Monday, May 3, 2010

Marans, Chocolate Egg Layers

Since we’ve started with Chick Days again Zach has been researching rare and different types of chicken breeds. He found this beautiful breed called the Black Copper Maran We’ve read that some of these birds when raised to the peak of their breed can be sold for $150 a pair! That’s top dollar as far as chickens go. On Wednesday we met a wonderful man who raises all sorts of beautiful exotic fowl, along with some sort of African sheep that don’t grow wool, just hair. I thought they were goats. And he has two majestic Percheron horses. We found him online on our quest to find Black Copper Maran chicks. He incubates the eggs and sells the chicks, something Zach and I became very interested in. Hmmmm. Anyway, after visiting his beautiful farm, we came home with 10 Black Copper Marans. (We went for 3, but Zach fell in love, honestly it was Zach.) And he threw in an adult Kuckoo Maran, she’s 3. Both breeds of Maran chicken lay a deep chocolate brown egg. We are very excited to have the adult bird, as we won’t have to wait months to enjoy the dark brown eggs. He will be hatching Lavender Orphingtons in about a month, so hopefully I can pick up one or two of those. We gave 2 chicks to our dear friend Liz, who is also a chicken collector. We’ve been trading chicks back and forth so that we each get a good selection. We are interested to see if anyone gets a rooster, as some of the chicks are straight run. I’m sure we have at least one but we won’t be able to tell for about a month or two. Most chicks, pullet or cockerel, look identical until they’re about a month old. If we get a rooster we are planning on selling them to a good home.
Chicken terminology
straight run: most chicks cannot be sexed until they are about a month old. However you can raise a batch of chickens to be all one sex by keeping them at a certain temperature during the egg incubation. According to most hatcheries this process is about 97% accurate. A straight run is a batch of chicks that hasn’t been sexed.
pullet: a young female chicken who hasn’t laid her first egg yet
cockerel: a young male chicken who hasn’t come into reproductive maturity

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