Sebright Bantam chickens are a great breed to add to your chicken flock. They are also a delightful breed to begin your chicken flock.
Of course, there are hundreds of chicken breeds. From fuzzy silkies to giant brahmas, the choices are practically endless! If you are looking for something truly flashy and unique to add to your flock, look no further than the spunky Sebright bantam!
The Sebright bantam chicken is an ornamental bantam breed. Unlike many other breeds, the Sebright is a “true” bantam, meaning it comes only in a small size. This diminutive breed comes in two beautiful colors (silver and gold). Both colors have a spunky character that adds a lot of fun to a backyard flock.
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History of Seabright Bantam Chickens
The Sebright Bantam chicken has been an established breed since 1874 when it was submitted to the American Poultry Association. This breed was developed by Sir John Saunders Sebright, who was a highly influential breeder. He sought to develop a truly unique, lace-feathered chicken breed. It took 30 years of breeding, but the result was a truly unique bird in the chicken fancy scene. A lot is unknown about which exact breeds went into the development of the Sebright. But we know that Sir Sebright used Polish, Nankin and many unnamed exotic game breeds to get the look he wanted.
The Sebright’s temperament is spirited, curious, spunky and sweet. These are flighty birds with a lot of character! If a calm, cuddly bird is what you are looking for, a Sebright may not be the best choice for you. (Other breeds, such as the Lavender Orpington, would be a better fit). Still, with lots of tasty treats, the Sebright is easy to tame and can be very friendly.
Sebright Bantams are independent, and they love to explore. Combined with their impressive flight ability, this can lead them into a lot of trouble! Sebrights can easily scale a tall fence, fit through small holes, fly into trees, and wander far from the main flock. They are predator-savvy, but you may need to consider keeping them safe in a fully enclosed area.
Sebright Bantam Chickens as Family Birds
Several factors make Sebright Bantams ideal urban backyard chickens:
- They are beautiful, striking birds. Very much a conversation-starter.
- They make great birds for 4-H and other youth chicken shows.
- They are hardy little birds that are easy to care for and fit small spaces like backyard coops.
Physical Traits of Seabright Bantam Chickens
The Sebright comes in two recognized colors: silver laced and gold laced. Both colors offer a beautiful contrast against the black edging of their feathers. Some breeders have developed other colors, but they are extremely rare.
According to the American Poultry Association breed standard, the Sebright is a small chicken weighing only 20-22 ounces. They have a short back and large breast with wings pointing down. The fanned tail of a Sebright Bantam chicken stands at a 70-degree angle to the body. Their legs are featherless and greyish-blue, and their faces are bright red, framing their extra large, round eyes. All of these traits give them a proud, jaunty look that makes them so popular at poultry shows.
One distinguishing characteristic of the Sebright Bantam chicken sets them apart from any other breed. The roosters are “hen feathered.” This means they do not have the typical rooster saddle, hackle or tail feathers. In fact, the only physical attributes that set them apart from the hens is their spurs and larger comb.
Health and Sebright Bantam Chickens
The Sebright is generally a very healthy breed, with a lifespan of 8-12 years. There are some health problems with this breed to consider, especially if you are interested in breeding. Sebrights are notoriously difficult to breed. The hens rarely go broody, and the roosters tend to have lower fertility rates (likely due to the hormones that make them hen-feathered). Sebrights are also more susceptible to Merek’s disease than other breeds. That’s why getting your chicks vaccinated from this disease is a very good idea.
Sebright Bantam chickens do fairly well in cooler climates and do not get frostbite easily. But due to their small size, they can succumb to cold more quickly than other more hardy breeds. If, however, you live in a warmer climate, the Sebright is an excellent choice. In fact, they need warm temperatures to breed successfully.
Eggs and Broodiness
Like most bantams, Sebrights are ornamental birds and not specifically bred for egg production. Still, the hens typically lay up to 60 small pinkish-white eggs per year. If you’ve never seen bantam-sized eggs before, they are really cute—and just as edible as standard-sized eggs.
The hens are not known for going broody at all. This can be a huge plus if you want to avoid dealing with broody birds. They are also not the best at being attentive mothers. (Why take care of chicks if you can fly around and explore?). Because of this, some hobby breeders like to give Sebright eggs to more motherly breeds, like cochins or silkies.
Are Sebright Bantam Chickens Right for You?
If you are considering a Golden or Silver Sebright Bantam chicken to add to your flock, there are a few things to consider:
- This breed is highly sought after and difficult to breed, so inbreeding is a concern. Make sure you get your Sebright bantam chickens from a reputable source. Also, make sure they are vaccinated against Marek’s disease.
- Sebrights are flighty birds. This is not a breed known for being cuddly or easy to catch.
- Sebrights are excellent fliers and like to explore. This makes them avid escape artists!
- The Sebright Bantam chicken is a wonderful breed to show. They are favorites at most poultry shows, and a great choice for children’s 4-H shows.
- Small, independent and spunky, Sebrights can sometimes bully other birds.
- Despite their spunkiness, Sebrights can sometimes be injured by larger breeds.
Ounce for ounce, Sebright Bantam chickens are a great breed. Are you are looking for a fancy feathered bird to add some color and character to your backyard flock? Then you really can’t go wrong with a silver or gold Sebright.
Want to learn more about backyard chickens? Read our story on The Best Books on Keeping Backyard Chickens.
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