Sebright Bantam Chicken Overview
The Sebright chicken takes its name from Sir John Sebright, a member of the English parliament in the 1800s. He was also a very wealthy land owner, who was an avid writer on agricultural breeding programmes. Chickens must have been a particular interest as he writes extensively about them in his pamphlet ‘the art of improving breeds of domestic animals’. This particular piece of work caught the eye of none other than Charles Darwin. His aim was to help develop our understanding and genetics and the evolution of chickens.
Sebright had some clear aims when he set out to develop a bantam bird so great it would be named after him. He knew he wanted something similar to the laced polish so started by crossing Nankins with Polish birds and kept going until he got what he was looking for. One bird he bought to breed from he bought from the famous London Zoo.
The result of some thirty years of intensive breeding is they represent the greatest feat of fancier skill ever performed, for not only are they known for marvelous perfection of lacing, but even more so the fact both male and female are entirely hen-feathered. The males show no pointed sex feathers in hackle, saddle or wing bow, nor any tail sickles. The results also led to some unique colors on the birds face, earlobes and comb.
Weight & Color
They are a true bantam meaning there is no large version of the bird. The Sebirght was admitted to the APA in 1874. There are two recognized colors the Golden Laced Sebirght and the Silver Laced Sebright.
A Hen weighs 20 oz (567g) whilst a Rooster weighs more at 22 oz (624g)
Production per year
When do they start laying eggs?
Around 18-24 weeks old
Temperament – Are they good as pets?
They do make wonderful pets. The difficulty is raising them from chicks. They have a poor hatch rate. Meaning many wont hatch out of their egg or survive the first few hours after hatching. Sebright have a fertility percentage of 40-55%. However as adults they are quite hardy, with no recorded issues. They have a calm docile temperament but can be a bit flighty. The difficulty in raising them as chicks is the reason for their rarity. They look fantastic in any backyard and are very friendly making them great as pets for children.
How do I tame Sebright chickens?
They are fairly straight forward to tame, their docile nature means they are affectionate with humans and other animals. Handling them as chicks is the best way to start to tame them. A couple of times a day is enough and they will soon feel safe around you. Adults chickens if you haven’t raised them from chicks are easy to tame too, id start by feeding them out of your hand this will help to build up trust. You could mix in some treats like mealworms, chickens love them. It maybe cupboard love at first but it sure works!
How many do I need to buy?
Start by buying in twos. They are naturally social creatures and like to be around other chickens. Silver Laced Sebrights are best kept with the following ratio of 6 females to every one male. However golden laced sebrights are best kept with a ratio of 8 females to every one male.
How much space do they need?
They are a bantam so need less space than larger birds of other breeds. A general rule of thumb is 11sqft per bird. They will roam out, free range but will tolerate confinement too, making them an excellent breed for most backyard conditions. Sebrights can fly so will need to be fairly well contained. Either a high fence or a large run off the coop with netting on the top.
Will they mix with my other chickens?
Yes they do very well in mixed flocks. I don’t mix my larger birds with my bantams or miniatures. The larger birds can pick on and bully the smaller breeds like Sebights. They would mix best into a flock of other bantams or smaller birds. They would mix well larger birds if they too are docile like the Sebright, so breeds like a Silkie for example.
To add to the uniqueness of this breed they have a rose comb and their legs are blue! Two recognised varieties exist in America and Great Britain, they are the Silver Laced and Golden Laced.
What should I feed them?
Chicks upto 6 weeks, will need to eat ‘chick crumb’ or as its also called ‘chick starter’. This contains all the correct nutrients they require at this stage.
At 6 weeks they need to be switched onto ‘growers mash’ it contains 15-16% protein which is vital for growing birds.
Then at 18 weeks old Sebrights will begin to start to lay eggs. For this they will require feed that helps provide the correct nutrients. This feed is called ‘Layers Pellets’ or ‘Layers Mash’. Layers pellets can either be normal sized for larger birds or come specially for bantams like Sebrights, these are aptly named ‘Bantam Pallets’. Normal sized layers pellets should not be eaten by Sebrights as they are bantam and could choke; or not be able to properly swallow them. Bantam pallets or layers mash is therefore best.
How much should I feed them?
Typically bantams they will eat about 2lbs or 60g per day and Sebrights are no different. They will eat less in the summer hotter months and more in the colder winter months however.
What can’t they eat?
Two big foods to avoid are dried beans and chocolate. They both cause all chickens, no matter the breed, to cardiac arrest. Be careful therefore, if your Sebrights are free range they cant get to any beans plants. Or that nothing creeps into their diet if you feed them leftover scraps from the dinner table.
For a full break down on feeding chickens hop on over to our feeds page!
What do I need to keep chickens?
Ive kept it simple and knocked up a shopping list:
Silver laced Sebrights roost at a height of 0 to 2 feet so a coop that will accommodate for this is a must.
Golden laced Sebrights roost higher than silvers at a height of 2-4 ft. The coop must accommodate for this too.
A waterer – placed on flat ground in the shade as chicken prefer cool water. Id really go for a metal one they will last longer and won’t get knocked over like a plastic one. Plastic in the sunlight can also leach into the water, this is very bad. Plus if the waterer does get knocked over and you’re out all day, your chickens will have no water and can suffer from dehydration really easily. Make no mistakes and get something metal with a low lip so its easy to drink from.
A feeder – goes without saying ofcourse, but again tops tips for buying feeders are this. Get something metal so its long lasting and something that they can’t stand in. Why? Chickens love to walk into anything and the will poop in it. It will spoil all the food and might mean you other chickens will go hungry.
Grit – essential even for free range birds – not sure what grit is learn more.
Frequently asked questions
Do Sebright chickens lay eggs
Yes, females lay about 50-60 per year. They lay small ‘bantam’ eggs, that are white.
Are Sebright chickens good layers?
Laying about 50-60 eggs per annum they are regarded as ‘fair’ layers.
Are Sebright roosters aggressive?
No not generally, the breed are docile and friendly.
Can golden laced and silver laced chickens live together?
Yes absolutely they are the same breed just a different color, so naturally get on well together.