Cuckoo maran chickens are a good dual purpose breed. This means that they are raised for both the chocolate eggs they lay and meat.
They are among the few chicken breeds that will handle confinement well. These chatty critters are an excellent addition in the backyard.
So, what is the miracle behind these hardy chickens? In this article, I am going to take you through their history, features, temperament and much more.
This detailed information will help you as a chicken enthusiast know whether this is the right breed for you or not.
History of the cuckoo maran
The cuckoo marans chicken breed traces their ancestry origin in the port town of Marans, France. French farmers needed a breed that could offer both meat and eggs.
At the time, there was a growing demand for chicken and other poultry products. This demand was triggered by the rapid growing population which needed to be well fed.
To arrive at the marans chickens, in 1800s, local game birds were bred with other breeds. Although the actual birds that were used to create the Cuckoo marans remain unknown, Langshans and feverolles are said to have contributed their genes.
In some strains, the legs are feathered while in some they are not. The leg feathered strain is known as French marans or just Marans.
There are a number of color varieties of this chicken breed. They include: Columbian, White, Wheaten, Copper Blue, Birchen, Brown Red, Black tailed Buff, Golden Cuckoo, Silver Cuckoo, Black and Dark Cuckoo.
Cuckoo maran was officially recognized by the APA in 2011.
Features of Cuckoo maran chicken
There are bantam marans where the cocks weigh just 500g while the ladies weigh 400g.
Cuckoo maran chickens can be easily confused with the Plymouth Barred Rock. Its dark feathers are barred with irregular dark and light slate colored bars.
Combs, earlobes and wattles are red in color. The comb is single, upright and has well-marked points on it.
The tails are held at an angle and the back has a visible U-shape between the tail and neck. The legs are slate or pink so is the skin color.
Cuckoo maran chickens do not have feathered legs. On each clean foot there are four well-spaced toes with short claws.
The beak is short, strong, slightly curved and of horn color. Eyes are orange in color though sometimes the color may vary.
These birds have a compact plumage like that of game birds. Their wings are closely packed on the body.
Temperament and Hardiness
Cuckoo maran chickens are sweet, calm and chatty. The hens are some of the friendliest chicken breeds accepting to be held and sat on the lap.
Maran roosters have a game bird temperament and are at times aggressive towards other roosters. They are not the type you would want to get close to kids because they can peck or bully them.
The girls are very fond of treats. They will always follow you around as you go on with your daily chores. Toss those celery chops, whole corn or feed them from your hand if you want them to easily bond with you.
Additionally, these feathered friends will appreciate if you brand them cute chicken names. Learn to call your girls by the name and they will get used with time.
These chooks are among the cold tolerant chickens. They do well in areas where temperatures plummet. Additionally, they will adapt and do well in hot climate zones as long as there are enough shaded areas and plenty of cold drinking water.
They are fine when raised in confinement and do equally fine on free range. Letting these birds roam on the backyard will help lower the cost of feeds.
Out on their own they will supplement their diet with insects, grubs and small weeds. But have a rooster to guard them against chicken predators like possums, hawks and chicken snakes.
Egg laying and uses
Cuckoo maran hens are faithful layers of chocolate eggs with a rich dark brown color. Pullets are ready and sexually mature at the age of 5 to 6 months.
When they are about to lay, these teenage females will often be seen hanging near the nesting boxes. Some will mate with roosters in case they are together.
In a year, cuckoo marans hens will lay between 150-200 large eggs. The egg shell color is deep brown and sometimes may contain some speckles on it.
Under good management, 3 to 4 eggs can be laid in a week. Marans are very popular because the roosters are mated with Araucana hens to develop Olive egger chickens.
Fertile cuckoo maran eggs for sale can be bought from any tractor supply near you or from reputable breeders.
The Cuckoo maran hen is a good and faithful mom. She will easily get broody and hatch her young baby chicks very well. They are not afraid of parenting and will raise the chicks if you allow them.
Marans chicks for sale are available in Cackle hatchery in case you may need some. Here they will tell you the prices as well as make shipping arrangements for you.
Apart from keeping your egg tray full of brown eggs, these chickens are also excellent for meat. With an average rooster weighing 3.6kgs and hens 3.2kgs, a family of five will have enough meat for supper.
How long can a cuckoo maran chicken live?
Cuckoo marans chickens have a lifespan of 5 to 8 years. However, this period of time is not specified because they can live for long or less depending or the quality of care you give them.
Marans chickens raised as pets can live for more than 10 years. They receive the best care where they are well fed, treated and even put on chicken diapers so that they can live in their master’s house.
These chooks receive a first class treatment where they are even allowed to swim with their masters to cool their bodies and freshen up.
Maran roosters are likely not going to live for long especially if one is rowdy. These buddies are only raised for meat, breeding and a few for showing.
Noisy chickens are certainly going to be sold or culled because they are a nuisance to quiet loving neighbors.
Some will die right after hatching because of illnesses; mortality and predation while others may live longer eventually succumbing to old age.
Health Issues Facing Cuckoo maran chickens
Cuckoo marans chickens are hardy, healthy and strong birds. They easily do well in both hot and cold climates.
Their large single combs are prone to frostbites during winter. To keep these combs safe, you can apply Vaseline Jelly or confine these chooks indoors in a heated chicken coop.
You can also use a chicken coop heater to keep them warm. During the cold season, always make sure that the chicken bedding in the coop is dry and free from draft.
Another common threat that face these birds is infestations by internal parasites like gape and thread worms.
These parasites live, feed and multiply in the chickens bodies. Infested chickens are weak, malnourished and have poor yields.
If they are not treated on time, these worms may cause other health problems or kill them. Seek advice from a qualified bird vet on the best chicken wormer to administer.
Why choose cuckoo maran?
Cuckoo marans are strong, sturdy and healthy chickens. They will do well in confinement as well as well as on free range.
They will roam your backyard and supplement their diet with insects, tasty grubs and weeds. This will help bring down the cost of feeds these chickens will need.
These chickens are friendly, chatty and make good pets. They pose no threat to your kids and can be held on your lap or eat from your hand.
Be ready to have a friend to give company, love and affection as you go on with your daily chores. Nothing goes to waste if you have cuckoo maran chickens.
I cannot forget to mention about those fresh brown eggs they lay. They will make sure that your egg tray remains full and your kids have a reliable source of protein.
Extra birds can be culled and butchered to provide meat. So, you have every reason to place your order from the chicken hatchery and start raising marans.
The Cuckoo maran is a good breed to keep. They require a low maintenance because they can range and eat insects and weeds bringing down the cost of feeding them.
They are not noisy like the Speckled Hamburg’s making them an ideal breed to raise on an urban setting. Marans are not deterred by cold or hot weather; so, don’t worry about the climate of your area.
Do you have cuckoo maran chickens? Share your thoughts.
Sharing amounts to kindness!