French Marans Club Australia


             OF THE    MARANS BREED

                                                Characteristics of eggs  

     The eggs should be large, ranging in size from about 65 grams for a pullet to 70-80 grams for an adult hen. They should consistantly have a deep dark red-brown coloured shell (minimum of 4 on the colour chart). A good time to judge the colour of a pullet's egg is when the twentieth egg is laid. If by this time no egg of acceptable colour has been produced the bird should not be considered as having met the Marans'  Standard & should be culled. Any bird that meets the minimum egg colour, at least once is considered to have meet the Standard, but would not be recommended as a breeding bird. Eggs used for hatching must meet the size & colour specified above.

Leg ring diameter

Cock: 22 millimetres,     Hen: 20 millimetres


Cock: 3.5 to 4 kilos                 Hen: 2.6 to 3.2 kilos

Cockerel: 3.0 to 3.5 kilos     Pullet: 2.2 to 2.6 kilos

                         COLOUR RANGE OF THE MARANS EGGS                                  

        The MCF colours scale for the Marans eggs, numbered from 1 to 9, starts from a white egg (Leghorn for instance) ranging to highly-coloured, extra-red eggs produced by exceptional pure-bred Marans.

                                               The Official Colours Scale from 1 to 9:


                       1 - White egg: example: Leghorn, Campine, Ancona. Unacceptable.

                   2 - Tinted egg: Wrongly called “brown” in most of the foreign breeds standards. Example: Rhode Island Red. Unacceptable.

                   3- Red egg: it’s could be a Marans egg but it’s an unsatisfactory colour. The colour is insufficient when it’s the darkest egg laid. Unsatisfactory.

                   4- the real extra-red Marans egg

The colour of the egg is not better than the egg n° 3, but the pigments quantity is more significant, its stained repartition is uneven, and that’s why the extra-red egg is more valuable. A little brightness should always highlight this egg. The egg n°4, placed against a natural red earthenware background, has to be a bit darker.

Note: the same hen can lay an egg that is slightly darker with an even colour in the beginning of the laying (first 20 eggs).

                       5 to 7 – Extra dark russet-red eggs (chocolate) you may notice the spherical, globular shape, which is typical to the Marans egg, and the brightness is always an extra property for this egg. Unfortunately, hens laying eggs 7, 8 and 9 often do not meet the Standard for appearance: they maybe light or skimpy subjects, have squirrel tails, impure feathers and colours, etc… The selection of the Marans is very hard work, and a long exacting task.

                      8 and 9 – Exceptional eggs or rather accidental: the colour is close to that of an unalloyed pigment. Once again, you may notice that such eggs are obtained in the beginning of the lay. The fact that the shell pigments tones down in the middle of the laying period is normal. The best shell colours stabilize around 6 and 7. A good stock can produce a proportion of eggs 5 and 6. Drastic selection must be done years after years to maintain a constant colour.

You can evaluate the quality of a laying hen according to the colour of the eggs at the beginning of the lay, after the first 20 eggs, and the regularity of the colour during the greater part of the season.


A well built bird of average size. Plumage held close to the body. Giving an impression of strength without looking heavy and awkward. The best eggs must be very big and a dark red-brown colour.

                                             General appearance

The Cock

Body: strong, fairly long and wide especially near the shoulders, which are held high.


On the whole, the body, of the cock and the hen, must always show itself as being rather powerful. At the same time, this concept in the Marans, covers several desired characteristics that should be met:

  • - a broad, rather prominent chest, neither flat nor shallow
  • - a full abdomen
  • - medium height on the legs
  • - a good width in the shoulders, neither skimpy nor narrow
  • - a long neck, rather strong to the head
  • - robust thighs
  • - a strong base to the tail
  • - a rather long back, indicating mass
The plumage, which is never to be loose or fluffy, is rather tight in the Marans, making it impossible to give an impression of undesirable heaviness, when selecting for the ideal type. On the whole, these characteristics simply give the appearance of a rustic, [if !mso]>

solid farm hen. The slightly inclined back gives, the ideal type, a minimum length to the shape of the body that overall must fit into a rectangular shape. In the cock, the back is a slightly flat, slightly long, and a little sloped to the rear. The hens, however, have a more horizontal back, than that of the cocks, but should never be too short.

The drawings shown here make it possible to visualize these various elements:

Shank feathering : As a chick

As an adult

The presence of the feathered legs trait is crucial in the Marans.  It constitutes one of the essential marks of the breed.

This characteristic was introduced into the Marans through crossings with Asian breeds of the Langshan type.  It is also present in many breeds, but it is, expressed in different ways according to the type and the combination of modifying genes present in the genotype considered. In regards to Marans, only the lateral sides of the shanks as well as the two toes on the lateral portion of the feet are feathered, and that always in a reasonable proportion.  Indeed, from the point of view of its extent, sparse feathering is desired. When it is too invasive, especially in the presence of vulture hocks, it betrays a return of traits from the original crossings with the Brahma. Which is an unwanted characteristic in the Marans.

