Sebright Chickens – Breed Profile & Facts
Sebright chickens are among the most famous and oldest true British bantam chickens in history. Records indicate that they were developed around the 19th century by a renowned scientist, Sir John Saunders Sebright. In fact, the birds got their name from the initial developer. Sebrights are neither prolific egg producers nor excellent meat birds.
Instead, they are more suited for ornamental purposes. Experts also list them under the Rare Breed Survival Trust. This refers to a fowl species that requires extra monitoring to prevent extinction.
On the other hand, the Livestock Breed Conservancy registers Sebright as a threatened species with fewer than 1000 known breeding chickens in the US. Despite the drawbacks, Sebright birds have a massive following, including an enthusiasts club, because of their beauty and pleasant personality.
As the tiny chickens enjoy newfound popularity, this article intends to share valuable information on how to keep your Sebrights in a healthy environment.
Where do Sebright Chickens Come From?
The first Sebright chicken dates back centuries ago. Back then, Sir John Saunders Sebright was the Member of Parliament for Hertfordshire from 1767 to 1846. He also had a deep interest in breeding cattle, chickens, plus other animals. Sir John Saunders wrote several informative pamphlets on the topic in the process.
Some include Observations upon Hawking in 1826 and The Art of Improving the Breeds of Domestic Animals around 1809. Still, he set out to develop a tiny bantam bird with lace plumage, a trait very similar to the laced polish.
The accurate makeup of Sebright chickens remains uncertain, although experts assume that he cross-bred Pit Game cock with a buff Nankin bantam hen plus tiny gold-spangled Hamburgh hen. Later, he developed silver Sebright by cross-breeding white Rose comb cock with golds. He then founded the Sebright Bantam Club in 1810.
Until 1865, Sebright chickens were included in the Standard of Excellence in Exhibition Poultry of William Bernhard Tegetmeier. In 1874, experts registered the breed under the Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association. Currently, Sebrights take a leading position among the most famous bantam chickens worldwide.
How to Recognize a Sebright Chicken?
The American Poultry Association accepts two color variations of Sebrights; Gold and Silver laced. Although not yet registered, there is another deviation known as the Buff laced. All Sebrights chickens have laced feathers with bold shimmering colors regardless of these disparities.
Physically, they are flighty chickens with tiny compact bodies and short backs. Also, they have prominent breasts and perfectly trimmed silver or gold almond-shaped plumage. Sebrights have sloping wings and a broad tail that opens up like a fan at approximately 70 degrees.
The roosters have a tiny spike that sweeps all the way to their backs. Also, they have rose combs with refined, beautiful tips. Both females and males have mulberry red combs, purple-red earlobes, and rounded wattles. Also, they have unfeathered slate blue legs and dark horn beaks. Thanks to their genetic makeup, roosters occasionally come out infertile.
Moreover, they do not have long sickle-like plumage associated with most roosters. In short, they do not have typical feathers in the saddle, tail, or hackles familiar with other males. For this reason, it becomes almost impossible to distinguish roosters and hens by coloration.
How Big do Sebright Chickens Grow?
Sebright classifies among some of the most miniature bantam chickens. Generally, males weigh approximately 620 grams while females follow shortly at 570 grams. Of course, the diminutive size falls short of the required meat bird weight. However, their attention-grabbing appeal covers up for this drawback, making it a favorite with ornamental breeders.
Are Sebright Chickens Easy to Care For?
Even if Sebright chickens are incredibly active, they may not require specialized care. However, it is common for them to develop complicated health issues if kept in unhygienic shelters. To start with, the birds seldom go broody and often require breeding under incubation.
More frustrating is that the miniature bird produces relatively weak chicks, with the majority dying before they hit adulthood. After an agonizing breeding process, it’s pretty disappointing to lose your young chicks.
The good news is that they are exceptionally cold-hardy. In fact, you may not have to place a heat lamp in the coop even during the coldest months. Instead, pine shavings on the floor and a 250-watt bulb work perfectly in keeping the pen warm. Sebrights may require proper training to socialize better with human beings.
This is because they are naturally shy, especially when exposed to a new environment.
What to Feed Sebright Chickens?
Thanks to its tiny size, Sebright eats a limited amount of food daily. This makes them an economical pet bird and pleasant addition to your flock. For your birds to grow healthy, offer them fresh grains, vegetables and fruits regularly. Excellent choices include berries, apples, leafy greens, non-sugary cereals, cooked beans, and corn.
Occasionally, throw in fresh milk for a rich supply of calcium. Soluble and insoluble grit also comes in handy in providing calcium and proper digestion. Favorite sources of grit include limestone, eggshells, oyster shells, cuttlebone, and crushed gravel. Luckily, they are well nutrition-balanced commercial feeds available in the market.
Furthermore, they are excellent scavengers and benefit nutrients-wise when given a chance to forage. Fortunately, this is also an ideal way to save on commercial feeds. After munching worms and fresh plants from the yard, you may only need to add a small amount of commercial feeds. Finally, Sebright birds require clean enough freshwater daily like other chicken species.
What Kind of Coop do Sebrights Need?
Given that Sebrights have strong large wings and are pretty small, they can fly much higher than heavier birds. What’s more, their tiny bodies lead them to get spooked so easily. In short, a minor scare may trigger them to take flight when frightened, which puts their life at risk sometimes.
It is your duty as a keeper to keep your animals safe. Cages sound like an excellent idea for meeting Sebright’s housing needs.
