Monday, July 18, 2005
Marans start laying
I've been expecting our Rhode Island Reds to start laying any day now. But the Cuckoo Marans, at least one of them, beat them to it.
We got one small, rather scruffy looking egg on Saturday, then this still small, but beautifully smooth and glossy one on Sunday. (Shown here with eggs from a Dominique and a Leghorn for comparison.)
From what I'd read online, Marans don't normally lay until 6 - 8 months old, so this was a happy surprise.
The first eggs from early layers are usually small. My mother-in-law calls them "pullet eggs".
Marans eggs are dark. Eggs from hatchery chickens will probably not get as dark as some of the lovely pictures you can find on the internet (here in English and here in French), but they're still considerably darker than other brown eggs.
Marans are a quiet chicken, not flighty like Leghorns. Unfortunately this seems to mean that they get eaten by predators more often. Out of the ten Marans we ordered in the spring, we've only got five left.
Other people have told me that non-white egg layers follow a pattern: The eggs are not their darkest for the first few months. Then they develop more color, and are as dark as they'll ever be. The following year(s) the eggs are lighter in color.
I've noticed that it does seem to be true with the breeds we've raised.
Note: Marans is both the singular and the plural form of this breed's name.