The Houdan is one of the oldest French breeds. It used to be a dual purpose fowl for both egg laying and meat. Today the Houdan mainly is an ornamental breed for the poultry connoisseur.
Houdans have five toes – like the Faverolles (another French breed) and the Dorking (one of the oldest breeds of domesticated fowl). They are friendly birds despite being a light breed which often have the reputation of being flighty. Their striking head gear, their colouring (they usually come in mottled) and their unusual leaf-shaped comb makes them stand out in a mixed flock.
Houdans lay a reasonable number of white eggs per season and are mainly kept by poultry fanciers but they are equally suited as a backyard fowl. Houdans today in New Zealand are quite small which probably is the result of interbreeding with Polish fowl. They would therefore benefit greatly from some serious attention by a determined breeder.