|HISTORY OF THE MARANS HEN||GLOSSARY||THE DIFFERENT VARIETIES||
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OFFICIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS RULES
|The Marans Club de France Championships which are associated with the Société Centrale d’Aviculture de France (Poultry Farming Society) and the FFV are official. The breeders and eggs judgment is official. The eggs must be laid by the real Marans breed.|
France Championship Rules
· 1. During the France Championship, each competitor must send his Marans eggs in a pack of 12 in wrapped boxes or boards without a name. For the MCF Regional Championships, a pack of 6 must be sent by the competitors. The eggs must be fresh, not old or partially emptied! This feature will be verified by the judges (They will touch the eggs, 2001 annual meeting decision in Nancy).
· 2. The Eggs Contest is optional for the France Championship contestants. But, the Eggs competitors must participate in the Marans poultry championship.
· 3. Each egg pack will be marked with a total of 10 points. First thing to be marked, the shell colour (7 points max.), then the brightness (2 points max.) and the shape (1 point max).
· 4. The colour intensity is compared with the MCF colour scale.
- Eggs N° 1 to 3 : 0 point
- Eggs N° 4 : 1 point
- Eggs N° 5 : 2 points
- Eggs N° 6 : 3 points
- Eggs N° 7 : 4 points
- Eggs N° 8 : 5 points
- Eggs N° 9 : 7 points
· 5. Brightness is marked on 2 points :
- Matt egg : 0 point
- Satin-like egg : 1 point
- Bright egg : 2 points
· 6. Shape is marked on 1 point :
- Stocky egg with a little top : 1 point
- Other common shapes : 0 point
7. The size of the egg doesn’t matter due to the France Championship time of the year; but if the egg is too light, there could be a disqualification.
The colour & shape homogeneity on 12 eggs doesn’t matter in order to avoid penalty points for eggs laid by different hens or even different by age.
If it needs to, the marking can be done egg by egg with a final average mark on a pack of 12 eggs.
MCF BREEDING GRAND PRIX
The breeders who exhibit 6 subjects at least during the France Championship can compete.
During the France Championship, a breeder is awarded a “GRAND PRIX D’ELEVAGE” (Breeding Grand Prix). He must have obtained the most points on his self-chosen subjects (2001 annual meeting decision in Nancy) to win this prize. The chosen subjects can be from different varieties.
The marking scale is :
Exhibitions are one of the results of a selection. Thus, it is a way to award a work correctly dealt.
On the exhibition, a judge notes several evaluations on a sheet. As a result, the breeder can think about his work and the visitor – potential buyer- is informed about negative or positive aspects of the exhibited subject. The judge’s role is very important; he has a good knowledge and all necessary skills. He is able to enlighten the breeder’s point of view and therefore to enhance the roots.
ETHICS ARE ESSENTIAL
During an exhibition, the breeder is to present the best of his breeding, or at least, quality stock which are race representatives. These subjects must be worth to work on them if they are to be bought.
A very light grooming is authorized and necessary (Hen and ring have to be clean. For instance: a little black feather on a white subject should be removed). A judge can spot an excessive cleaning, and the reward is a penalty point.
Let’s get things straight! This simple cleaning is not a make-up.
Thus the plastic surgery, sometimes done on combs, is forbidden. Trying to get rid of a visual flaw that is hereditary is useless for the breeder’s reputation and the potential buyer is cheated.
During the last championships in France, the Marans hens were in good shape and appreciable progresses were seen in the colour field. But, we shouldn’t be blinded by optimism and we should keep our efforts constant to eliminate other flaws which are common in nearly every race such as split wings, doubled combs …etc.
How can you choose a Marans for a Poultry farming Exhibition ?
By Marylène LE GOFF, official judge
It’s not pleasant to read the mention “disqualified” on a judgment form. The breeder is often badly surprised and disappointed. You should know that it’s rather easier for a judge to give good prizes than to penalize the stock.
We often share our notes about the Marans on exhibition.
We will try to explain why the judge eliminates your subjects. And it’s useless to exhibit poultry with anatomical flaws which result to disqualification.
The Marans has a unique and serrated comb.
Two or three little crests on the same comb are a flaw which is given from generation to generation.
At the end of the comb, there are no side excrescences.
Those flaws are the causes of disqualifications because they are hereditary.
They must be red.
In some exhibitions, I have seen light eyes, marbled eyes (eye iris with black spots), and black eyes.
The beak colour is ivory. The subject will be disqualified if the mandibles are uneven or crossed (Crossed beak).
The back is rather long and flat. You should eliminate the round back which is an anatomical deformation.
The tail is slightly raised (45°) and short. A lot of subjects have too vertical tails called “squirrel tail”. The subject appearance is modified, especially for the cock.
Take a look at your subjects’ wings. The 10 primary remiges and the 10 secondary remiges have to be lined up with no space and without gap.
The split wing is a hereditary defect and the subjects that have this flaw have to be eliminated from the reproduction process.
During an exhibition, all the judges get the poultry out of their cages. If the breastbone is deformed, the poultry is disqualified.
Many causes for a deformed breastbone: a round and narrow roost, a lack of vitamins, illness, altogether contribute to the skeleton weakening.
Marans has lightly feathered legs. Parasites go and hide under
the shanks scales; they give lesions (scabies). With a minimum of
hygiene and a good treatment, you can struggle against those
parasites. Twisted fingers, plantar abscesses are part of
When you ring a cock, put it above the spur to avoid a discomfort or injuries for the cock.
