Black Copper Maran egg have a very thick, waterproof shell, making the hatching process a bit more complicated than other hatching eggs. The dark brown pigment of the egg adds additional layers to the shell, so the darkest of the dark eggs have the thickest shells. These eggs take longer to hatch — on average an extra 14 hours more (22 days) because the chicks take longer to peck their way out of that thick shell. Add to that the possibility of a smaller air sack inside the shell (keep reading to help remedy this), and you could end up with chicks that struggle to exit before their air runs out — even after you’ve waited a full 22 or 23 days to meet them! I’ve lost some chicks right before hatching because of this and it’s heartbreaking!
After you receive your hatching eggs in the mail, place them upright with the small end pointed down and give them time to come to room temperature. At the same time, turn your incubator on and allow the temperature inside to regulate. Rest the eggs for about 18 hours and warm them gradually before placing them in your incubator.
Some sources say that with Copper Maran hatching eggs you should run the incubator dry for the first 14 days. No humidity! This allows for a larger air pocket to form in the egg, (which happens when liquid evaporates from inside the shell) thus providing more time for the chick to peck through that thick shell. After day 14, add water and increase humidity during the hatch up to 60%. Another source suggested sanding the shell to remove some of the thickness before incubating. I’m planning to try this method and will report results!
You can candle the eggs at about Day 10, but make sure you’re in a dark room since seeing through that brown shell is difficult in a lighted room. The embryos are very vulnerable at this point, so be careful and don’t candle often, even though it’s tempting.
When you start to hear cheeping inside your eggs, this is a sign that your chicks are calling to each other and synchronizing the hatch. During your hatch, you can place a soft cloth in your incubator to keep the chicks from slipping on the surface after hatching. If you’re worried about the cloth absorbing humidity, you can dampen it with warm water. Since your chicks can survive 24 to 48 without food or water, leave them in your incubator to encourage the other chicks to hatch.
A good hatch rate for Marans is 65% to 75%.