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  • Tag Archives speckled sussex
  • Day Old Speckled Sussex Chicks-Tilly’s Baby

    Day Old Speckled Sussex Chicks just hatched out of the incubator.  

    If you remember in one of the last post we talked about Tilly the old Speckled Sussex chicken that died right after laying her last egg. She had not laid an egg all year and on her last day she blessed us with one more egg. I added this egg tot he incubator in hopes that it would be fertile and supply us with one more generation. Sept 19 we were blessed with a little baby chick coming forth from her egg as you will see in the video below.

    Baby Speckled Sussex chicks vary greatly in color from a creamy buff to dark chestnut and some also have alternate dark and light stripes lengthwise on the back.

    The speckled Sussex is a good layer of light brown medium to large brown eggs.  It is a very friendly and sociable chicken. Their curious nature will often end up with them following you around the yard if they think they can beg a treat from you.  Its plumage color is a delight to the eye being of rich mahogany base color with individual feathers ending in a white tip separated from the rest of the feathers by a black bar.  The feather pattern allows them to be camouflaged from many predators from the air such as the hawk.  This variety combines beauty with utility, and is very nice to raise for showing.

  • Breeds of Chickens, Which one is Best?

    Which breed of chicken is the best?  Ask any proud Chicken owner and you will get a multitude of different responses.  Most will ask you a question in return to help them answer your question.  They will ask you what you want the chicken to do for you.

    When it comes to chickens there are many breeds to choose from.  Here at Dark Eggs Daily we love the French Marans such as the Black Copper Marans, Wheaten Marans, the various cuckoo Marans, etc.  We love the dark brown chocolate gourmet eggs they lay. They are also very winter hardy for our cold Michigan winters, very disease resist, and and docile chickens.

    We also like the Large Fowl Cochins.  Cochins are known to be good pets for the backyard flock owner, as they are very easily tamed and regarded as one of the most ‘friendly’ chicken breeds that their is. Cochins are a very quiet chicken.

    Like I said, “there are many breeds of chickens to choose from.”

    You have chickens that lay dark brown eggs like our French Marans breeds, chickens that lay lighter brown eggs like the Sussex breeds and the old standard Rhode Island Reds, and Barred Rocks, chickens that lay white eggs like the Ancona and the more commercial leghorn breeds.  You also have chickens that lay blue and green eggs like the Ameraucana, and Araucana.

    You have chickens that come in all different colors; some have feathers on their legs and feet and some don’t, some have a crown of feathers on their head such as the polish chickens and others have a crown of fine hair like fuzz like the silkies.  You also will find chickens with many different styles of combs on their head from the standard single comb to the bowl like comb of the buttercups.

    Chickens come in different classifications such as commercial layers like the leghorns, and heritage breeds such as the old timers, Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock, Buff Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex, etc.

    You also have the LF or large fowl birds and then their is the Bantam varieties that offer you a small chicken if space is an issue.  Bantams breeds of chickens have become increasingly popular as pets for many backyard chicken fanciers, as well as for show purposes because they are smaller and have more varied and exotic colors and feather patterns than the large fowl or standard breeds of chickens.

    Some chickens make excellent pets and do well around children and other breeds of chickens and others should only be kept in with their own breeds.  Some rooster of different breeds will do well with other roosters and some will fight to the death if another rooster is introduced to the flock.

    So as you can see there are many things that should be taken into consideration before getting your first chickens to start up your backyard flock.  One thing I know about chicken fanciers or Chicken Junkies as a couple of my friends from West Virginia call them, is that we like to share our thoughts and opinions about the different breeds of chickens we like to raise and why.

    If you are keeping a flock of chickens in your backyard or on a small acreage, tell us which breeds you have come to admire and why, in the comments section below.  So it is a two part question…

    What is your very favorite breed of chicken?

    What are the special or unique characteristics of that breed that make it your favorite?

