Hey everyone! Have you heard of the Sussex Chicken? They have some seriously cool features like awesome good looks, friendly personalities, and heaps of eggs! I’ve done my research to help all of us determine if the Sussex is right for us. Check out this article to get all the details on this tell-tale breed!
Discovering the Fascinating History of Sussex Chicken
It’s All The Rage at Fancy-Pants London Eateries Right Now!
Sussex chicken is all the rage at fancy-pants London eateries right now. It’s no wonder – it’s succulent, it’s rich, it’s a little bit posh, it tastes like actual chicken but better, it’s incredibly more-ish! Plus, it has a deep and interesting history to it.
The Origins From Old-Fashioned English Dishes
A couple of months back on our blog The Ginger Pig, we put up a post on jugged steaks. A helpful commenter suggested that we try jugging a chicken in the same way and long story short – through research – we found out that it is really no more than an upmarket version of various old-fashioned European dishes for that matter! It appears to be related to French poule-au-pot, for instance, and to Italian pollo in padella and to the old-fashioned chicken soup/stew of most of Central Europe!
Coming Home to Delicious Rich Stews
We have to admit to being particularly partial to such recipes. After all, can anything beat coming home on cold winter evening to find a big pot bubbling away in corner of stove full of delicious old-fashioned rich stew of chicken and vegetables? In fact, at River Cottage we often take advantage by putting in pots stock on simmer all day in wood-fired oven then use the dry heat give us tender old-fashioned casserole by end of evening!
Using All Sorts of Flavors for Show-Offy Dishes
In 18th-century England it became all the rage to adapt old-fashioned boiled fowl forrich pies and ragouts! Over years different flavours like mushrooms, anchovies, oysters, artichokes etc were used with herbs gravies sauces etc turning into ragoûts pies etc! Richard Brinsley Sheridan was known for catchphrase about “Boiled chicken and toasted cheese”; also there plenty references in Jane Austen’s novels! But over time this show offy dish gradually fell out fashion….
Celebrating the Unparalleled Sussex Standard and Attractive Appearance of Sussex Chicken
Characteristics of the Breed
The Sussex chicken is a popular chicken breed developed in 19th-century England by farmers in the county of Sussex. Characterised by a white body with black feathers on the neck and tail, red ear-lobes, yellow feet and small crest of feathers on their heads, it is also recognised for its light weight but to some degree stout appearance in males.
Sussex chickens are good layers of brown eggs as hens can go broody, but have also been known to have fertility issues at times.
Growing in Popularity
The breed first exhibited in England in the 1870s, in America by the 1890s it became one of the most popular show breeds of chicken in existence at that time. Losing popularity in the early 20th century for reasons no longer clear to us, it still persists today thanks to more backyard keepers across the United States preserving it for its eggs, meat or to help keep it alive. Despite being on the critical list of American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s — its numbers seem to be on an uprise once again!
Temperament of Sussez Chickens
They have a calm disposition in general but can be unruly at times. Also they can show reluctance around people due to their avoidant temperament so they’re not best suited to handle often. But Sussez chickens have no problems free-ranging due to their foraging enthusiasm – though this can leave them exposed to predators at times! On average a healthy bird can survive for over a decade in right conditions.
Sussing Out Sussex Chicken: A Look at its Temperament and Disposition
Sussex chickens have all of the best features of all the chicken breeds rolled into one, but at the expense of being pretty much a specialist breed of chicken. But is it worth it? Let’s take a look.
A Lackluster Laying Ability
Sussex chickens can be light on egg-laying, so if that’s why you keep chickens in the first place it may not be your best choice!
These guys no doubt add some fun to free-ranging in your backyard but expect to have to supplement their foraging in some way – either with pre-made foraging items like play gyms for cats or by supplementing feed for foraging by hand.
You also need to give them space to avoid predators on top of bad mothering instincts. That won’t help when it comes down to free range time! Bad momma’s also means no help in teaching the little ones that come out once in a while how to stay out of danger.
If You Want Show-Worthy, Look Elsewhere
One aspect of Sussex chickens, at least in show standards, is their bony build and bad disposition-not good for show purposes! Also keep in mind that with this old English breed show off-ness is not what you get; trying to cross-breed them with other chicken varieties can take away from their appeal as well!
We once had some free-ranging Barred Rocks in with our Sussex roosters- we figured since it was summer and all of the hens were already mated up it wouldn’t hurt let the roosters get to know each other. Within a week of their introduction, all but one of our Sussex roosters had either died or been so badly injured by the Barred Rocks that they also had to put down! It seemed like size was an issue – no matter how big they got, Susex roosters just couldn’t fight off their opponents.
Unlock the Secret to Optimum Sussex Chicken Egg Laying Performance
The Sussex chicken is an iconic all-purpose breed of poultry renowned for its remarkable egg-laying abilities. With a light build, an upright stature and an all-around majestic look, it is no surprise why this breed has been popular for centuries in places like America, Canada, The United Kingdom, Europe and Australia!
