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The Brown-red variety
(genetic family ER)

  Coq Marans Noir-cuivré

Jeune coq Marans Noir-cuivré

  Poule Marans Noir-cuivré

The "Brown-red", main variety of the breed for already a numerous years, interests the major part of the present farmers of the "Marans". Indeed, it turns  out that more than 80% of the farmers of the Marans Club of France select the Brown-red variety. It is an edifying number which widely demonstrates the constant interest of the amateurs of the breed for this color.

The success of this variety in the opinion of the farmers hangs on several reasons. First, we must recognize that a nice Brown-red Marans flock has style. Furthermore, we can find the best founder laying the most extra reddish-brown eggs above all in this variety as well as in the Birchen variety (silver-black) or Black-red variety (golden-salmon) ones which are at least the most regular for the quality conservation. Moreover, the great number of existing stocks makes the maintenance of a satisfactory level consanguinity easier.

poules Marans Noir-cuivré


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At the present time, it's above all the Brown-red Marans which is required to serve as a source of improvment of the egg color for the other varieties often less well-off.

Consequently, the improving crossings of present Marans varieties (Wheaten, Black-tailed-buff, white....) carried out by using the Brown-red variety can't be recommanded for lack of anything better, that is when we are forced to turn to the elite of the breeders (or which are considered to be the elite even if they were not  notably because of the qualities of the extra-reedish egg color). and so, by this very fact, we naturally turn forward the valuable Brown-red breeding stock.

Nota bene :  in the search of an improvment of the Silver-Cuckoo variety, it is better to choose good "Birchen" subjects laying nice eggs.

However, the improving crossings of the Silver-Cuckoo variety with the Brown-red produce good results because, in the Marans, the Silver-Cuckoo is probably born of the Brown-red variety and not of the Plain-Black's whose existance seems genetically more enigmatic...

Marans Noir-cuivré


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The selection of the Brown-red variety

From these last hypothesis, we should admit that in order to select and improve the Brown-red variety for its own benefit, the most commendable solution consists in  avoiding any crossing "off-variety". (except with the possible silver-black (Birchen), Golden-blue or Silver-blue varieties which are directly derived from it : they are from the same family). It is advisable to stick rigidly to an intrnal selection in this Brown-red variety  as long as possible and to come out of it by means of a crossing in an emergency that is for example a consanguinity brought to its utmost risk…

However, this recommendation doesn't mean that crossings between these varieties are impossible but rather than, they make the control and the follow-up of the genetic characteristics, which are born of it, much more uncertain when they are realised between different genetic families.

One of the most trickily situation might concern the clumsy crossings between Brown-red (or Birchen) and pure Plain-Black subjects by possible confusions (and too much frequent) in the hens …

The Brown-red is only dominated in the breed-crossings by the first family (Plain-Black and Cuckoo) and in all the other cases, it is really the Brown-red which dominates the other colour varieties as a result of a clumsy crossing for example but first it effaces these colours known as recessive of the descendance phenotype. That's why some youngs subjects of various colors can stealthily appear in certain Brown-red clutchs. In most cases, the Brown-red variety is quite enough genetically fixed and notably as long as it doesn't suffer uncontrolled, unconscious, irrational crossings with some Marans of other incompatibles colors.

These colors, which are due to recessive characteristics, disappear after the first crossing with the Brown-red but as they remain latent in the genotype of the breeders which are ready to reapper in the following generations; which will be called the "atavistic return" of the characteristics in question.

In this way, the Brown-red color can very well be "well-fixed" genetically speaking, while requiring moreover a work of maintenance of its black and coppery marks at its level of ideal distribution.

Moreover, it is obvious that the selection of the "true" Marans, which, since the beginning of time, has the priority for the reddish-brown egg, has contributed to check the achieving of a Brown-red founders which are very correctly color-stabilized. The clumsy crossings with Plain-Black or other Wheat-colored subjects have settle nothing.

Conversly, there are very nice Brown-red Marans stock known as "competing" that is to say too much selected in this way but which, for lack of a sufficient plural selection, see their eggs to be too much light-colored for the breed. Be clear and precise : they are not Marans anymore ! Let's be quite clear about this : we mean genetically pure Marans …

So the Brown-red color (ER/ER), which is due to a certain genetic distribution between black and red (or coppery), is relatively unstable in comparison with the other varieties. The breast notably can be just as well entirely black than full of coppery marks down to the thigh. Only the selection must maintain the color to a golden mean.


Description of the Brown-red Marans

We must mention again the origin standard of the Marans.

These description deserve some comments in order to avoid all the faulty interpretation which might be given by the farmers.

