Sebright chickens are a huge eyecatcher that comes in a tiny package. Each dainty feather is beautifully laced with intricate perfection. Sebrights are purely an ornamental breed and not commonly used for egg or meat production because they don’t exactly excel in either of those departments.
Despite their lack of practicality, these small birds are well loved all over the place for their beauty and exhibition qualities.
About Sebright Chickens
Sir John Saunders Sebright was a farmer who raised cows, chickens, and pigeons who set out to breed a bantam chicken with well-defined lacing.
In his quest to breed these birds, John compiled several different unknown breeds to create Sebrights. There are two color varieties that have been accepted into the American Bantam Association, the Gold Laced,
1. Size and Weight
Sebright chickens are certainly not large chickens, very rarely topping 1.5 pounds. A Sebright hen weighs approximately 20 ounces, while roosters weigh around 22 ounces. The small and close fitting feathers give a very petite appearance to these dainty little birds.
As with most bantams, Sebrights are very active little birds. You will find they are also friendly chickens with gentle dispositions. Sebrights are not very likely to go broody, but their size isn’t very compatible for chick rearing anyway. Sebright roosters are well known for their lack of aggressive behavior, unlike most bantam roosters.
3. Egg Production
Egg production is certainly nothing to brag about for Sebrights. Coming in at a whopping 52 eggs per year, it’s hard to believe they even lay eggs enough for the breed to still be around!
When these little birds do lay eggs, they are small, white eggs. I appreciate the small eggs bantams such as Sebrights produce, because they fit perfectly on a biscuit without making a big mess!
4. Meat Production
Sebrights are definitely not a breed to consider for meat production. These birds are simply too small to amount to anything or be at all easy to process.
If you would like small roasting chickens, Cornish Game hens are an ideal choice for small birds. Quail also make a better option for small eating poultry.
Caring for Sebright Chickens
1. Feeding and Nutrition
Sebrights are fairly easy to keep satisfied as far as nutrition goes and don’t require anything special for food. These birds go through a small amount of feed and can compensate for their lack of production with their little appetites.
Sebright chicks are small enough that you’ll need to feed them the finest ground chick starter that you can find. It’s generally best to feed them chick starter up until 16-18 weeks of age before switching to a laying mash.
Feed your adult Sebrights crumbles instead of pellets to make sure their food is small enough to swallow easily.
2. Housing and Fencing
This is not a breed commonly recommended for free ranging, due to their small size and vulnerability to predators. Sebrights do not require a large amount of space in their living quarters, it’s just very important to keep them safe from predators.
Inside the coop, provide about 2 square feet per bird, with 5 square feet per bird in a covered run. Some chicken keepers will house their show birds in raised wire cages during show season to keep them in pristine condition. During the offseason, it’s best to allow them access to sunshine and grass.
3. Health Issues and Care
Sebrights do have a few health issues that have caused some problems. The biggest health challenge in raising Sebrights is their susceptibility to
Marek’s disease is an incredibly contagious viral disease with a high mortality rate. The best way to prevent an onset of this health issue is by vaccinating your chicks against this issue.
Other issues associated with Sebrights generally associate to breeding these chickens and will mainly impact breeders of the Sebrights.
Breeding Sebrights can pose to be a challenge due to this bird’s low fertility. Some roosters are born completely infertile or with incredibly low fertility, making this a difficult bird to breed.
Eggs can also be a challenge to hatch in general, even if the fertility levels are good. Since Sebrights rarely go broody, it’s best to find a bantam chicken to be a surrogate mother for Sebright chicks. Bantam Cochins or Silkies make great broody mothers and will fetch a better hatch rate than an incubator.
Serama chickens are a very attractive bantam breed with friendly demeanors and proudly hold the title of world’s smallest chicken.
These teacup chickens have very similar characteristics but are much better egg producers than Sebrights. Seramas also occasionally go broody and make good mothers. Definitely a fantastic alternative to Sebrights if you’re after something a little different.
Did You Know?
Sebright roosters have a very interesting characteristic of hen feathering.
This means that Sebright roosters will not sport the typical long tails and sickle feathers. The main distinguishing character between roosters and hens are their combs and wattles. Roosters will sport larger and redder wattles and combs once he begins to mature.
Despite the fact they aren’t the most practical chickens, Sebrights are a well-loved breed for their beauty and show qualities. These chickens will serve any young exhibitor well because they are small and easily handled by little hands. Consider adding these active little personalities to your coop!