Speckled Sussex: Feature, Egg laying, Lifespan, Health Issues….

Are you looking for a beautiful chicken breed? The go for the speckled Sussex chickens. These birds are truly beautiful with several colorings on their plumage.

They are cold hardy and will be just fine even when temperatures plummet. These fancy chickens will do well in confinement and out on free range.

Speckled Sussex chickens are calm, quiet and very friendly. So, do you want to know more about these chickens?

In this article I am going to give you detailed information about these beautiful chooks. This will be of much help to you since it will guide you to make a decision to keep them or not.

Keep scrolling!

History of the Speckled Sussex

The speckled Sussex chicken breed traces its ancestry in the County of Sussex, England. Here, these chickens are believed to have been domesticated many years ago before the Roman invasion.

Few written sources available say that the ancient Britons never knew how to raise these birds for meat. This soon changed after the Romans invaded their land and taught them how important it was to keep chicken for food.

A few years later, many farmers had embraced the new way of chicken keeping and the speckled Sussex meat was common in markets and restaurants.

People fell in love with chicken meat and every house hold could have this meat several times a week. This gave these chickens an upper hand and were widely kept by many.

Although the ancestors of the Speckled Sussex chicken breed still remain unknown, it is believed they were the birds the Romans found.

Introduction of industrial hens that could mature fast, lay many eggs and produce much meat made the speckled Sussex chicken breed ran out of favor.

These chickens were almost extinct but today their numbers are promising having been bred back again. This has seen the recognition of this chicken breed by the APA and the PCGB.

Characteristics of the Speckled Sussex chickens

Speckled Sussex chickens are truly beautiful chickens. Looking closely at them, you are likely to mistake these fancy chooks with the Swedish flower hen.

Their feathers are dark mahogany with a black lacing and white tipped. Speckled Sussex chicks have some chestnut colored areas around the eyes giving them a chipmunk appearance.

In adults, each feather is white tipped and separated from the mahogany by a black bar with iridescent overtones of green. The pattern gets more vibrant and outstanding every year too. (Source).

They have a red single comb that has several peaks on it. Wattles and earlobes are red too. The legs are featherless and on each foot there are four toes that are well spaced. Beak is of a horn color.

The leg color is white and so is the skin and meat. Eye color is bay but this may vary depending on the variety.

There are speckled Sussex bantams but they are very rare and can only be found from very few dedicated Sussex chicken breeders.

Speckled Sussex chickens are large with a broad back and a huge breast. Sussex hens weigh 7lbs while roosters weigh 9lbs.

Temperament and Hardiness

Sussex chickens are very calm, quiet, docile and chatty. These birds are very friendly and will offer you company and affection as you go on with your daily chores.

They make good pet chickens and will come running to you expecting to get nice gifts for chickens and tasty treats like blackberries and popcorn.

Sussex chickens are very cuddly and will love it when you hold them on the lap. These birds will even go an extra mile and enjoy a nap together with you.

Speckled Sussex roosters are not aggressive like other chicken breeds and you will not have any problem letting them get close to your toddler.

If you want cold hardy birds that will tolerate extreme low temperatures, the speckled Sussex are a perfect example.

They are cold hardy like the Orloff chickens and Brahmas are. These birds make excellent winter layers and their egg production will not stop because of cold weather.

A heated chicken coop will offer much relief to their single combs that will suffer from frostbites. You can smear Vaseline jelly on the comb during winter to act as an insulation and prevent frostbites.

Their dense plumage will be a turn off when the summer season strikes. They will suffer from heat stress and drink much often.

Ensure they have plenty of shade and several chicken waterers to quench their thirst when it is hot. Additionally, provide enough dirt bathing areas as the sand will help cool them down and get rid of chicken lice.

Egg laying and uses

Speckled Sussex chickens are eggcellent layers of 4 or 5 large light brown to brown eggs per week. They will continue to lay even during the winter when your death layer hens have taken a break.

They reach maturity early and speckled Sussex pullets are ready to lay or mate at 20 weeks old. At this time, the teenage hens will visit the nesting boxes looking for the best place to nest.

