Crossing Isa Browns to Heritage breeds

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by MaeIstrom, Jul 10, 2019 at 11:58 PM.

  1. MaeIstrom

    MaeIstrom In the Brooder

    I recently got some 18 month old isa browns and was quite perturbed to find out that not only were their laying days effectively over but that they would be lucky to live past 3 and considered essentially worthless. And while I may be confusing the effects of hand-rearing with breed temperament I've really become entranced with the personality and intelligence of these birds, they're light years more evolved than the leghorn hybrids I grew up with.

    So I'm embarking on a project to breed a chicken that lays at maybe 75-90% of the quantity and quality of an Isa Brown (or any production red sex-link) but with improved longevity. My first consideration for a cross was one of the larger dual-purpose breeds like Australorp or Wyandotte but given they've gone out of fashion for having a much higher feed consumption to egg production ratio I thought I'd try a lavender aracauna for his smaller body-size, similar rate of maturation, vigor and climate resistance and of course the blue egg gene. Plus I'm hoping this cross will produce some silver hens that can be used in time to re-create sexlinks, either that or cross a rooster from this pairing over a barred plymouth rock to bring in auto-sexing although that would require finding some plymouth rocks bred for egg production and not exhibition which may be difficult in Western Australia. I'm also starting to suspect its the body size and early maturity itself that makes egg-laying such a lethal activity for the Isa Brown so it may be self-defeating to try and preserve these traits.

    Either way I currently have at least 8 eggs that have been incubating for a week now and candling ok so I'll let you know how they go but in the meantime it occurs that many others must have either deliberately or inadvertently crossed Isa Brown to a heritage bred so I'm hoping someone has more information on what to expect and the best crosses to get what I'm after. For example when crossing a breed that lays 180 eggs a year to one that lays 300+ a year can I expect the offspring to lay closer to 180, 300 or somewhere in the middle? I feel like the daughters from this cross should lean closer to their mothers in terms of egg production but that's an assumption.
     
    sylviethecochin likes this.
  2. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

    7,278
    1,556
    366
    Jul 16, 2009

    Wow, you are doing what Ive been trying for many years, but just recently been able to at least start, I have many years of experience working with Isa brown f1 crosses and have been able to sort out how they are produced, lend me some time and I will publish all I know about the project.
     
    Newyorkrita likes this.
  3. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

    7,278
    1,556
    366
    Jul 16, 2009
    A backyard breeder would be hard pressed to 300+ eggs or full 100% efficiency from any brown sex linked production hen, so you can expect close to 260-280 and a much longer life span, to reach 100% efficiency on these hens you absolutely need the right feed, lighting, humidity and variables that can only be achieved in a production setting achieved artificially, so your hens will be happier, live longer and outproduce any other single breed available.

    A very similar cross was produced(I posted about it on the forum) but in this case with production type White Leghorns to produce very productive blue eggers, the results were very promising, a cross of Araucana rooster with brown sex linked production hens will produce very similar results but for green eggs.

    Here is the Outstanding work done by the researchers:
    Productive Performance of Easter Egger Crosses of Araucana and Schijndelaar roosters with White Leghorn hens: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ae4f/d9522c44c1bf01195d72f7d799a3e5107a17.pdf

    Excerpt from the research:
    "The highest hen-day egg production was observed in group L with 283.1 eggs laid until 35 weeks of age and predicted annual egg production of 311.2 eggs that is corresponding to modern accomplishments of high-producing lines of this breed (21). The lowest egg production was registered in decorative breeds Schijndelaar (S) – 95.1 eggs (predicted annual production 132.5 eggs) and Araucana (А) with 148.4 eggs (predicted annual production of 179.4 eggs). The two experimental groups exhibited a strong heterosis effect induced by the maternal line with regard to this trait. Their productivity was similar to that of White Leghorns. A predicted annual egg production of 270-280 eggs from Easter eggers is a promising result, which could be further expanded with inclusion of other breeder combinations."

    No, the F1 cross will produce all white colored progeny if you really want to reproduce the parent line of the brown sex linked hens you will need a Silver Araucana rooster instead.

