Other common names: Speckled Sussex Chicken; Light Sussex; White Sussex
The Sussex chicken originated in the early 1800's in Sussex, England where poor farmers crossed local chickens with the exotic breeds brought home from the expanding British Empire. Market conditions put the highest premium on good winter laying and rapid growth to 5 lbs weight, so these traits were strongly selected. The Sussex emerged as the first commercial quality dual purpose chicken. They were the most popular table bird in the UK and Canada until they were eclipsed by modern hybrid broilers. Sussex chickens have remained popular in the UK for kitchen flocks and have been shown in poultry shows since 1903.
Types: Bantam, Largefowl
Varieties (Single Comb): Brown, Buff, Columbian, Coronation, Red, Speckled, Silver, White
Uses: Eggs, Meat, Ornamental
Bantam: 32 - 36 oz
Largefowl: 7 - 9 lbs
Personality: Friendly and easy to care for
Preferred climate: Any
Handles confinement: Yes
Egg production: Very Good (4/week)
Egg color: Brown
Egg size: Extra Large
What else you should know:
Hens from Production (Hatchery strains) will need extra calcium to prevent egg binding, and may have shortened lives due to their productive egg yield.
ultimate dualpurpose bird, excellent meat bird, wonderful disposition, cold temperatures, lovely eggs
mean attack roosters
strange crooning cluck, ancient heavy breed, great foragers, real stabilizing influence
Don't Respect Boundaries, Very Lovable
The predominant thing with the most recent group of chickens we adopt, six Sussex hens, is that they know what they want and they will stop at nothing to get it. While the girls are friendly and ever eager to obtain your attention, they are almost impossible to contain without having to ban the hens from the goat pasture. We have had three other breeds and not once have they even hinted on going past the goat pasture without our permission. Fortunately for the Sussex girls, we have finally got it through to our dog not to kill hens, so when they break into his yard they are not in imminent danger. I constantly see them outside our territory, however, so I cannot say for sure they are safe.
That leads me into a positive with these guys, however. They are very intelligent, and they use this for survival. Unlike our other hens, they seem to be able to recall where they got out when something is chasing them, so they manage to weasel back into safety, despite being panicked. The other breeds just lay down and accept their fate.
Despite being past the chick stage, these girls have remained affectionate--sometimes overbearingly so. They do not take well to rejection when they want to be pet, finding it great fun to peck at our feet until we give in. The other hens are highly independent and could do with or without our contact, but these six seem to need it on a very deep level.
Out of the breeds I have dealt with, this one is the most hardy. They seem to brush off any illness they may catch, while the other three breeds manage to lose a hen with every bout of sickness. Perhaps it has to do with their strong will, or it may just be a more evolved genetic code.
Production wise, these ladies started young and remain strong. They are still in their prime, but they started egg laying well before being full grown, adapting by just laying the smallest, cutest (but still delicious) eggs around. Now their eggs are average sized, compared to the much bigger ones of our other breeds. Seems, though, they are the best producers, each laying eggs almost daily, even when the others stop laying due to a stretch of bad weather.
All in all, these hens are amazing companions, fantastic producers, but you have to be prepared to have your hands full. They do best out in the country side, where they have room to roam without fear of annoyed neighbors and dangerous roads..
From BhuvanaMcGoats May 26 2015 3:44PM
Light Sussex [Utility], a Traditional Breed
The Light Sussex was the table bird beyond compare during the Victorian period. Useful because they put on weight quickly and because they continue laying throughout winter. The bird is hardy, healthy and requires minimal maintenance. They are also friendly chickens that work well on backyards or smallholdings.
Many traditional farmers still keep them either as an adjunct to their main flock, or for cross-breeding to produce low-maintenance meat chicks. This is a breed of chicken that is very much best allowed to roam freely if possible (the meat and egg quality definitely improves if they are on grass). The meat is white, but darkens slightly if fed on fruit (they love fruit and we used to give them basketfulls of haws and elderberries in the autumn) and they will forage for blackberries if given half a chance. They also like sweet flowers and despite the thorns gorse were a particular favourite where we lived.
Like all chickens, though, they do not like rain so you will need shelter and somewhere for them to roost over night. Though they are fine to be let out in winter, if it is particularly cold keep them in to prevent their combs from being frost-bitten.
We typically kept about 15% of our total flock as light Sussex, both to ensure a supply of eggs to sell over winter and to have pure-bred chicks for the table. In addition, we had a light Sussex cock that ran with the general flock so that a percentage of the chicks reared would be Light Sussex x Rhode Island Red crosses, again for meat production.
As kids, the light Sussex egg boxes were the only ones that we really enjoyed getting the eggs from. If the chicken was sitting you could just reach your hand under her and she would sit there without complaint as you fetched the eggs. Even if you had to lift a light Sussex hen she would settle into your arms. They have a strange crooning cluck when they like the way you are holding or stroking them. Because of this Light Sussex always made me think of cats.
The cockerels, of course, will fight with other cock birds. But light Sussex are more about display and show rather than physical attack. And whilst I have been attacked several times by Rhode Island Red cocks, it's never happened with a Light Sussex.
This is a traditional breed that truly deserves to be much better known and appreciated..
From DLlE Sep 25 2012 10:55AM
Sussex Chicken - the Bruce Lee of chicken species
Sussex Chicken are a very peculiar kind of chicken, who prefer large spaces. They are foragers finding a big surroundings as a major advantage and are of low maintenance. Health is not an issue and the eggs they regularly produce are both big and delicious. A normal Sussex Chicken will provide you with around 250 eggs per year, yielding her a substantial commercial value.
What they are most famous of is their vigorous and hardy nature. They will do much and more to defend their space, even attack cats if necessary. This makes it difficult if you want Sussex Chicken to co-exist in the same area as other chicken. It's not a problem when you have a large piece of area for them to forage, but if you have little ground, these chicken are probably not the right one to grow.
I would advise to be careful when buying Sussex Chicken, since they really are Bruce Lee-like to other chicken. I myself prefer a milder, more quite kind of chicken, like Orpington chicken..
From marowincyin Jan 15 2014 5:10AM