- Purpose: Eggs And Meat
- Eggs: White
- Egg Size: Small
- Color: Black And White
- Comb Type: Butterfly
An ancient contemporary of the Dorking chicken, the Houdan is an absolutely fabulous chicken.
With five toes, a v-shaped or butterfly comb, and a head-encircling crest of feathers that would make Lady Gaga jealous, this old French breed is a sight to behold!
As with many European breeds, the Houdan is named after the region in France where it was developed.
Being so fabulous comes at a price! That signature crest is probably the Houdan’s biggest asset on the show floor, but it is also their biggest liability in the field.
Houdans are particularly susceptible to the cold because their excess head feathering can freeze when too wet! They do best in warm, dry climates.
With all that feathering around their heads, Houdans also have a limited range of sight. They do prefer to forage, but you may need to keep a close eye on your flock.
If you allow your birds to free-range in a wide, open space, this may make them more likely to be an unwitting victim of predator attacks.
Finally, their crest, combined with their submissive personality, may make them a bullying target of bold chickens–particularly feather-pickers. In a mixed flock, perhaps choose more gentle breeds like the equally poofy Silkie chicken.
One of the most noteworthy traits of the Houdan–aside from that pouf created by it’s combined muff, beard, and crest–is it’s incredibly gentle personality. With a tolerance for small spaces and such charming looks, it may make an ideal pet chicken.
Hens are a better choice than a rooster for this purpose, however, as the large, sight-inhibiting crest on a male may make them flighty and easily startled.
Most Houdans are either white or black with white mottling over their distinctive feathers. Their unusual features certainly turn heads at chicken shows, and in modern times this is one of its main uses.
They’re More Than Just Pretty
For an ornamental chicken, however, the Houdan is incredibly useful beyond its looks! It’s original use in its native France and Belgium was as a dual purpose bird. With tasty white meat that is reported to be second only to the estimable Dorking in terms of flavor, it would make a roast to remember.
What’s The Yield?
For a bird that does so well as meat, it is also a fair layer. The hens hardly ever go broody and bear confinement well, so if you want to add a little French flair to your backyard flock, you can hardly find a more enjoyable bird than the froofy Houdan.
Houdan hens are fast maturing and can be depended on for about two small, white eggs a week. As far as meat production goes, they are far more giving! Roosters are large at around 8 pounds at maturity, and hens usually reach around 6.5 pounds.
Photos of Houdan Chickens
- Houdan, My Pet Chicken
- Poultry Breeds – Houdan Chickens, Oklahoma State University
- Houdan Chicken, The Livestock Conservancy
- Houdan, BackYard Chickens
- Houdans, Feathersite
- Houdan, Poultry Hub
- Houdan, Raising Chickens
- Houdan Chickens, Hobby Farms
- Raising Show Chickens, The Backyard Chicken Farmer
- Houdan, Livestock Of The World
- Houdan, Henderson’s Handy Dandy Chicken Chart