The different colours are described in the standard and you should refer to it.
Unfortunately, the variety mix is very usual on exhibitions. I have noticed brown-red cocks with red triangle wing, red chests, and reddish feathers going down the body. And brown-red hens with shapes on their upper wings or on their backs
Your poultry must be free from lice. Some times you should powder them to eliminate the parasites. Parasites could contaminate the entire breed and other stocks on exhibitions.
Occasionally, you can read on a judgment sheet:”Vulture hocks or cuffs”. There are lengthened feathers located on the back face of the thighs moving towards the rear of the Marans. (It proves a crossing between the Marans and Brahmas)
All those elements allow us to choose genuinely the better animals as soon as possible because all of these flaws can be detected well before the ringing.
HOMOLOGATION PROCEDURE OF A VARIETY
Certain existing Marans varieties are not homologated in the official standard for various reasons: confusions amongst the genetic colours, little knowledge, rarity, etc…
All precise varieties, on a genetic field, can be approved regarding the Marans standard as it is written.
The following varieties can be quoted:
The official recognition of these feather colours must be approved by the SCAF and by the standards commission of the ANJA (French poultry official judges) according to a very precise and respected homologation procedure. It is the same procedure to follow for a new race.
You can ask the MCF Head Office for the complete documents (4 pages) regarding this proceeding.
In short, you should:
· Present at least 12 good subjects (cocks & hens), (colours and shapes, without flaws) on a rather important exhibition,
· Exhibit subjects of different ages, it means young poultry of the year (less than 12 months) and other poultry of the last year for instance (more than 12 months),
· It would be desirable if you present the set coming from different poultry farmers,
· You should choose an important exhibition approved by the standards commission that will be present to judge.
WHY IS THERE SO MUCH MARANS VARIETIES?
This question about the large variety of the Marans is worth to be asked. It’s a rather remarkable specificity amongst the existing pure hen races.
The varieties of the Marans nowadays are just the results of following circumstances from the birth of the race to its enhancement. We can explain more easily that thru the next theses that are fundamental and irreversible in the Marans breed formation:
- The primary local hens were crossed with English gamecocks that have already several colours (and other latent colours). There were probably: brown-red, wheaten, black-tailed buff and golden-salmon.
- The Marans hens were crossed with different Asian breeds which were very fashionable during that time. It brought other genes as the shank feathering, the actual “extra-red” egg, and other feather colours which can be latent in the used breeds.
Questions about standards, feather colours, and the different genetic varieties were without precise and genuine answers from the Marans-Club de France during a long period of time. We have got accurate archives with a great number of details that were written from 1929 to 1966.
During that period, the Marans defenders were not spared by hesitations and clumsy turns of genetic selections which occurred in the first half of the century.
Thus, the lack of knowledge in genetics of the feather colours, the crossing mistakes, and other errors appear rather clearly between the lines of the precious archives saved by the MCF. You can read that several primary varieties (and not the least) were ignored: the true Wheaten, Black-tailed Buff, Splash and Blue, etc...
Still, the fact is that:
|The Marans comes from
numerous crossings; it results in a well-established
breed that is wanted in France and throughout the world. Since
its beginning, the Marans has
several genetic origins. There are several varieties that
are “mathematically” and genetically undeniable
(Brown-red, Birchen, Wheaten, Black-tailed Buff, Golden-blue,
Let’s be logical about this, we shall not promote one specific colour or condemn another colour which is imposed by the undeniable laws of genetics.
Therefore, according to this hypothesis, we should recognize very logically, for instance, that the “Splash” colour is a real colour variety that is genetically stable.
In fact, let’s remember that the existing Blue variety of our poultry, a perfect heterozygous colour, is totally impossible to be done without the Splash variety. The Spash variety, used alone, is homozygous and pure at 100%!.
The only flaw we can give to the “Splash” is that it is rejected on the aesthetics field and even refused in the breeds where it appears to be natural. Yet, on the scientific and genetic method, it was never and will not be sent back.
We should admit that, in all times, the breeders sought to be different and tried to work on other less common or obsolete varieties, as for certain wide-spread colours before the war and then ignored.
This human tendency is still a topical subject. Thus, some rare varieties survive in some way.
Some villages wanted to highlight themselves by choosing special colours for the Marans rather than others. Some ethnic groups did it in the past; therefore, it encourages the varieties diversification and not its shrinkage.
The breeders’ lack of knowledge to recognize the mysterious varieties called “Red-Buff-Salmon-Partridge” for instance hasn’t missed to maintain the Buff and Wheaten roots which were … latent and yet lost in this natural and preserved hotchpotch…
Since the MCF has continued the studies and research, the pure Wheaten and Black-tailed Buff breeds are separated; and we worked on them as it should be, the improvements are quick. The words “Red” and “Partridge” are refused, “Salmon” is for the two types of Faverolles.
At last, we notice that the progresses made on the Brown-red Marans selection are conclusive because we have done a progressive genetic purification of the Brown-red peculiar defects. Good to know what we have eliminated:
- Buff impurities in the Brown-Red
- The darkest subjects
- We put away the Birchen, Wheaten, Buff, etc… subjects because they are part of other selections.
|In other words, we should remember again that “finally, the Marans has forced on us to its laws” and it is undeniable.|
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