Part of our Breed Profile series
This profile by Jennifer Sartell
The Crevecoeur and the Polish are similar looking crested breeds. Both are very old breeds from France. The Crevecoeur is the oldest known French breed coming out of Normandy and the Polish or Poland has been depicted in paintings dated back to the 15th century.
I’ve raised both Crevecoeur and Polish chickens and they are some of the sweetest chickens I’ve ever met! Docile and easy-going, with a gentle demeanor and deliberate movement. They are very easy to tame and make an interesting addition to any flock.
With a breed name like Polish, you may think that the breed originated in the country of Poland. When in fact the name comes from the Dutch word “pol” for “large head”. The breed’s origins are unknown, but most seem to think that the breed has French origins.
- Bred mainly for ornamental reasons.
- Comes in bantam and large fowl size.
- Not great layers. They lay a medium size cream-white egg. About 200 eggs per year
- Comb type is V-shaped and they not only have a crest but a domed shaped skull.
- Clean, slate-colored legs
- Bearded: Black Crested White, White Crested Black.
- Bearded & non-bearded: Golden, Silver, White, Buff Laced.
I used to mow the lawn with our Polish hen on my lap and she would sit comfortably all the while the tractor ran. I would also settle her into my bicycle basket and take her along for long bike rides.
I believe that the tameness comes as a result of the physical makeup of the chicken. The crest lends them somewhat blind to things going on over their heads. So when you reach to pick them up, they don’t see it coming. They soon learn that you mean them no harm and come to like the affection. I think most chickens are hard to tame because of the stress that comes with the initial catch trying to wrangle them. That scary “chase” is frightening before they realize that all you want to do is hold them safely.
They can be loners when placed in a mixed flock. They can also be the victim of bullying. This also has much to do with the crest of feathers that can sometimes act as a plaything to other chickens. The crest also makes it difficult to see what’s going on around them. Crest feathers may need to be trimmed at times.
Another crested French breed is the Crevecoeur, which looks very similar to the Polish. The Crevecoeur is in critical status according to the Livestock Conservancy. Crevecoeurs, which only come in the black color, were originally raised for the meat. The breed has fine, delicate bones but carries a lot of meat on those bones. Pair that with a rich-duck-like flesh and white skin and it makes a delicious table bird.
It is the oldest known French breed. Black originated in Normandy France.
- Crested and bearded with a V-shaped comb. Domed skull
- Moderate layers of large white eggs
- Short slate legs
- Black plumage
Like the Polish, this breed is very docile and friendly. They do well in confined spaces and are better kept with their own breed or other crested breeds.
The Crevecoeur is listed as critical status on the Livestock Conservancy website. This means that they are in danger of becoming extinct.