Marans Chicken: The Chocolate Egg Layer

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The Marans is a French breed of chickens that lay beautiful dark brown eggs. They’re a pretty large breed, which makes them excellent chickens to keep both for meat and eggs. Marans are very popular among chicken keepers worldwide due to their friendly nature and excellent egg-laying skills!

Let’s have a closer look at these chocolate egg layers.

  • Marans hens lay up to 200 eggs per year
  • Crossbreed of a local French chicken with Croad Langshans
  • They are beginner-friendly and easy to take care of
  • Loved because of their beautiful dark brown eggs
  • Friendly and intelligent
Eggs200 eggs per year
Egg ColorDark brown
Egg SizeLarge
Weight5.5 – 8.5 lbs
HardinessCold and warm
TemperamentFriendly, can be flighty


Marans chickens are rather large chickens. They’re a dual-purpose breed that is kept both for eggs and meat and heavier than pure egg layers like ISA browns or white leghorns.

A hen weighs around 5,5 pounds (2.5 kg), and roosters weigh approximately 8,5 pounds (4 kg). They also come in a Bantam variety, where the hen weighs around 1 pound (450 g) and the rooster 1.2 pounds (550 g).

The French Marans are a breed that has lightly feathered feet, whereas English Marans don’t have fluffy feet. The feathers appear primarily outside of the shank and on the outer toes. There should not be feathering on the middle toes.

a close up of a marans hen

Ten colors are listed in the French Breed Standard: silver cuckoo, golden cuckoo, black, white, wheaten, copper-black, silver-black, copper-blue, black-tailed buff, and Columbian. The most popular varieties in the US are the copper-black and cuckoo Marans.

Many hatcheries are currently creating hybrid Marans types; the most known are the Midnight Majesty Marans, Mystic Marans, and Rustic Rambler.

Marans have remarkable orange eyes and a larger single comb. Their wattles are medium in size, and the earlobes are bright red. The relatively larger comb makes them prone to frostbite.


Marans are very friendly and calm birds, but that does not mean they’re pet chickens that can easily be picked up and held. They’re not aggressive, which makes them family-friendly chickens and suitable if you have small children.

They love people and also get along peacefully with all the flock members. As Marans are pretty hardy animals, they’re beginner-friendly and low in maintenance.

Like all roos, Marans roosters can be feisty, but they don’t tend to be more aggressive or territorial than any other breed. Showing aggressive or bold behavior is typical for young roosters, as they can be horrifically hormonal at that age.

But Marans are intelligent animals, so overly pushy roosters can be trained with treats to unlearn any unwanted behavior. Marans roos tend to be very protective towards their hens, making them an excellent addition to the flock.

Marans chickens are quiet birds. That being said, all chickens tend to be a bit noisy when laying an egg or just to cackle while scratching their feet in the dirt, and Marans are no exception to that. But overall, they’re relatively quiet chickens.

Free-ranging skills

One important thing to remember when owning a Marans is they’re pretty flighty. This means you’ll have to install a high enough fence so they won’t jump or flap over it.

Provide a minimum of 6 feet of fencing; you can expand to 8 feet if your Marans are eager to escape. But with a ‘frequent flyer’ on your hands, it’s easier to cover the chicken run with netting instead of installing a higher fence.

Next to properly securing the run, it is a solution to free-range your Marans chickens. They’ll love it. Marans are curious birds that love to wander off in your backyard and your neighbor’s if they have the chance.

Therefore, keeping Marans isn’t the best idea if you live in an area with many predators on the lookout.

Egg Production

Next to their friendly personalities, the main reason for keeping Marans is their beautiful dark brown eggs. Most eggs are situated on the darker side of brown, but it’s exceptional for Marans to lay really dark brown eggs as you see on Instagram posts.

Don’t be disappointed if your Marans lays normal dark eggs instead of incredible dark eggs; that’s the color they usually lay.

Marans are good egg layers and lay up to 200 eggs annually. The eggs are relatively large in size and, of course, have a deep chocolate brown color. Marans are a cold hardy breed, but they tend to stop laying in the winter months and resume their egg production when days get longer and warmer.

Marans hens tend to go broody easily, although it depends from bird to bird. , This can be handy if you want to hatch eggs.


The Marans originates from the town of Marans, France. That’s why you always use the name Marans in the plural and write it with a capital ‘M’ because of the town’s name. So never say ‘one Maran, two Marans’, but ‘one Marans, two Marans’.

By crossbreeding a local chicken with Croad Langshans, they improved the breed for meat and egg production. But if you’re looking for an excellent meat bird, there are better options than a Marans like a Brahma, Malines or Orpington.

two dark brown eggs of the marans chicken


Marans are a French chicken breed, beginner-friendly, hardy and easy-to-keep birds. They’re known for their beautiful chocolate brown eggs, but not all Marans lay the real dark brown eggs you see in photos. Most Marans eggs are darker brown, but not incredibly dark.

They’re good layers and lay around 200 eggs annually but stop their egg production in the winter. They’re friendly chickens and get along quickly with other flock members but tend to be somewhat flighty. This makes them excellent free-ranging chickens but less attractive if you don’t have enough space in your backyard.

If you want to learn more about chicken breeds that lay colored eggs, check out our article ‘10 Popular Chickens With Colored Eggs‘. Or go to our listicle breed summary on ‘The Classroom‘, or, if you’re unsure where to start, take a look at our ‘Chicken Breeds: Ultimate Beginners Guide‘.

Related Questions

What is a Marans chicken?

A Marans is a French dual-purpose chicken breed, created by crossbreeding a local chicken with a Croad Langshan. They are popular because of their beautiful dark-colored eggs, looking like chocolate eggs.

What color eggs do Marans hens lay?

Marans lay large dark brown eggs. Most Marans won’t lay the incredible dark brown color you see on social media. The color is mostly to be found somewhere between brown and dark brown.

How many eggs do Marans chickens lay?

Marans chickens are good egg layers and lay around 200 eggs per year. They usually stop laying during winter.

Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.