Barred Rock or Maran – Which is Really the Best Egg layers?



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I’ve always found chickens to be fascinating creatures.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved watching them peck around in the yard, scratching at the dirt and clucking away.

But it wasn’t until recently that I started to get really interested in what breeds are best for egg production.

As some of you may know, I decided a few months back that I wanted to start raising my own chickens so I could have fresh eggs.

At first, I just picked up a mix of whatever chickens the local farm store had, not really thinking too much about breeds.

But man, what a difference the right breed can make! Some of those mixed hens barely laid an egg a week it seemed like. I definitely wasn’t getting the egg production I was hoping for.

That’s when I started researching which breeds are considered the best layers. Two breeds kept popping up as top contenders – the Barred Rock and the Maran.

The Barred Rock is a very popular American breed known for its reliability and hardiness. They seemed like a good, basic option since they’re so widely available.

But then I read about the Maran and got intrigued. Apparently they can lay up to 300 eggs per year on average, which is nuts! That’s way more than the 250 eggs per year the Barred Rock is said to produce.

Still, I had some questions. Some things I read said the Marans can be a bit flighty or nervous compared to the calm Barred Rocks.

Would the egg production really be worth the extra stress of a shy breed? Also, I wasn’t sure about the color of the Maran eggs since they aren’t the traditional chicken egg white.

Would family and friends think they were weird looking? The Barred Rocks definitely laid the familiar brown eggs.

So in the end, I was still torn on which breed to go with, Barred Rock or Maran?

Now, let’s go and make a decision together:


Barred Rocks have that classic black and white pattern that makes ’em easy to spot from a mile away. Their feathers look like someone dipped ’em in chalkboard paint!


But those Marans are real eye-catchers too – makes a peacock jealous even! You’ll see all kinds like chocolate brown, blue, or lavender. One rooster we saw was greener than Shrek!

The colors can vary a lot bird to bird. Some Marans are dull like a rainy day while others shine brighter than a firefly. And their feathers feel silkier than momma’s good Sunday dress.

One thing’s for sure – you ain’t never gonna mix up a Maran for another breed. Those plumage colors will have folks stopping by to catch a glimpse when they’re out free ranging.

The Barred Rocks stay pretty true to their name with their simple black and white coats. Makes them perfect for a flock with lots of other breeds where you wanna tell birds apart easy.

So in summary – the Marans wow with their rainbow feathers but the Barred Rocks work better if practicality is your thing over fancy new styles.

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Alright, let’s talk turkey about how these chooks act. Both breeds have even dispositions better than butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth.

Barred Rocks are cooler than a cucumber. Nothing much ruffles their feathers and they’ll cuddle up on your lap like a pup for pets and scritches.

Marans have a bit more sass in ’em. They’ll explore every nook and cranny of the yard and ain’t afraid of a dang thing. Makes ’em fun to watch but you gotta chicken proof good or they’ll end up somewhere they ain’t supposed to be!

I’ve found the Maran hens can get a little snippy around feeding time if they don’t get their oats quick enough. Whereas the Barred Rock girls are happy go lucky no matter what.

Both get along swell with other animals on the homestead though. My buddy’s got pigs and goats running with his mixed flock and they all get along like one big happy family.

Laying Ability


Alright, I know y’all really want the dirt on these girl’s egg laying prowess. Well let me enlighten you some more.

Barred Rocks will pump out around 200-250 brown eggs each year. Not too shabby for a backyard flock.

But the Marans, wowza! Their dark chocolate or blue eggs can number 300-350 yearly. That’s almost 100 more eggs than the Barred Rocks!

I’ve talked to others with both breeds free ranging together. 9 times outta 10 the Marans are still outslicking the Barred Rocks when it comes to egg count at the end of the season.

No lie, I think I might be a bit biased towards my ladies now thanks to their huevos production. Hard to beat their colorful eggs and numbers!

Broodiness and Mothering

Both these breeds make mighty fine mamas when they set on a nest. They’ll hatch those peepers with care and tenderness.

In my experience, the Marans get broody maybe twice as often as the Barred Rocks though. Might be their wilder nature wanting to spread their seeds, if you catch my meaning!

Both hens will raise a big healthy brood for ya once hatched. I’ve seen whole litters make it to independence under their excellent care.

The mommas get real tetchy when their babies are tiny and fluffy. Won’t let anything near without a cluckin’ fit! Very protective like any good mama should be.


This is where the Barred Rocks really shine in my book. They can survive a nuclear blast I swear!

Come hail, rain, or snow these gals act like nothing fazes ’em. Even through blizzards they’ll keep on laying like energizer bunnies.

The Marans ain’t slouches but I find they pay more mind to changes in weather. When a storm’s a brewin’ their egg count might dip a smidge.

And those plumage colors don’t do ’em any favors in extreme heat. My Marans pant a lot more than the plainer Barred Rocks on a scorcher.

So if bad weather gives you yearly worries, the heartier Barred Rocks will withstand Mother Nature’s worst better than the prettier Marans.

Cost Comparison

Let’s not forget the dollar signs neither! On average, you’re looking at $7-10 per Barred Rock chickie.

