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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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Hatching Marans Eggs

Recently it seems that people hatching the dark Maran eggs prefer to run the incubator dry at least for the early part of the hatch, as it allows a decent size air pocket to form which helps with hatching. Some people then increase humidity during the actual hatch up to about 60% but others allow for both dry incubation and hatching. If you are unsure follow the manufacturers instructions for your particular machine.

The traditional method of hatching with a broody (click link for more information on broodies) was to line the nest with an upturned sod of turf arranged so there is a dip in the middle to form a shallow hollow.

Try to pay attention to cleanliness, and remember not to handle eggs when you have anything greasy or strong smelling on your hands including hand cream. Egg shells are permeable, and what is on the outside will affect the inside.

After about 7 days of incubation you can candle the eggs, though 10 days is the generally recommended time for candling. The embryos are at their most vunerable in the first part of the cycle, and excessive candling at any stage can affect the eyes of the developing chick. Use a proper candler with a cool light, and as the shells of my Marans eggs are very thick and dark I generally candle in a completely dark room. If you have to pick an egg up handle it very gently and don't shake it about.

Dark shelled Marans eggs are not the easiest to hatch as the shell is so thick and waterproof, probably from their originally having been bred in a marshy area and needing to have extra strong waterproof eggs. Apparently the eggshell when formed is white, but as it passes through the oviduct the brown pigment is applied layer by layer, with the darkest eggs having the most coats of pigment. That is why the first egg of a laying cycle is always darker - it has spent longer being coloured. Each coat of colour increases the thickness of the shell making it that much more difficult for oxygen to reach the developing embryo, and for sufficient room to build up to in the airsac to allow the chick to move around when it is due to pip. A further difficulty with hatching the extremely dark shelled eggs is that owing to the slow passage of the egg through the oviduct the embryo developes further than normal, so when the egg is laid the temperature shock can prove too much. So unless you are a fairly competent hatcher it may be best to go for the lighter shade of eggs. With my stock these are often laid by the dark egg layers which are at a different stage in their egg laying cycle.

The chicks will start to "peep" in their shells before they begin to hatch, this is does not mean they are in distress. It is a good sign as it means they are calling to each other to synchronise the hatch, which if your incubator has cool or hot spots may mean that some of the chicks will have to attempt to hatch before they are fully formed. Nature wants all the chicks to hatch within a day or so, as the mother hen will need to take the earliest hatchlings off to feed after a day or two, which means that any chicks which have not made it out of their shells will have to be abandoned to die, if not the earliest hatched will die from starvation.

When the eggs are put in the hatcher make sure that the surface the hatched chicks will stand on will not allow their feet to slip about, as if this happens at such an early stage it can affect their joints and make it difficult for them ever to stand up Sometimes a piece of old towelling on the hatcher floor is good, and if you think the humidity needs boosting it can be dampened with warm water when the eggs are put in the hatcher (or the turner stopped in the incubator).

Any hatched chicks can easily survive 24/48 hours without food or water as they will be living on the egg yolk, but after this they should to be moved to a suitable brooder. If some of the eggs have still not hatched you can give them a little more time, just in case.

Click here for Care of the newly hatched chick