Sebright’s wonderful gold or silver laced markings make the breed a popular ornamental show bantam. They are happy inquisitive birds and they do well in mixed flocks. They like to forage but will also tolerate confinement. The bird can fly so they need to be contained.
It is difficult to breed; 200 years of inbreeding from a very limited gene pool means fertility is not good, chicks are delicate for the first few weeks and mortality rates can be high. Producing to the exact standard is difficult as the birds bred with the best lacing may not be the ones which are best for small size, strutting style, correct comb formation, or other aspects.
- Sir John Sebright wanted to develop a laced bantam and succeeded over 200 years ago.
- It is recorded that he made Golds first, starting with a Nankin, a small henny feathered pit game cock, and a small hen resembling a gold spangled Hamburgh, which 200 years ago usually had half- moon spangles rather the round spangles of today.
- He made Silvers later, initially by crossing prototype Golds with a White Rosecomb bantam cock he bought from London Zoo.
- It is thought that some early Sebright breeders (after Sir John had dispersed some of them) added laced Polands to the mix, but Sir John was said never to have used this breed.
- From about 1812, Sir John and his friends held private Sebright shows at Grey’s Inn Coffee House, Holborn, London.
- It is not known whether there was a direct link between Sir John’s Sebright Club, which was active long before conventional poultry shows, and the present Sebright Club, for which the RBST has only found records back to 1909.
- The breed is a true bantam, there is no counterpart in large breeds.
- The breed has an upright and alert carriage with rounded breast carried forward and downward- pointing wings.
- Sebrights have a rose comb and the legs are blue.
- The UK Sebright Club only recognises the Gold and Silver varieties, but other combinations of lacing are allowed in some European countries.
Did you know?
Sebrights males are 'hen feathered'. This means that unlike in most breeds, males shouldn’t have a curved or sickle tail but should have the same feathering as hens.
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the United Kingdom's rare native breeds of farm animals from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants and donations from the public to raise the £700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare UK native breeds of farm animals. Visit www.rbst.org.uk to see how you can help.