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While the Marans with all their colorful glory will set you back $12-15 a pop. Quite the premium!

But as I explained, those Marans lay so darn many eggs it evens out after the first laying season.

By then you’ve made back your investment many times over in all the sales from their superior egg yields year round.

So those flashier Marans cost more up front yes, but pay you back tenfold if you value quantity over looks alone.

Well friends, I hope that ultra deep dive helped give you the real scoop on Barred Rocks vs Marans! Let me know if any other questions come up. Til’ next time, happy egg hunting!

Feed Requirements

Both breeds stay pretty lightweight feeders so their upkeep costs ain’t too high.

The Barred Rocks especially know how to scratch for their own grub and won’t mind table scraps or free ranging most days.

With the Marans laying so many eggs, their calcium and protein needs are a touch greater than the Barred Rocks.

I’d up their layer feed rations by 10-15% to keep their bodies well fueled for maximum egg production.

Other than that, both flocks will thrive on a basic poultry feed mixed with oyster shells, grit, and plenty of fresh greens plucked straight from the garden.

Protein is key for those laying gals so don’t skimp on quality feed or their bodies will tell you quick!

Space Requirements

Space needs may depend more on flock size than breed for these girls.

A small mixed flock of 6 birds needs no more than a 10×10 coop with some scratching yard.

For larger flocks of 12 or more, upgrade the coop square footage proportionally.

Chickens are social so try to house them with at least one friend of the same breed if possible.

These breeds won’t mind tight quarters as long as they get daily sun, fresh air, dust baths, and shelter from the elements at nightfall.

With adequate space and provisions, they’ll be happy campers wherever you house ’em.

Disease and Parasite Resistance

Both breeds enjoy good overall health thanks to their rugged constitutions.

The Barred Rocks win as the tougher of the two when it comes to resisting common illnesses like coccidiosis or pneumonia.

Their hearty genes make them less prone to sickliness overall.

The flashier Marans fall prey a bit quicker if conditions aren’t perfect or they pick up bugs from sharing space with less robust breeds.

Worming regularly, keeping coops clean and dry, and offering medication or natural preventatives in your water can stave off issues for both types though.

Vigilance is key to keeping your whole flock healthy as a horse regardless of breed genetics too.

Meat Quality

While better known for their eggs, both chickens also provide tasty table fare when butchering time comes.

The Barred Rocks grow larger overall and develop broader breasts quicker than the Marans.

So for meat birds raised especially for the dinner table, the hardier Barred Rocks slightly edge out the Marans.

But the Marans still deliver flavorful smaller portions perfect for smaller families or occasional meals.

I’ve never had a complaint about either breed’s meat! Both have that rich, hearty taste you hope for from pastured poultry.

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Foraging Ability

These gals love nothing more than a good grub around the yard to find their vittles.

The Barred Rocks take top honors here as natural-born foragers always on the hunt for bugs, grasses, and whatever else they can peck up.

Their keen eyes miss hardly anything crawling or growing at ground level.

Marans enjoy free grazing too but can be a touch lazier about seeking out their supper if well-fed.

Free ranging both breeds is best for their health, your wallet, and the environment as they clean up fallen seeds and food scraps naturally.

Suitability for Small Spaces

Both chickens adapt splendidly to backyard homesteads with small coops no problem.

As long as they get daily sunshine and fresh greens, even apartment dwellers could keep a few of these hardy, low-maintenance gals happy.

Consider opting for the bantam sized versions if extremely tight on space too.

Their smaller statures take up far less room than full size versions while still providing eggs perfect for one or two people.

With basic shelter, food, water, and daily love, these chickens bring plenty of joy and benefits even to the tiniest of homesteads.

Customer Support

Most hatcheries delivering these quality breeds aims to please!

They stand by the health and genetics of their stock with replacements for any that don’t make it through the critical first few weeks.

Many even offer chat lines or online forums for questions from new owners at any stage.

Do your research to find a reputable seller known for standing behind their products. It gives peace of mind for a small investment.

Between store policies and online communities, you’ve got help always on call when keeping these beloved barnyard gals happy as a clam.

Barred Rock vs Maran: Side-by-Side Comparison

Barred Rock Maran
Appearance Distinct black and white barred pattern Variety of vibrant colors like chocolate, blue, lavender
Temperament Calm and docile More inquisitive and active
Annual Egg Production 200-250 brown eggs 300-350 colored eggs
Brooding Ability Great mother, raises large broods Excellent brooder, may breed more frequently
Hardiness Extremely rugged, thrives in any climate Hardy but more prone to stress in extremes
Cost as Chicks $7-10 each $12-15 each
Feed Requirements Low maintenance, stays lean Higher protein and calcium needs
Space Requirements Adaptable to small or large areas Thrives with ample room to roam
Disease Resistance Very resistant Susceptible to illness in poor conditions
Meat Quality Larger birds, great flavor Smaller portions but tasty
Foraging Ability Natural champions at hunting food Unsure searchers if not motivated
Suitability for Small Spaces Perfect for any size area Need sunshine and room to spread wings
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