A Record Setter of it Time!
Sussex chickens have set world records for non-stop egg-laying in Britain in 1952 by a hen named Ivy! The record of non-stop egg-laying in the whole of Britain was set by another champion by the name of Miss Ada Cole in 1945 for over 30,000 eggs!
Show off Your Sussex Chickens at Competitions!
These birds also have show qualities that have been admired at competitions in America, Canada, the United Kingdom and their original country of origin in Europe!
Easy to Keep at Home!
If you want to keep your own Sussex chickens at home, you can easily do so! They can also be used commercially in poultry farms for their egg-laying capabilities. In addition to being calm and friendly in nature, they also have a high rate of maturity in its egg-laying abilities.
Keeping Your Sussex Chicken Healthy: Understanding Special Care Requirements
It’s no secret that chickens are easy keepers, but like any pet, they can get sick at times. Sadly, it can go unnoticed for a while before you see any tell-tale signs of infection. Here are some of the clear-cut illnesses to look out for in your Sussex chickens so that you can give them the right kind of care right away!
This is a parasite that can live in the intestine of your chickens, and it can lead to lots of health problems if left untreated.
2. Newcastle Disease
This contagious illness is also very dangerous and is even known to be fatal in some cases. Make sure to keep all of your chickens away from birds of other species to avoid passing it on!
3. Marek’s Disease
Another form of highly-contagious infection, Marek’s Disease is non-zoonotic but it can be deadly for your chicken if left untended to.
4. Salmonella Infection
Cause for concern for all chicken owners, Salmonella is not to be taken lightly! To avoid it in your flock, keep feeders free of droppings and always practice good biosecurity on farms and at home!
5. Infectious Bronchitis
A respiratory disease, Infectious Bronchitis can have an effect on egg production in older chickens and is also known to greatly shorten lifespan in younger birds! Keep an eye out for swollen eyes or watering noses in younger fowl on your farm!
6. Avian Influenza (aka Bird Flu)
Check all purchases carefully and look out for sneezing or lack of appetite in all poultry companions! Keep up to date on new strains by checking news about local poultry flocks regularly!
Though it sounds like something small, this abscess on the foot of your chickens can cause considerable discomfort if not kept in check through regular foot baths and clean bedding!
These pesky pests can seem invisible but they have a big impact on the health of your chicken–especially in large numbers! Look out for small yellow-white dots around legs and feathers which could mean mite overpopulation in need of eradication!
9. Egg Bound Chickens
When A Hen Is Trying To Pass An Egg But It’s Stuck In Her Oviduct Largely caused by calcium deficiency in diets or lack off exercise, egg bound chickens need attention right away if seen–lack of movement or weight loss can signal a serious problem at hand!
Is the Sussex Chicken the Right Fit for Your Family’s Table?
Their Egg-Laying Capabilities
The Sussex chicken breed is mainly kept for their egg-laying capabilities, but can also be used for meat production. Learn more about this calm, dual-purpose breed in our profile.
Their History of Use
Sussex Chickens were developed in the county of Sussex in England in the 1850s. They were bred from a five-toed red Dorking fowl but have since been crossed to light-colored chickens to give them four toes.
Despite no longer in use for cockfighting, these heritage breeds have retained some of their old fighting spirit which is why they tend to have no fear of humans or other chickens and take up top spots in pecking orders within mixed flocks of poultry.
The Popularity Boom!
Today it is estimated that there are over 400,000 of these birds in existence in North America alone, with numbers on the rise thanks to an upsurge in backyard chicken keepers in the US!
This is mainly due to their good egg-laying qualities like modern breeds and better foraging skills than modern-day varieties of poultry—leading to reduced feed costs for keepers by supplementing existing diets through free-ranging.
What to expect from This Dual-Purpose Bird
These calm but spirited birds make an ideal addition for backyards for both eggs and meat thanks to their show off their feathering! Some keepers claim reductions in feed costs up to 80%. The downside of that is also need extra space as to avoid picking at each other!
Hefty hens can weigh up to 10 pounds while small Tom fowl can get up to 6 pounds! But one thing’s certain: all have amazingly beautiful feathers in black, white and brown varieties across both bantam and standard-sized birds!
However it’s worth bearing on mind that free range is ideal for keeping up on foraging throughout part of everyday and cold climates play off their need for temperature control through good feather coverage; warm climes could leave them at risk of overheating! Keeping an eye on your flock can help avoid picking at each others feathers before it starts!
So in conclusion, I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the Sussex! They have all the qualities of a good dual-purpose chicken – good for eggs and for dinner! It’s no wonder that this old English breed is still around today! Not to mention their exotic look and calm demeanor make them great for backyard chickens.
If you’re looking for a good egg-laying bird, I think it would be tough to go wrong with a friendly, attractive Sussex. I know I’ll never forget my first up-close experience with them – it was like nothing I had seen before! All in all, I think they can be a good addition to any chicken stable. What do you think?