If you’ve ever bought a carton of fresh brown eggs at the grocery store, chances are they were laid by an ISA Brown Chicken. ISA Browns are a top commercial-laying chicken breed prized for their high egg production and docile nature.
However, they’re not just good for big operations. ISA Browns can also make great backyard chickens and even pet chickens. If you’re thinking of adding some hens to your flock, here are some useful things to know about ISA Browns.
Quick Facts About ISA Brown Chickens
|Breed Name:||ISA Brown|
|Other Name:||Hubbard Brown|
|Place of Origin:||France|
|Main Breed Purpose:||Egg Production|
|Cock (Male) Size:||6 pounds|
|Hen (Female) Size:||4.5 pounds|
|Climate Tolerance:||All Climates|
|Egg Capacity per Year:||300–420 Eggs|
|Age at First Egg:||120–130 days|
|Average Lifespan:||4 years|
|Personality:||Friendly, docile, gentle|
ISA Brown Chicken Origins
The ISA Brown chicken is a hybrid breed developed in 1978 by the Institut de Selection Animale (hence the name ISA) in France. The aim was to create a chicken that would be an efficient layer of brown eggs, and they succeeded.
The exact makeup of the ISA Brown’s gene pool is a bit of a mystery. The breeders have never revealed the specifics, but it’s generally believed that Rhode Island Reds, White Leghorns, and Rhode Island Reds are in there somewhere.
ISA Brown Chicken Characteristics
It’s hard not to fall in love with an ISA Brown chicken. Aside from their gorgeous brown eggs, these hens are gentle and super easy to handle.
They’re also known for being good around kids, which makes them a great choice if you’re looking for a family-friendly chicken breed. Don’t be surprised if your ISA Brown hen starts following you around the yard. They’re known to be closely bonded to their human caretakers.
Keep in mind that ISA Browns are foragers, so they’re happiest when they have plenty of space to roam. If you’re keeping them in a backyard coop, make sure it’s large enough for them to stretch their wings and explore.
Unfortunately, ISA Browns have quite short lifespans compared to other chicken breeds. On average, they only live for around 3–4 years. That’s why it’s important to give them the love and care they need while they’re with you. They deserve it, and they give back so much in return.
The primary use for ISA Browns is egg production. These chickens lay an impressive 300–420 eggs per year, sometimes up to 500 eggs for star performers.
On average, the eggs are medium in size with a light or dark brown shell. ISA Brown eggs are also popular among bakers thanks to their consistent quality.
If you’re thinking of raising ISA Browns, keep in mind that they’re not the best choice if you’re looking for meat birds. They’re not particularly big, so they don’t provide a lot of meat.
Appearance & Varieties
ISA Browns aren’t particularly unique in terms of appearance. They look pretty similar to many other brown egg-laying chickens out there, such as the Rhode Island Red and the New Hampshire Red.
It’s easy to tell the cocks from the hens because they’re sex-linked. In other words, their fluff color (the feathers around the rear) can help you determine their gender just a few days after hatching.
The females are usually light brown with white speckles. The white features become more obvious as they get older, and the light brown deepens into deep red or chestnut.
On the other hand, males have reverse coloration. Their feather colors are usually white with brown speckles. No matter the gender, all ISA Browns have small single combs and yellow feet.
As for varieties, ISA Browns are only available in standard form. This breed has no bantam version and no fancy feathering.
Distribution and Habitat
ISA Browns are found all over the world thanks to their popularity as egg layers. However, they’re most common in North America and Europe.
When it comes to habitat, these chickens are pretty adaptable. They can live in both hot and cold climates, as long as they have access to shelter from the extremes.
Despite being foragers, ISA Browns don’t mind being confined to small spaces. This makes them a good choice for backyard chicken keepers with limited space.
Are ISA Brown Chickens Good for Small-Scale Farming?
Absolutely! In fact, they’re one of the most popular chicken breeds among small-scale farmers and homesteaders.
ISA Browns are easy to care for, which makes them an excellent option even for beginner chicken keepers. They’re also very hardy, so they don’t get sick easily. Of course, let’s not forget about their wonderful personalities. You don’t just get a talented egg layer when you choose this breed, you also get a chicken that’s fun to be around.
Overall, ISA Browns are an exceptional choice no matter what your farming goals are. If you’re looking for a chicken that’s not very demanding in terms of care but still provides plenty of eggs and is a good companion to boot, this is the breed for you.
Featured Image Credit: ISA Brown chicken, Shutterstock