General Information

Breed Purpose
Climate Tolerance
All Climates
Egg Productivity
Egg Size
Egg Color
Breed Temperament
Bears confinement well,Docile
Breed Colors/Varieties
Mottled, White
Breed Size
Large Fowl

Houdan are an old French breed, once known as the Normandy fowl. Details of their origin is unknown as they predate modern agricultural writing, but it is believed they were bred from Crevecoeurs, Polish and possibly Dorkings. They were first imported into England in 1850, and to North America in 1865. They were given the name Houdan because large numbers of these birds were bred in the town of Houdan in France. Once valued in France for their fine white meat and large eggs, they are now considered an ornamental breed.

Houdan have crests, beard and muffs, and five toes. Cocks may weight up to 8 lbs. and hens 6 1/2 lbs. Houdan come in two colors; mottled and white. The white Houdan was bred in America and is the result of a white Polish and Mottled Houdan cross.

In 1874 the Houdan appeared in the first edition of the American Standard of Perfection.

Houdan eggs

Houdan chicks

Houdan juveniles

Houdan hen

Houdan rooster

For more information on this breed and their owners' and breeders' experiences with them, see our breed discussion here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/chicken-breed-focus-houdan.1114505/
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Latest reviews

Pros: So docile, very quiet, great with kids
We have two gorgeous Houdans, Dorothy and Peppa. Neither is show quality but both are such sweet, quiet chickens. Dorothy has bright yellow legs. Peppa just has the top knot and not the beard but her top knot is all white at the back which looks very cute (especially when she gets a bit damp in the rain and it goes spikey). We keep them with four Old English Game Bantams and two Bantam Wyandottes. They have caused no trouble during introductions (which were very short) and they all get along very nicely. Dorothy's little shadow is our smallest chicken, a mis-marked/unusually coloured OEGB and Dorothy doesn't mind a bit. I love their low voices and Dorothy starts honking at me as soon as she hears me coming - I do think she is queen of the coop. Peppa is very quiet and sweet and they both tolerate, with eternal patience, being caught and cuddled by our kids. We travelled a long way to get them (it was a six hour round trip) but it was totally worth it as they have been adorable additions to our little flock.
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Pros: Fabulous foragers, easy to pick up, and seem to love attention
Cons: Only the schizophrenic behavior of one of my pullets
I have two Mottled Houdans that were sold to me as Mottled Javas. It was quite OK with me as our chickens are pets and we don't plan to breed or anything. Tink and Leah were handled extensively by myself andf my 3 year old daughter and they seemed to love it. They learned their names quickly and run/fly across the yard or street or wherever they have wandered when we call them. They are crazy good foragers. They still (at 9 months old) squeeze through the bars of our fence to forage in our front yard....neighbors yards... across the street on city land.... totally crazy. They have both started laying before my other breeds who are older (RIR, speckled sussex, and cochins) and lay reliably every other day...about 3-4 medium white eggs per week. At lay, Tink became crazy. She pecks us (hard) on feet and bites if she gets the chance when we are in the yard. With her crazy poofed head feathers she is easy to pick up and put back in the run as she can't really see me coming from behind. I have to put her in the run while my kids are in the yard (unless she if out foraging like a crazy chicken). She will be fine and friendly and then turn and attck boots/legs the next. I am thinking of changing her name to Sybil. Leah on the other hand, is the sweetest gal and bottom of the pecking order. They both love to be held, which was a surprise to me. I think they are great additions to my flock (other than the days of bites from Tink) and they are laying even though it is winter and the days are so short.

Pros: Sweet, inquisitive, gorgeous mottling
Cons: Extremely submissive in a mixed flock, large crest and beard obscuring sight
For around six months now I have own a wee Houdan, named Houdini.
Houdini is a sweet wee bird and loves to eat out of my hand. She can be a bit picky when offered food on the ground, but loves munching up wheat when her mumma offers to it out of the hand. She is a truly stunning looking chicken, but takes a little maintanence as my hens free range. For a while I did not trim her beard, muffs or topknot back, and she was extremely flighty and came across as stupid or slow. However, as soon as I gave her a trim, and she had her peripheral vision, she turned into a sweet and endearing bird and was no longer left behind by the flock.
If you're looking for a sweet, gorgeous and inquisitive chicken, I would recommend a Houdan

Houdini on her first day at her new home, before her new feathers covered her eyes


Maybe you got some "challenged" stock? Or a breeder who bred for money and didn't care if the birds were too dumb to eat/drink?
first maybe u should spell the breed HOUDAN not hudans and also did u c how the hpoudan has more and better personality then any other of ur 23 breeds!
Houdans in particular can have limited eyesight due to their crests. For this reason I think they have potential to make a better "urban chicken" in a backyard setting rather than an acreage.
ROFLMAO!!!! "Supposed to be a barred rock hen..." omg, thanks for the laugh! Glad it turned out to be a positive error I met a woman today and grabbed some birds off of her. The roo I asked for was "the one in the first photo" of her ad which was a blue australorp/americauna x; she accidentally brought me the blue australorp/houdan x instead. I'm kinda glad, though; he's a really freaky looking bird and so far pretty mellow, and from what I'm reading so far, and from what she said about her houdans (excellent layers, but they're really thick, they are - dumbest chicken ever!) well, except for the dumb bit, he should make a good breeder for my australorp hen
I had a Houdan rooster. I enjoyed him. I called him Kato even though he was named pretty boy early on. He kept people 'on their guard' I have had roosters like this before and one was a silky believe it or not, I called him Harley. Pretty Boy was a sneak up behind you rooster and we, he and I made a game of it. Unfortunately other people did not enjoy our game and he played with the wrong person one day and did not live to tell the tale.
That is so funny My lady's name ids also Phyllis Diller and Wish I could put up a couple of pictures I have taken of her but you did a great job of describing the total temperament of this breed I cnt say much more ...........................
that is strange behavior ..Do you have spots on your shoes or legs ? Would trimming her ? face feathers help ?
Or is it a Roo ...? Wouldnt be totally weird for a Roo to act that way
She was the first and only to start laying, so def. a girl. A couple of other people on the Houdan thread have the same issues with one or two houdans in their flocks. They are just all together kooky I think.
HI. I am interested n helping preserve this breed. I have not been successful in locating a breeder. would anyone know where I might be able to find some... other than a hatchery?

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