Breeds

Sebright Chicken: A Sweet True Bantam Breed

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

For chicken keepers who favor sweet-natured and ornamental breeds, a Sebright chicken is a good choice. With patterned plumage and a delicate structure, Sebright chickens are sought-after for their exotic looks and unique features. They are also a hot favorite for those who love true bantams, especially hobby keepers and exhibitors.

  • Sebright hens lay around 60 to 80 eggs yearly
  • True Bantam breed
  • Docile and family-friendly chickens
  • Don’t like muddy and wet environments
  • Need more care
Eggs60 to 80 eggs per year
Egg ColorWhite
Egg SizeSmall
Weight20 to 22 oz
HardinessNot particularly hardy
TemperamentFriendly but active
Beginner-friendlyYes, but need more care
ColorSilver and Gold

Characteristics

Sebrights stand apart with their decorative plumage. Another interesting feature found in the feathering is the hen-feathered cocks. Unlike the regular cocks that have sickle-like feathers in the neck and tail, the Sebright males have hen feathers.

They are small-statured birds with short backs, large breasts, and wings pointing downward, forming a cheery look. The tails are fuller and point backward and upwards.

Sebrights are found in gold and silver varieties, with a base color of dark gold or whitish silver and black colored on the edges.

Their legs are slate-blue in color and don’t have feathers on them. Their beaks are dark horn-colored in the golden-colored chicken, while the silver-colored birds have dark blue-colored beaks.

Their eyes are big, round, and black, making them look nosey. They have four toes and do not have feathered legs or crests.

a sebright chicken
Credits: @justamominspotsy (IG)

Difference Between Hens and Roosters

The combs are mulberry or purple-colored in roosters, with fine points that end as a spiky tip sweeping backward from the head, giving them a distinct look. They have large, rounded wattles of the same color.

While the hens also have similar features, they are smaller. Their body is compact with prominent breast, making them look like a pigeon. The legs are short and thicker in males when compared to females. The roosters do not have the usual saddle, tail, or hackle feathers but contend with a large comb and spurs. It’s believed this characteristic came from the Campine blood, rather than Henny Game Fowl.

The hen-feathered appearance of the cocks is of special use to molecular biologists as they have used the breed to study sex hormones. A mutation in their genetic makeup triggers a reaction that converts huge amounts of male sex hormones to estrogen (female sex hormone).

Since they are true bantams, Sebright chickens are small-sized birds. The average weight of a male Sebright is 22 ounces (620 grams). Female Sebrights weigh 20 ounces (570 grams). With such a low weight, they do not meet the required weight for meat birds.

The Sebright Chicken Breed Profile

Sebrights have a very interesting history of origin. They result from nearly three decades of hard work by Sir John Saunders Sebright, a Baronet, and Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom. He was a well-known breeder of cattle, chickens, and other animals and had several publications.

So, how did he create this ornamental and exotic-looking bantam breed? John Sebright wanted to create a small-sized bantam chicken that was pleasing to the eye. It is believed he used Nankin bantam, Hamburg hen, and Pit Game cock to create the Sebright.

He succeeded in creating the gold feathered version first and later created the silver color by cross-breeding the gold with a white Rosecomb cock.

Sir John Sebright established the first-ever association for single-breed chickens, The Sebright Bantam Club. The breed became popular, unsurprising with its never-before-seen looks and unique features. In 1865, Sebrights were mentioned in the Standard of Excellence in Exhibition Poultry and the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1874.

a sebright pullet
Credits: @justamominspotsy (IG)

Today, Sebright chickens are one of the favorite Bantam breeds, according to the American Bantam Association, which is also mentioned in the Poultry Club of Great Britain handbook. Fun fact: No other breed of poultry has ever been so frequently painted throughout history.

Sebright chicken is called a true bantam as the breed does not have a standard (large) version. Bantam chickens vary in their nature. They are of two types, namely true standard and miniature standard.

Sebright is a true bantam that has been created as a unique breed with no standard-sized counterparts to compare with. A miniature version of bantams is smaller sized when compared to the regular bantam breed.

