Xena and Penelope were very cool chickens.
Xena was a complete lap chicken. She hopped the fence every day from the first spring melts to the first blizzard. She’d spend her days scratching in the yard, happy to be picked up and carried around. They say not to have favorites in your hen house- and they’re right in a way.
A fox took her one April day. MrGillis ran after them but it was too late. He did save Struggle, one of our gray girls, from a similar fate 15 minutes later & spent the rest of the day on watch with me. The fox never came back.
Her sister, Penelope, Penny for short, was sweet and shy. She didn’t hop the fence, but was always right there for her morning treats. She lived another year until a gate broke and fell on her. I didn’t find her until at least a hour after she passed, so I’ll never know exactly what happened.
They were both good, beautiful birds and that is why I am revisiting my series today:
The Chicken Profiler: Speckled Sussex
Lore states The speckled Sussex breed is an old breed. They can possibly trace their origins to ancient times, as far as chicken tending goes. It’s believed the the ancestors of these gentle beauties were brought to England by the Phoenicians.
They were introduced as Sussex’s or Kentish Fowl at the very first poultry show in England in 1845. The Victorians really enjoyed their show birds and did a lot of fantastic breeding in this era.
Physically, they are known for their plumage which has beautiful shades of mahogany & black along with a white freckling, that gets more pronounced with every molt.
They are a medium sized bird with single comb and small wattles that are pink to red and legs that are yellow. The hens will grow to be about 6 lbs and the roosters to around 8 lbs.
They are decent layers, averaging 3-5 eggs per week that are a light brown in color. They do slow down a lot in the winter, but I expect that with heritage breeds and preserve eggs accordingly.
As a breed, they came very close to extinction until fairly recently. This is unfortunately the case with a lot of heirloom breeds and conservation is more important now then ever.
These are chatty, sociable hens that are excellent for backyard keepers and families alike. 10/10 recommend for your personal flock.
Until next time, have a wicked good day!