We must mention again the present standard :

The precision of the vocabulary which is used is very important. We can also notice that the hackle mustn't be golden but coppery, that the cock breast is reddish-brown spotted and not enamelled. The hens have a black breast and not necessarly with reddish-brown glints like the cocks because it can create in the end, an unbalance of the Brown-red color due to an excessive dominance of undesirable golden glints on the hen back and wings.


poussin Noir-cuivré: futur champion?

un oeuf au coloris largement satisfaisant!


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Description of the Brown-red cock.

With a majority of black  feathers, the head, the hackle, the saddle and the lancets must be coppery-colored. Concerning the definition of this "coppery color", some variations are entirely admitted but must however remain relative i.e mid-coppery and red-coppery.

We have to reject the too light, ochre, or yellowish colors, which are said to be also straw-colorde at the hackle.

Some shades, which remind us of the fawn and golden colors are incorrect. What is coppery is not fawn but always enough strong, so thtat any ambiguity might be avoided about these different shades.

Some feathers, especially in the lower part of the hackle and the lancets, can be more or less black flambé.

The shoulders (little wing covers) are crimsom-red colored exactly the same as the Black-red cock (wild Bankiva or even "golden Gauloise" types).

This color shows itself to be quite velvet and can turn to a reddish-brown color especially  when the whole tonality is mainly "coppery-red". This red color of the shoulders must be sufficiently spread to the whole small wing covers, making a uniform mass, which would be if it is possible not blent with black.

Such black spots, when they appear blent with the red color of the shoulders as well as on the saddle and on the lancets reveal a color unbalance (there is a too important dominance of black in comparison with coppery)

In this precise case, the cocks are too black cocks and so they must be eliminated of the selection. So their breast is black whereas the ideal thing is a breast as well as a throat which are well-marked by coppery spots but not excessively so.

Another sign  reveals an unbalance between black and coppery : it's the color of the ear down which is called the "ear-tufts", it has a circular form and it has a more or less brown-fawn color (for the correctly coppery cocks) whereas that for the too black cocks, the color would rather have a blackish tone, as for the hens, when it is not totally black.

For the good cocks, the fawn color of the "ear-tufts" must meet more or less whole coppery color of the head. The shouldes must always be well coppery-colored. Even thought such cocks have a black breast without reddish-brown spots, they give excellent results for the farming.

The coppery color of the shoulders and of the "ear-tufts" have a very positive influence on the cuckoo genetic balance at the expanse of black.

The cocks with blackish "ear-tufts" and black spoted shoulders, and so insufficiently coppery, and with totally black breast, will engender a very high proportion of completly black or with too slightly coppery hackle pullets. They must be rejected.

The cock, which conversly have a too much colored breast with strong fawn or red marks down to the thigh are again more bad. They are to be rejected unscrupulously.

Indeed, they seem to give birth to certain pullets with an incorrect color due to the presence of patterns bluring the breast as well as the rest of the body and with light feathers staffs.These pullets should be excluded without the least hesitation.

On the other hand, the green glints in the black plumage are not so far required in the Brown-red Marans. The absence of bright glints (known as "green scarals") is a quality which is regarded as being correlative to the presence of a rather gray than black down, orangery-red eyes rather than black or brown eggs, or even punkish-white tarsus i.e to a quantity of melanin which is relatively in the skin and on the whole body contributing to the maintenance of the standard quality.

So the ideal compromise consists in seeking and preserving by a rigorous selection, a perfect balance between black excess and coppery excess.
It must be understood that this balance of the Brown-red color was to be characteristised in the following way in the farmed cocks :

Moreover, when we select a stock with a very red coppery color, it seems more difficult to contain a black excess on the whole body. The black tonality is often deeper and more glinting. So, the searh of a good and strong coppery color but no more than that, appears to be very commendable brom the moment that we want to stabilize the color at the very best.

On the contrary, the light coppery stock favour much more widely a dominance of the incorrect golden tone at the expanse of black.

At this point, it is advisable to remain careful because this dominance must be considered as turning towards a faulty tonality instead of the red-coppery colour researched.

We must also admit that the colour of the cock hackle often show a two tone shade because the fringe has a stronger color than the rest of the body. The bang color is close to the lancet's. This characteristic is of course correct and this contrast has a vaiable intensity (which is however less important in the strong red-coppery color).


To distinguish correctly the Brown-red variety

The color of the Brown-red cocks can resemble, and we can be mistaken about it, the color of other genetic varieties like the Black-red (golden-salmon) or even the Wheaten cocks.. We could easily understand the main disavadvantages that such confusions might create for the serious selection of the breed.

In order to recognize definitely the true genetic Brown-red, it is necessary to check that the cocks have a totally black wing "miror". It is the only variety amongst the three which have been named which show this pure wing "triangle" constituted by the visible fold back part of the secondary remex.

It should not be mistaken with the wing "armband" which has nothing in comon with the "miror". For the five named varieties, the "armband" is always black.