Nevertheless, consider the advantages of repeat foraging and give them a piece of both worlds. Thus, allow them to forage around under strict supervision. Also, ensure that fences around the compound are high enough. If necessary, place them in high meshed enclosures for added safety. Then, keep their sleeping quarters warm and dry by adding warm beddings.
Although Sebright tolerates cold very well, you can consider placing heat pads, hot water bottles, and other safe heating options in the coop during freezing months.
What Health Problems Do Sebright Have?
Hardy and full of life, the Sebright may not require specialized health care. Remember socializing reduces stress and makes your birds happy and contented. For this reason, allow them to mingle with other chicken species with no cause for alarm.
It is worth pinpointing that Sebrights are highly vulnerable to the Marek ailment. This contagious viral condition affects body organs and nerves through the lymphatic system. The disease often gets transmitted at an alarming rate and can quickly affect the entire flock.
Common warning signs include increased depression, eye color change, paralysis, blindness, lesions, crop dilations, breathing difficulties, and death. Currently, the perfect preventive measure against Marek is vaccination.
Thus, vaccinate all the birds even if they do not display any symptoms. Also, keep the coop extremely clean to prevent an infestation of unhygienic-related diseases and parasites like lice.
How Many Eggs do Sebright Chickens Lay?
Do not expect plenty of eggs from Sebright hens. In short, if baskets full of eggs are your ultimate objective, reconsider other productive breeds. By all means, Sebright chickens are not prolific layers and only tend to produce eggs when placed in favorable conditions. This boils down to proper lighting, clean water, suitable housing, good care, and enough nutritious feeds.
Even so, your tiny feathered friends will only manage to reward your gesture with little sized eggs in limited quantity. On average, you can only get 60 to 80 eggs annually or two or three eggs weekly. Nevertheless, Sebrights are beautiful ornaments around the yard, whether they give copious egg trays or not.
Can You Eat Sebright Chickens Eggs
There is nothing wrong with munching on Sebright chicken’s eggs. Of course, if you find any around the coop because they are a rare commodity. They have similar nutritional value, just like those from bigger birds. The only disadvantage is that the white eggs are smaller and not a reliable source of nutrients in a homestead.
You may realize that your Sebright chickens require a warmer temperature to breed and produce more eggs. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to collect any eggs in winter. Furthermore, low hatching rates and high mortality rates on chicks escalate the issue to a greater extent.
Are Sebright Chickens Good for Meat?
Most definitely, tiny Sebright chickens may never qualify as excellent meat producers because of their small size. With a carcass weight of about 20 ounces for cocks and 18 ounces for hens, keeping Sebright for meat sounds like an unrealistic idea.
Nevertheless, their feisty personality makes the perfect birds for shows and competitions. They respond well to strenuous showmanship with proper training, even with their spooky nature. That means they typically handle the bustle and noise associated with exhibitions and competition floor effortlessly.
Still, for individuals eager to try on some gamey meat, Sebrights can be an ideal option. To remove the somewhat metallic taste, you only need to dip the meat in a vinegar and milk solution.
How Long do Sebright Chickens Live?
There is a common misconception that bantam chickens lead a shorter life. However, just because a species has a more petite body frame does not translate to a long or short lifespan. The only downside with this ornamental bird is the higher chances of contracting life-threatening Marek disease.
More discouraging is that a considerable percentage of Sebright’s delicate chicks rarely survive throughout adulthood.
All said and done, your Sebrights pets may survive for four to eight years if kept in a habitable environment. What’s more, offer them sufficient food, water, and much-needed vaccination against Marek and other infectious ailments.
Are Sebright Chickens Friendly?
Generally, Sebrights are easygoing, friendly, and highly active birds. They are also responsive and easy to tame with minimal signs of aggression. Like other bantam birds, it is common for them to possess some skittish traits. However, when they become accustomed to a particular environment or people, they overcome the shyness real fast.
Note that your chicken’s dynamic nature can sometimes put them into trouble. When scared, Sebrights are known to fly over fences and enclosures, which increase the chances of predator attacks.
Moreover, they tend to vocalize loudly if separated from their peers or placed in environments they dislike. They require regular owner interaction to become docile and learn how to follow orders in the long run.
Can Sebright Chickens Get Wet?
Even if most people claim that Sebright chicken feathers are waterproof, they are not. In actual fact, no chicken species have waterproof plumage. They are simply resistant to a small amount of water.
However, once exposed to pouring rain, the birds get soaked instantly. That explains why your Sebright chickens may hang around under drizzling rainfall. Yet, when it really pours, they instinctively seek shelter.
How Much do Sebright Chickens Cost?
Since Sebrights are rare birds, you may have to pay slightly more for them. Depending on the age and sex of the bird, you can pay an average of $4 to $5.7 for one chicken. Please note that mature laying hens cost slightly more because of their breeding potential.
Experts recommend that farmers buy chicks from vetted private breeders rather than commercial hatcheries if they want to expand their flock. After all, breeders take extra caution on selective breeding to ensure that their clients get healthy pure breeds that survive better in harsh environments.
All-embracing, Sebrights are charming chicken species with eye-catching plumage decoration and manageable bantam size. They may not produce a desirable quantity of eggs and meat, but they are a sight to behold. Beyond any doubt, investing in Sebright farming is a worthy venture because of their pleasant personality as pets and an added chance to earn extra from bird shows.