Cuckoo Maran Chicks: A Complete Guide (With Pictures)

Are you looking to add a beautiful Cuckoo Marans to your flock?

Finding a good hatchery that sells this exact color variety can be difficult. Because this breed is rather rare, most people won’t be able to find a local seller. This is when you should try purchasing from a hatchery.

A trustworthy hatchery will only breed from high-quality stock and tend to offer affordable prices. To help you find your Cuckoo Maran chicks, we share our five favorite hatcheries. As well as what to expect while watching your newest flock members grow up.

Top 5 Cuckoo Marans Hatcheries

Murray McMurray Hatchery

The Murray McMurray Hatchery is one of the largest in the United States. They have a 26,000 square foot hatchery that is separated into different sections such as the incubation section, and hatching section for increased biosecurity. While they originally only sold Buckeyes, they now offer over 70 breeds including duck, quail, and turkey breeds.

Murray McMurray is knowledgeable about the various color varieties. They sell chicks up until late October too, which is later than many hatcheries. Make sure to order early from them because it can sometimes be difficult to secure an order before all of the chicks are sold out.

  • Minimum Order: 6 Chicks
  • Price Range: $4.37-$5.09 for straight run


  • Ships until late October
  • Very knowledgeable about the breed and differences in color varieties
  • Chicks will breed true
  • Free shipping if you order 15+ chicks


  • Low availability of females
  • Small Order fee for orders of less than 15 chicks
  • Do not indicate which shade of brown eggs their hens lay

Visit Murray McMurray

Cackle Hatchery

Cackle Hatchery is another big name hatchery within the United States. This 3rd generation family owned hatchery has decades of chicken experience. Their Cuckoo Maran chicks have been bred with both egg-laying and meat production in mind. While this means that they do not lay the darkest eggs, it does make Cackle’s Cuckoo Marans a great dual purpose strain that is practical to have around. This hatchery sells both American production strains of Cuckoo Marans and the feather-legged French variety.

  • Minimum Order: 3 Chicks
  • Price Range: $3.55-$4.40 for straight run


  • Provide an expected egg color chart for chicks
  • Small minimum order requirements
  • Also offer starter pullets and hatching eggs
  • Can vaccinate chicks against Marek’s for a small fee


  • Short selling season (February-September)
  • Decreased sexing accuracy
  • Shipping rates vary from state to state

Visit Cackle Hatchery

Hoover’s Hatchery

Hoover’s Hatchery is run by a group of families based in the small town of Rudd, Iowa. This hatchery is over 75 years old and has expanded to offer customers over 100 different breed options, including geese, quail, turkeys, and pheasants.

This hatchery offers both English and French Cuckoo Marans, both of which tend to be cheaper at Hoover’s Hatchery than many of the other hatcheries. They also offer an Assorted Marans option – this is perfect if you are looking to add not just Cuckoo Marans to your flock but other color varieties as well. This, in addition to their free shipping rate, makes them an ideal choice for you if you are looking to save money while buying Cuckoo Maran chicks in bulk.

  • Minimum Order: 15 Chicks
  • Price Range: $3.38-$4.02 for straight run


  • Free shipping
  • Offer refunds for unhealthy chicks
  • Can cancel orders as late as one business day prior to shipping date
  • Good for larger orders


  • Price varies with ship date
  • Low Cuckoo Marans availability
  • Do not offer some orders

Visit Hoover’s Hatchery

Mt. Healthy Hatcheries

Mt. Healthy Hatcheries is a family run hatchery that was founded back in 1924. This hatchery is now a soon to be 4th generation family-run business that hatches over 3 million chicks, ducks, and turkeys each year.

If you are looking for clean legged Cuckoo Marans then you should consider this hatchery. They have a low minimum order of 3 chicks during warmer times of year, making them a potential option if you want to buy only a few at a time. Mt. Healthy Hatcheries also has rare Golden Cuckoo Maran chicks. Their price range varies greatly depending on how many chicks you purchase.

  • Minimum Order: 3 Chicks
  • Price Range: $3.20-$5.40 for straight run


  • Offers Golden Cuckoo Marans
  • Low minimum order
  • 100% Live Arrival Guarantee
  • Vaccinate for Marek’s Disease
  • Offer winter shipping dates


  • Smaller orders are more expensive than other hatcheries
  • Do not offer feather legged varieties
  • Charge a small order fee

Visit Mt. Healthy Hatchery

The Valley Hatchery

You might not be familiar with The Valley Hatchery as they are a fairly new hatchery. This hatchery was inspired by a 4H project back in 2009 and specializes in many rare breeds. They now offer over 100 different breeds of poultry, including chicken, duck, turkey, and guinea breeds.