    Have you tested your Araucana egg production per year in your backyard or egg production settings? Yes Araucanas can lay up to 180 per year but if your Araucana hens in your settings are only laying about 140 and the Isa browns are only laying about 260, the cross should yield about 220 taking into account a 10-12% Heterosis effect. My best advise would be to measure both Araucana and Isa brown on your setting and then you can calculate the F1 egg production and then actually confirm it once the F1s get about a year of production.
     
    MaeIstrom and sylviethecochin like this.
  4. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

    7,278
    1,556
    366
    Jul 16, 2009
    I know many will say that since these brown sex linked hybrids can't possibly breed true because they are hybrids, well that only partially true in that it would be nearly impossible to recreate both parents from the sex linked cross to a 100% match, and is really not necesarry for backyard breeders that want to reproduce such prodigious brown egg laying hens or use their egg laying genetics to produce healthy egg layers, some people believe that All or about 90% of their egg production is due to them being Hybrids, but that is incorrect, the parent stock are as productive if not more than the final product, you only need to see their Hyline Silver Dame production on a breeding stock rearing system(not designed for maximum egg production but for healthy breeders) vs Hyline Brown alternative systems of housing(free ranging Barn or aviary systems)

    Silver Dame Production vs Final Hyline Brown Hens

    Silver: Number of Hen-Day Eggs, 75 Weeks 315, Body Weight: 1880-1950 grams, Egg Weight: 64 grams
    Brown: Number of Hen-Day Eggs, 75 Weeks 340, Body Weigh: 1990-2.10 grams, Egg Weight: 65 grams

    Info can be found here: Hy-Line Brown Parent Stock management guide: https://www.hyline.com/userdocs/pages/BRN_PS_ENG.pdf

    Hy-Line Alternative Systems: https://www.hyline.com/userdocs/pages/B_ALT_COM_ENG.pdf


    In another study the performance of a Three Way Cross Hybrid using Lohmann Brown(Isa Brown, Hy-Line Brown contemporary)
    Developing a three-way cross of chickens for improving egg production traits: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a20e/db9b617582974235f94a7997b9ea8bc3cc07.pdf

    Excerpt from the research: "The three way cross improved age at sexual maturity, egg number, feed intake, feed convertion, estrogen and progesteron hormones."

    I expect the same result if you use the same three way cross breeding scheme, for example a rooster from the F1 of Araucana x Isa brown cross with hens from say a RIR x Isa brown cross, the three way cross should outlay the F1 and pure due to heterosis effect or at least come very close to your setting production for pure isa browns.
     
    MaeIstrom likes this.
  5. MaeIstrom

    MaeIstrom In the Brooder

    Thank you so much nicalandia, this is exactly the sort of information I was looking for. I don't actually have any aracauna hens atm, just the rooster and isa brown hens. I do have some ameraucana eggs hatching in the incubator, next to my f1 crosses so that will be a starting point I guess for the next generation, assuming I get a couple of day-old isa's at the same time for comparison. I was also hoping to feather-sex the first generation as I read the aracauna was rapid feathering but given my lav aracauna (pictured in profile pic) had silky in his ancestry (I'm presuming since he had 5 toes and soft feathering) I doubt I can make any really accurate predictions.regarding his genetics. So all testing will have to be done on what's currently hatching in my incubator.
    Do you know if backyard breeders can get their hands on the hyline parent stock this "Silver Dame"? It seems to me if you could cross a red/gold blue egg layer over a red sex-link, take a rooster from that pairing and breed him to a flock of silver dames you would be pumping out production-quality sex-linked easter eggers in 2 generations.
     
  6. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

    7,278
    1,556
    366
    Jul 16, 2009
    Sadly nobody except large corporations have access to parent and grand parent breeding stock, but I am doing more research and perhaps we can reproduce the silver and gold line, I will post more info on that later, but perhaps reproducing them is really not necessary for the backyard breeder wanting that type of performance, on the last research I posted about a 3 breed cross which shows really promising results and perhaps that should be our goal, for example a Silver Araucana rooster mated to the Isa browns will produce Silver hens, these hens after a good production year can be mated to a gold rooster from a RIR x Isa brown cross, that way the Final product will be sexable at hatch with 25% Araucana, 25% RIR and 50% Isa brown with expected production that may exceed the Isa browns.
     
