Isa Brown Chicken Breed
- Country of origin: France
- Primary uses: For eggs production
- Lifespan: 4 years
- Egg production: 300 eggs
- Egg size: Medium to large
- Egg color: Brown
- Cock: 6lbs
- Hen: 5lbs
- Colors: Brown
- Useful to know: Not a true breed. They are friendly, docile as well as give you a large number of eggs over the very first years.
In the revolution of the poultry industry, many breeds with outstanding features have been created to meet all human needs. Among these crossbreeds, the ISA Brown would be a great choice for any beginner.
However, if you do not determine which type is the most suitable, you should take a little bit of time to read this article to learn more about an interesting breed named ISA Brown.
Background and history
The Isa Brown is a crossbreed of chicken originating from France. It is believed to be a result of a complicated series of crosses such as Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites. It has no exact list of which genes these chickens have.
These chickens were named after the company which has created them. Specifically, ISA stands for Institut de Sélection Animale. In 1978, they started to make a crossbreed for higher egg production.
Based on their special origin, ISA brown chicken is also known as many other names including Hubbard Brown, Brown, or Red Sexlinks.
Compared to other breeds, ISA Brown chickens have a standard-sized body. They also have a medium back with a U-shape.
All of their comb, wattles, and earlobes are red-colored. Meanwhile, their legs and skin are yellow. There are no feathers on their legs. As their name states, their main feather color is brown. However, they still have honey color, chestnut color or totally red. Their under feathers seem to be lighter.
Besides, these chickens have a stout and horn beak. Another special feature about ISA Brown is that their tail is almost held at 45 degrees as they walk around.
The ISA Brown is a sex link bird so it is easy to distinguish male and female chickens with their outlooks. When hatching, the male chicks will be white while the female ones have a tan color.
These chickens are known as good free-rangers. They would like to range in an open-air space to make themselves active and energetic for good egg production.
They are also very friendly and docile chickens. It has no problem for them to get human contact. They love being petted or touched by their owners so as to make a closer relationship.
Additionally, ISA Brown chickens are not aggressive and able to get along with other chickens. And it is a good idea to keep some quiet chickens like these in your backyard if you hate so many noises.
Like other crossbreeds, ISA Brown chickens are less likely to get broody during their laying period. Some hens can sit on their eggs and support their hatching. But this does not happen with the majority of ISA Brown.
Despite their non-regular broodiness, these hens have the ability to produce such a huge number of eggs. They are still good mothers and protect their eggs and chicks well. Therefore, the survival rate is very high, up to 93%.
The Isa Brown Chicken productivity
Is the Isa Brown chicken good for eggs?
There is no doubt about their capability to lay eggs. ISA Brown chicken is mainly made for egg production. They are able to produce up to 300 eggs per annum.
Their laying period will last from 18 to 100 weeks. During the first 18 to 24 months, a hen can lay around 6 eggs each week. Among egg-layers, this figure is considered to be one of the best results. Their eggs range from medium to large size with brown shells.
After two years, their egg-laying process starts slowing down. However, they still have the ability to give you a moderate number of eggs until the end of their lives.
Is the Isa Brown chicken good for meat?
Actually, for any hybrid breed like ISA Brown, the quality of their meat is quite normal relative to other pure breeds. Nevertheless, you can use their meat for many dishes if you want. Their meat tastes pretty delicious although their main purpose is to lay eggs.
Unlike other breeds, the most common health issue of the ISA Brown is reproductive ailments. It has some popular symptoms for reproductive diseases as follows:
- Loss of weight
- Laying abnormal eggs
- Stop laying eggs
- Distention of their abdomen
- Being exhausted or inactive
Specially, these diseases will not come up until these hens are over 2 years old. However, it does not mean that all of the younger chickens are free from reproductive issues.
Therefore, you have to take routine health checks for your ISA Brown to make sure that there is no arising risk. And it is essential to have your chickens vaccinated fully to protect them from any other common issues for chickens.
In addition, it is extremely bad for you to breed two ISA Browns together. That is because unlike predecessors, their offspring will not have good health or even die before they are able to lay eggs.
ISA Brown chicken is considered to be one of the hardiest breeds. They can deal with almost all climate conditions.
It is not too difficult for these chickens to overcome the winter months. The cold weather might have no impact on their laying time. They are able to tolerate the heat as well as other changes in climate.
Therefore, these ISA Browns would be adaptable quickly in many different areas. There are no complex requirements about their living environment.
To keep them safe and healthy during the intensive periods, you just need to give them a little care. For example, some shady spots and cool water in the summertime or a heated coop in the frigid and freezing weather.
