The Houdan or Poule de Houdan is an old French breed of domestic chicken. It is named for its area of origin, the commune of Houdan, in the département of Yvelines to the west of Paris. The Houdan has an unusual butterfly-shaped comb, and is one of few breeds to have five toes rather than the usual four.
Houdans have small earlobes and wattles, a backward flowing crest, and facial feathering consisting of a beard and muffing near the ears. On hens, comb and wattles are sometimes completely obscured by the feathering. Houdan combs are V-shaped in the American standard, and butterfly-shaped in the British, Australian and French standards.
Originally a dual-purpose fowl kept for both eggs and meat, and for part of the 1800s one of France’s main meat breeds, the Houdan today is primarily a rare show bird. However, with a fairly quick rate of maturation and the ability to lay a respectable number of white eggs, it is still occasionally kept in backyard flocks.
It is considered a light breed. Cocks weigh 2.5–3 kg and hens 2–2.5 kg. A bantam Houdan was created in Britain in the 1940s, and further developed in Germany.