Sussex chickens are a great utility bird, performing exceptionally in terms of meat, egg production and economy. They also have a wonderful character, with a curious, active and friendly demeanour – making them a great choice for families. Due to their large size, these birds require a bit of extra space compared to other dual-purpose breeds. However, if you have the room, you won’t be disappointed with this wonderful breed.
Good egg production
Good meat production
Very family friendly
Cold climate hardy: Yes
Rare breed: No
Colour: Light brown
Quantity: 4-5 eggs/hen/week
The Sussex breed originated from the namesake county in England. Since appearing in the inaugural poultry show in 1845, Sussex chickens have maintained a highly regarded status as a great, economic dual-purpose bird. The Sussex breed is highly economical due to their keen foraging ability, helping them gain the extra nutrition they need to grow and produce a plentiful supply of eggs. They are moderate to large-sized birds, weighing between 3-5kg (hens ~ 3.3kg; roosters ~4.7kg), making them great birds for meat production. Furthermore, the ability to produce 200-250 light brown eggs a year, even throughout the winter months when many other breeds cease laying, makes them well-respected egg layers.
In addition to their qualities as utility birds, Sussex chickens are an excellent breed for families as well as new and old poultry keepers alike. They have a strong maternal nature, going broody regularly and making great mothers. They are renowned for their compassionate, curious, loving nature and aren’t shy of handling – both towards other breeds of chickens and to their owners. These characteristics make these birds an exceptional breed for families. While they love attention and spending time with people, they can be equally content pottering around a backyard, foraging with their feathered friends. They also come in a number of colour varieties, including brown, buff, speckled, coronation, white, silver and red – so there is sure to be a variety to suit any preferences.
Due to their large size, alert nature and love of foraging, Sussex chickens require a bit more space than other dual-purpose breeds and are happiest when they are able to free-range or have access to a run. Furthermore, while knack for foraging can make them highly economical birds, it can lead to unwanted weight gain if you don’t intend to use these birds for the purpose of meat.