Benefits and drawbacks of raising the Isa Brown chicken
- Outstanding egg output: As a typical crossbreed, ISA Browns have the ability to lay up to 300 eggs over their first year. They do not get broody routinely but still assure a high rate of survival for their eggs and chicks. Besides, their hens start laying eggs quite earlier than other breeds. And their laying eggs can last to 100 weeks
- Good resistance: With their high flexibility, they can get used to various weather conditions. It is possible for them to thrive in both extremely cold and hot environments. So you have the ability to raise them regardless of their locations.
- Simple feeding and housing: Unlike other breeds, ISA Brown chickens do not require much more care from their owners. Therefore, you can save a lot of time and money when you raise them in your backyard.
- Friendly and docile: These chickens are considered to be well-behaved. They are able to get along well with both humans and other nearby chickens. Due to their easy-to-handle nature, ISA Browns can be kept as adorable pets for children.
Challenges or drawbacks
- Declined egg production: Even though they are the best egg-layers, their process to create eggs is going to slow down significantly after about 2 years. So it is simple to understand why many breeders start to dispense these hens at this time.
- Easy to get reproductive diseases: Unfortunately, ISA Browns are not strong enough to protect themselves from many common reproductive diseases. Then, you have to pay more attention to their health care than other factors.
- Short lifespan: They are not a true breed but a crossbreed. So it is hard for you to keep them productive for the long term. They are only suitable to produce eggs over a short period and have to be replaced quickly.
- Unsuitable to use for breeding: The next generation created by breeding two ISA Browns has a lot of bad features. Therefore, it is not a good option for any chicken breeders.
How to raise the Isa Brown chicken?
It is suggested to feed your ISA Brown chicks at least until they get feathered fully. You should offer them a daily diet with 20% protein or above. This amount of protein will help them to have better egg production.
You are able to feed them at any time or follow a feeding schedule. These chickens do not tend to overeat so it is safe to feed them in both ways.
When they reach their laying age, you need to provide them with a 16% layer feed. Besides, you can add oyster shells or insoluble grit to their feed. So they would get enough nutrients and energy to lay eggs.
Further reading: Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Chickens
Clean and fresh water is the best option to improve your chicken health. You should put water in many tough and hard-to-remove containers.
With their body size, a 4 square feet space for each chicken is ideal. Inside the coop, you can build their perches at different levels of height so that they can choose the most suitable one. The perch space should be from 8 to 10 inches.
Moreover, a standard nesting box with a 12×12 inch size is appropriate for non-broody chickens like them.
Staying outside would help your chickens become more active and healthier. In case you want to give ISA Browns a comfortable zone, it is necessary to be 8 square feet per chicken.
In addition, you can decorate your backyard a little bit to entertain these chickens. You are able to use leaf litters, dust baths, flowers, or plants so as to keep them busy outdoors.
Some questions related
Which high-protein food should be fed to your laying chickens?
During their laying periods, you can add the following foods to give them more protein:
- Cooked eggs: 91% protein (raw eggs will loosen much protein)
- Fish or fish meal: 61 to 72% protein
- Mealworms: 53% for dried and 30% for alive ones
- Pumpkin seeds: 31 to 33% protein
- Sprouted lentils: 26 to 30% protein
- Sunflower seeds: 26% protein
- Garden peas: 23% protein
- Parsley: 21% protein
- Oats: 10 to 17% protein
Is an ISA Brown chicken expensive?
ISA Brown chicken is known as a copyrighted breed of ISA company. They are widely used in factory farming due to their great egg production. However, their price is quite affordable to the public. Thus, any small farmer can purchase them easily with a few dollars.
So, is the ISA Brown chicken right for you? If you would like to raise easy-to-manage chickens for eggs only, you should pick up these ISA Brown chickens for your farm.
These chickens are excellent egg layers with up to 300 eggs per year. It does not make them a lot of time to grow and start laying eggs. They are also adaptable to many different climate conditions without any issues. Besides, with their gentle, friendly, and calm personalities, ISA Browns would fit well with your family.
On the contrary, this crossbreed still has some disadvantages. They are vulnerable to many common health diseases. And their great capability to lay eggs will drop quickly right after a 2-year period. Therefore, you are unable to make use of them in the long term.
Hopefully, this article can sum up some necessary and key information which can be useful and contributes to your right decision.
- Raising Chickens For Dummies, Kimberly Willis, Rob Ludlow, John Wiley and Sons Inc, 2009
- Pastured Egg Farming – Starting Out, Lee McCosker, 2017
- Chicken Coops for the Soul: A Henkeeper’s Story, Julia Hollander
Links to useful resources:
- A global superstar, ISA Poultry
- Chris Lesley, ISA Brown Chicken Care Guide: Temperament And Egg Laying, Chickens and More, Aug 2020
- Kassandra Smith, Breed Profile: ISA Brown, Backyard chicken coops, July 2020