The Sussex chicken, originally bred in Sussex, Britain has become one of the most popular chickens for small backyard farms and homesteads. Initially bred to be a market chicken, for sale at the market, the Sussex chicken breed was known for fine table meat with its tender juicy flesh, white skin, feet, and legs.
Reared as a dual purpose bird, the Sussex chicken has been around for several hundred years and is loved for being gentle, its’ consistent laying and great meat.
History of the Sussex Chicken Breed
The Roman invasion of Britain brought about a few interesting things, one being chickens and breeding skills, which were highly adopted especially in Kent, Sussex, and Surrey. These areas were known for their great fowl.
The original colors of the Sussex chickens are said to have been speckled. They were bred with other chickens to produce other varieties.
The modern-day Sussex chicken is a cross of Brahma, Dorkings, and Cockins. It gets its well-proportioned body from these breeds.
The Sussex chickens were the best table chickens for a long time. There were so popular and loved that a variety was developed for the coronation of King Edward VIII.
The rise of the fast-growing broilers in the 1940s and 1950s replaced the Sussex as the common table meat bird.
Variants of the Sussex Chicken Breed
The Sussex has 8 recognized varieties. They are categorized according to the Sussex Chicken colors. These are
- Speckled Sussex Chicken
- Red Sussex Chicken
- Light Sussex Chicken
- Brown Sussex Chicken
- Silver Sussex Chicken
- Buff Sussex Chicken
- Coronation Sussex Chicken
- White Sussex Chicken
Sussex Chicken Characteristics
The Sussex chickens have broad bodies, white feet, shanks, and skin. Graceful with a broad flat back, the Sussex has wide shoulders and a breastbone that is straight. It has a single red comb. The ear lobes are also red in color. The eyes are orange in lighter varieties and red in the darker varieties.
Sussex chickens gain weight easily, with cocks weighing 9 pounds and hens 7 pounds.
As a dual-purpose chicken breed, the Sussex produces great table meat as well as large brown eggs.
Hens lay well if not allowed to get fat, laying brown large-sized eggs. The laying range is between 180 – 200 eggs a year, with some varieties laying up to 250 eggs per year.
The Sussex is a calm active bird, ideal for any homestead. It does well in both free-range and confined spaces, although spacious environments are recommended for better mating. The Sussex will forage for food. Hens go broody in warmer months.
Sussex Chicken Breed Profile
- Sussex Chicken Egg Color: Brown
- Egg size: Large
- Egg Productivity: 250 eggs per year
- Skin Color: White
- Sussex Chicken Breed Standard Weight.
- Cock: 9 lbs
- Hen: 7 lbs
- Cockerel: 7.5 lbs
- Pullet: 6 lbs
- Purpose: Dual Purpose – Meat and Eggs
- Temperament: Curious and Calm
- Size: large
- Broodiness: get broody in warmer months
- Comb: Single
- Climatic Tolerance:
- Varieties: Speckled, Red, Light, Brown, Silver, Buff, Coronation. white
- Color Description: Different colors depending on the variety.
- Conservation Status: Recovering
- Country of Origin: England