Speckled Sussex

History of the Sussex breed

Sussex chickens are a heritage poultry breed known for its egg-laying abilities. Tracing its origin back to the Roman invasion of Britain in AD 43, the Sussex is one of the oldest known breeds. The breed was found in southeast England - Surrey, Kent, and Sussex - where fowl similar to the Old Dorking and game birds had existed for some two thousand years on farmsteads large and small. This native stock is sometimes called the Old English Fowl. The very first poultry show, held in England in 1845, recognized these native birds: the Dorking, the Surrey, and the Kent or Old Sussex Fowl. Although the original Sussex Fowl was probably speckled, several color varieties were already developed, including the Red. The Sussex was mainly used as a table bird and was raised for market in larger numbers beginning in the first half of the nineteenth century.

The Light Sussex was developed with the addition of crossbreeding with the Mediterranean egg-layers, which created a truly dual-purpose breed. Brahma, Cochin, and Silver Grey Dorking were also used in its perfection. The Light Sussex became the most popular of the varieties in England and Canada, as both a lovely exhibition bird and a utilitarian chicken often used in crossbreeding for market birds. The Coronation Sussex was bred to celebrate the coronation of King George but is now an extremely rare breed.

The Sussex Club, formed in 1903, standardized the three main varieties: the multicolored Speckled, Red, and Light Sussex. Later the White, Silver, Buff, and Brown were recognized. The Buff Sussex was created in the 1920s, and the White was developed from a Light Sussex sport a few years later. The Brown strains can carry some Old English Game. The Light remains the most popular variety, whereas the Brown, Buff, and Red have not captured the eye of many fanciers.

Sussex Characteristics and Behaviour

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. The Brown and red varieties are rare but the others are more common.

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 and produce large brown eggs.

Speckled Sussex

Their feathers are a mix of mahogany red, black and white tips. As the bird molts every year the white may increase. In the United States, the speckled are the most common variety.

Standard weights at maturity are males-9 lbs. and hens-7 lbs.

Click on the photo link below to view our Speckled Sussex photo album.

Speckled Sussex photo album