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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marans + Ameraucana = Olive Egger


If you have been following the blog you know that I recently hatched my very first chicks. It was such an amazing experience. To think that an egg hatches into a living, breathing chick in just 21 days and then that golf-ball sized chick grows to be a robin-sized pullet over the next 30 days or so is just amazing.  


Three of the breeds that I hatched were French Black Copper Marans, Blue Ameraucanas and Olive Eggers.  All are new breeds for me, which is exciting.

These three breeds are also linked in kind of a neat way as you will understand as you read on...

Here is each one in their journey from fertilized egg to chick to pullet.

French Black Copper Marans

Marans lay some of the darkest eggs of any breed.  The pores in the shells are smaller than other breeds and therefore Marans eggs are less susceptible to salmonella and stay fresher longer.  They are highly prized in French cooking, being thought to have superior taste.

Ian Fleming popularized the breed, especially in the UK, in the James Bond series of books in the 1960s, making Marans eggs 007's breakfast of choice. More recently, Martha Stewart renewed interest in the Marans breed by showcasing their chocolate brown eggs on her show.

These eggs are from the Wade Jeane line. Wade Jeane was former president of the American Marans Club.  They are bred to the French standard, with feathered legs.

~photo courtesy Chicken Scratch Poultry~

Out of one of those beautiful eggs hatched this little cutie.

Here is Truffle at a week old with a few of her hatch mates.
Here she is at two weeks. I think this is the most adorable age.

Three weeks...looking a bit gangly.

A month old....Truffle and Vidia one of the Blue Copper Marans have officially hit the 'raptor' stage.


But in about four months, they will be laying gorgeous dark brown eggs, just like the ones they hatched out of.


~photo courtesy Chicken Scratch Poultry~

Blue Ameraucana

True Ameraucanas lay blue eggs.  These eggs are from the William Morrow line of Blue Ameraucanas and are a brilliant blue.   The grown hens will be either blue or black, have puffy muffs or beards and have pea combs. Ameraucanas do quite well in cold weather.

~photo courtesy Chicken Scratch Poultry~

Sweet Pea hatched with the cutest fluffy 'chipmunk cheeks' I've ever seen !

By a week old, her legs had turned the slate color indicative of the Ameraucana breed.

At three weeks old...

By four weeks old Sweet Pea has turned a gorgeous slate blue color.

And by five weeks she is starting to look like the hen she will grow up to become...


and start laying beautiful blue eggs of her own.
~photo courtesy Chicken Scratch Poultry~


Olive Egger

Now for the really exciting breed - the Olive Egger.  These are Blue Ameraucana eggs. If they are fertilized by a Marans rooster instead of an Ameraucana rooster, the resulting chick is an Olive Egger. 

~photo courtesy Chicken Scratch Poultry~

Here's a little Olive Egger that hatched out of a blue Ameraucana egg.

Two weeks old.

Three weeks old and feathered out nicely.

Four week old Olive Eggers

By five weeks old, these Olive Eggers are showing traits of both Marans (feathered feet and black coloring) and the Ameraucana (cheek puffs).


And here they are at 8 weeks old


They will be laying olive green eggs like these by the end of the summer.  I can't wait !
~photo courtesy Chicken Scratch Poultry~

All the hatching eggs featured in this post came from Chicken Scratch Poultry in Illinois.  We had a 100% hatch rate and as you can see, all grew into gorgeously healthy chicks.  I can't recommend the hatchery enough.

19 comments:

  1. I love all of the info! Thanks so much!

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  2. Beautiful and informative. I so thoroughly enjoyed this post. How I wish I could have loads more chicks instead of the four I am limited to. They are so fascinating and one is always finding breeds they want one or two of.

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    1. I think that would be such a tease to be only allowed four ! I don't know how I would limit myself ! I hope your town changes the rules one day.

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  3. Very interesting to learn about these breeds!
    Thank you!! =)

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  4. Love the egg colors. Really neat. They are so pretty.

    @ 3Beeze Homestead

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  5. www.chickenscratchpoultry.com sells both the hatching eggs and chicks.

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  6. Gosh, some of my birds already lay olivey colored eggs. But I have Ameraucanas and Cukoo Marans so maybe I can get some interesting crosses. Does it work out to have a Marans hen and an Ameraucana Roo, too?

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  7. I'm so wanting to get a few of these now. What are their temperments like?

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    1. Well mine are only 5 weeks old and just as friendly as anything. I do notice tho - this batch that I hatched myself are WAY more friendly than any chicks I've ever had - even ones I got as day old chicks.

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  8. Oh wow. I am so jealous! Congratulations! They all look just great! :o)

    Have a wonderful day!

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  9. I am a new chicken momma! lol I love reading your blog and watching your posts on fb! I think I am going to try to hatch some eggs myself this summer. Thanks for all your information and most of all the beautiful pictures.

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    1. Thank you so much ! I highly recommend it. I used the Brinsea Mini Advance and LOVED it. It is from brinsea.com and the coupon code FRESH gets you 10% off. So much fun to hatch your own and the chicks are SO friendly.

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  10. Excellent information and pictures!!! That will be my next project OE's.. my Ameraucanas are 4 weeks old.

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  11. How many eggs per week do you get from each of these breeds?

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    1. I don't really keep track how many each lays, but they are decent layers, depending on the time of year - an egg almost every day - maybe 5-6/week.

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  12. Oh I'm so glad I found your blog! I am new to chicken keeping and am starting out with a FBCM too and two hens, two each RIR and NH hens and I am picking up three straight run Lavender Americaunas in two days. So excited to cross my marans and americaunas now! Wonder what would happen with a RIR FBCM cross?

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    1. Hmmm RIR FBCM - probably a muddy brown. The blue/grown cross is nice as is a blue with a white egg layer.

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Lisa of Fresh Eggs Daily
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