Poultry has been kicking around England since the Roman invasion. The Sussex chicken is one of the oldest breeds of chicken in the world. It is still an immensely popular chicken too, especially the Speckled Sussex.
In fact, it is often raised in both backyard and commercial chicken farms. Let’s take a little look at what the good old Sussex chicken brings to the table, shall we?
Sussex Chicken at a Glance
|Eggs||180 – 200 per year|
|Egg Color||Tan to Brown|
|Use||Eggs + Meat (dual Purpose)|
|Weight||Male Standard: min 9 lbs (4.1 kg) |
Male Bantam: max 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Female Standard: min 7 lb (3.2 kg)
Female Bantam: max 2.4 lbs (1.1 kg)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
The Origins of the Sussex Chicken
The Sussex chicken originates in Sussex, England. Obviously, we haven’t been keeping records of chicken breeding for all that long. What we do know, however, is that the Sussex chicken has been around for at least a few centuries.
It as probably bred from the poultry that the Romans brought into England after the invasion.
Despite the Sussex chicken being around for quite a while, it is only recently (in the grand scheme of things), that breeders have tried to work on the Sussex chicken to ensure that it is a better producer of meat and eggs.
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The Look of the Chicken
The Sussex chicken is a very heavy breed of chicken. It has a long and broad back.
If you are using this breed for show purposes, do bear in mind that while there are several different colors of this breed available, it is only the speckled Sussex, red, and light-colored chickens that are recognized as being a purebred.
It is available in several different colors, although it is only ever going to have bright red combs and ear lobes. It is also a white-skinned chicken.
Sussex Chicken Colors – Recognized Varieties
There are three recognized color varieties by the American Poultry Association:
Maybe the most famous variety, also documented to be the oldest one, is the Speckled Sussex.
The Speckled Sussex has very characteristic feather pattern, white with a black border splitting the spangle from a bay background.
The white and light Sussex varieties are best known for their laying capabilities, but on the other hand, the speckled Sussex chickens are great mothers and are more likely to set.
Sussex Chicken Egg-Laying Capabilities
This chicken isn’t the greatest layer of eggs in the world. You should get between 180 – 200 eggs per year when the chicken is at its ‘peak’ years.
Although, this is a number that dwindles off quite quickly. Perhaps the only saving grace if you are purchasing a Sussex chicken for egg-laying is the fact that they will lay throughout the year. This means even during the long, winter months.
Sussex Chicken Meat
The Sussex is (mostly) raised for meat on commercial chicken farms. The egg production isn’t going to be anywhere near high enough for it to earn it’s worth as an egg-producing chicken.
However, if you have a decent flock of these at home, then there is no reason why it wouldn’t make a good dual-purpose chicken. If you want meat, then you will slaughter these at maybe 3-4 years old.
This is when their egg-producing days will start to slow down, which can make them difficult to sustain.
The Sussex chicken is probably one of the friendliest breeds around. They have absolutely no problems with being touched and they don’t really fight either. They can be a bit noisy on occasion, but pretty much all chickens are like this, so that isn’t really going to be that much of an issue, right?
In addition to this, the Sussex chicken is incredibly inquisitive. You will be surprised at just how relaxing it can be to watch your chicken just exploring your garden. It is a bit too chunky to fly high, so you don’t even need to worry about it escaping!
This chicken was bred to be a bit on the chunkier side. After all, this makes better meat. This means that the only real issue that you will need to deal with when you have a Sussex chicken is the fact that they absolutely love to overeat.
You are really going to want to control the food that they are eating. Sure, they should always have chicken pellets available, but you may want to go a bit lighter on the mealworms and the like.
They would feast on them if they had to. This would cause obesity, and that could lead to all sorts of problems.
Don’t forget; this is a chicken which has survived many, many centuries of not changing all that much. It is a chicken that has been shipped around the globe to various British colonies.
It was also a very prominent chicken in the United States shortly after World War II. This is a breed that has proven, repeatedly, that it is capable of dealing with absolutely anything that is thrown at it. You can’t get much hardier when it comes to chickens.