Table of Contents
The Crevecoeur is a rare French breed and is named after the commune of Crevecoeur-en-Auge. These Normandy ladies are a historic breed that is on the endangered list. They are a crested breed of chicken that is closely related to breeds such as the La Fleches, Caux, Caumont and the extinct Pavilly.
They were originally bred for the eggs and meat, but these birds take a lot longer to mature than most chickens and only start to lay at 7 – 8 months old. Their slow maturity does not make them a good commercial bird, but they do make good backyard coop chickens. They have the most wonderful natures being gentle and docile birds. But they can get spooked easily as their crests impair their vision.
|Country of Origin:||France|
|American Poultry Association:||Recognized as a breed of chicken in the United States|
|Chicken Category:||Large Breed|
|Bantam Variety Available?||Yes – All Other Comb Clean Legged Bantam Classification|
|Good Starter Chicken?||They are a low maintenance chicken with a nature that makes them a good starter chicken. The downside is that they are listed as critical on the Conservation lists.|
Eggs: They are average egg layers.
They lay medium white eggs from 104 – 120 per year
They will lay consistently throughout winter and summer
They start to lay eggs from around 7 – 8 months old.
Meat: They have white meat that can be used as a table bird. But due to their rarity, they are not really used for meat these days.
Breeding: They can be bred but hens are not very good sitters and do not get broody very often. They are not very good mothers.
If you are breeding the Crevecoeur for show choosing the correct hens and rooster bloodline is crucial.
Foraging: They love to scratch and forage about. But do well in confinement.
Show Bird: Their beautiful black plumage and feather crests make them excellent supermodel show birds.
Pets: They are tame somewhat docile birds and make good pets.
Other: Their soft natures make them compatible with other chickens, but their vision is slightly impaired by their crests.
|Flyers?||They are excellent flyers|
|Noisy Birds?||They are not too noisy except when spooked|
|Interaction with other chickens:||They get along well with other breeds. As with any flock if you are introducing new birds it is best to slowly socialize them with the flock.|
|Good with kids?||Their gentle calm nature makes them a great pet to have around children. They are not known to show any aggression this is true of the rooster as well.|
The Crevecoeur true origins are unknown being one of the oldest of the French chicken breeds. They take their names from the Crevecoeur-en-Auge commune this is in the Pays d’Auge regions historic district. Although the Crevecoeur was shown at the Exposition Universelle of 1855 where is won some prized the breed was not accepted by the Societe d’Aviculture de Basse-Normandie until the early 1900’s. The breed was thought to have been extinct after the second world war as its numbers had declined considerably after both the first and second world wars.
Jean-Claude Periquet took on the recovery of the breed in 1976 and by 1995 there were reported to be between 100 to 1000 birds. The FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) classified the Crevecoeur breed of chicken as “endangered” in 2007.
The Crevecoeur arrived in America in 1852 it was accepted into the American Standard of Perfection by the American Poultry Association in 1874.
Appearance/Body: The Crevecoeur has a poofed up crest much like that of the Houdan chicken breed. The Crevecoeur differs from the Houdan in that it is four-toed. It also has a V-shaped comb which is similar to that of the La Fleche chicken breed.
They have dark grey slate color clean legs some have ear tufts, and some may have beards.
Color(s) Black is the only recognized color by the APA although they do come in some other nonstandard colors.
Comb: They have a pea comb
Ave. Weight: Hen 6.5 lbs.
Rooster 8 lbs.
|Life Expectancy:||The average lifespan is 8 years|
|Health:||They have no known health issues|
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|Temperament:||Non-aggressive and friendly|
|Socialize Behavior?||They get along well with all other animals|
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|Known predators:||Most domestic animals leave them alone but they can get a bit nervous around other animals, so it is always best to keep an eye on dogs and cats.
If hawks and or foxes are in your area it is always best to take precautions.
Check with local animal shelters, zoos, vets, animal control and or pet stores about common predators in your area.
|Conservation Status:||These birds conservation status is recorded as “critical”. It is best to check on any special license or instructions that may be set up for owning these birds. This can be checked with your local or national conservation centers.|
|Garden Size:||They adapt well to most sized gardens and take confinement well. They do like to free range and forage about to stretch their slate grey legs.|
|Ideal Climate:||They are hardy birds that but do better in the summer months than they do in the winter.|
|Ideal Coop:||The rule of thumb for any coop is 50 cm x 50 cm per hen/rooster in the coop.
Ensure there is a good space for the nesting boxes and nightly roosting rails at least 1.5 inches wide.
Good ventilation for air but not too drafty especially in winter.
