Tuesday, June 3, 2008

White Houdans

Houdans are an old French breed that is presently recognized in White and Mottled varieties by the APA. Black, Blue Mottled and Red Mottled varieties have also existed in the past. Please notify SPPA of any flocks currently being raised. Houdans were popular production birds in the late 19th century, after the Civil War. Mottled Houdans were included in the first Standard of Excellence in 1874. Breeding pure white birds was a challenge that F. Donald Baerman is credited with meeting by adding White Polish and White Dorkings to Mottled Houdans. Competing breeders used White Crevecoeurs and White Dorkings. The white variety was accepted into the Standard in 1914.

Houdans should be similar to Dorkings in type, with grown cocks weighing 8 lbs. and Hens 6.5 lbs. Many Houdans are not as big as they should be. They've lost size because so few of them are being kept, resulting in restriction of breeding stock. Breeders have added Polish to their flocks to increase their crests. Houdans should have large well-formed crests that do not interfere with their vision.

Like Dorkings, Houdans have five toes. Five-toed fowl probably came with the Romans across Europe and the English Channel.

These birds belong to Joseph Marquette of Yellow House Farm in New Hampshire, www.yellowhousefarmnh.com, and the photo was taken by Robert Gibson.

No comments: