Maran is a well-known breed of chicken that originated in a town of the same name – Maran – in France in the 1800s. Marans are famous for their even temperament and the incredibly dark brown eggs that they produce. There are ten recognized color varieties of Marans, of which Cuckoo Marans are one. Cuckoo Marans are beautiful dark-colored birds, typically dark grey to black with lighter colored “bars,” which can be either light grey or golden brown. But do roosters and hens look the same? Join us as we explore all the differences between cuckoo Maran roosters vs cuckoo Maran hens!
Comparing Cuckoo Maran Rooster vs Cuckoo Maran Hen
As we’ve just mentioned, the cuckoo color variety produces dark birds with light grey or golden brown bars of color. These are known as silver cuckoos and gold cuckoo Marans. In many of these birds, the barring color pattern is quite irregular, creating an almost blurred pattern.
Cuckoo Marans are called “auto sexing” because the males and females are easily distinguished as chicks. Read on to learn exactly how to tell the difference between the two!
|Size||6 pounds||7 pounds|
|Head Spot||Small||Large and pale colored|
|Color||Darker than roosters||Lighter than hens|
|Legs||Thinner than roosters||Thicker than hens|
|Comb||4-6 weeks – small, yellow-orange color|
Adult – small and red
|4-6 weeks – large, bright yellow|
Adult – large and bright red
|Tail Feathers||Short and straight||Long and showy|
|Behavior||Shies away from confrontation with others as a chick||Playfights with others as a chick|
The 6 Key Differences Between Cuckoo Maran Roosters and Cuckoo Maran Hens
Rooster vs Hen: Size
One of the main differences between cuckoo Maran roosters and hens is their size. The roosters weigh around 7 pounds as adults, while the hens are smaller and only weigh around 6 pounds.
Rooster vs Hen: Head Spot
The next difference between cuckoo Maran roosters and cuckoo Maran hens is only visible when they are chicks and is one of the most important things to look for when sexing them. When cuckoo Marans are chicks, they have a lighter colored spot on their heads, but it is noticeably different for the different sexes. Male cuckoo Maran chicks have a large, pale-colored spot on the top of their head, yet it is much smaller on the females. In fact, it can sometimes be nothing more than just a few light-colored flecks on the females. The head spot is generally the most reliable method of sexing a cuckoo Maran chick. This spot disappears as they age, and their comb appears.
Rooster vs Hen: Color
Another important difference is their color, which is relevant both as adults and as chicks. This is because female cuckoo Marans are much darker than males – both with silver cuckoos and gold cuckoos. This color difference is usually evident within the first few days after hatching.
Rooster vs Hen: Feathers
The most obvious difference between cuckoo Maran roosters and hens is the appearance of their tail feathers. As adults, the roosters have long, showy tail feathers which curve downwards, creating a distinctive tail. Roosters also have long, pointed hackle feathers around their necks, which begin to develop at around 6 weeks old.
Hens have much shorter tail feathers; as an adult, their tail feathers are straight and point upwards rather than long and flowing. However, the speed at which the tail feathers grow also indicates whether young birds are males or females, and this is because the tail feathers tend to develop slower in males than the females.
Rooster vs Hen: Comb
One of the easiest ways to tell male and female cuckoo Marans apart is to look at their combs. The combs are usually beginning to develop well by the time the chicks are 4 to 6 weeks old, and at this age, the females have small combs, which are a yellowish-orange color, while the males have larger combs which are bright yellow. As adults, both males and females have single combs, while females have smaller red combs. Although the males also have red combs, the comb and the wattles are much larger and more noticeable than the females.
Rooster vs Hen: Behavior
Another difference between the two is how they behave as chicks. As early as a few weeks old, the males in a batch of chicks begin to playfight. This often includes standing up straight, chest to chest – largely imitating the behavior they exhibit as adults during a fight. In comparison, the cuckoo Maran females tend to shy away from confrontation and don’t want to participate.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Andy Crocker/Shutterstock.com
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Are cuckoo marans good layers?
Yes, cuckoo Marans are excellent layers and lay between 220 and 280 eggs per year.
What are the origins of cuckoo marans?
As we mentioned earlier, Marans originated in France. However, little is actually known about which chickens created the Marans that we know today, although it is thought that they probably included Barred Plymouth Rocks, Croad Langshans, and Faverolles.
Are cuckoo marans rare?
Yes, cuckoo marans are considered to be one of the rarest varieties of Maran chickens, despite their popularity in North America.
Do cuckoo marans have feathered legs?
No, although some marans do have slightly feathered legs, cuckoo marans are generally described as being clean legged. Their legs should be a light pinkish color.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.