The Houdan was originally called the \'Normandy Fowl\' and was introduced to England in 1850. It is one of the oldest of the French breeds and was named after the town of Houdan. They are large, heavy looking birds, bred for the table and have a bold, active character. The head is large and crested with a short beak, leaf type comb, muffled face, small rounded wattles and earlobes. The legs are mottled black, free of feathers and like the Faverolles and Dorking, it has a fifth toe.
Being a heavy table bird, Cocks can weigh in at nearly 8lbs. They are calm, placid chickens and are fairly good layers of large eggs. They do tend towards broodiness but are not good sitters as they are too heavy and tend to break the eggs. They do need a special drinker as their large crest and beard get wet and dirty if they use conventional ones so require just a little water in a bowl. Houdan are extremely docile in nature and like to be handled especially if they have been raised from young. Hens make the best pets and will live 7-8 years.
Houdans are actually only bred in a limited number of varieties, black mottled, white and lavender.