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the Wheaten variety

  parquet de Marans Froment


Poule Marans Froment (Nancy 2001)

The wheat-colored variety which didn't appear in the first Marans standard whereas it probably constitutes, after the very classic Brown-red and Silver-Cuckoo, one ot the most usual genetic varieties amongst the Marans stock breeder livestock.

It's most likely that "wheat" color have really been existing in the Marans since its origin, i.e since the blood supply by the "original english ruffs"


This color was for a long time ignored. It was the victim of a certain ignorance as well as an incoherent description in the former old standard. ("red-salmon-fawn-partridge" variety) which was used during dozen of years this association of inopportune and excentric appelations to define one of the best illegitimated variety of the poultry world of selection .

It was necessary to have better idea of these genetically erroneous color varieties.

The Wheat variety appears amongst the most rare genetic colors of our world pedigree poultry. And it can be explained in 2 ways :

1) the breeds which are affected by the "wheat" color are not numerous : Araucana, Sulmtaler, Malayan ruff or even Shamo.

2) They are very confidentially selected and so the "Wheat" color is only rarely exhibited on show.

As for the "wheat" Marans , it has been sufferinf, as well as other breeds for dozen years a

certain negligence as regards simple genetics of the plumage colors. It can't be criticized from the moment that we agree to admit that the poultry genetics still keep today a lot of secrets.

It is not less true that the wheat color has been defined for a long time for at least 3 or 4 other breeds of our poultry world (of course,it is rare and often very badly defined).

We can add that the descriptive elements of the old standard (origin standard) were relatively coherent as far as the majority of the Marans variety is concerned.

On the other hand, concerning the Wheat variety as well as the Black-tailed-Buff variety (which was not named at the beginning and so genetically ignored) the "red-salmon-fawn-partridge" description, which was erroneous and confused, has quite stopped the evolution of these 2 varieties for more than 30 years.

However, we can easily admit the idea that the different selection of the Wheat and Buff breed stock available since the origin of the breed seem to have never been corectly supervised.

The almost rigor is imperative when we use the vocabulary of the different plumage colors.

The terms red, fawn, salmoned, partridge, correspond to 4 precise genetic plumages which are well defined and different from each others.

They have very few links. Moreover, they belong to different genetic families. To go back to our "Wheat" color and concerning at first the hens, apart from the fact that the different founders have often been called wrongly "salmoned-fawn", their "wheat" color which is accompagnied with slight drawings or edged with ribbon, explain perhaps the erroneous use of the term "partridge".

As for the salmon shades of this wheat color, they may once again explain the use of the term "salmoned-fawn" which is again unsuitable.

So the confusions were numerous and various genetic colors have been crossed by mistake for a long time.

Coq Marans Froment avec miroir brun sur l'aile

Im most cases, the cocks which were often associated with these hens are more or less fawn-red breed stock (theorically a real Black-tailed-buff variety) which have nothing in comon with the real genetic Wheat variety. Indeed, the true Wheat cocks are black, with a coppery-red coat, and so looking like the Brown-red cocks except as for the wing miror which is brown.
When from time to time, people discovered the appearence of real Wheat cocks in the clutch of the variety called so far and at the best "salmoned-fawn", they were often mistaken for the Brown-red color…
We can notice that it is strictly genetically impossible to make it appear steathily from a founder which is recessive to it ! or even with the hypothecal "partridge" variety. In fact, they were often and wrongly removed from the reproduction.

Moreover, the cock plumage could also explain the clumsy use of the term "partridge" by some farmers since it looks like the partridge's. So we can easily understand that if the cocks are wrongly used as Brown-red subjects, it is the fault of dazzling selections especially for the Brown-red variety that they genetically pollute for a long time.

Today, some of our Brown-red stock, which have become mixed notably cos of such mistakes gave regurlarly birth, by atavistic return,

to Wheat or Black-tailed-buff subjects. It's frequent.
From such subjects, which are obtained more or less pure, a selection of the correct breed stock is necessary in order to stabilize the other cousin variety : the Black tailed Buff variety.
But the work seems more difficult for the following reasons :
- great complexity and variableness of the present fawn genes
-high genetic impurity of the stocks
- inadequacy of the work of fawn selection the beginning of time.
- lack of distance in the present gene estimation and study.

Consequently, the breeding stocks which must be selected must precisely correspond to the correct description of the "Wheat" taht we are going to define in order to allow, if need be, then systematical and good detection in the various Marans stocks.

The genetic "wheat"color

There are two types of similar physical aspect. But which have different genetic characteristics :

  • - the dominant "wheat" of araucana type
  • - the recessive "wheat" of Malayan niff type.

They are both recessive in expanse with the coppery-black. On the other hand, it is only in expanse with the basic Black-red variety that we can say that the first dominates in a crossing with it or, on the other hand, that the second is really recessive to it.