In any event, these traits of feathered shanks and lateral toes constitute a rather easily selected characteristic in the Marans. When birds show a clear absence of any feathering on the shanks, they must be eliminated from a breeding programme 

because they can engender the loss of the obligatory dominant shank-feathering gene.

Showing of such individuals as English Marans does not overcome the problem. The true Marans is the original Marans, integrating all the original features, “feathered shanks” included.

Neck: long, fairly strong, tending to curve in on top towards the skull; the hackles are made of many long and abundant feathers covering the shoulders well

Back: long, flat, slightly concave towards the rear

Saddle: large, slightly raised but not rounded, covered with many lancets

Breast: strong and large

Abdomen: well developed

Wings: short, kept close to the body

Tail: strong at its base, quite short, fairly up without going over 45 °

                  THE SHAPE OF THE TAIL

A good Marans (cocks and hens) should always have a short tail, tilted 45° to a horizontal, but still acceptable to a 60° maximum. It is the 45° slope, which is called for in the Standard. Beyond 60°, the tail appears much too vertical, and the back is very

often too short, and the bird then lacks the minimum mass necessary for a good Marans.

To describe good tails in the Marans it is advisable to join together two essential characteristics, which are:

-         Main tail feathers tighter and shorter than average.

-         Sickles shorter than average.

With respect to the hens, the tail is broad at the base (sitting naturally well with a full body), but it must be seen to be rather short and fine having tight, not open feathering. Presence of a "Fan tail " is a serious defect.

Head: average size, slightly flat and long.

              THE SHAPE OF THE BEAK

The beak also presents a typified form that tends to point toward the ancestral Game breeds. The beaks must be, as indicated in the Standard, strong and slightly hooked,

i.e. having a cambered or higher arched mandible giving them the required impression of power and combativeness which is typical among the true Games

Comb: single, of an average size, with a fairly rough texture. Sharp edges. The lobes do not touching the nape

Wattles: average size, red with a fine texture

Ear-lobes: average size, red and long

The presence of off-white earlobes is a defect, a sign of genetic impurity. This may result by improper selection, or atavistic expression of the recessive factors for “white earlobes”.

It is advisable to note here that the colour of the earlobes, red as well as white, should be evaluated only when the subjects reach adulthood.

The genetic factors responsible for the white or red colour of the earlobes are due to a whole complex of associated genes, which are to date unidentified.

Marans with white earlobes, or more simply off-white, are of course not accepted as Standard. They should have only red earlobes without defect. It should be noted that that red ear lobes resulted from the contributions of the Asian breeds which were imported at the end of the 19th century, whereas the majority of breeds with white earlobes are descended essentially from the very old European and Mediterranean breeds.

Face: red coloured with or without down

Eyes: bright, with an orangey-red iris

Beak :  Quite strong, slightly hooked and horn-coloured.

Shanks: average size, with some feathers; white or lightly pink coloured for all the varieties except for the BLACK, BROWN-RED and BIRCHEN Marans where grey or dark

grey is permitted for both sexes. Four long and well separated toes with the outer one sparsely feathered. The claws are white or horn- coloured


It is rather important to maintain the stocks of Marans with an average height rather than a tall type, which is due in particular to the presence of shanks that are too long.
Shanks that are too long can cause other serious defects that maybe linked to them,
                       Bow legs
                       Knock knees
                       Legs too close together

The length of the shanks required in the Standard is below the average of most breeds making it possible to reinforce the impression of strength and rusticity in the silhouette of the ideal Marans.
In addition, this desired conformation of the shanks goes hand in hand with the position of the legs, which should be quite widely set and well placed below a deep and broad body.

The Hen

Smaller than the cock, with a large, strong and more rounded body, a straighter back line, a well developed abdomen, and a fine, straight comb.


Although strong and robust, the body of the Marans should never present a cubic conformation with the very short back, which correlates with this shape.
The shape of the body should not be shown reversed or plunging in front.
The chest should not fall or drop down. The flat, tilted line of the back should not form the curved “boat” style sought in other breeds such as the Barnevelder.

The geometrical shape of the body should not fit in a triangle whose peak is positioned at the level of the shanks. Indeed, this shape is characteristic of  “shallow,” birds i.e. that it shows a clear insufficiency in the volume of the abdomen, and the chest.

Moreover, this triangular shape is often related to the presence of a short back, even if it is not “boat” shaped. The appearance of the Marans should not be high on the legs, which can thus give to the whole an undesirable image of a fragile skeleton. The tail of the cocks should never show the presence of large, curved, flowing sickles as are required by the Leghorn. Tails beyond 60° are too straight, ( vertical tails), are often too long and are incorrect.  “Squirrel” tails (more than 90°), constitute an intolerable and very serious defect. They seem moreover often correlated with insufficient shape or robustness of the body, and sometimes associated with a plunging body or a very short back.


Lack of size; white or yellow ear-lobes; light-coloured or black eyes; black or yellow shanks, shanks without feathers, triangular body frame; horizontal or forward leaning body,tail angle above 60º .

            The Marans Bantam


Same Standards, and varieties as for standard fowl.

Half the size of the larger ones.

Rings’ diameter: - cock: 16 millimetres; hen: 14 millimetres

Eggs to be hatched: minimum 40 grams, dark red-brown shell.

