The road to Marans eggs has been a LONG ONE. Three years for crying out loud!
So how did I become so obsessed with raising Marans? Probably too much time sitting at the computer in the winter.
Dangerous. Very, very dangerous.
But much safer than looking at horses!
Marans are a breed that originated in France and are noted for their extremely dark eggs. They are the preferred egg by many fine chefs including James Beard.
Ian Fleming, the creator of the James Bond novels, made Marans eggs Agent 007′s favorite.
I came back from my working weekend at The Chicago Botanic Garden to a whopping 22 eggs, five from my small flock of Marans – my very first!
The Marans egg is on the left, Guinea on right and Americauna on top.
I started with chickens about 3 years ago. You just sit at your computer and enter each chick into your shopping bag.
Wala! A few weeks later a chirping box arrives at the post office.
This causes much interest on the part of all members of the household.
The worst part is keeping them in the kitchen until they are old enough and the weather is warm enough. After that it’s waiting, waiting, waiting until they are mature enough to lay.
I’ve used a horse trough and a dog crate to raise them. Trouble with the dog crate is the little devils manage to escape it now and then.
Then they can’t get back in!
My young friends Kayla, Sterling, Jaden and Josie, came over almost daily to cuddle and play with them.
They also give them their names: Angel (Kayla’s favorite), Red, Popcorn, Bananas (the biggest), Stripe, Dusk, Smoke, Darth Vadar.
My first Marans came from a breeder I found near Carbondale. Natalie accompanied me to their farm and sat with baby chicks on her lap all the way back home. Alas they did not make adulthood. My second attempt was an order of 10 chicks from a private breeder in Montana, however she would only ship straight run. Seven made it to adulthood at which time they all began to CROW.
So, they became coq a vin. Delish!
Okay, so it’s NOT coq a vin, but it IS delish!
Then the catalogs started coming and I discovered that Meyer Hatchery offered them — pullets, too! I now have 2 flocks of chickens. The older hens, an Araucana rooster and Guineas are inside the barn.
I keep my new flock, Blue Copper Marans and Golden Buffs, outside in a small, very cute little coop I got from my chicken friend Kathy when her flock – in Naperville – outgrew it.
That’s Michael helping me set it up.
It has all sorts of cubbies and hatches that allow you access for cleaning or gathering eggs.
Just cute, cute, cute!
It’s adjacent to a raspberry patch and a jumbled mess of vegetation that you might call a “garden”.
Chickens JUST LOVE the garden! The eggplant has holes pecked in it and the only tomatoes that you can see are green ones. They do pick the seeds out of them though.
Okay, scratch that, the eggplant is now GONE!
Do Marans eggs really taste better? Not sure I have that refined palate to tell but, I am told, taste is mostly in what they are fed, greens producing a darker, richer yolk.
I cracked my first Marans egg – a double!
For comparison, a Guinea egg is on the right.
My very protective rooster.
My entertainment — watching chickens. Better than tropical fish, TV or Netflix!