Cuckoo Marans Egg

The Marans is a French breed known for its brown eggs. I’ve seen Marans eggs at poultry shows as dark as chocolate bars. I decided that such eggs would be pretty in my basket and so a couple of years ago, when I placed a chick order, I added a Marans to the list. They come in a number of feather variations. The Cuckoo Marans was available, so I got that. These birds are patterned rather like the Dominique. I named the chick Veronica. True to type, she is a friendly and docile bird.

copper marans


However, the truth is that her eggs have been a disappointment. Shell color is added at the end of the egg-making process. Imagine the egg passing through a car wash, and the dye is the rinse at the end. Sometimes your car isn’t as thoroughly cleaned off as you’d like. Sometimes the spray is uneven. It’s like that in the hen’s reproductive tract, too. (For more about how egg shell color is determined, read this post.) Veronica has always had a glitch in her color-making apparatus.

Veronica has laid pale brown eggs with freckles. She’s laid eggs the color of a brown paper bag. Most hens lay the same color egg day in and day out. Not Veronica. I know which one is hers because she is one of six hens in the Little Barn, and hers is clearly different that the others. Hers isn’t the blue egg laid by Owly or Beatrix, it’s not the white egg laid by Twiggy, and it’s not the smoothly beige eggs laid by the two Red Stars. Hers is the odd brown one. What a surprise, then, that the other day she laid a dark brown egg!

I’ve put it in this bowl so that you can see it in comparison to other eggs. The white one is from the Andalusian, Misty. The spotted one is from Jasper, the Welsummer. The light brown eggs are from Nancy Drew and Beulah. The dark egg – that’s Veronica’s!

brown eggs


It’s dappled instead of being uniformly brown. But that’s okay. Thanks, Veronica!


  1. Lovely! I guess her ink jets took awhile longer than average to reach standard performance levels. :-)

  2. We have a Golden Cuckoo Marans named Danger and she lays eggs like your Veronica – mostly speckled and occasionally paper bag brown. A friend has said the same about her cuckoo marans. I wonder if Black Copper Marans are the only breed of marans that lay the dark, chocolate eggs…

  3. One of my Magpies lays a plain egg, the other one lays a shiny brown egg with freckles, my Welsummers egg is dark brown with masse’s of even darker brown spots. They say variety is the spice of life !

    Logged on just in time to see you give everyone their treats, knew you were coming boys and girls got very excited and ran the same way :)

  4. My Splash maran lays a very similar egg. But it is never consistent. Every day is a surprise. I have had 2 almost chocolate eggs in 3 years. But I don’t mind. She is a consistent layer . Just not consistent in her color. Same with my welsummer. Her egg is similar to your welsummer’so egg. But it also varies. I can tell who lays what egg as my other 7 are always the same daily for each bird.

    • Isn’t that interesting. So, it’s not just Veronica, it’s her breed. Funny how the hatcheries don’t mention the daily variability.

  5. One of my Barred Rocks lays very uniform light brown eggs. The other lays eggs that are sometimes pointy, sometimes oval, sometimes lightly speckled, sometimes darkly speckled. It is always a surprise from her!

  6. Such pretty eggs! My 3 year old Black Copper Marans Hen, Petunia, does lay the most beautiful DARK chocolate brown eggs – unfortunately, she hasn’t laid since the end of last fall so I truly miss seeing her lovely egg color in my egg basket. And, it’s still a surprise to see an unusually colored egg in the nest – all of my eggs are either varying shades of brown, pale green, or the prettiest blue. The other day I couldn’t believe it when there was an almost WHITE colored egg! :D I was sure someone else’s hen had come for a visit! :D

  7. I too am somewhat disappointed in my Cuckoo’s egg color. I have no idea which egg is hers. I know she is laying as she not even a year old yet and I’m getting 10 eggs from my ten standard size hens.

  8. I just picked up my new chicks for this year and one Cuckoo Maran was ordered in the hopes of dark brown eggs. We will see. Friendly and docile traits are more of what I was interested in.

  9. I have eight bantams and all their eggs last year were white. My silver laced wyndotte, Sparkle, was my best layer last year but her eggs were the smallest, narrowest and were white. This year her eggs are much bigger but to my surprise they are also darker. They are similar in colour to your light brown ones. At first I thought it was just because she had started back laying but they have remained like that ever since. I rather like it as it makes it easy to tell which are her eggs.

  10. In these parts, I’ve heard that the general consensus of Marans breeders is that if you want a darker brown egg colour, go with Black Copper Marans rather than the Cuckoo variety, because with the Cuckoo variety it’s hit and miss – many lay no better than a 3 on the Marans egg colour chart.
    Off-topic a bit: I noticed this morning that Twiggy has developed a bit of a bare area around her vent. Does this mean she is finally going through the moult that should have happened in the fall along with the rest of the little barn hens?

    • It does look like a molt, as she’s already getting pin feathers in! If it is a molt, it’s about 7 months late. Her laying slowed but never stopped, and she’s as active as ever. Amazing!

    • I figured that’s why my splash maran is all over the place. She’s a splash so I wasn’t sure what to expect. She’s mostly a white hen with 4 splashes lol. But I don’t mind. She is a sweet bird and very curious. She is my lap chicken and I love to listen to her talk. Her voice is so deep.

  11. Of my four cuckoo marans bantams, 2 lay dark, speckled eggs and are always consistent; the other two, however, always lay brown paper bag colour, but sometimes with speckles, sometimes without. My two welsummers both lay darker eggs than the marans. Strage, as my emories of our flock of cuckoos 40 years ago are of dark brown, often speckled eggs: maybe I’m imagining it!

  12. CONCERNED…..Logged on 6am your time Phoebe’s running around outside, were you up very early or was she out all night !!??

    • Keeps trying to get in door, now eating frozen pumpkin. Good job she’s got a thick fur coat.

      • Phoebe was out all night. She has been telling us in no uncertain terms that she wants to sleep in her icy warren. She actually twitches her nose at us and gallops off! No sign of predators this winter. Good dog Lily has kept them away.

        • She was getting worked up that she couldn’t get in, okay once the ladies came out. Could she have some hay/straw in her icy tunnel ?? :)

  13. I am new t this chicken business. Love your web site. I am 80 and this was on my bucket list. Where can I get pullets here in Midlothianva Va?

    • I suggest that you go to your local feed store. That’s always the best source for finding out who raises chickens in your area.

  14. Beautiful eggs Terry! I love the surprise of different shell colors. It’s so much fun to collect a variety of colors daily. I can tell who laid which egg and thank each hen for a job well done :)

  15. Pip made me smile this morning, instead of using the tree stumps he was standing on something in front of your manure pile. He was enjoying himself high up in the sunshine :)

  16. I am not a henner. I just like chickens. So curious about the colors of eggs. Do they taste different? And are the shells tough? With these beautiful various shades of brown….who needs egg dye.

  17. We have some Black Copper Marans, and only one of them lays a really dark egg. It is not as dark as chocolate though,but it dark compared to the other BCMs. We are going to be getting Welsummer babies next month.

  18. I finally have some white eggs, My Polish Mamie has started to lay, Shes a year old and I had labeled her completly useless, but I guess she is a chicken after all! I was beginning to wonder