The Crevecoeur (Pronounced ‘krev-coor’) is an interesting breed… With such a striking appearance, they are not easy to miss. Crevecoeurs themselves actually originated in France. In fact, Crevcoeur means ‘Broken-Heart’ in French…
Crevecoeurs were bred mainly for ornamental purposes and are not very productive layers. A healthy Crevecoeur hen will lay about 100-150 eggs per year. However, Crevecoeurs take somewhat longer to mature than the average and will likely not begin lay until 7-8 months (unlike Egyptian Fayoumis, which begin laying at around 4 months of age).
Crevecoeur roosters weigh about 7-8 pounds and hens weigh 5-6 pounds. This puts them in the category of medium-large chickens. Crevcoeurs come in bearded, Ear-tufted or any combination of the listed or even clean (no beard or tuffs). However, all true ‘Crevies’ have crests. Crevecoeurs are clean-legged (no feathers on their feet) and have dark greenish/slate shanks and toes. However, the bottom of their feet is usually a yellow-ish color. Crevecoeurs’ beaks are similarly colored to their legs (dark with lightly colored tips). Crevecoeurs have dark, low-set eyes and large cavernous nostrils. Unlike most chicken breeds, their nostrils are set high on their beaks. This forms a slight protrusion on the top of the upper portion of the beak.
Crested are unique in the fact that their brains are about 20% larger than the average chicken. This causes a ‘quirk’ in the chick’s fetal development which results in a crest… At ~15 days into incubation, the chick’s skull begins forming a protrusion on the top of the chicks head. The purpose of this protrusion is accommodate the large brain. The result is what we call a ‘crest’.
Crevecoeurs are not known to be extremely temperature hardy. However, they are more tolerant than many other breeds. My Crevecoeurs fared much better in hot weather than my Buff Orpingtons… They also where happily foraging outdoors (seemingly without a care) when the ground was frozen and it was below 20F.
Maintenance & Activity levels
Crevecoeurs are fairly low maintenance. They also bear confinement well. However, Crevecoeurs are not superb foragers… Although they enjoy the outdoors and love to stretch their legs, they are not among the most self-sufficient breeds. Like most crested breeds, Crevecoeurs’ peripheral vision is often somewhat impaired. This makes them more susceptible to birds of prey as well as other predators. Therefore, they should be kept in a secure place. However, Crevecoeur chickens fly exceptionally well (better than any breed I have ever owned). For this reason, care must be taken when fences are involved. Given the above factors… if you plan to have free range chickens on a large piece of property, cresteds are probably not the optimal breed choice. They are better suited as pets and/or in small backyard flocks… with huge fences.
Crevecoeurs are rather friendly towards people (primarily when familiarized with humans). Crevecoeurs generally tolerate handling well. However, most Crevecoeurs are easy to spook.
Crevecoeurs are very docile. In fact, aggression is rarely seen with this breed… even with the roosters. This is a very desirable trait for many backyard chicken keepers. However, it means that Crevecoeurs are often near the bottom of the pecking order.
Need help determining the gender of your crested chicks? Please visit my other article on the subject here: How To Sex Crested Chicks and/or visit me through my Contact Page. I am always ready to talk chickens!