The owners of this hatchery have special connections to Marans so they know what they are doing. They offer both regular and French varieties, so they are sure to have the perfect Cuckoo Maran chicks for you regardless of whether you are looking for a heavier, clean-legged dual purpose Marans or a smaller feather-legged Marans that is perfect for APA showing. Their Cuckoo Marans are sold at lower prices than many competitors without compromising the health of the chicks.

  • Minimum Order: 3 Chicks
  • Price Range: $2.60-$4.45 for straight run


  • Special history with Marans
  • Low minimum order
  • Provide extra chicks with order to cover unfortunate shipping losses
  • Same shipping rate regardless of location


  • Seasonal availability
  • $15+ cancellation fee
  • Additional $25 small order fee

Visit Valley Hatchery

Chick Growth and Development

Cuckoo Maran Chicks Growth Chart

Age Weight Height Description
Week 1 2 ounces 4 inches Chicks are transitioning from downy feathers to adolescent feathers, it is easiest to see their first feathers in the wings.
Week 4 0.25-0.50 lbs 6 inches All adolescent feathers have grown in, and the cuckoo barred pattern should be visible. Comb is starting to grow.
Week 8 1-1.5 lbs 10-11 inches They are two-thirds the size of adults and are starting to develop a trapezoidal body shape. They will begin to molt their adolescent feathers.
Week 12 2-3 lbs 12-16 inches Easy to differentiate cockerels and pullets due to developed combs and wattles.
Week 20 3-5 lbs 14-20 inches Very close to adults in size. Most of their growth has occurred, but they will continue to grow a little bit more in the coming months.
Week 52 Hens (6.5 lbs) Roosters (8 lbs) Hens (15 inches) Roosters (22 inches) The Cuckoo Marans are now fully grown. Hens should have laid their first egg by now.

0-5 Weeks

At one day old, a Cuckoo Maran chick will be covered in dark downy feathers with lighter areas on the stomach and wing tips. Both male and female Cuckoo Maran chicks will have a light spot on their head. This spot is bigger and paler in males, whereas it is smaller with more defined edges in female chicks.

During their first week they will be active and curious about the world around them. They will start becoming taller and slightly less rounded in appearance. The chicks are beginning to lose their down and you may see their very first wing feathers developing. By the second week your Cuckoo Marans should be noticeably bigger. The wing feathers are better developed than at week one and you will start to see alternating lines of white and black feathers at the tip of their wings.

By week four you will see their comb start to grow. Male chicks will have a larger bright yellow comb whereas female chicks will have a duller yellow comb that is so small that it can be difficult to see. You should also be able to see the start of the barred pattern that Cuckoo Marans are known for.

6-12 Weeks

At week five your Cuckoo Maran chicks will start to develop their wattles. Another trick for telling the cockerels and pullets apart is that the males’ wattles should have a redder tint to them.

By week six your chicks should be noticeably gaining body mass each week. Both the cockerels and pullets should have thick legs, a bulky rounded body, and long, gently sloping neck. You should be able to see different personalities emerging in your individual Cuckoo Marans. Some may be bold and unafraid of you, while others may be more shy. Listen closely over the next week too as you might hear your young males make their first attempts at crowing.

During weeks seven and eight they will start their molt. Once their molt has finished you can introduce them to the rest of the flock. You should begin coop training them to go into the coop to roost at night.

By week ten, they look like mini-adults and should be around two-thirds the size of adult Cuckoo Marans. All the cockerels should have started crowing by now too.

13-22 Weeks

During this time your Cuckoo Marans will continue growing until they reach full adult size, which is 5.5 lbs for hens and 8.5 lbs for roosters. The pullets will finish developing their combs and wattles. Both pullets and cockerels should look pretty similar to the adult Cuckoo Marans.

They will continue to explore their role in the flock and should know their place in the pecking order. By the end of this period it should only be another month at most until your pullets start laying their first eggs.

What To Expect Raising Cuckoo Maran Chicks

Cuckoo Marans
Beginner Friendly: Yes.
Lifespan: 7+ years.
Weight: Hen (6.5lb) and Rooster (8.5lb).
Color: Cuckoo (White and black barred).
Egg Production: 4 per week.
Egg Color: Chocolate brown.
Known For Broodiness: Average.
Good With Children: Yes (hens only).
Cost of Chicken: $2.50-$7.

