Magnolia Forest, in Reidville, South Carolina, breeds black, blue, and splash copper Marans from a foundation of the Bev Davis line. We are NPIP certified Pullorum/Typhoid and H5/H7 Avian Influenza clean. Black coppers are known for their extra large, very dark brown “chocolate” eggs, and for the homesteader are a wonderful dual purpose breed. We have found the Davis line to be a nice balance of birds that regularly conform to the Standard, while still maintaining the dark egg color that Marans are known for. They are a very docile breed, with the great majority of our hens being curious, even friendly, while our roosters show no, to only mild, aggression. Mean, aggressive roosters will take the enjoyment out of any flock, and disposition is a trait we breed for at Magnolia Forest. We breed in a spiral rotation to maintain genetic diversity in our flocks. For more photos of our flocks click here For pricing and availability, click here
why buy from a breeder?
Just maintaining a flock of good black copper Marans takes work, improving a flock takes years. A very small percentage of chicks hatched by a breeder working to improve actually make it back into the breeding program for the following season. Black copper Marans are notorious for being a heavily culled breed, so when you buy from Magnolia Forest you are buying from a breeder that is breeding birds to meet the APA Standard, while at the same time trying to maintain the dark egg color that these chickens are famous for. This is why we chose the Davis line as our foundation, Bev was known for keeping a keen eye towards the egg color while still breeding towards the standard. Our original chicks were purchased from Julie Akers, who got her birds directly from Bev, so we have benefitted from all of the work that these two women did before us. We will allow some minor faults as long as we maintain a #5 or better on the Marans egg color chart, but we won’t sacrifice the standard to breed solely for #8 and #9 eggs. We aren’t ashamed to admit that there are breeders with eggs a little darker than ours, but ours are beautiful, and fairly uniform throughout the flocks. For customer photos click here
Hatcheries are in the business of selling chicks; roosters breed hens and those chicks are sold. They are still black copper Marans, and can be advertised as such, but just go to those websites and look at the pictures of the chickens and eggs. When the breeding stock isn’t meticulously selected, the differences are obvious. Just as it takes years to improve a flock, a good flock can be ruined in just a few seasons. Another big difference with hatchery birds is the tendency of a hen to go broody. A broody hen is a hen that will sit on, and hatch, a clutch of eggs. A broody hen will stop laying eggs while she sits and raises her young, so that is a trait that is discouraged and bred out of production birds. At Magnolia Forest, we encourage broodiness in our hens. Chicks that are hatched and raised with the flocks never have to go through the troubles involved with introducing new birds, and most often the birds we keep for ourselves will come from these pen hatched chicks. Broody hens are great for the person that may want to hatch their own chicks, but doesn’t want to learn how to use an incubator. 60% of our current hens will go broody at one time or another.
New for 2019: All Blue Pen hatching Black/Blue/Splash chicks
Breeding Blue to Blue
Breeding a blue rooster to blue hens produces 50% blue, 25% black, and 25% splash chicks. We started hatching our first chicks from this pen in late November, and by Christmas were having fertility rates over 95% with hatch rates over 80%. We are currently growing out the chicks from those first few hatches, with plans to start a new splash/black pen later this Spring. Some of these started pullets and cockerels will be available for purchase at the farm, and we will begin accepting orders for eggs online in January. We will start taking chick orders as well, and will begin shipping when weather allows. Please see our Chicks and Fertile Eggs page for availability and pricing.
The magnolia line
Our goal with the Magnolia line of black, blue, and splash copper Marans is to continue working towards the balance that Bev Davis strove towards. Heavy bodied birds with proper foot feathering, copper hackles and saddles in the cocks with no halos, moderately colored copper hackles in the hens, dark eggs, and friendly dispositions.
Some of the issues we are working on this year are lowering the tail sets in our roosters, bringing some color back to some of our darker hens, and using some of our heavier hens to produce a more heavy bodied black copper rooster. We have an 8 month old that we kept from last year that looks to be well on his way to claiming his own pen in this regard.