Sussex Hens: Characteristics, Feeding, Breeding and more.

Its origin is from England and its name Sussex hen is given because it is from the county of Sussex specifically, it is a noble bird and one of the oldest, good layer like the leghorn hen and with great maternal instinct, unlike other breeds that must incubate the eggs artificially, this one does not, because it does it by natural instinct. It is a docile bird, its meat is exquisite to the palate because it is a soft meat, it is very much appreciated by the English.

The rooster and the hen are the oldest species of birds on the planet earth, these are used not only for their meat but also for their eggs that contain nutrients for the human body. The names given to them are rooster for the male and hen for the female, some are used for their feathers, others are trained, especially the roosters of a specific breed for fighting and in other cases they are used ornamentally. Depending on the breed, their longevity is estimated between 5 and 10 years and they are omnivorous birds. I recommend you to see the following article about the best Automatic Chicken Coop Doors .


The sussex hen breed belongs to the dual purpose hens , it meets the expectations of poultry farmers and that makes it one of the most sought after, unlike other species of hens its broad back and strong backs. Originally its colors were brown, red and spotted, and a white species was also available. It is one of the most productive breeds of hens, laying 260 large, light brown eggs per year.

It is a bird that is used for artisan breeding and for exhibitions, is an ancient breed was bred to celebrate the coronation of King George and from there begins a great popularity for this bird. These hens enjoy eating, they peck and peck, and are calm. The cold weather affects their egg production.

It was one of the bird breeds that supplied chicken meat to London, the sussex hen of fast growth and yields at the level of its meat that is also soft and very juicy, pleasant to the palate, for their maternal instinct they are good incubators and that makes them a bird with higher production and much more profitable, it is not necessary to incubate the eggs artificially. It is a hen with long and rounded feathers, with little down. Below video of sussex hen

Characteristics of the sussex hen.

It is a fairly large bird, with a square figure and a long, wide and flat back, its crest is medium, it has red ears and light flesh-colored tarsi, unlike the Japanese hen. It produces an annual quantity of eggs between 260 to 280 eggs with a weight of at least 55 grams each, the color of the egg is from yellow to cream brown, the weight of this hen is approximately 3 to 3.5 kilos and the male 4 kilos.

Anatomy of the hen.

The sussex hen has a medium-sized head with a broad skull, the head is fine-textured, bare and red; chins round, a little small, rather smooth and red, the ears are small, close-fitting and red, it has a small crest rather thin and simple, straight, it has four or five cloves cleft to the middle of the crest, with a short lobe; in the female the crest is smaller and straight.

The eyes of the sussex hen are large, very visible, the iris is orange or preferably red, the beak of the sussex hen is very strong, slightly curved and flesh-colored. The neck is short, with quite abundant scape, but it is not exaggerated, the trunk of this species is rectangular in shape, generally horizontal, it should have a proportion of depth according to the length and this should be 2

The shoulders are very little rounded, it is wide and piano, it is horizontal with very abundant caireles but to the body, in the female the shoulders are more square than in the male and the back more horizontal. The abdomen is well developed rather wide and the chest is broad and rather deep, the tail of this hen is slightly staggered, carried at an angle of about 45 degrees, wide but rather short with numerous and very small sickles covering the rudders.

In the extremities we can name and describe The wings of the sussex hen are of a medium size, horizontal, are high and tight, the thighs are of medium length, well separated and visible, have the plumage loose but not to the extreme and the tarsi are of medium size, have no plumage and are of a flesh color. In the females the plumage of the thighs is looser than in the males of this breed of hens.

Types of sussex hens.

There are several species of sussex hens as well as the marans hen, there are in different colors and specifications each one, this bird is dual purpose because they take advantage of their eggs and meat for being a large bird and good incubator, this species tends to get broody, then you will know more about this species and its types, colors and description of each one.

White sussex hen with black color.

The sussex cock of this species is pure silvery white, being the head silvery white without markings; the feathers that are in the scape have wide black stripes with green flashes that do not reach the tip because it also has a silver edging. At the height of the eyes is where this flaming begins that as it goes down it becomes wider, this flaming set should be closed below the neck and this forms like a thick necklace.

The feathers that are in the back of the coat have black points, as far as possible the caireles should not have any markings, if we speak of the tail this is black with beautiful green reflections that enhance and those small sickles are black with a white border. The remiges are black and the extreme wattles are white, so that the wing that is closed is white.

The plumage of the tarsus is white with some black markings, the underplumage is white or grayish. When speaking of the hen we can say that the color of the plumage is the same as that of the rooster, the back as well as the kidney should be of a pure white color and the rudders edged in white.

Serious defects that we can find in this specimen, reflections of golden color, double edging with the edge of the feather of black color and there is presence of black flaming in the caireles. Below is a video of this species.

Tawny sussex hen with black flamingos.

