Some breeds were developed by specific individuals, who selected their breeding birds for certain qualities. They may want a particular carriage, size, laying ability, or other quality in their flock. Usually, when a breed comes to exist under those kinds of circumstances, there is plenty of documentation, and the standards are clear. The male Black Copper Marans is black with copper on his head and saddle, while the female is almost completely black, with just a bit of copper coloring on the head and neck.
The way that Marans came to exist was not quite so cut-and-dried. The birds that made up the original Marans were wild “swamp hens” and roosters who were released from English ships when they docked in port French port towns, in the 12th and 13th centuries. The roosters were generally game birds, who had been victorious in the fights that were so common during that time.
Farmers and breeders began crossing those local birds with others, selecting for egg size and color, in the 19th century. Eventually, interest in the breed spread across France, a club was formed and standards were established.
For a short time, the breed flourished, but with WWII, there was a steep decline. Luckily, individual breeders continued working with Marans. Black Copper Marans were especially popular with individuals, but the lack of a clear standard made things more difficult. It wasn’t until the 1990s that breeders came together, standards were set, and real, worldwide interest in the breed was aroused.
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