The Houdan, originating from France, is an old breed of chicken named after its namesake city located near Paris. For decades, these chickens supplied Paris its eggs and meat, and were later exported to England in 1850. Fifteen years later, it was introduced to North America and recognized as an official breed by the American Standard of Perfection in 1874. Although they are still found in many backyards, the Houdan often graces exhibition tables because of its distinct appearance. The Houdan breed appears to have Crevecoeur, Dorking and Polish genes.
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While these chickens often serve as ornamentals, they do provide growers a high conversation rate of food to meat. The hens are fair egg producers - two small, white eggs per week. Although they are not prolific layers, they do make up for it in longevity. Houdans have the capacity to lay eggs well into old age. As an advice for continued egg production, supplement their feed with protein and calcium.
For their appearance, their most distinguishing trait are their prominent comb - in American standards, it's V-shaped, while in the British, French and Australian standards, it's butterfly-shaped. They have small wattles and earlobes, and five toes - a characteristic common in most French breeds. These chickens walk in a classic Houdan skip as a result of the fifth toe's orientation.