Temperament, Appearance, & Behaviors Of Sussex Roosters (With Pictures)

Have you found out that one of your Sussex chicks is a rooster? 

Either that or you’re simply curious as to what makes these roosters so special. After all, you can never absorb too much chicken information!

So buckle up as we deep dive into one of the very rare, but spectacular breeds of chicken out there. 

Here’s everything you ought to know about Sussex roosters, including their history, appearance, and temperament. Plus how you tell the difference between Sussex roosters and Sussex hens, even at younger ages.

All About Sussex Roosters

Sussex roosters take their cock-a-doodle-doo to an entirely new level. Of course, what I mean is that Sussex roosters fit the rooster stereotype quite perfectly.

But, this isn’t a bad thing. Roosters get a bad rep for simply doing their duties!

Protecting their flock, creating a safe territory, and enforcing the pecking order – not to mention being downright hilarious and full of personality.

To cover all bases, here’s the history of the Sussex chicken, the appearance of Sussex roosters compared to hens, and the temperament and behaviors of the Sussex roosters.

All so you can prepare your flock accordingly, or make your decision on whether a Sussex rooster is a right fit for you.

The History Of The Sussex Chicken

The history of the Sussex chicken isn’t crystal clear. But, it’s believed to be a descendant of the Friesian chicken, one breed native to the Netherlands.

So, the story goes that the Friesian chicken was imported from Europe to other parts of the new world in the 1700s, reaching England by the 1900s.

It was then bred in England and thought to be coined “Sussex chicken” by the English folks who lived in Sussex County.

Sussex chickens were recognized as a stand-alone breed in Great Britain by the 1930s and finally recognized by greater poultry organizations by the 1950s.

Quite a journey for the ole’ Sussex chicken, eh? 

Sussex Roosters Appearance

Sussex chickens are classified as heavy breeds but have amazingly soft, thick feathers.

So it’s no surprise that Sussex roosters appear quite full-bodied and muscular. 

In terms of color, well, the classic Sussex rooster appears white, with a black barred hackle feather and tail plumage.

But, you can also find Sussex chickens, and therefore Sussex roosters, in a variety of other colors, ranging from the well sought-after speckled Sussex, to buff, brown, and even silver.

Sussex roosters appear tall and proud with classically large single-red combs, large red wattles, and red earlobes.

Sussex Roosters Vs. Hen: Main Differences

I’m sure we’re all reasonably familiar with the standard differences between a hen and a rooster of any given breed.

Sussex chickens conform to this norm pretty perfectly too.

What you’ll find is that Sussex roosters have much larger combs and wattles than Sussex hens, grow a little larger in size, and have much larger tail feathers.

When you’re raising Sussex chicks, any males will start to show their wattles from as young as 6 weeks old. Sussex females will still show their wattles and combs, but they tend to be a lot smaller and don’t grow in until 8-12 weeks old.

Aside from this Sussex roosters normally have much darker plumage around their hackle and tails, whereas Sussex hens remain more of one color with only slight barring. 

Sussex Roosters Temperament

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. After all, if you’re looking to raise Sussex Roosters you ought to know what you’re getting yourself into.

You see, Sussex roosters are rather territorial. They do best when they are the only roosters in the flock, and they like their space.

They’re not the easiest breed to handle, and they do best in larger spaces.

Because they’re a larger and heavy breed they’re also a bit loud, so it’s best not to keep them in residential areas!

But, it’s not all doom and gloom. If you raise them right they are the perfect flock leaders and protectors. Plus, they’re incredibly smart and loveable around owners they’re familiar with!

Are Sussex Roosters Aggressive?

Roosters are often misunderstood creatures. Any aggression that they display is normally a result of mistrust with their owners or other animals around.

But, over time and with the right experiences roosters can be as warm and friendly as hens.

Now, some breeds of roosters have an innate docile nature and are way more easygoing than others, like Silkie roosters for example.

But, other roosters take a bit more tender love and care and take longer to build trust.

Sussex roosters are one of those breeds that are naturally a bit more feisty and aggressive toward anything they deem as a threat.

Still, they’re unlikely to actually hurt their owners if they get to know them, but they still do have a higher tendency for aggression.

At What Age Do Sussex Roosters Start Crowing?

The age at which a rooster starts crowing can vary considerably.

It can depend on whether you’ve got other roosters in the flock, their environment, and their own developmental pace.

However, normally roosters will begin to find their voice as they reach maturity.

Sussex roosters start crowing from as young as five months old, but it may take some until eight months old too.

Wrap Up

There are so many good qualities to the Sussex rooster. Perfect as a flock leader and protector, with stunning plumage, and a rich, heritage history.

Even though Sussex roosters have a slightly higher tendency for aggression, if they’re raised closely by humans it’s highly unlikely they will display aggression towards their owners.

This means the only aggression they’ll show is to anything that tries to mess with their flock!

Still, I wouldn’t brand them as the most family-friendly, but they thrive in larger backyard environments.

Those that get the chance to raise them in this setting have no regrets and get a well-looked-after flock.

Leave a Comment