The rooster and hen of this species has the same characteristics of the white ermine but in this case the white is dark red. The feathers that are found in the slain have very wide black stripes with flashes of green color that do not reach the tip of the feather because it has a silver trim, like the white ermine hen this has a flamed at the height of the eyes that goes down and becomes wider, this forms a collar on the bird below the neck which makes it attractive to the eye.

The plumage of the tarsus is red with small black markings, the underplumage is red, the tail is black. The serious defects that we can find in this bird are the edges edged with black feather edges and the presence of black flaming on the caireles.

Tricolor sussex hen.

The rooster of this species has in its body a reddish brown plumage, all the feathers one by one, except the feathers of the shoulder and back, end with a black spangle in the form of triangle that at the end of its feather a small white spot can be observed, the remiges are of brown color and in the tips white color, it can contain areas of gray or white color if they are not totally visible from the outside, the big coverts of the wings a double stripe, with some black and white markings.

The sickles and the rudders are black and it is possible that they have white tips, in the hen of this species the plumage of the whole is equal to the plumage of the rooster, but only a little lighter, the described marks must have a very regular and precise distribution, must not contain traces of parchment in the back. Here is a video of this unique species.

Golden sussex hen.

In this species the color of the head of the cock is reddish brown, the caireles are golden with a black flamed stripe, the back and the small wing coverts are bright red, the coverts that are quite large are black with green reflections, the secondary remiges have some external wattles that are brownish which are those that appear in the triangular shape that has the wing, the internal wattles of this species are black.

In the primary remerías the colors are distributed in the same way. The throat, breast, tail, abdomen and thighs have an intense black color with green reflections and the underplumon is gray. In the case of the hen of this species the head is reddish-brown passing in the neck to a golden red with a black flaming, the mantle that covers this bird and the wings are reddish-brown with a black outline, the rachis of the feathers is brown, the chest is dark salmon to reddish-brown, the abdomen and thighs are dark brown, the tail is black.

The rudders, which are quite large, are covered with brownish striations, the subplumon is gray, among the serious defects in this species are that it has white feathers on the shirt and tail.

White sussex hen.

In this species there is not much to describe because the cock and the hen have pure white plumage and underplumage, and the serious defect that this species can suffer from is a yellowish reflection in its color.

There are some serious defects for all types of sussex hens, such as rectangular shape, back line that is too steep or concave, plumage that is too loose-fitting, tarsi with feathers or tarsi that have a color different from the standard color of each species.


The sussex hen reproduces like all existing hens, such as the orpington hen or the brahma hen by egg reproduction, the reproductive system is formed by an ovary and this contains the eggs, the oviduct, vagina and cloaca. Generally, reproduction begins in spring and extends into the summer with the intention that the chicks hatch in the summer heat.

Of the number of eggs that the hens lay during several days, there is one in which the embryo develops and will be incubated until it hatches, in this period the hen usually becomes broody, it is so called because she only concentrates on incubating and caring for her chicks and not on laying eggs, The incubation period is 21 days, in this process the embryo feeds on the egg yolk that passes through the navel, during the first day of incubation and the circulatory system is ready and the head begins to take shape, on the fifth day the sexual organs will be formed.

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After thirteen days the hen’s skeleton is formed and it uses the calcium from the egg, at 221 days the chick is fully developed, and this is when they begin to break the shell and this takes time, the hen makes sounds when she knows it is time for her chicks to come out and this motivates them to break the shell. The eggs do not all break on the same day, so the hen continues incubating for two more days.

Hen eggs can be artificially incubated by means of devices designed for this job, with the necessary resources and temperature for this process. Below is a video of 6-day-old chicks.


The feeding of the sussex hen is very important because not only the egg but also the meat is used. The hen must be fed in a healthy way and with the adequate nutrients in order to obtain meat and eggs of excellent quality. Chickens are omnivorous birds, which means that they eat everything from insects to food waste at home, but in this case it is a laying bird and is also used to eat their meat, so it must be a special type of food for them.

Within the correct feeding of the sussex laying hen to be well nourished, healthy and provide quality eggs are the protein that serves to develop and helps when laying eggs, fats and carbohydrates are also part of the balanced diet that provide energy, we must provide vitamins and minerals, which prevent diseases in the hen finally calcium and phosphorus, this helps in strengthening the bones and helps in the quality of the egg that the hen lays.

The hen from hatching to about 3 months old needs feed that contains a large amount of protein for growth and to be good for consumption, when the hens are already laying eggs we must increase the feed with more minerals. Grains for the hen can be supplied either whole or as flour, they are corn, rice, wheat, barley, oats sorghum, cotton seeds or dates also provide carbohydrates.

There are feeds that contain animal protein, but it should not be fed to the bird too much, because animal protein can cause diseases and the meat of the hen can take that taste as for example fish. Fats to feed the hen can be found in peanut, cotton and sunflower seeds. In egg shells, shellfish shells and ground bones we can find the source of minerals and vitamins we can add them through green herbs or those sold already commercialized.