When a cock has a triangle formed and ochre-brown or dark-fawn colored (it can also be defined by the term : brown-citinamon colored) wing miror,  it isn't a Brown-red cock at all. It should never be used for Brown-red Marans selection because it is, in this case, a Marans cock of the Wheaten variety or even the Black-red variety.

This phenomenon can very well occured in some Brown-red stocks (color which is predominant in the Black-red and Wheaten varieties) showing incontestably that the used breeding stock is genetically mixed. In such case, we can understand that it is a genetic variety which appearde to be recessive in expanse with the Brown-red. This must be carefully detected in order to maintain the genetically pure Brown-red founders.

On the other hand, the different pullets of these 3 varieties would be easily identifiable.

In order to avoid any mistakes, it must be kept in mind that as for the Brown-red variety, everything which has not a true coppery-red color on the body's parts which must have so, has necessarly a true pure black color including the "miror".

So there aren't any other possible alternative or shade in the plumage that these two tones which are very well shared out and contrasted.

Finally, the off-white remexs or the white feathers are to be banned of the body.

Such subjects, possibly affected by the parasitic gene (mo) or (pi) must rigorously be eliminated especially if these genes remain present after the first adult melting.

It is impossible to identify easily the chicks which have an abnormally white down notably on the head. Moreover, this fault, contrary to others, seems to show relatively few difficulties for the selection, since at the end, it almost disappears in its totality.


The Brown-red hen

As for the hens, the color rule is the same that fot the cocks.

The head and the hackle are more or less strong coppery colored, varying from mid-coppery to red-coppery once again, this last color seems to be more subjected to a black dominance.

Consequently, it is a little more difficult to controm the ideal balance with the red-coppery color than with the incorrect light-coppery tonality of the hackles sometimes encountered.

So these too light colored, yellowish or straw-colored hackles must be avoided. The hackle feathers have a black-colored tip, the "ear-tufts" is usually blackish fawn colored but it is darker than in the cock.  All the rest of the body, including the breast must be black without white feathers or other fawn shades and without required green glints.

On the other han, the coppery color of the hackle must also be present on the front part of the neck or of the throat and spread out almost down to the breast.

The hens, which are in this way correctly coppery-colored, give a very satisfactory proportion of cockerels with an ideal red mark on the breast.These two color characteristics are very correlative between these hens which have nice hackles and the cocks which have nice breasts which perfectly corresponds to them.


The black excess

The present Brown-red color instability explains the frequent appearence of too black or even totally black pullets. These latters genetically remain Brown-red subjects and under no circumstances are they true Plain-Black. The mistake must be avoided and these two varieties mustn't be mixed in the selection.

These quite black pullets (but we should rather speak of Brown-red pullets with a strong black color) can in no way be presented in the show like belonging to a real Plain-Black variety. It would be swindle to sell them as such.

However, some too black pullets can become good work subjects but only if the egg color is very good (it goes without saying).

Indeed, the regular use of very well colored cocks easily corrects the black excess in some hens which are sometimes totally black.

This phenomenon is the same for the eyes color. The more than regular use of very well colored cocks whose eyes are orangery-red colored allows to improve some situations which would first seem unsurmontable (i.e hens with too brown or black eyes).

If the choice of the cock is of the highest importance in order to improve this Marans variety, the stress must be laid to recognize that with equal quality of the egg color, the ideal selection consists in using 100% of true color hens (notably with the coppery hackle) and not in selecting the "crows" ! except once more in case of emergency in order for example to protect the precious extra reddish-brown egg of a targeted stock.

On the other hand, in the same lineage, it is often easier to control the black excess in the cocks than in the hens. Generally, the cocks have the feet, the eyes and the plumage (including the "ear-tufts" ) less dark-colored than the same blood hens have.

That's why the standard accepts the more or less dark feet of the hens.

The orangery-eyes are notably essential. Today, very few hens  have reddish-brown or melted eyes.


The color flaw

We can still meet another color flaw in the Brown-red hens. It's the appearence of feathers which are speckled, drawn, with more or less light marks, fawn-colored, coppery colored or finally with light staffs and which are said to be veined on the breast and even on the whole body.

Such hens have sometimes been shown as "partridge" Marans which is totally unacceptable.

The true genetic "partridge" color present in somebreeds (lije the true "Pictave) has nothing in comon with these Marans hens which can only be considered as bad Brown-red variety from which you can get nothing good.

These hens often corresponds to cocks whose breast red color is too much spread out down to the thigh and whose researched coppery tonality is often replaced by too light, fawn or straw-colored shades which are considered to be uncorrect.

Once again, it is advisable to choose as breeding stock only the cock or hen subjects which are neither too black colored nor too fawn-colored or which have a bad light coppery color.

The selection must maintain the fair balance between what must be true black or true coppery.


See also the official standard of the Marans =Brown-red Variety




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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