So they are simlilar as for the color but the "wheat"  color is only rarely describded in the present standards.

Only the Sulmtaler and Malayan ruff breeds give a more or less correct definition of the "Wheat".

Nevertheless, the uniformist degree of our Wheat Marans founders has widely favored the work and fas at least allowed to give a precise definition of this color.

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Poule Marans Froment

Poule  Vice-champione de France à Nancy 2001 éleveur: Philippe Coquelle

Description of the "Wheat" cock

Description of the "wheat" hen

The color of the head, the hackle and the lancets varied from golden-red to brown-red. It is uniform and there are no requied noticeable flames.

The lancets have a much stronger tone than the hackle. The back, the saddle and the rump are magony-red. The covers of the wings and of the shoulders are strong magony-red.

The large covers from through the wing a black armband with green glints.The secondary remexs constitute the wing miror in triangle "chinamon-brown" with a folded back wing. The throat and the breast are black.

Blackish underside, thighs, abdomen with a grey under-color.

The tail is black but it has eventually some reddish-shades on the sides and gloaming green glints or even typical pink or mauve glints notably on the large sickles.

The color of the head and of the hackle varies from golden-red to dark-red with sometimes light flames in the lower part of the hackle. The ear-down is cream-colored.

The coat (composed of the shoulders, the wings covers, the and the rump) is wheat-colored  (color of the grains of wheat).Each feather have a lighter staff and edge. The breast and the all underside of the body are cream colored.The secondary color is whitish.

The tail and the remexs are blackish with fawn and black colored edges. The folded back wing triangle or "miror" (secondary remexs) appear "citinamon-brown colored).

We can also admit that the plumage might be on the whole be a little darker but the three shades must be present and contrasted (wheat, dark-red and cream-colored).

We must be careful with some "wheat" Marans which can still show, sometimes due to insufficient selections, some bluish gray-colored tarsus.

Plumage nuancé du coq Froment

the wing miror of wheat-colored cock is "citinamon-brown. When the wing is folded back, it forms a visible triangle of this color.

The selection of the "wheat" variety

The Wheat variety, either dominating or recessive in comparison with the Black-red of reference, is always recessive with the Brown-red or even with the Silver-Cuckoo. These latter colors belong to the predominant genetic colors.

The crossings of the Wheat variety with the Brown-red or Silver-Cuckoo variety must be avoided by theorie because these varieties are born of different genetic families and mutations. Needless to say, however, that if it deals with protecting a valuable "wheat" stock from its extinction for example, or even especially because the egg color is no longer true. This crossing type with the Brown-red variety constitutes a case of emergency which must be recommanded.

On the other hand, two correlative types of Buff varieties with a black tail appear within the two "wheat" families. These two  correlative types are different colors in these two families i.e carrier of different genes and not born of different mutations.

The genetic associations between Wheat and Buff subjects are theorically less risky, (in case of crossing)  than if they were practised in relation with the Brown-red for example. This phenomenon certainly explain the reason why the numerous clumsy but intentional crossings between the Wheat and the Black tailed Buff varieties allow today, in spite of everything, to prevent some rough stuffs and to give birth to some Wheat subjects which are in accordance with the ideal type.

For some years, the Wheat subjects have had remarkable qualities judging by the presentations during the lattest french championship of the MCF.

So the selection of the Wheat variety consists in spotting and isolating the subjects in comply with this color, as well amongst the hens as amongst the cocks which have different colors.

As for these Wheat cocks and the Brown-red cocks, it must be recognized that from a far, they are almost alike (and its an acknowledgement) and so you can't tell them apart. In a batch of fully-grown cocks, it is necessary to watch them correctly in order to recognize the Wheat subjects amongst Brown-red subjects.

As for the chicks of these two varieties, they are very disimilar for their down color. Since their birth, the Brown-red chicks have a largery black down whereas chicks are born quite white and even more exactly yellow.

The sex distinction between Wheat cockerels and pullets is possible from the plumage appearence, as the pullets have a "wheat" color with a very light underside and the cockerels are blackish except the underside which is red with sometimes some red spots on the breast.

So these "wheat" chicks are self-sexable from the age of 4 to 6 weeks, as can also be the Silver-Cuckoo chicks for example.

The Wheat chicks are yellow and the sexage appears to be impossible by the down in spite of the important dimorphism of the two adult plumage.

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See also the official standard of the Marans: the Wheat color



Silver-cuckoo Variety
Golden-cuckoo Variety
Black Variety
Brown-red Variety
Birchen Variety
Wheaten Variety
Black-tailed buff Variety
White Variety
Columbian Variety

The Bantam's Marans


Golden-blue and Silver-blue Varietys
Splash Variety
Golden-salmon and Silver-salmon Variety


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