What are Marans?

Marans are a French breed of bird, originating in Marans, a town on the Atlantic Coast of France near La Rochelle


What qualifies a bird to be a Marans?

The simplest answer to that question is that in order to qualify as a Marans, the hen must lay a #4 or darker chocolate brown egg for the duration of the laying season.


Is the egg a solid chocolate brown color?

The egg may be smooth, stippled, or even spotted, depending on how the layer of pigment is deposited as the egg moves through the oviduct of the hen.


Can my coop be built with chicken wire from the local hardware store?

Absolutely not!   What we all know of as chicken wire is fine for keeping chickens in, but useless in keeping predators out.   Raccoons especially, look at chicken wire and lick their chops!   Not only can they reach through the chicken wire and grab a chicken, but they can also chew or rip right though it, if they are determined enough.  A much better alternative is "hardware cloth".  Unfortunately, we learned this the hard way!


What can I do to keep the smell down in the coop?

Besides periodically cleaning out the mucky bedding, we sprinkle ditomaceous earth (commonly called DE) around the coop and run on a weekly basis.   This not only helps with the smell, but it also helps to keep down the bad creepy crawlies!   You can even add it to the chicken feed as a natural wormer.  It can be a little hard to come by in the stores, but there are plenty of websites that sell it and it is well worth the cost.