Few things start the day better than some quiet time spent in the early morning orchard. That soft time of the day brings out the colors of the earth in a way few other moments can. On this particular morning, it was time to let our Light Sussex do what they do so well…range.
When on Pasture…
A Light Sussex on pasture is like a Roman in…well Rome. As the writer Lewis Wright said in 1873, the Sussex is a “fine race of barn-door poultry, improved by long and careful breeding for the London market.” Few chickens have the combination of production and temperament that can be found in the Sussex. While they are certainly no longer “of no standard colour, and even no fixed type,” their practical nature continues to shine through. Even at a time when the Dorking was considered the absolute top of the poultry world, breeders found the inclusion of Sussex genetics in their market birds to “pure Dorking” because they were “hardier.”
There are prettier chickens in the world. There are likely more productive layers (though the list is likely short). And, while some would argue that the Dorking can still claim the top spot for table birds, the Sussex in undeniably worthy of admiration. If you crossed a Leghorn with a Dorking and threw in a little labrador (we prefer chocolate), you’d be close to the Sussex. They are productive, friendly to a fault, and are so far from that fateful word, “delicate,” that they make about the best all-around breed of chicken available. While practical and productive may not light a fire under the poultry fancier, maybe it should. Undeniably, the Sussex is likely one of the best expressions of the “chicken-ness” in the chicken world. We love our Sussex, and we love they way they look in the soft light of early morning. We hope you do too.