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Speckled Sussex Chickens in the Heritage Breed Spotlight

Speckled Sussex

Speckled Sussex chickens are an old breed originating in England’s county of Sussex. They appeared in the world’s first poultry exhibition in 1845, although they date much farther back than that.

This large-bodied bird was originally kept primarily for meat. But in the United States Sussex chickens are considered to be a dual-purpose egg-and-meet breed. They are popular for show, and also make colorful backyard pets.

Physical Attributes

Sussex chickens may be large or bantam in size, and come in several color varieties. Speckled is the original color and one of the first varieties admitted to the American Standard of Perfection. The large version was accepted in 1914. Bantams followed later, in 1960, although they remain rather rare.

Among the large-size version, the most common color in the United States is the speckled variety. This unique feather pattern is the result of bicolored spangles. The background feather color is a rich reddish-brown, with a V-shape white tip set off by a black border. Additional speckles appear after each annual molt. The older the chicken, therefore, the more vibrantly colorful it becomes.

Breed Qualities

Speckled Sussex hens lay around 240 large eggs per year with light brown shells. They are apt to set, and they are good mothers.

As a hefty breed, the Sussex also makes a nice meat bird, with muscular thighs and a broad, deep breast. Roosters mature to 9 pounds, and hens to 7 pounds.

Speckled Sussex chickens are cold hardy. They do well in confinement, but are also great foragers. They are therefore equally suitable for free range. Plus their multi-colored feather pattern helps them blend into the environment, thereby somewhat camouflaging them from predators.

This breed is both active and inquisitive. With its bountiful egg production, colorful appearance, and docile demeanor the speckled Sussex makes a terrific backyard chicken and a wonderful people-friendly pet.

Helpful Links

What is a Dual Purpose Chicken?

What Is a Bantam Chicken?

American Sussex Association

Speckled Sussex Chickens Offered by Cackle Hatchery®

And that’s today’s news from the Cackle Coop.

Gail Damerow has written numerous poultry-keeping books, including Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens.

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