Sussex (chicken)

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Sussex
Light sussex hen.jpg
A Light Sussex hen
Conservation statusCommon
Country of originEngland
Traits
WeightMale: 9 lbs.
 Female: 7 lbs.
Skin colorWhite
Egg colorTan to brown
Comb typeSingle
Classification
APAEnglish
ABAYes
Notes
Dual purpose breed (Eggs and meat)
Chicken
Gallus gallus domesticus
 
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Sussex
Light sussex hen.jpg
A Light Sussex hen
Conservation statusCommon
Country of originEngland
Traits
WeightMale: 9 lbs.
 Female: 7 lbs.
Skin colorWhite
Egg colorTan to brown
Comb typeSingle
Classification
APAEnglish
ABAYes
Notes
Dual purpose breed (Eggs and meat)
Chicken
Gallus gallus domesticus

The Sussex chicken is a dual purpose breed of chicken that originating in England around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43 [1] that is a popular backyard chicken in many countries. They come in eight colors (with a couple more being developed) and have a bantam version at 1/4 size; the bantams may be any of the eight colors.

A Sussex breed club was formed in 1903.

Appearance[edit]

A Buff Sussex hen in winter

The colors found in Sussex chickens are: Brown, Buff, Light, Red, Speckled, Silver, White and Coronation. The Sussex chicken, whatever color, should be graceful with a long, broad, flat back and a rectangular build, the tail should be at a 45 degree angle from the body. The eyes should be red in the darker varieties but orange in the lighter one and they sport a medium sized, single, erect comb. The earlobes are red and the legs and skin white in every variety. Cocks should weigh approx 9 lbs, and the hens (females) 7 lbs. The Brown and red varieties are rare but the others are more common.


Brown and red

Light, Buff and Silver[edit]

The light Sussex has a white body with a black tail and black wing tips. Its neck is white, striped with black and has a very striking appearance. The feathers around the neck are called hackle feathers and each one is black with a fine white lace around the edge. The buff is ginger where the light is white. If showing the bird, a person must be careful to keep it out of strong sunlight, as the color will fade. The Silver Sussex has a similar neck to the previous two variants, except that the body is black and the majority of the feathers on the body have silver lacing.

A Light Sussex hen

Cockerels have a large comb on their heads

White[edit]

Pure white throughout and is very rare.

Speckled[edit]

Speckled Sussex hen.

The feathers of the Speckled variety all have a mix of mahogany and black with white tips. Sometimes the amount of white increases as the bird moults each year. This is the most common variety in the US. However, the Light is far more common in the UK.

Buff Colombian[edit]

The Buff Colombian sussex is like the light sussex but where the light sussex is white the golden sussex is a light brown colour and has black on the top of its back and the same places as the light sussex.[2]

Characteristics[edit]

The Sussex chicken is an alert, docile breed that can adapt to any surrounding, they are comfortable in both free range or confined spaces and in the presence of humans. The breed sometimes (but not very often) goes broody, the speckled version is most likely to do so. They are good foragers.

Approximate weight[edit]

Cock4.1 kg9 lbs
Hen3.2 kg7 lbs
Cockerel3.4 kg7.5 lbs
Pullet2.7 kg5.9 lbs
Bantam Variety Sussex
Rooster1.5 kg3.3 lbs
Hen1.1 kg2.4 lbs

Utility aspects[edit]

Eggs[edit]

A Light Sussex rooster

The Sussex was bred to be a dual purpose bird and is one of the most productive breeds of poultry. They lay large eggs that are cream to light brown in colour. A person owning a hen of this breed should expect approximately 240 to 260 eggs a year, although the light and white varieties are the best choice for layers. Recently there has been an olive green coloured egg introduced to some Light Sussex breeds, although these green egg layers are very rare.

Meat[edit]

It is a good producer of meat and all of the varieties are a good choice to have for this purpose. The chicks mature quickly for heavy breed but the speckled is slowest to mature.

History[edit]

Sussex chickens are believed to have been first bred in Britain (in the area that was to become England) around the time of the Roman invasion of AD 43 making them one of the oldest known breeds. Originally bred as a table bird the Sussex has since become a dual-purpose bird, working for both meat and egg production.[3] The original colours were the Brown, Red and Speckled, and the Silver is the latest variety. The breed was prized as table fowl more than one-hundred years ago and, more recently, the Light Sussex was very popular for the laying trials of the 30s.

Today they are a popular breed for exhibitions as well as a backyard breed. The breed has made a huge contribution to the poultry industry and is even an ancestor to the modern broiler. The Coronation Sussex was bred to celebrate the coronation of King George, but is now an extremely rare breed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hobson, Jeremy and Lewis, Celia. Choosing & Raising Chickens: The complete guide to breeds and welfare. Daniel and Charles Publishing. London. 2009. p 94-95
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Hobson, Jeremy and Lewis, Celia. Choosing & Raising Chickens: The complete guide to breeds and welfare. Daniel and Charles Publishing. London. 2009. p 94-95