The Light Sussex chicken is one of the most popular backyard chicken breeds, especially in the UK.
There are, in fact, several varieties of the Sussex. The Light Sussex is one of 8 color varieties recognized by the Poultry Club of Great Britain, and one of 3 recognized by the American Poultry Association.
It’s a hardy dual-purpose bird, a great layer, easy to raise, and typically has a friendly and social personality.
Personally, the Light variant is my favorite Sussex chicken. Here’s a closer look this chicken to help you decide if its the right breed for you:
Light Sussex Chicken Temperament and Personality
The Light Sussex is one of the friendliest and most curious breeds I’ve come across. They love following people around and investigating the far reaches of the yard.
Which means, it’ll come as no surprise that they are great foragers and at their happiest with plenty of space and different plants and insects to nibble on and eat.
Being cold weather hardy is pretty much a requirement in the UK. The Sussex can deal with the cold and wet, and probably enjoy it on the cooler-side than a scorcher of a day.
The best thing about them is their placid and friendly temperament. Even Sussex roosters are rarely aggressive or problematic, so they’re an excellent choice for beginners.
I often see the Sussex referred to as “graceful”, and I like the description. They have long, broad backs, wide shoulders, and a solid build – and move around gracefully.
They have red earlobes, a single comb, and it’s the different color collar or neck feathers that most of the varieties have that makes them unmistakable as a Sussex.
The Light variant has a white body and white legs, with black feathers around their neck, on the end of their wings, and the tips of their tails.
As I mentioned above, the Light is only one – although the most popular – of the varieties of Sussex.
The other colors that are accepted across the world vary, but to give you an idea:
The Poultry Club of Great Britain recognizes eight colors of Sussex:
The American Poultry Association recognizes three colors:
All of these colors have white legs and skin, 4 toes, and the same single comb and wattle. Some are extremely rare, such as the silver and buff colors.
Mature roosters typically weigh around 9 lbs, and hens weigh around 7 lbs. There is also a bantam, with the roosters weighing around 3.5 lbs and the hens just 2.5 lbs.
Light Sussex Pullets and Point-of-Lays
If you’re buying a pullet or point-of-lay expecting eggs, you won’t have to wait long.
You can expect your light Sussex to start laying eggs around 18-20 weeks of age.
You should start to see signs, such as their faces turning red and some squatting, before finding that first, albeit small brown egg.
It doesn’t take them long to start producing large, tasty brown eggs.
Light Sussex Chicken Egg Color, Size, and Production
They are great layers, you can expect around 260-280 large brown eggs a year. That works out at about 4-5 eggs per week.
Two important things to note about their laying schedule are that; they are one of the best winter laying breeds. And, they rarely go broody.
This means you can expect almost uninterrupted laying throughout the year with the right conditions met.
Are They a Good Backyard Chicken Breed?
The Light Sussex isn’t one of the most popular backyard breeds without good reason. They are an excellent choice for beginners, homesteaders, and anyone wanting to raise chickens for either meat or eggs.
Some of the main reasons why they’re the perfect choice for most people include:
Low Maintenance – Chickens aren’t exactly high maintenance, and it doesn’t get much easier than the Sussex.
Lots of Large Eggs – Who doesn’t want regular large brown eggs? Being good winter layers also means a more consistent supply throughout the year.
Friendly Temperament – It’s always a pleasant addition when your chickens are friendly.
Weather Hardy – Being one of the oldest British breeds, you can be sure they’re hardy in all weather conditions – except maybe the extreme heat.
Related – How to shelter your chickens in the rain.
Light Sussex Chicken Life Expectancy
Their life expectancy is anywhere between 5-8 years. Pretty much the same as expected for most breeds of backyard chicken.
Where to Buy Light Sussex Chicks Online?
If you’re looking for places selling Light Sussex chicks or hatching eggs, I recommend checking out the local state hatchery listings I put together here.
For me, the easiest way to find chicks for sale is always by ordering online. The online hatchery I use is Cackle Hatchery.
They stock hundreds of different breeds and varieties of poultry. At the time of writing this they had Speckled Sussex hatching eggs and chicks for sale, but no Light.
Availability is always changing though, so I’d hop over via the link below and take a look. You could have some new chicks in the post and on the way to you in just a few clicks.
Light Sussex Roosters
The Light Sussex Rooster is a magnificent looking bird. They have very similar colors and markings as the hens, but there is no mistaking the roosters.
They stand taller, have a more muscular build, larger combs and wattles, and are more upright.
The best part – they aren’t known for being aggressive (unlike the feisty Old English Game). Which, if you talk to anyone who has been terrorized by an aggressive rooster, they’ll tell you what a nightmare it is.
If you want to see a roo in action, just check out the video below. You’ll also notice they aren’t that loud too, which is always welcome for me (and my neighbors).
Related – Are “no crow” collars cruel? How they quieten crown roosters.
Interesting Facts About the Light Sussex
If you’re looking for some quick facts about the Light Sussex to impress your friends, here are some of the interesting takeaways about this breed:
- The Sussex originates from the historic county of Sussex in England.
- They are dual-purpose breeds, being raised for both their meat and their large brown eggs.
- The Light Sussex is said to be one of the least broody of the Sussex varieties.
- They are commonly used to produce “sex-link” chicks. Meaning they selectively bred with other breeds.
- Their life expectancy is 5-8 years.
- If an adult is too large for, there is a bantam version which is less than half the size.
- They’re great at scratching and foraging and will find plenty of food if it’s hiding in your yard.
- One of their most endearing qualities is their friendly and docile temperament.
There you have it, few breeds are a more complete package than the Light Sussex Chicken.
They are great layers, low maintenance, fun and friendly to be around, and generally make an awesome addition to any flock.
Convinced yet? 🙂
Image credits – Photo by Idella Maeland on Unsplash