Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cuckoo Marans

Bred in the 1800's in the French town of Maran, a beautiful chicken has made its way to the United States. There are chicken shows all over the world, and the Cuckoo Maran was first part of a chicken exhibition in France and the United Kingdom before World War II. They are a medium sized chicken, always considered a dual breed bird, and have a similar appearance to a Plymouth Barred Rock. They are a single comb, white shanked, black with white speckles bird. And they are known the world over for the deep brown color eggs they lay.

When you get a dozen eggs from Sunnyside Farm they have a variety of colors to them. White, many shades of brown, blue, green..and in the winter this year we expect to have some of the very dark brown, like mahogany, eggs from the Cuckoo Marans chicks we received about 6 weeks ago. As of today they are out on in a field pen, no longer in the brooder under lights. It is not yet possible to introduce them into the large laying flock, as the "pecking order" would have to be established, and these little girls would really be at the bottom. So they will be in a small pen until they are larger, until they look like they have outgrown this pen. That is when they can blend into the general population of laying hens and thrive.

Our hens keep their entire beak. We start them as day old chicks..they come to us from hatcheries via the U.S. Mail..and are fully intact with their beaks. And they stay that way, the better to clip off a full blade of grass for consumption. The moment they hit grass the birds begin scratching and clipping off blades of grass longer than they are tall..

Today they look lost in this small, moveable pen. By the end of summer they will look just right in it, and by the late fall they will look squished. 18 are in there now, we look forward to their eggs.

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