When they reach the laying age, ensure they get a calcium rich diet. This vital mineral will help in the formation of strong egg shells and healthy bones. Lack of calcium can lead to egg eating in chickens.

Since these chickens are raised as a dual purpose chicken breed, they can still offer substantive amounts of meat enough for a large family.

Roosters are able to dress 9lbs of carcass while hens will dress about 7lbs. Many restaurant owners argue that the speckled Sussex meat is of a high quality being rich in flavors and is tender.

Are speckled Sussex chickens broody?

Yes! These birds are very broody and make awesome moms. Even though they are broody they will not outdo Yokohama chickens and Cochin bantams.

However, they will take good care of their young well and still accept the eggs of others who make awful moms like Hamburg chickens.

Speckled Sussex chicks for sale can be sourced from reputable hatcheries like Hoovers hatchery. There are people who sell birds that are not pure Sussex so be sure where you buy them from.

Free range

The Speckled Sussex love to range and roam far and wide in the backyard only returning at dusk to roost. They prefer this freedom so that they can follow you around and about or explore collecting insects on their own.

However, these chickens will do well in confinement and in mixed flocks too. Raising chickens on free range method will help lower the cost of feeds because they will supplement their diet with tasty grubs, weeds and insects.

I know you want them to control and take care of those slugs and hoppers that damage your vegetables. Then let them go out but do not forget that they are prone to chicken predators like possums and wolves.

They are heavy so don’t worry of them flying into your neighbor’s farm. Expect them to behave well and make no noise except when singing the egg chorus and several rooster crows.

How long will speckled Sussex chicken live?

Sussex chickens are members of the jungle fowl family. This is an Asiatic subspecies that can live between 5 to 8 years.

However, how long chickens can live will be determined by the kind of care you will give to them. Young chicks will die of cold if they chill meaning you denied them warmth.

Roosters and hens might die of old age exceeding 8 years. But, hens vs. roosters which ones will live longer? This will depend on the quality of care they get.

Laying speckled Sussex hens may not live for very long. They are likely to suffer from egg binding because of the large number of eggs they lay making their bodies exhausted after 2 to 3 years of laying.

Speckled Sussex roosters will likely live longer when raised for breeding or as pets. However, most male chickens will be discarded after hatching or butchered for meat when they attain the right market weight.

Health Issues

Speckled Sussex chickens are cold hardy. They will do well in areas that experience winter where no or few chickens can live.

These chooks are robust and healthy with very no major health issues . However, common chicken mites and lice will use the dense plumage for shelter.

They will suck blood, damage the feathers and cause death if not controlled. Dusting this plumage with small amounts of diatomaceous earth will help. control chicken parasites.

Similar amounts of diatomaceous earth can also be added in their dust bathing sand. This powder works by removing the body oils and moisture from these parasites to death.

A warm coop is also important for these chickens especially when young. Cold coops and damp beddings will make them chill and contract respiratory issues. Make sure the litter is dry and damp free.

Deworm them regularly because they are often infested with internal parasites like the common chicken worms. Seek the help of a qualified vet near you to know the right wormer for water to administer.

Is speckled Sussex chicken right for you?

Speckled Sussex chickens are cold hardy being a good option for you living away from the tropics. They will still be fine in warm climate but need sufficient shade and plenty of drinking water.

These chickens will keep your egg tray full and offer much meat too. They will hatch well and make sweet moms for you who don’t have an egg incubator.

They are calm, cuddly, and docile and make cool pals. These chickens are not aggressive and will not pose any threat to your children.

Speckled Sussex are good for pets just like serama chickens and will give you company as you walk around.

Do not worry about your left over cheese and celery. These chooks will utilize all chicken scrap and convert it into meat and eggs.

These birds will allow to be integrated with other chickens and pose no threat because they rank low on the pecking order unlike the Gold laced Wyandotte.

Final Thoughts

Speckled Sussex chickens are a good breed to keep. They will take care of the leftovers as well as control the number of insect pest in the garden.

They are heavy and will are not good fence jumpers. With them, expect much meat and eggs because they are good dual purpose chicken breeds.

Do you keep these chickens? Share your views.

Sharing is caring and caring is kindness!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *