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Isa Browns - Chicken Breeds

 

ISA Browns

...a.k.a. Hubbard ISA Browns, Hubbard Browns...

ISA Browns1

...are a line (or breed or whatever you want to call it) of sex-link layers, created by crossing certain Rhode Island Red roosters on certain Rhode Island White hens. I say "certain" because the strain is about 30 years old now and has been strongly selected for egg-laying characteristics the whole time. It was developed by the French company Institut de Selection Animale (hence the "ISA"), later bought out by Merck with the company name changed to Hubbard ISA (hence "Hubbard"), which is now part of Hendrix Genetics. The company produces other types of hybrid layers as well (www.hendrix-genetics.com).
Point being, this is a line (breed, strain, whatever) developed for industrial-agricultural use as a commercial brown layer.
ISA Browns2
They are average-sized, chestnut brown (I gather the roosters are white), with a single comb. They excel in the personality department. My 3 were extremely sweet, friendly, calm, and surprisingly intelligent birds. From what I've read, this is quite typical of the breed.
And as you'd expect, they were amazing egg producers -- many weeks we have got 21 eggs from our 3 chickens, and there was little or no seasonal drop in lay rate, despite being in southern Canada and not using any supplemental lighting. The eggs are large to extra-large and a nice toasty medium brown.
ISA Brown egg

Unfortunately all three of our ISA Browns succumbed to complications from becoming eggbound and laying internally (a problem that occurs when eggs from the ovary do not go down the reproductive tract but instead get misdirected into the chicken's abdomen where they accumulate, causing discomfort, bloating and eventually death). One died at about 9 months old; another at about a year and a half; and the last one just before turning two years old. I do not know why. It is possible that this is more apt to happen in very high-performance industrial laying strains such as the ISA Brown. They were really great chickens and I miss them a lot.
Harry with ISA Browns
That's our three year old son Harry having his shoe tasted there, shortly after we got the girls, they were probably about 16-18 wks old. Really pleasant and friendly hens!
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Comments (6)

Are these the same as Cinnamon Queens?
It's good to know I'm not the only one with Isa Brown hens :). I've had the same experience as you. They do not like to be hold and petted, but they are very friendly and curious.
I just purchased 3 Isa Browns and they are fitting in very well with the rest of my flock.
I bought what I was told were Speckled Sussex pullets. From what I see, they look like Isa Browns, or Comets or Sex Links. I don't know the difference. I would like to find a rooster for them. Is there a difference in the breeds I listed? I don't know much about these breeds, only that I love these chickens. They are so sweet.
Isa browns were one of my first chickens, mine love to be held and they really love there treats!! They'll follow me around when i come out to see them, they are good starter birds and they lay nice sized eggs that are brown.
These were the first I ever owned.  Got them from Tractor Supply.  Great and huge egg production for two years.  Spotty on the third.  Unfortunately all three that I had were lost to predation in their third year.
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