The beautiful Crevecoeur is no ordinary farmyard chicken! This rare poultry breed is physically impressive, with its rich black feathers and large crest and beard, and it’s also one of the oldest French chicken breeds.

The Crevecoeur’s history goes back to at least the 1700s, but many poultry experts think it’s much older. The Crevecoeur is known for its high-quality meat, but it is also used for egg production. Fans of fancy poultry breeds often keep Crevecoeur chickens as pets and for showing.

The Livestock Conservancy lists the Crevecoeur as a heritage chicken breed with “critical” conservation status, meaning that they are actively seeking to prevent its extinction.

Interested in preserving this rare heritage breed? Here’s what you should know about the Crevecoeur chicken.


Quick Facts About the Crevecoeur Chicken

Breed Name:Crevecoeur
Place of Origin:Normandy, France
Uses:Meat, Eggs, Exhibition
Rooster (Male) Size: 8 Pounds
Hen (Female) Size: 6.5 Pounds
Lifespan:8 Years
Climate Tolerance:Cold Intolerant
Care Level:Easy
Name in French:“Broken Heart”


Crevecoeur Chicken Origins

The Crevecoeur is one of the oldest French chicken breeds. It was developed in the Normandy region of France. The breed’s existence has been documented since the 1700s, but it is probably much older.

The Crevecoeur’s fancy looks may be the result of breeding typical French chickens with the striking Polish crested chicken, but its exact origins are unknown.

In the 1800s, the Crevecoeur was crossed with the large English Dorking chicken to create a larger bird with more meat.

The Crevecoeur was a very popular meat chicken in France. They have white breast meat but very dark leg meat, like ducks.

Crevecoeur Chicken Characteristics

Crevecoeur chickens are known for their good temperaments. They are generally calm and docile. Many owners report that they are people-oriented and will often follow their humans around.

Crevecoeur roosters, unlike many other breeds, also tend to be friendly and not aggressive, either to people or other chickens.

They do best with other gentle-natured chicken breeds and shouldn’t be kept with more aggressive breeds.

Crevecoeur chickens are heat tolerant but don’t do well in cold environments. Those fancy beards and crests can get crusted with snow and ice in the winter, making them vulnerable to frostbite.

Individuals with particularly large crests can also be more vulnerable to predators because their vision can be impaired.


Crevecoeur Chicken Uses

The Crevecoeur was bred primarily as a meat chicken in France, the breed’s country of origin. The French prized the Crevecoeur for the excellent quality of its meat. It is known for having white breast meat and dark, duck-like leg meat.

The Crevecoeur can also be used for egg production, but it is secondary to meat. Crevecoeur hens are moderate egg producers, with an average hen laying around 3 per week. Crevecoeur eggs are medium-large size and have white shells.

As a fancy chicken breed, the Crevecoeur is often kept as a pet in backyard flocks, or for showing at poultry exhibitions.

Appearance & Varieties

The Crevecoeur chicken has several physical characteristics that set it apart from other chickens.

The most common feather color is solid black. This is the only recognized color for the breed in the US and the UK. In France, you will also see white, blue, and cuckoo (barred) Crevecoeur chickens.

The Crevecoeur is known for its distinctive crest and beard. The breed is also known for its unusual V-shaped comb, which looks like cute little devil horns!

Crevecoeur chicks are adorably fuzzy, with some white coloring on their wings, crests, and undersides.

The Crevecoeur is a rare heritage breed of chicken. Heritage breeds of chickens (and other farm animals) existed in the time before agriculture was industrialized and are not currently used in large-scale farming operations.

The Livestock Conservancy lists the status of the Crevecoeur as critical. They are rare in the US and other parts of the world. While they are very rare, a few hatcheries do sell Crevecoeur chicks, so it is possible to find them.


Are Crevecoeur Chickens Good for Small-Scale Farming?

Crevecoeur chickens are a good choice for a backyard flock. They do produce some eggs, but these days they are primarily pet and show chickens. Their docile temperaments make them a good choice for novice chicken keepers. Be sure to keep them away from more aggressive chicken breeds.

They are not the best choice for cold climates and do better in warmer regions. Vulnerability to predators can also be a problem for individuals with large crests.

The Crevecoeur is a good choice if you are interested in helping to preserve a rare heritage breed of chicken.

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Featured Image Credit: Pukhov K, Shutterstock