Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


What Are Cuckoo Maran Chickens?

| Updated September 26, 2017

While French Marans chickens are relatively rare in North America, the cuckoo types are among the best-known on these shores. Cuckoo has nothing to do with clocks or mental states, but is a sex-linked color variant in the breed.

Silver and Gold Cuckoos

The cuckoo variety of Marans appear in silver and gold. In the U.S., the silver version is more readily available through commercial hatcheries. The breed resembles the much more common barred rock, with feathers crossed with either gray or golden brown bars in an irregular pattern. This is a single-combed breed, with no leg feathering. Even as chicks, the male and female cuckoo marans are easily differentiated, as females are darker than males. At maturity, the cuckoo Marans weigh between 7 and 8 pounds. In general, the Marans is a somewhat passive bird, neither nervous nor aggressive.

Other Maran Colors

Ordinary Marans chickens -- non-cuckoo -- appear in various shades. These include:

  • white, buff and wheaten
  • black, silver black and black-tailed buff
  • blue
  • coppers -- red chickens with additional blue, black or splashes of color

Egg Color and Production

  • While many types of hens lay brown eggs, the Marans' eggs are a deep, rich chocolate color.  Some cuckoo Marans hens will lay darker eggs than others. Generally, younger birds lay darker eggs than older ones. Some eggs are solid brown, while others sport spots. 
  • The average cuckoo Marans hen lays three eggs weekly from spring until fall. If you light your chicken coop for winter laying, the Marans will lay year round. The eggs are not just dark, but especially large. Cuckoo Marans hens will go broody, so you can raise chicks naturally, if desired.


  • If you intend to raise chicks, it's advisable to have a rooster-to-hen ratio of 1 to 8 or so -- fewer hens than it typical for most breeding roosters.

Cold-Weather Cluckers

While some chicken breeds don't do well in cold climates, that's not the case with the cuckoo Marans. They do well in confinement and are a good choice if your chicken-keeping doesn't permit free-ranging.