Black Copper Marans are becoming all the rage for folks seeking unique colored eggs. But do they really lay chocolate eggs? Follow me to the end of the rainbow to find out, plus a whole lot more!

I am one of those chicken lovers who not only loves to watch chickens of all colors roam my land but also loves to gather a whole rainbow assortment of eggs. So, naturally a Black Copper Maran, with all the talk of chocolate eggs, caught my attention. I will say I was a bit disappointed when I realized they were not milk chocolate Easter eggs! 😉

Balck Copper Maran Hen Close Up of Plumage and Eyes

Black Copper Maran History

“Parlez-vous français?” (Do you speak French?) No? Neither do I. But Black Copper Marans might. We can track their heritage back to the Marans and the La Rochelle areas of France. Ooo la la!

Apparently, these areas of France are a bit swampy geographically speaking, which is why this breed started out being called “swamp chickens.” Not something you really want to brag about, but we all have little things from our past that we don’t shout from the rooftops, now don’t we?

Don’t worry, they eventually got a new name – “Marandaise Fowl.” That’s an improvement from swamp chickens. This slightly newer model was created by crossing the swamp chickens with fighting game birds that sailors brought with them to France from India and Indonesia.

After that, the history is a bit foggy (or shall we say…swampy), but whatever breeders crossed them with worked a bit of the fight out of the game bird portion of this breed. Some believe that breeds like the Croad Langshan, Coucou de Malines, Faverolles, and Gatinasie. were used. But alas, we will likely never know for sure.

And we now have the brave…the beautiful…the useful…the French Black Copper Maran.

Black Copper Maran Appearance

“Belle!” (Beautiful in French) Absolutely beautiful is what they are! They have a body full of black feathers. Sometimes they have a lovely greenish shimmer to them, especially in the sunlight. They have a single comb and wattles that are red in color.

The feathers around the neck (otherwise known as hackles) are a delightful copper color. This is the color that really sets them apart.

Copper Maran roosters also have this copper splendor, but not only on the neck feathers! This exquisite copper color is also present in his saddle feathers (the long flowing feathers near the tail). It’s a sight to see this plumage throughout.

The females might be a bit jealous of their male counterparts, but so it is in the bird world.

Black Copper Maran Chocolate Eggs – Fact or Fiction?

I love, love, love gathering an array of eggs. I’m simply not satisfied with a basket full of all white, or all light brown, or even all dark eggs. I MUST have a huge variety of colors. And so, the Black Copper Maran shows up on my radar.

I’ve heard they have dark chocolate brown eggs. Hmmm…sounds enticing. But it also sounds far-fetched, and it is in reality. Yes, they can have dark brown eggs (and perhaps described as dark chocolate eggs). But they usually lay eggs from a light red shade all the way to the dark brown color they are known for.

The reality is that only the first few eggs laid in the season will (or CAN be) a darker brown color. With each egg they lay, the color will lighten up a bit. At the end of their laying season, they can be a lot lighter. And then the cycle will start all over again.

I have to admit, learning this reality of their egg color was not what I wanted to hear. However, they are still very pretty chickens with the potential to lay some pretty dark-colored eggs. So let’s not throw in the towel. Marans eggs are still good eggs regardless of their color.

If you do have hens that regularly lay the darkest eggs (the ones we are all wanting), they will also be the hens that lay the fewest eggs. This is because the eggs get lighter (as described above) with each egg laid. The more eggs laid, the lighter they will be. The fewer eggs laid, the darker they may be.

Just remember, if a gypsy shows up on your street selling Black Copper Marans, touting their abundance of dark chocolate colored eggs – beware! You’ve been warned. 😉

How Many Eggs Do These Beauties Lay?

Black Copper Marans lay up to 200 eggs a year. That’s not bad egg production. As we have already discussed, the color of the eggs will range from a light red shade all the way to a dark brown shade.

If you want to have the best eggs ever, then try Best Eggs Ever! It will change your egg lovin’ life!

Are Black Copper Marans Good To Eat?

Yes, Black Copper Marans are good to eat. They are considered to be a dual purpose breed. The males weigh about 8 lbs and the females weigh about 6 1/2 lbs.

Have you ever heard the saying “You are what you eat?” Well, there is a lot of truth to that. What we feed our animals is very important when you consider eating their eggs and their meat. Be sure to feed them high quality feed and good treats that support them nutritionally.

Are There Other Varieties of Marans?

Yes, there are. But the Black Copper Marans are the most popular. With 9 recognized colors in the French Maran category there are Birchen, White, Columbian, Wheaton, Black-tailed Buff, Cuckoo, Golden Cuckoo, Black, and (of course, Black Copper). There are other colors that are not official.

Marans can come in an adorable bantam size as well, but those are even rarer than the full-size versions.

This article is only highlighting the Black Copper variety. But a fun fact about Cuckoo Marans is that they look much like a Dominique or a Barred Rock.

Black Copper Maran Rooster Close Up of Plumage and Eyes

What Personality Type are Black Copper Marans?

Remember when I said the early version of this breed included fighting game birds? Well, that was mostly bred out of them as time went on. But, there is still some of that DNA present and it shows up a teeny tiny bit with temperament. It’s not that they aren’t friendly, but they also aren’t going to show up on the top 10 friendliest chicken breed list.

Black Copper Marans like to forage and roam. Free ranging is best suited for this breed. They can get a little irritable if they are cooped up, especially if they don’t have an adequate run.

On a super positive note, they are clean freaks. They have been known to avoid randomly pooping all over laying boxes and they don’t seem to sit in dirty places much either. This is a trait I wish all chickens had!

Is This Rare Breed Hard To Find?

This breed is considered to be a rare breed, and it can be a bit hard to find.

An import ban reduced the genetic diversity of the French Black Copper Marans and flocks of this chicken are therefore hard to find. Cackle Hatchery® carefully breeds this chicken to improve genetic diversity and advance the health of the chicken.

Cackle Hatchery

Hatcheries, like Cackle Hatchery, have limited quantities of this breed, so you might have to be patient if you so desire to order some.

Is the Black Copper Marans Chicken the Right Fit For You?

Black Copper Marans are beautiful birds. More importantly, they are hardy. They are also decent egg producers and can be used for meat. Not lap birds by any means, but still friendly and docile enough to enjoy.

If you are aiming for the possibility of dark chocolate brown eggs and like the other traits mentioned, then you might try adding this breed to your flock. But remember, you might have to be patient when ordering this rare breed.

Leah Betts

A happy wife, mother, teacher, writer, hobby farmer, lover of chickens, and contributor to Pampered Chicken Mama!

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  1. Can Copper Marans and Amauricanas be in the same coop without either harming the other?

    1. Yes, they should be able to. However, it fully depends on your individual chickens, their ages, and how they have been raised. Have they been handled a lot? Are you raising them together? There are many factors to consider.

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