Cuckoo Marans are quiet and docile chickens who are calm and easy to handle. These chickens are friendly and enjoy interacting with their keepers, but do not expect them to be lap chickens. They would love nothing more than to come up and greet you, take a treat, and then independently carry on with their day. All Marans color varieties (including Black Copper Marans) tend to be easy to handle.

If you allow your chickens to free range, your Cuckoo Marans will spend their day calmly foraging around your yard for seeds and bugs. If your chickens are confined to a run, make sure there is plenty of space for them to move around.

Of course one of the best parts of keeping this breed is the rich brown eggs they lay. Although any color variety of Marans will lay these famous eggs, Cuckoo Marans are especially popular due to their beautiful black and white feathering.

A word of caution about the roosters as they tend to be more assertive than the hens. During the breeding season, they can get especially protective of the hens. It is recommended that you keep an eye on any small children who are near the coop if you have a Marans rooster, as the rooster may mistake the child as a threat.

Overall, the Marans Chicken are calm, lovely chickens that are easy to keep.

Cuckoo Marans Chicken
Cuckoo Marans Chicken

Buyer’s Guide

When buying your Cuckoo Maran chicks you want to look for strong chicks without any health issues.

Do they look bright, alert, and curious? Are they interested in interacting with the other chicks and their environment? Some chicks might be sleepy, but if you pick them up they should wake up and become more active in your hand, wriggling around and trying to escape. If they sit there dully instead, they are not healthy. A healthy chick should also not be wobbly while standing still.

While holding them you should look at their vent. It should be clean without fecal matter stuck in or around it. There should be no angry red irritation around the vent. Take a look at the chick’s legs and feet too. Cuckoo Maran chicks have yellow legs, and they should look uninjured, and the chick should have all of their toes.

You should also look at their beak and make sure that the top and bottom edges of it are lined up smoothly. There should be no cracks or missing chunks of beak. Next, compare the size of the chick to other Cuckoo Maran chicks. If the chick you are considering is a runt, then you should consider buying a different chick instead. In the chicken world, runts tend to have low survival rates due to a mixture of hidden health issues and being unable to stand up against bigger, stronger chicks.

Finally, you should ask about the egg color of the mother hen if you are buying Cuckoo Marans for their dark colored eggs. Depending on the strain, Cuckoo Marans can lay a wide range of brown eggs, from slightly darker than average to extremely dark. If your goal is to raise Cuckoo Marans that lay dark chocolate colored eggs, you will need to buy chicks that come from a hen who lays dark eggs.

What Makes a Good Hatchery?

If you are trying to find a good hatchery to buy your Cuckoo Maran chicks from, then there are a few things you should look for.

A trustworthy hatchery will have simple, clear, easy-to-find information on their policies. You should be able to see what guarantees they offer before you buy from them. A good hatchery will have either a refund policy or a 100% live arrival guarantee. The shipping process can be rough on chicks and sadly losses are not uncommon. With a refund policy or 100% live arrival guarantee, you can rest assured knowing that you will either get your money back or replacement chicks should something go wrong during transport.

Keep in mind that most hatcheries will only allow you to report chick losses within 48 hours of arrival.

Another thing to look for in a good hatchery is transparency. Many hatcheries do not offer in-person tours of the facilities as it greatly increases the chances of their chickens catching dangerous diseases such as avian influenza. However, a good hatchery will offer you a video tour to show you the standard of care provided within their facility.

A good hatchery will also monitor for diseases such as Pullorum, Avian Influenza, and Salmonella to make sure all of their chicks are healthy. Look for an NPIP certification badge on their website.

It is very important that you only use a trustworthy hatchery. Less credible hatcheries tend to use low-quality breeding stock. This can lead to unhealthy chicks with a greater chance of developing health issues.


Hopefully you have now found your Cuckoo Maran chicks. If possible you should ask the breeder about whether the chicks are an English variety, or a French variety. The English variety will have clean legs and a heavier build, making them easier to care for and more practical as a dual purpose breed. The French variety will put on less weight, and have feathered legs.

The wait time might feel like forever once you choose a hatchery and a shipping date, but it won’t be long before the day comes when you can pick up your newly hatched Cuckoo Marans from your local post office. An exciting new adventure will begin once the Marans safely make it to your home. They will provide you with countless hours of entertainment, and not to mention chocolate brown eggs.

Let us know about your Cuckoo Maran chicks in the comments section below…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

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