Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Jeannette Beranger, research and technical programs manager for The Livestock Conservancy in North Carolina, has started a project to help restore the Crevecoeur. It's an old French crested breed that has lost ground in modern life.

As Jeannette started looking for flocks, she found nearly all had white ear lobes, an unacceptable trait that indicates that Polish stock has been introduced into the breeding.  Crevecoeurs should have large, well-developed crests that do not interfere with their sight.

The crested Polish improves that distinctive crest, but reduces size in this large breed. Roosters should be eight pounds, compared to the Polish six pounds. Lewis Wright, in his 1890 Illustrated Poultry Book, notes that Crevecoeurs are bulkier than two other old French breeds, the Houdan and the La Fleche: “Indeed, we have often thought that it must have had a cross with the Cochin, which is to some extent borne out by its enormous appetite.” 

Jeannette located one flock in Missouri from which to start hatching eggs. The flock owner shipped 38 eggs to her -- but only one hatched. This little pullet is growing up on a farm with guinea keets for sisters.
 Here she is, the only one growing a crest.
Here she is as of last week, an attractive young pullet.

The Crevecoeur has a crest and a V comb, although earlier in history they also had leaf combs. Leaf combs result from crossing V or horn combs with single combs. Currently recognized only in black plumage, white and blue were raised in the past.  

All three crested French breeds are now the same in weight standard for large fowl: 8 lbs. for cocks and 6 ½ lbs. for hens. Among bantams, Houdans are slightly larger, at 34 ounces for cocks and 30 ounces for hens, compared to 30 ounces for La Fleche cocks and 26 ounces for hens, and 30 ounces for Crevecoeur cocks and 27 ounces for hens.

I'll keep in touch with Jeannette as to her progress with raising this fine old breed. Two devoted admirers have stepped up to volunteer to raise this breed. An impressive bird like this deserves a large following.

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