I've had both Speckled and Light Sussexes in my flock for several years now, and wouldn't be without them. The photos in this article are all of my own chickens.
A friendly, companionable breed, my experience of the Light Sussex especially is of a good forager, capable of looking after themselves but who also like the company of both other chickens and humans.
In terms of care they will - as will any chicken - appreciate a safe place to roost and some ground in which to range.
They're not susceptible to any particular diseases, though obviously everyday biosecurity measures should be taken, and they will continue to produce large, light brown eggs for most of the year.
Would I recommend them for the family flock? Absolutely!
The Light Sussex is known as a "heritage breed", one of the many different Sussexes bred from game fowl brought to England by the Romans as long ago as AD 43. The original birds were bred together with native breeds and created first the Speckled Sussex and later, the Light.
So as the name suggests, the Light Sussex originated in Sussex, England. It has been recognised as a standard breed there since the early 20th Century and was accepted as a licenced breed in America in the 1920s.
However, it's still much more readily available in England than in the US.
The Light Sussex was bred to be a "dual purpose" breed, producing a steady number of large eggs and a good amount of meat, to cope with public demand.
In the 1940s, though, it was replaced by specially bred broiler chickens, who mature unnaturally quickly so were more in demand commercially.
The Light Sussex remains one of the best breeds for both eggs and meat, but matures too slowly to be regarded as a good commercial chicken.
So luckily, the breed's popularity means it's remained and celebrated as both a reliable, family friendly backyard chicken, and a dashing show bird.
As a newly-hatched chick, the Light Sussex is the typical yellow, fluffy ball of cuteness most people think of when they imagine a baby chicken.
Even at that young age - this chick of mine was just a couple of days old when I took this picture - they're friendly and have an interested, inquisitive look.
As they grow, the characteristic black neck, wing and tail feathers begin to show fairly quickly - you can just see them starting to develop on this same chick only ten days later...
...and here, just another three weeks later, as the same chick loses the fluffy down, the black markings are growing in with the feathers.
And again, at two months. The neck feathers are now developing well, and the tail feathers are starting to develop. As an adult, the tail feathers will have a beautiful blue sheen in the sunlight.
As an adult, the Light Sussex's black feathering at the neck (called the hackle feathers), wings and tail, together with its graceful stature, make this a very striking breed.
This is the same chick - who turned out to be a rooster!
Notice the orange eyes which are another characteristic of the Light Sussex, and the short, feather-free legs and feet set quite wide apart.
The lack of feathers on the legs and feet makes them unlikely to harbour mites, and means they're very easy to care for.
This breed lays large, light coloured eggs. They can vary in tone, from light brown through cream to an almost pink hue.
It's unusual for pure bred hens, but the Light Sussex will lay virtually all year round - mine don't stop even in the hardest of Italian winters, and they've never had extra light in the coop.
A lot of "facts" you'll find on the internet are often people's individual views, based on inaccurate information repeated from poor quality sources.
The information I provide in this article and others is based not just on my own experience, but on evidenced facts from scientific, peer-reviewed research and books from highly respected and experienced poultry keepers such as Gail Damerow.
Some of the trusted sources I have used in this article are these.
The Light Sussex. Pub. Poultry Club of Great Britain.
Ekarius, Carol: Storey's illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds. Pub. Storey Books, 2007. (affiliate links).