Cock: 1.1 kilo

Hen: 0.9 kilo

In France, the current Marans breed standard was corrected in 1983 by the MCF, to finally allow standardisation description of the different varieties, in line with those of the Standard Commission and the SCAF.

However, it is interesting to notice that the official descriptions did not retain excessive details, which can vary from a bird to another. Thus, judges can work, and breeders can select, their breeding stock more easily.

So, even if descriptions of the varieties are quite detailed, they retain enough tolerance to respect nature and its variability.

The e+ Duckwing Golden-salmons can vary being lighter or darker, the hackles can be more or less red, black-laced or plain, and those differences do not mean that they don’t genetically belong to the same variety.

The same is also valid for the Brown-Red variety, and more or less for the Wheaten, & Black-tailed Buff varieties.

Nature imposes some variability even in pure breed animals and this has to be taken into account and must not be considered as a genetic abnormality.

So, the Marans breeds’ Standard preserves in this way a relative adaptability, which is necessary to avoid judgemental errors, and to revive the Marans poultry.

                                                    The varieties


Also called Black Copper-neck, Black Copper, Copper Black & Red Birchen


Black-breasted red, with red spotting on breast, and a black wing triangle


Black with red hackle markings but without the typical Birchen breast lacing.


Also called Blue Copper-neck, Blue Copper, Copper Blue & the Blue Red Birchen


Blue-breasted red, with red spotting on breast, and a blue wing triangle



Blue with red hackle markings but without the typical Birchen breast lacing.



The Cuckoo cocks plumage is much lighter than that of the hen.


Fairly dark Cuckoo plumage, with a rough pattern and irregular lines; lighter hackles; dark or lightly grey under colour.


Plumage colour, as for the Crele Old English Game, i.e. as for the Silver Cuckoo except all white areas are red/gold, the Cuckoo pattern even more indistinct on the hen.


 Cock and hen

Pure white plumage, but the cock’s hackles, lancets and shoulders’ feathers may show some straw colour highlights



Golden-red to brown-red head, lancets and hackles, red wing covers; the large wings covers form a black wing bar. The black primaries are edged with brown. The secondaries have internal black edges and external brown edges, which forms a brown wing bay. The upper breast is black and its lowest parts blackish.


Head and hackles are golden-red to brown; some black spots are permissible. Back, rump and wing covers are wheaten coloured. The feathers fluff is light, and the edges may be lighter. The tail feathers and the flights are black, edged with brown. The breast and the abdomen are cream. The under colour is whitish.


also called Light or Ermine 

White plumage, black laced hackles; flight and main tail feathers are black, blended with white, i.e. as for the Light Sussex.


The whole plumage is black, dusky shanks permitted in both sexes

                                                Black-Tailed Buff


The whole plumage is bright golden reddish colour. The head and the hackles are bright golden-fawn coloured as are the lancets, which are slightly darker.  Shoulders and wings’ covers are darker, and mahogany-red deeply coloured.

Primary flights; black with external half edged with brown.

Secondary flights; brown with internal half edged with black.

Tail black, with some brown edges.

Under colour “salmon/buff”. White-pink shanks.

Black spots at the hackles’ extremity are a fault.


The whole plumage is fawn/buff coloured and plain. The slight difference between the hackles and the shoulders is less contrasted than in the cock.

The head and hackles are golden-fawn coloured with black lacing on the bottom feathers, which are in contrast to the clear coloured hackle of the cock.

Black tail with main tail feathers edged with brown.

Flights, shank, and under colour as same as the cock.

The colour of the Black-tailed Buff is as that of the New Hampshire.


(Silver Black)

In all respects identical to the Brown Red except they are Silver where the former is copper coloured, dusky shanks permitted in both sexes.

There is no tolerance for gold tints; adornment should be pure silver white.


Plumage, black dressed with silver, chest black or slightly marked with white, black wingbow and wing triangle


Hen: Plumage black neck hackle with silver lacings, chest black or slightly marked with white, but not laced.

                                                                Other colours

This group are recognised in Belgium, and are currently under assessment by France Standards Committee.

The Blue-Red (Blue Copper) is currently pending recognition.

Blue, Blue Copper, Blue Silver, Blue Wheaten, Blue–tailed Buff in all respects identical to the Black, Brown Red, Birchen, Wheaten, and Black–tailed Buff except they are Blue where the former were Black. Dusky shanks permitted in both sexes of Blue, Blue Copper, and Blue Silver varieties.

Splash, Splash Copper, Splash Silver, Splash Wheaten, White–tailed Buff in all respects identical to the Black, Brown Red, Birchen, Wheaten, and Black–tailed Buff except they are Splash where the former were Black.

Golden Salmon, plumage colour as for the wild type Black-breasted Red/Partridge.

Silver Salmon, plumage colour as for the Silver Duckwing.


  The Australian Standards Committee advised it required a points score to be submitted, this wish has

  been complied with as follows

  Type,carriage & table qualities                  40

  Size                                                            30

  Colour & markings                                      10

  Head                                                             5

  Condition                                                     10

  Legs & feet                                                    5




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