The rations that we must supply to the bird change according to the needs and the stage of growth, when they are younger they need more proteins on the other hand those that are in laying period need more minerals, you should always mix with a little water the ration before supplying it to the bird, you can also sprinkle the whole grains in the place so that they can dig, in this way we would be inciting them to do it, this way they also ingest minerals, always discard the feed that is left over. Always keep clean water for the hens and in the necessary quantities.

Regarding the waterers, the birds need to be provided with clean water all the time, more in times when it is very

They ingest more than half a liter of water a day, they must be clean, they can be built with wood, with plastic bottles, or we can even buy them, we must prevent the birds from entering them and thus prevent them from dirtying them or filling them with excrement that could make them sick.

The feeders, these can be made of wood or purchased must be large enough so that the bird can ingest its daily ration of food properly, to have a good feeder for our hens should be made with a wooden base and two boards one for each side and they are placed on each side, the height will depend on the age of the bird.

Problems or diseases in the hen due to poor feeding.

The hen begins to present a series of symptoms or problems when it is not supplied with the adequate and balanced feed it needs:

  • Problems with feathers.
  • General health problems.
  • Eggs with very thin shells.
  • Leg problems.
  • Decrease in egg laying.
  • Infections.

When there is a lack of protein in the bird, it is noticed because it begins to suffer from infections, which cause that the meat of this bird can not be consumed and there is no egg laying, on the other hand the lack of calcium which is an essential mineral for this bird causes the legs are deformed, take a curved shape and can not walk well and lay eggs with weak shell or without shell. If this happens to the eggs they lay, there is a risk that other birds will eat them and adopt this practice, which is extremely serious.

To avoid these problems we must give them the minerals that these birds require in specific quantities according to their age, we can stimulate them to dig in the soil and also get them from there, one way to do this is to water them a little corn not in the feeders but in the soil.

Diseases or problems can also be caused by the lack of vitamins in the sussex hen’s diet, this causes the bird to not develop properly, they are weak and this does not allow them to walk or walk well, the feathers will be ruffled, they are prone to suffer from diseases in the pectorals and may also present in the nose and eyes a type of exudation, in the legs the fingers are curved inward and the birds find it difficult to move.

This type of situations presented in the birds can be avoided or alleviated by supplying the birds with the vitamins they require and even adding them naturally through green herbs, this deficiency is of care taking into account that this can cause them to peck each other and this becomes a serious problem.


To raise dual-purpose hens such as the sussex hen, which is not only a good egg layer but also has a tender meat that is coveted by many countries, we must take into account certain climatic conditions, adapt the site well and provide them with a feed according to their requirements, age and process.

One of the factors that influence the egg laying of hens is sunlight, when there is a change of seasons they tend to decrease egg laying if there is not enough sunlight, that is why the solution can be found by placing artificial light, so the production will not stop at any time and the season will not affect.

We have another important factor, as it is well known the age of the hen is an influential factor, the best year is the first one, its production is very good but as it gets older it decreases and this starts to happen from the second year, generally at three years old this hen is sent to the slaughterhouse. Another factor that we must handle is the molting of the feathers, during this process the hen does not lay eggs, and it is a period of time of approximately 40 to 60 days, this happens in winter or due to poor feeding provided to them.

We will realize that the feather comes out again when we see the cannons in the bird, after this will come the feather, so it is necessary to provide them with a quality and balanced diet where they provide all the nutrients they need and thus make the most of the egg laying and raise a beneficial hen to be ingested.

As for raising the chicks of this species, they are strong and easy to raise, as it is well known already, the hen incubates her eggs, these chicks should be fed with a source of protein and minerals appropriate to their age and to strengthen their growth.


The sussex hen is a type of bird rather quiet, docile and is always alert to any situation, they adapt to any environment, they are happy in open areas but can also live quietly in confined spaces, they are hunters and gatherers, they are birds that have maternal instinct and incubate their eggs that is why sometimes they become broody, When they are in this state, they should be provided with food and water and we will know that they are broody because they do not leave their nest and if you try to do it, they will try to attack you and if this behavior still persists after 21 days of egg incubation, we should move them away from the nest.

It is a laying hen with a great maternal instinct, they are birds that adapt very well to climatic changes and they can get the most out of them because they have a soft and rich meat, which provides nutrients to the human body. Here is a video of sussex breed roosters and hens.

How to prevent parasitic diseases.

Preventing this type of disease is simple, constant cleaning of drinking and feeding troughs as well as not allowing the bird to roam free and also to be clean.

  • Every week a general cleaning should be done eliminating all droppings.
  • Feeders and drinkers need to be cleaned daily.
  • Avoid puddles of water around the drinkers or anywhere where the hens are enclosed.
  • It is not recommended to keep new birds also in the same place or ground, as soil contamination increases.
  • Young hens should not be kept together with adults.
  • Make a good cleaning in cages and sheds before introducing the hens.
  • It is recommended not to place birds less than three months old in pens or cages where adult birds have been recently, in order to avoid coccidiosis infection.

In this way we can avoid that the birds suffer from parasites and cause an epidemic that could kill not one but several birds of this species, which is an excellent egg layer.

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