Whether you’re raising chickens with your family, as pets, or for meat and eggs, the odds are that you don’t want aggressive birds on your farm.
It’s safer for you, your family, and your birds if you keep chickens who will get along with one another.
There are plenty of docile breeds, and the Sussex is among them!
Sussex chickens are not aggressive in the slightest. They tend to be confident but excessively friendly, sometimes to their own detriment. They are safe to keep around children and smaller birds because they are not fight-starters or dominant personalities. Even the roosters of this breed tend to be docile!
Thinking about adding some of these sweethearts to your coop?
Keep reading to learn more about Sussex chickens’ temperament and best practices for caring for them.
Do Sussex Chickens Fight Other Birds or People?
One of the biggest reasons these birds are such a popular breed, especially among backyard poultry farmers, is their friendliness.
It is not in a Sussex chicken’s nature to display aggression toward other chickens or humans.
In fact, in a flock of various breeds, Sussex birds would end up at the bottom of the pecking order due to their utter lack of aggressive behavior.
They’re a wonderful breed for families with small children because of their docile temperament.
If you plan to add Sussex birds to your farm, this means that they may need some protection.
I don’t mean you ought to wrap them up in bubble wrap, though it may be tempting when you meet these sweeties!
The best protective measures are simply to fill your chicken coop with other friendly birds that won’t threaten your Sussex hens.
The Buff Orpington and the Brahma are two examples of mild-mannered chickens that you might consider adding to your family.
What Might Drive a Sussex Chicken to Aggression?
It isn’t easy to get a Sussex birdy angry.
There are very few possible reasons they would feel cornered enough to behave aggressively:
- To protect themselves from bullies
- To get to resources needed for survival
It’s a short list, as I’m sure you see.
The first possible cause for aggression is bullies!
The kindest, most well-tempered people will sometimes fight if it means protecting themselves or their families from physical harm.
A Sussex chicken is capable of doing the same.
This can vary from bird to bird.
But don’t be surprised if a chicken constantly being pecked at starts to get aggressive toward other members of your flock.
Keep your birds safe by not allowing them to bully one another.
If your Sussex hen is fighting other birds, she likely feels unsafe in her environment, which is not what we want for our feathered friends!
The second reason for aggressive behavior is the fight for resources.
Avoid fights over food and water by always keeping plenty of fresh water and chicken feed available to your birds.
This will keep your birds safe in more ways than one.
All this being said, Sussex hens are still most likely to simply cause a commotion before causing harm to other birds.
Further Reading: Why do chickens make noise at night and when to act?
How Friendly are Sussex Roosters?
While they aren’t the most aggressive roosters out there, Sussex birds aren’t immune to aggressive rooster behavior.
This is especially true if you have a couple of roosters living together.
Conflict becomes increasingly likely the more you expose any dominant rooster to a new bird.
If you want to keep the aggression at bay, don’t keep more than one rooster.
Certainly, don’t keep a Sussex rooster (or hens) with the rooster of a less friendly breed.
As stated earlier, keeping cool water and plenty of food is also important.
Fighting over resources is not uncommon, but it is an easy problem to avoid.
Forgetting to feed or water your birds is a good way to make your roosters aggressive.
In the event of a rooster attack, do your best to separate the offender from the other birds quickly.
Even if it isn’t frequent, aggressive rooster behavior is very dangerous for the rest of your flock!
Do Sussex Chickens Make Good Mothers?
Their gentle nature and tendency to go broody make Sussex hens great mamas.
They will happily sit atop a cluster of eggs and wait for them to hatch.
But this doesn’t mean they will peck you or your family when you collect the eggs each morning.
They will likely be some of the calmest hens in your coop and let you take their eggs without fussing.
If you have a rooster, it is still a good idea to keep them separated from any chicks as a precaution.
While the hens are not a danger to your baby birds, the behavior of roosters is sometimes harder to predict.
Despite being low on the aggression scale compared with other rooster breeds, even a Sussex rooster can show aggression if they feel threatened.
Are Sussex Chickens Right for You?
Aside from their temperaments, Sussex chickens have a whole lot to offer!
While they are generally considered layers now, Sussex birdies were originally bred to be meat birds.
The most common meat bird now is the broiler, of course.
But if for some reason, you wanted to use a Sussex chicken for meat, it would be doable.
If you are looking for superior meat production, the high-production Broilers are your best bet.
Further reading: Are Sussex chickens good for meat?
Did you know Sussex birds are among the best egg layers?
They lay 4-5 large brown eggs weekly so long as you provide them with basic care.
This is superior egg production compared to many other layers.
Couple this with their sweet, friendly nature, and these chickens are the perfect choice to add to your backyard coop!
Sussexes have a medium-size single comb and come in various feather colors.
Color variations range from Buff Sussex to Light Sussex to Speckled Sussex.
Their plumage colors are so beautiful!
If you wanted, it would be possible to fill your coop with only this one chicken breed and still have a rainbow of birds, thanks to all their different feather colors.
You would have some of the most peaceful chickens around, too!
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