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Purchasers Comments....

Big thankyou for the eighteen eggs that arrived safely and all intact. My eyes nearly popped out when I saw just how big and chunky they were.......easily the biggest i've ever received.........and what a colour, definite wow factor and so looking forward to hatching.Many many thanks.

......A huge thank you for the 100% fertile hatching eggs, 11from 12 hatched, they are very large and very strong chicks! Thank you for all your advice, it is appreciated

...Just to let you know i have hatched 7 lovely chicks including 1 from your 2 best eggs and 10 out of the 14 eggs ...so very pleased ..... they were worth the wait, they are massive!

... the eggs arrived safely this morning - "eggstra" early 9.00 delivery from my lovely postman who recognised a very important parcel (normal delivery is around 2.00pm!). The eggs are real beauties ...If anyone is looking for marans, I'll certainly send them your way!

....I received 12 gorgeous dark brown eggs yesterday - I have never seen Maran eggs like that before in my life. ... Was the best of packaging...

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Care of Marans

Basically the care of Marans is probably very similar to the care of any other breed of poultry.

They need to live a stress free life in a healthy environment, with adequate shelter from the weather, and preferably access to fresh air and sunlight. They should have unlimited clean drinking water. And they should be given an adequate amount of suitable nutrious food, and sharp grit to enable them to digest it plus a suitable calcium supply when they are in lay to enable the formation of egg shells.

Nowadays many brands of poultry pellets are available which should have been carefully balanced to give your birds the optimum ration, or if you prefer you can make your own ration here is a link  and another link to a useful protein calculation table.

There are technical regulations to be aware of concerning the feeding of scraps so check out the DEFRA site.

Grit is essential for the health of your birds, sharp grit allows them to grind their food in the gizzard, free ranging birds will find their own. Shell or limestone grit gives them the calcium to form egg shells and should be on offer to laying birds, especially if their food does not contain limestone flour. Mixed grit is readily available from farmers and gamekeepers stores, and a suitable grit should be constantly accessible for all birds from the day they hatch

Even if you only have a few birds it is probably cost effective to buy full sacks of feed (20 or 25kls) and store it in a vermin proof bin, as the small bags can work out to be 4 or 5 times more expensive. Unless you only have one or two bantams you will probably use it up before the use by date of the vitanins, and even if you didn't you could add a vitamin supplement to their water.

There are numerous types of chicken housing on the market, the main requirements are a waterproof roof, a draught-free perching area with well designed perches, preferably with droppings board for cleaning and hygiene; large enough nesting boxes which should be in a nice dark position, and as vermin proof as possible. Many of us like to eat chicken, and we are not the only mammals who do!

Another thing to try and consider when choosing housing how easily cleanable it is particularly as cracks and crevices can harbour mites, which then come out at night and feed off the blood of the birds. Should this infestation get bad it can lead to anemia or even death. Some modern plastic moulded units may look easily cleanable, but if there is an "inside" section between double layers of the moulding this will be an ideal place for mites and lice to mulitply, and you will never be able to get at them.

More coming soon......

www.poultry.allotment.org.uk  - Help and information on keeping chickens and other poultry at home with a helpful chat forum to answer your questions, bookshop etc.