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ISA Browns

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

On March 20th I picked up 5 ISA Brown chicks from the hatchery.  They are 83 days old or 11.8 weeks old.  I know that they wont start laying until they are between 20-24 weeks old.  I am curious to hear from anyone who has or had ISA Browns and what they experienced with them.

 

How many eggs per day?

Good or Bad personalities?

Egg bound problems?

Other health issues?

What to feed while they are laying?

 

Thanks for the help!

post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 

No one has ISA Browns?

post #3 of 15

Actually, mine have typically reached POL at 17 weeks, with some consistency.  They lay a pullet egg for only a short period, and then, extra large eggs.  This is what they were bred for.  With good care and provision, they'll lay 300 eggs their pullet year.   I've not had inordinate egg bound problems, but with all such hyper layers, the reality exists.

The birds are friendly and relate well to those who care for them.  I've always raised them from day old chicks.  I don't know how pullets bought as older birds will react, but my guess it that they'll be fine.

 

Were your pullets debeaked?   Did you purchase them from Townline in Zeeland?

 

 

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post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

I bought them as day old chicks from Townline Poulty in Zeeland.  I live like 20 mins away from the Townline farm and my wife and I know the Geerlings. (owners)  They still have there beaks I am not sure why they would be debeaked.  My birds are just about 12 weeks old and seem really friendly and curious.  I turn them lose from there pen everyday when I get home for 2-3 hrs to forage around the yard, and then I put them back at night for safety reasons.  I am looking forward to the eggs and have plenty of family members eyeing them as well.  I just hope to avoid any complications from having such a hyperactive laying breed.  I am trying to learn as much as I can from experienced people on the forum.

 

Thanks!

post #5 of 15

I understand better.   Many hatcheries sell older pullets with clipped beaks as that is what the commercial hen houses prefer.

 

Your pullets are at the age that I would personally slow down the high protein feed.  Drop the protein content down to 15% until laying begins.  This actually pushes back the POL, often by 2 full weeks.  That is a good thing.  The bird needs to mature in skeleton and muscles before entering lay.  Early onset of lay often occurs with commercial pullets, like the ISA Browns, because of feeding high protein feed through weeks 12-18.  Here is a link to the commercial manual published for the strain.  You'll notice that this feeding schedule is recommended.

 

 https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:1WoSoqrhpDEJ:www.morrishatchery.com/mngmt_guides/ISA%2520Brown%2520Guide-Nov.%25203,2010.pdf+isa+brown+manual&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiDNU_KBTCKIXGXSbTCl7xterNpoMI4ISj01uG2mrJ_kUOA-BtScCkWvY9LgoomZkN1ehmZe43uhXTB4afHUKu78v1JLlGMt9LPG0ZlmrOLMxH0NWIqLylljS5SalKK9IRnCgUD&sig=AHIEtbSLVYcjznXC0ZgjxpE11gxi15rkjg

 

The ISA Brown is very efficient with feed.  She'll lay more eggs, on less feed, than most anything I've ever seen.  They also will lay early in the morning and most will lay before 10 am, which makes collecting easier.  

 

For feed, a high quality layer formula will generally produce great results, although an ISA, like other chickens, also like to free range and also adore kitchen scraps.  I feed a complete layer feed, from a local Hubbard feed mill.

 

 

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post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Ok I have 1 more bag of grower left and the next couple bags I pick up I will drop the protien level down.  I don't care if they start laying later I just want them to the healthy.  Thanks for the link.
 

post #7 of 15

If the Grower is 15 or 16 percent, you'll be just fine.  It's the 20% and higher that tends to "rush" them, a bit, to maturity.  At least that is what the literature suggests.   Best regards.

 

 

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post #8 of 15

You already received great info on feeding so I won't address that. You did ask about their personality and I'll attest that they're wonderful birds. So curious and friendly. I had three adults birds that I bought at about age 3. Two have since died but this spring I got a new ISA Brown chick (also from Townline, incidentally).

 

The one thing that I've read, and which I also experienced, was a tendency for eggshells to thin to the point that they break even with the gentlest handling. This happens with the older birds, sometime after 2 years. I tried increasing oyster shell and that had minimal effect. Then, I switched from Purina Layena pellets to a mash from a local feed mill and that has really helped. I'm not sure why but am guessing that the Purina has probably sat around for months and the local feed mill mash is fresh so the nutrients are fresher? Totally guessing here.

 

My own remaining adult bird, who is probably about 4 has nearly stopped laying altogether. I'm not sure how this compares to other breeds but I do know that the hyper laying breeds do seem to burn out faster. But, while they're laying you get tons of huge eggs from really fun birds. Enjoy! 
 

Backyard farming with my flock of super talented manure composters and bug hunters.

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post #9 of 15

Here is a chart from the company that produces the hybrid.  They say 2% of their flock lays at 18 weeks and 50% lay at 20.  Not that I'm counting or anything, but that puts me at end of August hit.gif.

 

http://www.isapoultry.com/en/Products/ISA/ISA%20Brown.aspx

post #10 of 15

For reference to the ISA chart linked in previous post.  I have 5 birds.  One laid at 18 weeks (top 2%).  The other 4 waited until week 21 (64% according to ISA chart).  I'm getting 3-4 eggs per day out of 5 birds.

 

I consider myself lucky because I had one top 2% bird and productivity from 100% of my flock when ISA says I should expect 64%.

 

 

I don't know how this compares to other production birds or others' experiences.  Just relaying mine.

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