chickens and much more. This will help you know whether it is the right breed to keep or not.
Black copper marans history
The black copper marans chickens trace their ancestral origin in La Rochelle region of France. They were named after the port of Marans which was their main exodus point when they were being exported to the outside world.
They were known as swamp chickens because they came from the French lowlands an area that is a wetland.
Black copper marans are not the original birds and they have been developed through cross breeding just as it is for the other marans varieties.
Their original ancestors the Marandaise were popular because they could lay red brown eggs which were loved by many.
To develop the black copper marans chicken, the Marandaise fowls were crossed with local gamecocks that had been brought by sailors from India and other parts of Asia.
Gamecocks were in abundance because they were part of the merchandise bartered with food and other goods from mainland France.
The people of France wanted a bird that could lay as many brown eggs as possible pushing chicken hobbyists to kick off a breeding program.
Crossing a Marandaise fowl with Langshan chickens, gamecocks plus other birds led to the development of the modern day marans chickens.
Apart from the black copper marans, there are other marans recognized color varieties like: Blue, Silver, Cuckoo, White/Black, Golden cuckoo and Red.
There exists bantam black copper marans but they are scarce and only found with a few dedicated chicken breeders.
These chickens are recognized by both the American Poultry Association and the PCGB. They were listed on the APA on 2011 where only the clean legged variety is recognized.
Characteristics of Black copper marans
Black marans chickens are large and heavy fowls but cannot outweigh the Jersey giant chicken breed. A standard black copper marans rooster weighs 7-8lbs while a hen closely follows with 6.5lbs.
They have a large single comb with well-marked peaks on it. Combs, earlobes and wattles are all red in color.
The eyes should be orange bay while the beak is short, strong and slightly hooked at the tip and is of a horn color. However, in some strains it can be black.
Although in some strains the legs are feathered, the APA recognizes those that are clean legged. Shanks and feet should be slate or pink, soles and feet are white in color as is the bird’s skin.
As the name suggests, these chickens are black with an overlay of copper coloring on the plumage. Roosters are black- breasted red and have some spotting’s on the chest.
Their copper colored feathers on the hackles, necks and the back area are known as lancets. The shoulders are deep red, and there is a definite triangle on the wings.
Black copper marans hens are black with red hackle markings; very slight redbreast markings are acceptable.
Looking at these chickens, they form a V-triangle shape. They are strong, sturdy and robust chickens where their deep black feathers have a green iridescence in the sunlight.
Black copper marans temperament and hardiness
Black copper marans are outgoing birds that will do well when confined in deep litter coops or when allowed to free range on their own.
Letting these chickens go out to explore will give them an opportunity to utilize sunlight and mingle with other chicken breeds. Additionally, they will supplement their diets with insects and worms thus bringing down the cost of feeding them.
They prefer to roam on the backyard collecting seeds like whole corn and munching on weeds, tasty grubs and other insects. Marans will only return before dusk to roost waiting for a new day.
These chickens are friendly and love human attention much just like Welsummer chickens do. They will offer you company and give you affection as you go on with your daily chores.
The girls are chatty, cuddly and calm making good chicken pets to keep in your house. However, the roosters are hard to predict how they may act the next minute so do not trust them with your kids.
These chickens are the type that will eat from your hand and chat you back like they understand your language.
However, these chickens have a lot of variation in temperament and one bird might differ with the other. This is a result of multiple breeding trying to make improvements on certain features.
They are very hardy and do well in cold climates of North America. This makes them an ideal breed to keep as long as you will take care of their combs to prevent frostbites.
Also, make sure they have a heated chicken coop because it will keep chicken water from freezing as well as ensuring your girls stay warm.
Egg laying and Uses
Those brown eggs are a trade mark for these chickens. This is a trend they inherited from the Marandise fowls and they have carried this gene all along.
Black copper marans pullets normally start to lay at the age of 5-6months. In some cases, they will even take longer until they are 8 months old.
When they reach laying age, the girls will often stay near nesting boxes and if they are living together with roosters you will see them mate time to time.
Black copper marans are faithful layers of 2 to 3 large eggs per week translating this to about 200 eggs per year.
These eggs have a brown egg shell and can sometimes it can be reddish brown speckled or light brown. The inside egg is dominated by a white albumen and a single yellow egg yolk.
Many people believe that brown eggs are tastier something I tend not to agree with because I find all eggs the same as long as they are fresh.
If you want some black copper marans chicks, be ready to power on your egg incubator because the hens are not overly broody.
However, the few times they sett, they make good moms and raise their chicks very well.
Chicks and chickens for sale can be bought from dedicated black copper marans breeders, reputable hatcheries of from any tractor supply store near you.
When it comes to meat, these chickens are good at it. They are big enough to clean the feathers in a chicken plucker.
A mature black copper marans rooster weighs around 8lbs while a hen weighs 6.5lbs. With that kind of weight, these chickens are heavy enough to feed a large family.
A black copper marans chicken can live for 5-8 years. However, this period may lengthen to those chickens kept as pets depending on the quality of life they live and good care they get.
Most egg machines like Comets will not live for long because their bodies are exhausted for laying a large clutch of eggs.
Your chickens will live for long depending on the diet, environment, shelter and the quality of life they get from you.
If you live in an area where chicken predators are common, these birds are likely not going to live for long because they will always be hunted down for food especially if you raise them on the free range method.
Stress is another factor that greatly affects the lifespan of chickens. Constant chase by children, dogs and infestation be parasites and diseases will put your boys under great stress.
Integrating Black copper marans chickens
As I said earlier, the temperament of these chickens can vary from one bird to the other. It is good you know how an individual behaves before integrating.
A rowdy hen will bully, peck and feather pick calm chickens like the Red sexlinks using her assertiveness as a tool to dominate the pecking order.
However, most hens have proven to tolerate other chickens and can live together in harmony. For the roosters, the case is different; they will fight with other rooster breeds especially when it comes to mating with the hens.
Therefore, it is good not to put several roosters in a pen because they will fight to death. Maybe you are wondering how many roosters per hen? Well, a single cock can serve ten hens pretty well.
Black copper marans chickens are healthy, strong and sturdy birds. They are hardy and are not deterred by cold temperatures of the North America.
However, their large single combs will call for more care during winter; otherwise, they will suffer from frost bites and chill to death.
On hot summer months, these chickens will greatly suffer from heat stress mostly because their black coats will absorb more heat from the sun.
Make sure when such times come, their water troughs are full of clean drinking water to keep the bodies cool and hydrated. Enough shaded areas will also provide the much needed shade for a daytime shelter.
Internal parasites like the common gape and thread worms in chickens are a serious threat. They will make your hens weak and produce fewer eggs that are of a poor quality.
To control chicken worms, seek advice from a qualified bird vet on the right dewormer for chickens to administer.
Ecto-parsites like chicken lice and scaly mites are another threat for your boys. They will suck blood, damage the developing feathers and bruise the skin.
Infested chickens are weak, malnourished and have poor quality carcass once they are butchered. Small amounts of diatomaceous earth in the dirt bath will help.
Black copper marans are good chickens to keep in your backyard. Most hens will do well when integrated with other brown hen breeds.
They do well on free range as well as confinement. Free ranging will help lower the cost of feeding them because they will collect most of their own meals.
The roosters are predator savvy and will always be on the lookout incase chicken hawks, possums and wolves are around.
These chickens are heavy and do not get flightily when scared like California white chickens do. They are bad fence jumpers and rarely will you get them in your neighbor’s compound.