Sunday, July 22, 2007

Speckled Sussex

This is an eight week old Speckled Sussex hen. She is a sweet bird, happy to sit on my arm as she eyed the sprinkler in the garden. Eventually she flew from my arm to the shade of the day lilies and started scratching for bugs. This is the first time I have raised this breed, which is over 100 years old and is listed as "threatened" by the American Livestock Breed Conservancy.

They are alert, among the first chickens to come and see when I throw my pulled weeds into the outside pen. They are pretty tame, as well, easy to catch. The breed is known as "dual-purpose", meaning that it is used for both egg and meat production.

The speckles make it hard to see in the underbrush or dappled shade. This is an advantage in a free range situation where a brighter colored hen would be more apt to be spied by a coyote or hawk. Anna had a hard time photographing this hen. We ended up with a lot of pictures of chicken camouflage.

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