(SOLD OUT, 2024 presales open Dec 21) Purple Copper Chicks! Heavy Bloom Line Black Copper Marans (STRAIGHT RUN)
$42.00 – $250.00
Crosshatch Farm is happy to share our purebred Black Copper Marans chicks, a line born of experimental breeding pairs chosen to lay a heavy bloom over a dark, red-brown pigmented egg— resulting in eggs that look purple, lavender, and shades of mauve. We strive to conform to the SOP in all our breeding choices in type and feathering, though please note that bloom is not considered standard for marans eggs!
NOTE: Sales are completely closed for 2023. Orders for the 2024 season will open December 21, 2023.
Please do not purchase chicks if you are not comfortable being on a substantial waitlist, and remaining flexible on your ship dates. Many thanks!
What is a Purple Copper?!
‘Purple Copper’ is the affectionate name our family gave to our pure bred Black Copper Marans that lay eggs with a deep purple-red pigmentation and sometimes a shocking heavy bloom that makes the eggs appear lavender, bright periwinkle, deep grape purple, and mauve. The delight a purple egg brings is sort of indescribable, if you are into these things.
Our flock is a closed line of quality black copper marans we’ve bred at the redstead over generations in a clan mating program. As of summer 2023, all of our females are under a male hatched from a heavy bloom purple egg. We strive to conform to the SOP in all our breeding choices in type and feathering, though please note that bloom is not considered standard for Marans eggs.
Will all my hens lay purple eggs? Can you give me hens that will lay a 9?
Nope and nope. Not all hens will lay super dark eggs, but this line certainly carries the genetic propensity for rich and highly pigmented eggs! Hens that lay really dark in the Spring will fade over the year, and there will be great variation in egg color between hens sourced from the same brooder.
We would never guarantee that all our Black Copper Marans will lay bloomed eggs from this line, but the more we hatch from bloomed purple eggs, the more bloom layers we get in the next generation. We consistently select for purple pigmentation in the base coloring, and we do see numerous heavy bloom layers as they come to maturity.
Before you invest, it’s good to understand some things about egg color genetics so that you can ask good questions and get real answers. Please read on…
Pigments and Bloom—Dark Egg Genetics in a Nutshell
Genetically speaking, all brown eggs are best understood as a white egg shell coated in a brown pigment (protoporphyrin) that is deposited on top of the egg shell. In the rainbow egg community, some breeds have gained popularity for being heavy brown pigment depositors, such as Marans. The darker the brown pigment deposited, the darker your brown egg.
Note that all heavy brown pigment depositing breeds including Marans will lay their darkest eggs after a pause in laying, and will lighten through the year or even show variation in one given week— biologically speaking, hens can only produce so much pigment to coat their eggs. It sounds cliche, but the more they lay, the less ‘ink’ they have available for each egg.
Marans eggs can be chocolate brown that lighten to show a bit of an orange undertone, or almost red and shiny, or even sort of mauve tinted. Some will hold on to their color better through the laying season than others. Some will have mulfunctions in the pigmention deposit, resulting in wonderful speckling and wide variability, where you will see darker pigmentation speckles on top of base pigmentation. This is all part of the fun of collecting Marans eggs.
In addition to egg shell color and pigment deposited on top, we breed for a heavy third layer, bloom. Bloom (called ‘cuticle deposit’ in the literature) is the last layer deposited on an egg when it passes through the oviduct. Made of calcium and protein and such, it is the antibacterial coating that allows us to keep our homestead or farm-sourced eating eggs on the counter. In store bought eggs, bloom is clear and invisible to the eye. But Heavy bloom can be solid and somewhat still shiny or opaque and completely chalky. Heavy bloom is often responsible for the ‘wow’ factor, where a brown egg becomes purple or a green egg becomes gray.
According to the literature, about 38% of bloom is thought to be genetic, with other environmental and nutritional factors also playing a role in its deposit and prevalence. Breeding for bloom increases the visual variety in your egg basket, but remember that eggs without discernible bloom still have it! In fact, a quick rinse under a stream of sink water doesn’t even remove it.
Any given hen can lay bloom one day, ombre half blooms the next day, and speckles by Saturday, but we often see a hen who goes into full opaque bloom lay that way for the remainder of the laying season.
Cull the Dull, Keep the Deep
I like to think of deeply pigmented flocks of laying hens as a result of duration and selection, which can’t be ‘bought’ in one act of consumerism. In the same way that an antique wood utensil takes on the marks of a hand over time, your flock will develop its own terroir over time, given your base genetics, your selection of further pairings, and all the environmental factors of your region and place including nutrition and soil and water.
To establish your program or back yard flock, commit to the process. You’ll want to ‘cull the dull’ by identifying which hens in your flock lay lightly pigmented or otherwise dull eggs and rehome them, which allows you to ‘keep the deep’— only breed forward those with heavy pigment depositing abilities. Breed these together, or if you must, bring in further birds with desired characteristics and delight in the surprises the following spring.
Those with the most delightful egg baskets cull the most from their flocks!
Waitlist & Shipping Timeline
All of our chick orders run on waitlists, which are served in the order of purchase with consideration for weather. After purchase you’ll receive an email from Brooke with an estimated window for your chicks to hatch. Please do not order if you are unable to wait and remain flexible— we do our best but can’t really count our chicks until they hatch! We plan to ship into August or September this year, and reserve the right to delay your shipment for heat or massive storm fronts that are likely to disrupt shipping. We are happy to arrange local pickups during the hottest and coldest parts of the year near Xenia or Yellow Springs, Ohio.
We ship chicks Priority Express through the USPS. In nearly all cases we deliver to the post office around 3pm, the birds get hand carried in the Express-only van at about 3:30pm and driven to the Cincinnati distribution center, where they will board a flight and arrive at your closest distribution center overnight. From there, they board trucks around dawn and are driven to your local Post Office, where they will call you for pickup. In some cases in large states they may be trucked through two distribution centers, which usually adds a day.
Edit 8/10: The USPS had changed their contracting and processes for Priority Express and eliminated the ‘Lives’ option in a major change to their online shipping platform, requiring us to purchase postage at the counter and send you tracking by text or email. We are currently shipping birds weekly through either Priority Express or Priority, through the advisement of our Postmaster who is in contact with the Director of Transportation in our region. Both usually arrive the next day, if the last weeks of August are any indication!
All chicks are shipped with grogel electrolytes and heat packs where appropriate.
What to Expect
You should order a minimum (combined) total of 6 chicks, but please do not order more than 12 purple coppers in a single order.
Before ordering, please be sure to read our policies page. Upon completing your order, you will receive a Paypal notification to your email of your purchase immediately and then an email from me ballparking your shipping date sometime later. I strive to give you a one to two week advance notice of your forecasted hatch date, and I confirm all chick shipments the day before or day of shipment, with tracking info on the day of, to be sure you’re ready to receive your new additions.
If needed, you can delay, but please keep an open brooder in mind to not lose your place in the line! Disruptions can cause a domino effect in the waitlist, so we appreciate your patience and commitment.
We love our purples and think you will too!
One Day Old Chick, Six Day Old Chicks, Three Day Old Chicks
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