Sussex Fowl were created in the eastern part of the English County of Sussex half of the last century. Originally, they were classed as a variety of Dorking in the dark partridge colour. The first varieties were silver partridge and a sandy coloured brown. The differences between Dorkings and Sussex are the longer body and higher legs of the Sussex. On top of that, the Dorking has two hind toes and the Sussex only one. Originally, there is quite a similarity between the two breeds. Sussex was developed at the same time as the Kent- and Surrey fowl and is possibly related to both. The aim was to produce a dual-purpose breed with good egg production and meat qualities and these qualities remained until the end of the century. Later on more attention was given on the meat qualities because their good fattening characteristics.
The breed was first mentioned in the British Book of Standards in 1865, but long before that, they were shown in one of the first English poultry shows. The breed almost disappeared towards the end of the 19th. century, but thanks to the efforts of the legendary Sir Edward Brown, the Sussex Poultry Club was founded in Lewes, Sussex, England in 1903. A distinction was made between the exhibition type and the utility type, securing the future of the breed in both types. Around the turn of the century, the breed was spread around the world. In the first decades of this century the Light- or Columbian Sussex was developed as an excellent dual-purpose breed. In 1925 and 1926 "Laying Trials" were organised by the famous Harper Adams College in England in which the Light Sussex achieved an egg production of more 200 a year. These days the Sussex is mainly kept as an exhibition breed, although some production strains still exist.
The Sussex is a medium high breed, which resembles a cross between an Orpington and a Dorking. The medium sized head is short with distinctive eye brows. The single, red comb is of medium size and has five points. The beak is powerful, slightly curved, short and is white or white-horn coloured. The medium long, red ear lobes are oval-shaped and large in comparison to the head and neck. The red-brown, large, bold and prominent eyes express vitality. The medium long neck is slightly curved with the hackles covering the shoulders. The medium sized wings are fairly long and reach as far as the lower saddle feathers. The back is broad and flat, slightly sloping down towards the large, well spread tail. The tail is carried at an angle of 45 degrees in the cock and around 35 degrees in the hen. The body is long, broad and deep with a broad, deep breast carried well forward. The legs are placed wide apart. They have, as well as the toes, a pink-white colour in the Light variety. Other varieties have differently coloured legs and toes following the colourvariety.
A very hardy, vital breed that can cope with almost any climate. A very
good table bird, because of its white skin and tender meat that will also
achieve a good egg production. Through selection, the egg production can
top the 200 big light tinted eggs a year. They can become broody and make
very good mothers. The food intake is moderate when looked after properly.
Depending on variety, sex and age the average weight is between 3000 and a good 4000 grams.
The recognised varieties include the following colours: Speckled, Light or Columbian, Red, Buff Columbian, Brown, Silver, and White. Other colours exist but are less well known.