Sussex hens

(Gallus gallus domesticus)

The Sussex is a traditional English breed of chicken commonly kept for both egg laying and meat. They can be various different colours – brown, buff, light, red, speckled, silver, white and coronation. Sussex chickens are believed to have been first bred in the area that would become England, around the time of the Roman invasion of AD 43, making them one of the oldest known breeds of chicken.

Although the breed is said to be able to adapt to any kind of management system, as with our other animals we prefer to free range as far as possible. We have brown, buff and silver Sussex hens and a fantastic brown cockerel – Mr Pixton.

The birds love to forage and a good proportion of their diet comes from insects, grasses and seeds which they find whilst pecking and digging around. Our hens are kept in a large fenced enclosure and have shared houses which are raised off the ground. They are protected from the fox and other predators by electric fencing.

The hens lay in the region of 250 eggs per year and the shade of the egg varies from one colour hen to the next. Although this level of egg production is lower than hybrid or commercial birds these hens will live and lay for considerably longer.