It is always a good idea to raise the coop off the ground to give the birds a dry place to roost and lay especially in wet weather.
|Ideal Coop Run:||Crevecoeur love to fly and can do so very well. It is advisable to completely cover the coop run thus offering the birds a safe secure environment.|
|Ideal Flock Size:||They are quite happy in any size flock as long as they have one companion to wander the gardens with.|
|Special Instructions:||They do not have any physical special instructions but the conservation societies may have some.|
|Accessories:||The following accessories are ideal for your coop:
Straw for the boxes and roosting area
Animal carrier for transport purposes
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WHERE TO FIND THESE BIRDS TO ADD TO YOUR FLOCK
The Crevecoeur was once a prized French bird for its meat and eggs. Their numbers were depleted during the first and second world wars. As such they are not a breed of chicken commonly found at most live poultry outlets and farms. You can find registered breeders on the Livestock Conservancy website or the Polish Breeders Club website along with a host of valuable information. They will also be able to help with any special requirements, attention or care they may need. If you plan on breeding your chickens, you will want to make sure that they are from a good bloodline.
There is also a Facebook page dedicated to the conservation of the Crevecoeur chicken.
CARING FOR THE BIRD(S)
Please click here for our full guide to “Taking care of chickens”. This is a comprehensive guide to owning chickens. It covers where to start from choosing your ideal flock, the coop that would best suit your garden, your bird and you to buying and bringing your bird(s) home.
Except for a bit more care in the winter they are a low maintenance bird and their size tends to deter predators.
These French chickens do love their dust bath and some added herbal essences mixed into the loose sand will be much appreciated by them. The dust bath helps the chickens to rid their pretty plumes of pests and excess oils. These French ladies and even the gents do not mind the attention and as they are quite easy to handle giving them regular examination for mites, lice and various other parasites should not be too difficult. Checking for these pests in their feathers should be done at least once a week to your chickens healthy. Always get your birds de-wormed on a regular basis especially if they are around other animals or interacting with kids.
DIET AND NUTRITION
Give your Crevecoeur a balanced diet of chicken pellets, grains, chicken mash or grain mix from 8 weeks old and older. This should be fed to them first thing in the morning before they are let out to roam about to ensure they are getting all their nutrients.
For baby chickens, the best is always Chick Starter when they are under 8 weeks old.
Laying hens should get extra protein and calcium in their diets to ensure the quality of their eggs and to keep them in tip-top health.
Crevecoeur chickens do love getting table scraps in the form of vegetables and fruit. They find these scraps even better if they are served as ice-cubes on very hot days. You will find that they will love the extra bit of attention if you hand feed the snacks to them.
Feeding your chickens correctly will give your organic garden a lot of nutritious fertilizer to make your vegetables or flowers grow.
Please see our comprehensive guide to “Feeding your chickens” for more information of the different types of chicken feed for chicks, hens, laying hens, roosters, etc. and where to buy the feed and approximate cost of the feed.
SOCIALIZING THE BIRD(S)
Crevecoeur is not a difficult bird to socialize but their soft natures tend to put them at the bottom of the pecking order. It is best to mix these gently kind birds with a breed that will not bully or terrorize them.
Always check on how well a breed will get on with your current flock before buying them as you do not want to upset your coop or stress your current flock.
If you want to introduce another breed with your Crevecoeur, try a breed that has a gentle nature that will match theirs.
As with any newcomer to the roost, you will have to quarantine the bird for 7 – 31 days to ensure it does not have any unwanted critters or disease that could spread to your current flock.
Even though they are lower in the pecking, even they have a pecking order, so it is advisable to socialize newcomers slowly and determine when it is right to allow them to become a permanent part of the flock.
NOTES / SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS
As they are registered as a “critical” conservation status they may need an extra license to own or keep in your garden. For advice on what the bird’s conservation status and orders are please check with your local conservation department.
For breeders, it is imperative that you always check your bird’s bloodlines and ensure you are buying your birds from a reputed breeder/farm. In order to sell birds of such stature, they have to be recorded and documented, always check with local animal breeding organizations for these records.
These legitimate documents are also required should you wish to show your bird(s) in various poultry shows/competition showings.
For information and advice on adopting rescued animals, you can visit or contact your local animal welfare center.
- Caring for your Chicken
- Socializing your Chicken
- Breeding Chicken
- Raising Chickens A-Z
- Hatching Eggs
- What is Molting
- Animal Shelter (ASPCA)
- American Veterinary Medical Association
- American Poultry Association
- American Animal Welfare Society
- American Animal Control
- American Animal Husbandry Society