Egg Production

Sebrights lay very few eggs than other breeds but may be more fertile. The hens lay about one to two eggs weekly, resulting in around 60 to 80 eggs annually.

All eggs are small tiny and cream-colored or tinted. The brooding instinct is very poor in hens, and they do not have a strong maternal instinct. Hatching eggs would be better done using a surrogate mother.

Due to the need for warmer temperatures for breeding by the males, the Sebrights breed during April, May, and June. Because of their genetic nature, the males may be infertile, which makes breeding difficult. Besides their low egg-laying capacity, they are also not raised for meat.

Sebrights are mainly kept for exhibition purposes or as backyard pets.

Personality

While they can be cocky, they are not an aggressive breed. The Sebright chicken is generally friendly and can be kept with other breeds. Although they are independent, they have a sweet temperament.

Sebrights can be handled easily, but they are not cuddly or docile. They like being active and are curious.

Sebrights have a strong independent nature and strut about attracting attention. They make wonderful exhibition birds.

Being a bantam, they can fly, so that that confinement may be necessary. Quite vocal if they are agitated, this chicken breed can fly into trees, making it difficult to catch them. This is the reason many breeders do not allow them to range freely. They are best kept in a covered run to avoid going after them.

Sebrights can tolerate confinement; they can be kept in a small garden and do not need much space. Therefore, they are ideal for chicken keepers with a smaller backyard.

a sebright chicken
Credits: @justamominspotsy (IG)

This chicken breed is not particularly tolerant to cold or heat, nor does it like damp or muddy conditions. Sebrights overall prefer warmer climates over cold ones. Sebright breeds have a high mortality rate, especially in the fledgling stage. Adults are usually hardy but can fall prey to Marek’s disease. However, this can be prevented by vaccination.

Owning a Sebright

Chicken keepers and hobbyists who love exhibitionist breeds need not look further than the Sebright bantam breed. They possess the right personality and appearance to make their owners proud. Being a true bantam with unique looks, they easily grab attention.

However, the Sebrights may not be a good choice for chicken keepers who are just starting. The primary reason is their need for a secure space to prevent them from flying out of the coop. Besides this minor hitch, the Sebright bantam is a suitable breed.

With proper vaccination, secure shelter, and basic care, keeping the Sebright bantam breed is not that difficult, but they require more attention than regular laying hens.

Interesting Facts About the Sebright Chicken

Sebrights have a high-pitched cry, but the sound is not as disturbing as other roosters. Their small size makes them unfit for foraging, as predators can easily snag them. So, they are not good as free-range birds.

The lifespan of Sebrights ranges from six to eight years. The docile nature of this chicken makes them ideal for keepers living in suburban or urban regions, as a small backyard is sufficient. Sebright bantam upkeep is not complicated, but they need more care than a regular laying hen. A neat, dry, covered run, food, water, and shelter are basic requirements to maintain these birds.

Sebright Care Tips

A proper run with adequate space of two to three square feet per bird is needed. Since they are flighty birds, their run should be covered. Further, the coop should be built at some distance from the ground to protect them from mice, rats, and other predators.

The coop should be regularly cleaned and well-ventilated with vents to avoid respiratory issues. They do not tolerate too cold or hot temperatures, so always take precautions when extreme weather is coming.

Covering the outdoor chicken run with a fence and wire mesh will also protect them from predators like foxes and hawks.

Summary

Sebright chickens are a true bantam breed originating in the UK. They have an upstanding posture and a good breed to consider, especially for those who like ornamental birds. While ideal for small backyards, their less egg-laying capacity and unsuitability as meat birds are to be considered.

To learn more about chicken breeds, check out our ‘Chicken Breeds Page‘ to see every specific breed we address. Or go to our listicle breed summary on ‘The Classroom‘, or, if you’re unsure where to start, take a look at our ‘Chicken Breeds: Ultimate Beginners Guide‘.

Credits Featured Image: @justamominspotsy (IG)

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Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.