    MaeIstrom and alexisrambles like this.
  7. alexisrambles

    alexisrambles Songster

    160
    381
    122
    May 22, 2019
    Louisiana
    Oh wow this is FASCINATING
     
    Flashpoint likes this.
  8. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

    7,278
    1,556
    366
    Jul 16, 2009
    The Hyline brown may not be the most prolific of the brown eggers but is the most balanced in term of feed conversion and egg production(which is of really not concern for backyard breeders because the % difference can only be capitalized in commercial settings and back yard/Barn production can be very inefficient), Another benefit of the Hyline sex links is that they are 100% sexable at hatch reducing production cost even more that is why it has been the go-to standard cross for generations but now Hyline has come up with the Hyline Silver brown, the sister reciprocal cross of the hyline brown, this cross is even more prolific than the regular brown but at the cost of being less balanced in terms of efficiency, the genetics are the same except the cross is not color sexable which incurs in more expenses but this proves my long belief that of all the egg production genes at least a few are sex linked, this means that of the parent stock that makes up the regular brown and the silver brown(both the same) the Silver line is the most productive of them all but less efficient.

    Here on this Hy-Line Silver Brown Parent Stock management guide: https://www.hyline.com/userdocs/pages/SB_PS_ENG.pdf You will see the parent stock, Silver Sire(brown egger, not to be confused with White Leghorn) and Red Dame.


    If one could get their hands on the final product of hyline browns and Hyline silver browns one could reproduce the parent stock because both lines carry any autosomal and sex linked production genes in them necessary to reproduce them.
     
  9. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

    7,278
    1,556
    366
    Jul 16, 2009
    For reference:
    Hy-Line Brown Parent Stock management guide: https://www.hyline.com/userdocs/pages/BRN_PS_ENG.pdf

    Hy-Line Silver Brown Parent Stock management guide: https://www.hyline.com/userdocs/pages/SB_PS_ENG.pdf

    You can use both of the parent stock management to come up with pure gold parent body size and egg production at 75 weeks old and both silver parent body size and egg production at 75 weeks of age in a breeding environment.

    One can clearly see that the Silvers are the more productive of both parents and that a clear sex linked pattern is at play because if all of the egg productivity genes/mutations were Autosomal it would not matter how was the cross performed(Silver/Gold vs Gold/Silver) they would all end up being the same, except that is not the case and the final product Hyline Silver Brown is as advertised: The world's most prolific egg layer yielding an impressive 330+ eggs on a 364 egg laying days(or 70 days of age, they start laying at 18 weeks of age)
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 8:21 AM
  10. nicalandia

    nicalandia Crowing

    7,278
    1,556
    366
    Jul 16, 2009
    Some more info on Silver Parents(Both Sexes)
    Genetic make up of their phenotype/Genotype.

    Wheaten at the e locus: eWh
    Columbian Restricted: Co/Co
    Dominant sex-linked Silver(S/- for females, S/S for males)
    Dominant white: I/I
    Not red enhanced: mh+/mh+

    Some more info on Red Parents(Both Sexes)
    Genetic make up of their phenotype/Genotype.

    Wheaten at the e locus: eWh
    Columbian Restricted: Co/Co
    Recessive sex-linked gold(s+/- for females, s+/s+ for males)
    Not dominant white (i+/i+)
    Mahogany red enhanced: Mh/Mh

    Terminal/Commercial sex-linked brown cross are:
    Columbian Restricted: Co/Co
    Recessive sex-linked gold: s+/- for females and S/s+ for males
    Heterozygous dominant white: I/i+
    Heterozygous Mahogany red enhanced: Mh/mh+

    Terminal/Commercial Silver brown cross are:
    Columbian Restricted: Co/Co
    Sex-linked Silver: S/- for females and S/s+ for males
    Heterozygous dominant white: I/i+
    Heterozygous Mahogany red enhanced: Mh/mh+

    Males of the both reciprocal cross will show red shoulders, lemon hackles/saddle, mostly white body due to dominant white and columbian restricted.

    Isa brown rooster as example(One can expect the sex linked cross Hyline brown rooster to look nearly identical)
    ISABrown8moColonel2.jpg

    Due to Mahogany the Silver Brown Pullets will have varying degrees of red showing on the body.

    Silverbrownhen1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 8:19 AM
    MaeIstrom and Flashpoint like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: