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Sebright Chicken: Silver, Golden and Care Guide

Sebright Chicken Silver, Golden, and Care Guide Blog Cover

The Sebright chicken is a small but dynamic bird.

It enjoys an almost ‘cult’ following of dedicated breeders and keepers.

This pint-sized bird is beautiful to look at and can easily fit in the palm of your hand!

It is a product of one man’s imagination and quest to create something different in the poultry world.

The fact that it is named after its creator is a testament to the dedication he put into his vision.

It took him over 20 years to create the Sebright bantam.

This article will discuss the history of the Sebright chicken before discussing its temperament, egg laying, breeding, and much more…

Sussex Chicken Breed

History and Background

Sebright Chicken Silver

The little Sebright bantam is a bird with quite a history behind it!

Some points in history are still debated as to the accuracy and likelihood of the accepted narrative.

The commonly accepted story goes like this: Sir John Saunders Sebright 1767-1846, was the 7th Baronet of Besford, Worcestershire, and a Member of Parliament for Herefordshire.

He was a ‘gentleman farmer’ and raised cattle, chickens, and pigeons.

He also wrote quite extensively on breeding and husbandry.

His writings inspired Charles Darwin at the inception of ‘The Origin of Species’.

He wanted to create a bantam bird with well-defined lacing.

In his quest to do so, he brought together several different types and breeds of chicken.

The exact ‘recipe’ for creating the Sebright bantam is unknown.

He traveled the country and collected ‘odd’ or ‘gamey’ specimens from the local poultry.

He also had many different birds imported from other countries.

The biggest obstacle was getting the bird to breed true with the desired lacing.

He finally created his true bantam bird in 1810.

He started the Sebright Bantam Club in the same year.

Membership to this club was quite exclusive, the ‘dues’ being 2 guineas per year, a small fortune to most folks except the landed gentry.

Appearance of Sebrights

Sebright Chicken Apperance

Sebrights come in two accepted colors:

  1. Gold Laced.
  2. Silver Laced.

Occasionally, an odd color will be thrown, making the bird a ‘sport.’

The lacing on the wings should be very noticeable, giving it a highlighted effect; it should be sharp and well-defined.

The feathers are short and tight.

They should not be pointed, but rather an almond shape is desired.

They have a rose comb which should have a ‘leader’ that points slightly upwards.

A leader is a point at the back of the comb.

The desired comb color is mulberry, but a deep red is acceptable.

Wattles, ear lobes, and face should all be mulberry or deep red.

Their beak should be a dark horn color.

In the silver-laced bird, it can be dark blue or horn.

Eyes will be black and large.

The body is short and compact with a prominent chest, much like a pigeon’s chest.

It has a short back and a square-ish tail that sits at about 70 degrees, giving it an upright appearance, again much like a pigeon.

Wings are large and are downward angled, almost touching the ground.

The legs are short and stockier in the male than the female.

Each foot should have 4 toes. Legs and skin should be slate blue in color.

Breeders in Holland have created other colors for the Sebright – white laced buff, blue laced buff, citron, and a completely white bird with no lacing called an Eikenburger.

These colors are not currently recognized as standards.

Breed Standard

The Sebright was admitted to the Poultry Club of Great Britain’ Standard’ in 1874 and the American Poultry Association in the same year.

The standard has been modified over the years in one way or another. Still, the current standard can be found in the American Bantam Association handbook or the PCGB handbook.

The Sebright is classified as a soft-feathered light breed by the Australian Poultry Society.

The Sebright is the oldest British true bantam, meaning there is no large fowl counterpart of the Sebright.

Despite a large and dedicated following, the Sebright is a bird to be monitored and watched on the Rare Breed Survival Trust.

The Livestock Breed Conservancy here in the US lists the Sebright as a threatened breed, meaning less than 1,000 breeding birds are known in the US.

The expected weights for this bird are 22oz for the males and 20oz for the females.

Disposition, Egg Laying and Health

Sebright Chicken

Sebrights are sociable and friendly little birds, talkative and non-aggressive. However, the males can be protective of their hens.

They have been described as energetic and active, and competent flyers.

It is best to keep them in an aviary pen for their safety.

The Sebright has bags of personality and is constantly exploring its’ surroundings to satisfy its’ curiosity!

They can be lovable little lap birds if handled gently right from the start, but they are so active they don’t sit still for long.

Despite their size, the male Sebright can sometimes issue an ear-piercing call, leaving your ears ringing!

Sebright Egg Laying Capabilities

The egg output from Sebright hens will not sustain you!

The average is 60-80 small, white/cream eggs per.

Some keepers have had more eggs, and some considerably less.

The particular strain of birds will affect the egg-laying capacity since some strains have low fertility problems.

Sebrights are raised as purely ornamental or show birds.

The hens are rarely broody, yet the best hatching ratios are obtained with a broody hen, so a surrogate mother may be the best solution.

Known Health Issues

Roaming Sebright Chicken

This tiny little bird can come with some significant health issues.

The hens rarely go broody, so chicks would have to be raised under incubation or another broody if that is your goal.

However, Sebright chicks have a very high mortality rate, so raising them can be frustrating and heartbreaking.

Some males can be born infertile or with low fertility. Whether or not this is related to ‘hen feathering’ is unknown.

The males are ‘hen feathered,’ which means they do not have hackle or sickle feathers to denote their sex.

Researchers are studying the Sebright males to try and determine what the mutation in the sex hormones is.

The breed is especially susceptible to Mareks’ disease, so it will need to be vaccinated at source to mitigate the possibility of an outbreak.

These health issues keep the numbers of breedable Sebrights low.

Combined with the difficulties associated with raising the chicks keeping the numbers up is an ongoing challenge.

Is The Sebright Right For You?

If you want a bantam chicken that is a miniature work of art, the Sebright may fit the bill.

They have been described as ‘flighty,’ but this seems to vary from line to line.

They are fairly hardy, so they don’t require any special care except being penned.

They eat minimally, so feed bills will be small.

Since they have a fast metabolism, extra coop insulation would be beneficial if you live in an area with severe winter weather.

If, on the other hand, you want to breed them, the Sebright is a challenging breed to raise and keep; it is not a ‘beginner breeder’ chicken at all.

You will need to be diligent in your homework to find a reputable breeder to sell you good-quality stock for your breeding program.

The ABA is an excellent source of information for this.

They are small and dainty but fly exceptionally well, so they should be confined for their safety.

Sebright Chicken Summary

The Sebright bantam is stunning, almost too perfect to be true.

This perfection of looks comes with the price of difficulty in the continuance of the breed.

However, these gorgeous little birds are indeed very charming and noteworthy.

Most folks always remark on the Sebright when they see one – a great conversation maker!

Like many bantams, they are talkative and can be loud sometimes, but not excessively.

They do need some new folks to take an interest and start breeding programs – something that would be a labor of love and determination.

Do you keep Sebrights? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below…

31 thoughts on “Sebright Chicken: Silver, Golden and Care Guide

  1. I am the proud mommy of 3 hens & a rooster silver Sebright. All 3 of my hens have a higher than average lay of 2-4 eggs/week/hen. All 3 of my hens went broody within 2 weeks and hatched out 2 batches of chicks. I definitely recommend using hens to hatch chicks over incubators, with Sebrights anyways. These little birds have giant personalities in a small loveable package.

    1. Just hatched about 5 out of 6 sebright , pretty good for first timer . They were incubated and I think I got a humidity right this time , it is nervewracking business.

  2. Hi, we keep golden sebrites, but unfortunately lost one to a rat attack yesterday. The one left is distraught. Getting a couple more in a few days. They are amazing

  3. I love golden Seabrights, we use to have some when my kids were in 4H. Took them to the fair many times. They are beautiful birds….

  4. I have 2 golden and 2 buff seabrites. Hoping they’re all pullets. ?
    Finding them to be quite flighty but curious. Afraid to be picked up but once in your hand quite calm.

  5. My son really wants this type of bird but I currently have 16 and I’m worried that my current girls would be too big for the seabrites. Would I have to get another completely new coop to keep them in? And they seem to be extremely high maintenance is that correct? Thank you for your knowledge .

    1. In my experience it is definitely better to keep them separate from standard breeds. They do better in a smaller coop by themselves. They can be high maintenance, but on e they are established in a coop.of their own they will do great. I also recommend handling them a lot from the beginning so they are more laid back with people and less flighty.

      1. I agree that separate coops are good but we have a mixed set and they get along well. Since they are flyers they go up high and play when the standards stay more in the ground.

      2. I recently picked up 4 very young sebrights to stick under a favored broody hen with only one leg. A few weeks into the foster parenting the young ones are doing very well. I knew nothing about seabrights before this experiment. They seem afraid of me because I dont hold them except for taking them to an outside pen during the day and bringing them in at night. I’m afraid if I let them loose in the coop with the other hens that a hawk will pick them off because they will be so small when mature. So I’ll figure out an enclosed pen or give them to someone with less hawks in their area. Thanks for your info.

    2. I have a silver laced Sebright that was given to me by a friend because she was bullying the other chickens in the coop, which I found funny considering her size. She hasn’t done fantastic with my other 8 chickens. The only issues I have had with her is becoming egg bound but I think that’s is because I have a broody chicken that doesn’t always let others lay. I find Thisbe breed to be very curious and have to keep and eye on her and clip her wings a little bit or she will fly over my 5ft fence and get into my garden. I would definitely recommend this chicken. ❤️

  6. I am getting some within the next 2 days, and have another source hopefully soon. I plan to start raising them, had some in 2013 but thanks to a raccoon lost them. I have a much better pen now and high hopes, I have talked to Jerry Bond and hope to obtain a few of his birds as well.

  7. I mentioned Jerry Bond, it should have been Jerry and Mary Ann Bonds in Ila, Georgia, they have awesome birds

  8. I obtained my two Seabright roosters from a neighbor. They happened to follow my chihuahua home one day and took up residence! Lucky me! They are always loose and I coop them up at night to protect them. They both walk me to my car in the morning and they run to see me when I get home from work.
    “Steve” is the more aggressive of the two and likes to prove he is the boss. They are so nosy and want to be around when I am outside. Haven’t gotten them to let me pet them I think “Chevy” will be the first to do that.. Patience! Right? They have definitely made my world a little “Brighter”.

  9. I’m trying to learn about these lil beauties, since I discovered I have some. Would like to breed them. We got them hatching out some eggs we bought. Definitely have the golden laced. Possibly silver too. Need to investigate my flock further and re-issue housing for my different breeds and separate for Spring in Missouri.

  10. These are amazing birds, high mortality rate but worth every bit.
    My flock currently consists of:
    2 gold roosters (single & rose comb)
    2 silver hens
    1 gold hen
    1 citron hen
    3 chicks (4 weeks old)
    2 gold pullets
    It has taken almost 18months to get to this stage from 2 very young pairs
    Anybody in South Africa?

  11. Hi, my brother obtained a lovely trio of silver sebrights about 9 years ago and we still have one little hen left. She’s his last surviving chicken and has recently started living in the house with us. Bags of character and is completely boss of the dogs. I wondered if anyone could tell me the average life expectancy of a sebright? She’s nine now, coming up to ten and I would just be interested to know. Love the article.

  12. I have both variations of sebrights. They are very unique. We are trying to breed to the standard. As stated they are difficult to keep from hatch to hen. It we will keep going.

  13. Have now kept silver sebright for 7 years ,they are a lovely friendly bird but lost all 8 except the dominant cockerel this winter , but not sure if it was rats or a fox . Now got 18 eggs in incubator so fingers crossed

  14. I love my golden laced seabrights. I have 3 roosters and 4 hens. I also have a chick that is half seabright half silkie

  15. I had 2 sebrights for mother’s Day. Pullets they are getting on well with the other girls.i lost 1 of them when she was laying her first egg as egg bound. Is there anything thing I can do to stop this happening with my beautiful Rosie

  16. I just received a 13 week old golden sebright rooster and a hen yesterday. They are amazing! I can’t get over their adorable blue feet!! ?

  17. Bought 12 Silver Sebright eggs over Ebay at the beginning of lockdown, and they arrived through Royal Mail. Incubated them in a primitive incubator. Only two pullets hatched. They are our pets now, as it would be dangerous to keep them outside. We have at least one fox that roams around our area at night.
    Our two roam absolutely freely in the day and follow us around. They love sneaking into the house and take a stroll through the lounge. Late
    afternoons they come to the back door to be put in the bird cage, where they spend their nights. They get a treat of crushed cooked sweetcorn when they get into the cage. They are generally quite picky eaters, but love the sweetcorn.
    Some evenings they spend hours on our laps. Love them!

  18. I had no knowledge these birds existed till this morning. I was working around the garage when two beautiful, and I mean mesmerizing, birds just walked out of the woods. If they want to hang out here I’m good with that. I’m inclined to say I hope they do.

  19. My first two died early, symptoms of mareks disease but my pekins were unaffected. It’s sad because they were so tame and loving. They would often fly onto my shoulder for affection, although this was embarrassing when they did it to guests. My present Sebright thinks she’s a cock. She crows and is very much top of the pecking order. From my experience of owning three of these beautiful birds, I would say that they crave human attention and love. They have all fallen asleep whilst being cradled and petted.

    1. I have two sweet Sebrights that were sold to me as Millie Fleurs. I don’t think she probably knew the difference, and I didn’t at that time, either. They’re in a small flock of banties, and do get picked on by the buff brahma bantam. I hope to give them a separate pen in the next few months. They are very social and friendly to me, much more so than the others, and are gorgeous girls!

  20. I took home a small chicken that hatched in an incubator at preschool. We learned about them that week. I named her Baby Peepers. She was a Golden Sebright. I never knew what kind of chicken she was until right now. I always knew she was beautiful. I could call her to me. She would sit on my lap. It hurt very badly when she passed many, many years later. I’m 37 now and I finally know what kind of beautiful bird she was! Thank you! She was an amazing friend. Now I know what kind of chicken to get when I can.

  21. Hello, I raise silver and golden seabrights, I feel in love with them when I got 1 in a bin at Tractor supply co in assorted bantams. He passed from a predator and bought 12 from a lady that had some left and she was movnig and didn’t want anymore. I know breed this bird and so far mortality has been zero!!! I pray it stays that way.

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