ISA Brown: Everything You Need To Know

ISA brown chickens are a modern breed in the chicken world. They were developed to lay many eggs just like the Black star chickens but not meat.

In the last 50 years, the chicken industry has undergone dramatic change. The commercial chicken farming has seed development of laying machines or excellent meat birds that convert every calorie into meat or eggs.

These has pushed heritage breeds at one corner and are now replaced with fast maturing and better yielding chickens.

In this article, I am going to take you through the ISA brown chicken breed. This will help you know whether it is the right breed for you.

History of the ISA brown

ISA chickens are a new addition in the poultry world. They were developed in 1978 in France. French farmers needed a breed that could mature fast and lay many eggs.

Their development was triggered by the high demand for eggs to feed the rapid growing population. Researchers were pushed to the limit and after crossing the Rhode Island Red with White Leghorns as the parent stock, ISA brown chicken was developed.

ISA stands for Institut de` Selection Animale where these chickens were developed. This company later merged and the breed became Hubbard ISA.

There are sex link chickens meaning that how to tell if a chick is male or female is easy. Other common sex links are Comet chickens and the Cinnamon queens.

ISA Brown chicken characteristics

They are medium sized brown chickens. Their feathers are not deep brown but rather have a chestnut/brown color.

Their bodies seem to take a rectangular or a square shape and form a U-shape between the neck and tail.

In rare cases, their upright tail feathers are white-tipped but mostly they are brown. The comb is `single and upright.

Combs, wattles and earlobes are red in color. Eye color is bay or yellow. The legs and skin are also yellow in color.

On their featherless legs, there are four well-spaced toes and short claws. The beak is horn, short and strong an adaptation of a grain eater.

Temperament and Hardiness of Isla Brown chickens

ISA browns chickens are a calm and cool breed. They are outgoing and love human attention a lot. These chickens are among the friendliest chicken breeds and do not mind when sat on the lap.

They pose no threat to your kids and will choose to follow them around in the backyard. ISA brown rooster is a good boy and can be a cuddly chicken pet.

These chickens will come running to you for tasty treats like rice, cucumber, chicken scratch and broccoli. They love being hand fed because they prefer coming close to you.

Brown ISA chickens are good when integrated with chickens that are calm like they are. I would prefer mixing them with Dong Tao chickens or the speckled Sussex.

These birds will not mind swimming together with you. This will help cool their bodies especially during the hot season.

They rank low on the pecking order and are easily bullied by assertive breeds.

The hardiness of these birds is on another level. They are both cold hardy and heat tolerant chickens doing well in any type of soil.

ISA hens will be fine when confined in a pallet or plastic chicken coop as well as on free range. Out they will eat tasty bugs, insect and also supplement their diet with weeds.

Egg laying, broodiness and uses

ISA brown hens are superb egg laying machines. No breed can outlay them and I would compare them with Golden comet chickens.

At the age of 22-24 weeks, ISA brown pullets are often seen hanging around nesting boxes. This is an enough sign to tell you they have reached sexual maturity.

They are faithful layers of 300 large eggs with a brown egg shell color. Because they are not noisy, when they open their mouth they sing the egg melody telling you there is something for you.

Although they are dedicated layers, they hardly get broody. If you want to hatch their eggs, power on your hatcher or use female Buff Brahma chicken to hatch them for you.

ISO brown chicks for sale can be bought from reputable hatcheries like the chick hatchery and Hoovers hatchery.

Since the motivation to become mothers has been bred out of them, in rare cases hens get broody and hatch. Once they get chicks they make sweet mothers and tender for their young well.

ISA brown chicks are easily sexable at hatching. The males are white while females have a tarn color. Since they do not weigh much, they are not the best for meat.

They weigh around 4.4lbs and cannot offer much meat enough for the market. Even though they are light, they have harnessed their weight to laying many eggs.

What is the lifespan of ISA Brown chickens?

ISA browns do not live long because they are exhausted by the time they reach two years. At this age, they are considered spent and unworthy.

Most hens are culled and end up being slaughtered for meat. The British Hens Association has dedicated itself in the rescue of such hens.

Those that are lucky enough end up in the hands of caregivers who take them as pets. Although they have laid enough, they still continue giving eggs though very few.

When adopted or kept as pets, ISA hens can live between 3 to 5 years. They are prone to reproductive issues like lash egg, cancer and egg binding.

Health Issues

ISA brown chickens are naturally healthy and robust birds. However, they have a short lifespan and are susceptible to egg binding, peritonitis and cancer.

Their reproductive tracts are exhausted and worn because of the large clutch of eggs they lay. Their plumage is often infested with external parasites like chicken lice and scaly mites.

Diatomaceous earth is used as a chicken lice treatment. It is dusted under the feathers and on the chicken bedding.

It works by removing body oils and moisture from the parasites thus dehydrating them to death. In addition to mites and lice, thread and gape worms infest these feathered friends.

Thread worms and gapeworms in chickens are treated using the right chicken wormer as recommended by a qualified vet.

I am lucky to have a chicken vet near me who has always helped me identify the best dewormer for my Olive egger chickens.

Why choose ISA brown chickens?

ISAs are good and friendly chickens. They pose no threat to your kids and you do not have to worry letting them get close to them.

They will do well when confined and out on free range. However, care should be taken when they are left to roam out on their own.

In the backyard, there are possums, hawks and other predators that stalk your flock. Include a rooster among your hens because these boys are predator savvy.

ISA brown chickens require little maintenance and can eat an array of foods such as manufactured feeds, treats and kitchen scrap.

These egg laying machines will always make sure that your egg tray is full. Their large brown eggs make a good snack for your breakfast.

Although they rarely get broody, they make awesome mums and take good care of their brood.


ISAs are good chickens to keep. They are friendly, sweet and docile. They will do well when integrated with other chickens.

Nothing goes to waste with these birds. That leftover celery and asparagus chops that would have ended in your compost are food for these chickens.

They will take good care of your garden by eating weeds, insects and those worms that damage your vegetables.

Do you raise ISA browns? Share your thoughts.

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