Light Sussex chickens are a land race that arose in the 18th century from the well-mixed fowls in southern England. They were selected for 3 utility traits: winter laying, good foraging ability, and rapid growth to 16 weeks. During the 19th century the production of Light Sussex chickens became such a big business that a railroad line was constructed to speed up delivery of dressed birds to London! Light Sussex chickens were the premiere utility chicken of that era.
Our Light Sussex are ‘production bred’ — which means that we consistently select for the best growth rate and egg production while maintaining the genetic health of our flock. We produce over 700 chicks each year and select the top 25% for the next breeder flock. The result is a bird that is, in our opinion, a perfect balance on the dual-purpose scale between ‘eggy’ and meaty. Our birds are different from most show bred Sussex in having the correct body shape and posture, firm feathering (not fluffy), and light bone for their size. The cockerels average 5.5 lbs (live wgt) at 16 weeks, dressing out as tender fryers that are perfect for the barbeque. Spring hatched pullets lay right through the winter when most other breeds take a break.
Light Sussex chickens are active foragers and very friendly, tame birds. The Light Sussex roosters are gentlemen, and the hens are curious and busy girls.
True North Farm’s breeding program is simply the recipe that created the breed in the first place: winter laying, good foraging ability and rapid growth. We rear hundreds of chicks on pasture with minimal shelter — no pampered pullets here! We have gone to great lengths to bring in birds from distant parts of the genepool, and have been delighted to see the breed restored to the vigour it had prior to the advent of commercial layers and broilers. Although we have not bred with the APA Standard Of Perfection as a top priority, these birds are pure-bred — many of them are show quality, and yes, we DO show them!