    An example would be like I started this post with, “Here at Dark Eggs Daily we love the French Marans such as the Black Copper Marans, Wheaten Marans, the various cuckoo Marans, etc.  We love the dark brown chocolate gourmet eggs they lay. They are also very winter hardy for our cold Michigan winters, very disease resist, and and docile chickens.”

  • Raising Chickens As Pets

    How to raise chickens properly to become great pets.

    I am writing this post as a guess blogger for Dark Eggs Daily.  I am also writing it in honor of Tilly one of  my favorite Speckled Sussex Hen (pictured below) who probably laid her last egg today and is ready to say her final good-by.  I am making one last attempt to prolong her stay here with us but it is not looking good.  She has been a very faithful friend and companion for almost 7 years now.  She has been a faithful layer of good quality brown eggs and has wandered the yard busily chattering to those who would listen.

    When I got her as a young day old Chick there was something special about her.  She would always come running up to see if I had a treat for her that visit to the chicken house.

    Speckled Sussex Chicken (Tilly)

    Speckled Sussex Chicken (Tilly)

    She would let me pick her up and then she would start her quiet chatter expecting me to know exactly what she was saying.  She will be missed by the entire family.  I have placed her final egg in the incubator in hopes that it will be fertile, and develop into a nice little chick to takes it Mamas place in the family.

    All of my years growing up I have raised chickens.  Except for my 4 year tour in the Marine Corps.  They probably would have frowned on the idea of chickens.

    My Dad would take me every year to the local feed mill to get my 25 free baby chicks (usually Rhode Island Reds) with the purchase of 50 lbs of chick start.

    I would raise them up and sadly watch about 50% of them end up in the freezer as they were roosters.  You can usually count on at least 50% of your straight run chicks being roosters.  If you are raising chickens as pets and have young children you need to buy with the knowledge that you will have to either sell or butcher some of your pets.  This may be a hard thing to go through for some kids.  But there is not a lot of need for to many roosters running around.

    Out of the Roosters I would usually get to keep one of the best looking roosters just to hear him crow night and day around the farm. Out of the hens I usually would pick my favorite out and give her a name and begin the taming process.

    If looking to make pets out of your chickens it is wise to start with a nice quiet breed.  Many of the breeds at Dark Eggs Daily such as the Dark Egg Laying Marans, The gentle giant Cochin breed, and our brown egg layers the Speckled Sussex and Coronation Sussex are very well suited as pets as they have quiet dispositions unlike the Rhode Island red hens I used to raise.  Of course much of your chickens’ suitability as pets will depend on how they are raised and handled by their owner. Frequency of handling is also a very big part of making chickens great pets.

    Basically, the more regular gentle handling they get the better!

    It is generally best to start Them Young.  There is absolutely nothing that can take the place of raising them from day old chickens.

    Hand feeding your chicks and handle them daily is the best way to make them awesome family pets. One thing to remember is that you need to take caution when you are allowing the little people play with them unsupervised. You will find that most Chicks are surprisingly tough, but are no match for a rough and tough toddler!

    Make sure that if you decide to raise chicks that you go through the proper steps of educating yourself in order to teach your children, and the children that may visit how to properly and gently hold and feed your chicks

    It is an awesome idea to involve your children in the daily care of the chicks.  This will allow your children to bond with the chickens and also to teach them the responsibility of taking care of a pet. Kids and chickens can be a great combination when done right.

    Chickens do not need to be pets only when they are small chicks.  They have a wonderful personality and are very fun and also educating to watch. If you want a pet that will give you several years of not only great fresh eggs, but many years of enjoyment chickens are a great choice if you have the room.  Keep up the hand feeding and handling all through your birds’ lives.

    Dark Eggs Daily is a great place to start at when looking for a special chicken to raise as a pet.  Take a look around the site and see which breed may be best suited for you.

    Raising Chickens as Pets can be a very fun and rewarding experience when done right.

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