The Houdan hen: a true local mascot

Old Houdan hen postcardArchives of Yvelines

A hen on a wall tells you about her adventure... Because she has lived through centuries, this very special little hen, with her famous pompom-shaped crest and her 5-toed legs! So let’s go back a little…

Yvelines Departmental Archives

Picoti picot, everyone was crazy about it

Few chickens can boast such a history! Already, in the 14the century, his ancestors frolicked in the Houdan gardens. But it's in the 19th centurye and XXe century that it enjoyed incredible success: nearly 600 hens sold between 000 and 1872, millions each year at the beginning of the 1873th centurye century, it's the star of the henhouse! We feast on its creamy flesh, so sought after that during the poultry markets in Houdan, the crates of chickens were stacked up to the windows of the 1er floor of houses! And for the little anecdote, the sellers who arrived from Mantes plucked the chickens on the way, covering the road with this white down, which gave it the name “white road”.

And then his hour of glory passed and after the 2nd World War, production fell. The fault lies in the degradation of the species which we were trying to make larger, more profitable, but also in its competitors and in particular the Faverolles hen, also local, which won hands down against this featherweight! Worse, the breed has almost disappeared. But fortunately, the few remaining specimens (especially abroad) helped save it and it found the Houdanese henhouses.

Picoti pecked, her letters of nobility she found again

Long a collectible chicken, it is highlighted every year during the Saint Matthew Fair by the Syndicat Avicole Cunicole Colombicole des Yvelines (SACCY) which takes advantage of the opportunity to reward the most beautiful specimens. But it has also been returning to plates in recent years, notably thanks to the Gastronomic Brotherhood of Hen and Pâté of Houdan who unearthed the ancestral recipe for famous pie. Breeders have also decided that it is high time that it finds its way back to our taste buds and it is now possible to find Houdan chickens to eat. Because even if it is less coated today than before, its flesh is still as delicate and delicious.

Learn more

Houdan hen illustrationTab40_Hühner_(Geflügel-Album,_Jean_Bungartz,_1885)
Local products
Houdan strawberry groveHoudan strawberry grove
Houdan pâté: the taste of local tradition, 100% poultry!
Houdan pâtéRestaurant L'Arche
Gourmet shops
Loup Ravissant farm shopThe Farm of the Ravishing Wolf