Did you know that the ISA Brown chicken isn’t actually the name of an official chicken breed? It is actually a crossbreed. In fact, it is a bit more than that. The ISA Brown chicken is actually the brand name for a type of chicken produced by a specific company.
However, the name has now become incredibly generic, since anybody could feasibly breed the ISA Brown chicken. In fact, they do.
It is one of the most popular chicken breeds in the world. Let’s take a look.
The Origins of the ISA Brown Chicken
The ISA Brown Chicken was originally developed in France. In fact, it was produced by a company called ‘Institute de Selection Animale’ which, of course, is ISA for short.
The purpose of breeding this chicken was to create a mass egg-laying chicken. In fact, not just a mass egg-laying chicken, but one that was able to produce eggs in cramped conditions. Basically, it was just designed for the commercial market.
Now, the thing with the ISA Brown Chicken is that we do not actually know what breeds it originates from. This is because so much breeding has taken place to create this chicken that nowadays it is impossible to tell.
One thing is for sure, and that is that Rhode Island Reds were thrown in the mix.
It is likely the only people that have a record of this is ISA, but they have gone through so many takeovers, and they likely do not want to share their secret anyway.
Plus, any chicken that you do get under the ISA Brown label is unlikely to have come from ISA anyway. This means that there is likely to be a lot more mixed into it.
The Look of the Chicken
The ISA Brown Chicken is such a popular chicken that is, basically your typical chicken. If you imagine a chicken right now, then the ISA Brown is one that would pop into your mind. It is that popular around the world.
The ISA Brown is a largish chicken, with wider shoulders, they weigh 4.5 lb on average.. It, as the name suggests, boasts brown feathers. Honestly, this is a chicken that you will have seen several times before in your life, so we are not going to discuss the actual look of the chicken all that much.
It is worth noting that this chicken is self-sexing. Unlike other breeds, we can tell pretty much instantly what sex an ISA Brown chicken is the second that it hatches. This is another reason why they are loved by commercial farmers.
It means the farmers can get rid of the roosters quite quickly if they need to do so.
ISA Brown Chicken Eggs
The ISA chicken is the supreme egg-laying chicken. It has been bred for that purpose. An ISA Brown chicken can pump out around 300 eggs each and every year during the first few years of its life.
Not only will it be pumping out this many eggs, but they will be large brown eggs, and people absolutely love those, don’t they?
If you want an egg-laying chicken, then the ISA Brown Chicken is the best route to go down. Otherwise, if you are more into pure breeds, then check the best chicken breeds for eggs.
The ISA Brown chicken isn’t really bred for meat purposes. Although, there is absolutely no reason why you would not be able to slaughter the roosters for meat.
This is a chicken that seems to mature incredibly quickly, which is always going to be a plus when it comes to slaughter. It means you do not have to waste a lot of time and resources raising the chicken.
The hens tend not to be slaughtered for meat. They are decent egg producers for much of their life. Although, in commercial farming set-ups, the hens may be slaughtered after a couple of years when they have stopped producing as many eggs as they did in the past.
There is no sense in slaughtering them in you homestead because they are going to be producing more than enough eggs if you have a decent flock of them.
There are no health issues with the ISA Browns. After all, this is a chicken that has been designed to be raised in cramped conditions with a minimum amount of effort.
However, under absolutely no circumstances would we suggest that you raise the ISA Brown in the same way that you would find them raised in a commercial hen farming set-up.
This is a large chicken. They need a lot of space to roam about in. It can help to keep some issues at bay. It also means that you are going to end up with far better eggs at the end of the day.
The Personality of the ISA Brown Chicken
If you are a human (and we assume you are), then the ISA Brown will love you. Many people tout this as the perfect chicken breed for those who are new to owning chickens.
As we said before; they do not really have any health issues, and they do not have any specific care requirements either. Just make sure that you give them a typical chicken diet, and they are going to be fine. They are going to be able to produce the 300 eggs per year that you want.
The real issue comes if you introduce other chickens to a flock of ISA Brown Chickens.
This breed can be quite territorial, and they are not massive fans of new chickens being introduced to the flock. This isn’t really a chicken that has been bred to interact with other chickens.
Remember; the whole purpose of them was to be raised in cages where they wouldn’t be interacting with other breeds. There was literally no need to breed for a trait that serves no purpose, right?
Do bear in mind that not every chicken that claims to be an ISA Brown is actually an ISA Brown. This is a chicken where it is absolutely vital that you go to a reputable breeder. This way you will have some idea about whether ti is an ISA Brown or not.