ISA Brown Chickens?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by thecreekhouse, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. thecreekhouse

    thecreekhouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 26, 2015
    East Tennessee
    Our local Tractor Supply has some ISA Brown chickens in this week and I am surely tempted to add one or two to my little backyard flock. I am interested in a light colored hen that lays larger, brown eggs, and which is a reliable layer in a variety of weather conditions. Is the ISA Brown's laying capacity comparable to a Black Sex Link? How does the breed compare to Orpingtons ( my 2 Orpingtons only give me 2-4 eggs weekly at this point). What is their personality like? Thanks!
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    My experience with Isabrowns is not positive. They're not terrible birds, just flawed in some pretty big ways.

    They are guzzlers, lay poor quality but large eggs more often than their bodies can cope with, so they burn out and run on empty nonstop before suffering the health problems that overproduction causes, they're not overly bright... And they look like a mess even in good health, or as close to that as they get anyway. They're unattractive things to have around the yard to be frank, when you compare them with most other breeds. Moulting is a huge drama for them too.

    They suffer an apparently inevitable myriad of health problems especially after two years of age when they basically begin decaying into their premature graves while other hens are just beginning to enter their true adulthood and prime. Mine (and those of everyone else I know that bought from the same hatchery, and also those of people in other countries) suffered something like neurological degenerative disease after two years old, lost some vision, some brain function, some mobility, some died quicker than others but they all died.

    For this reason I'd rather keep (and do keep) two mixed breed hens for the cost of one Isabrown, get the same amount of eggs (a bit smaller but better quality) from the same amount of feed one Isabrown needs (I've never seen proof of this 'feed efficiency' that's claimed for Isabrowns), they will experience greater quality of life and overall health, moult far faster, and I'll have the two hens still laying up to a decade after the Isabrown has died of old age in her youth. lol, my bias is obvious... But it was acquired honestly. ;)

    I don't doubt there's better lines of Isabrowns than what I got, but I won't buy them again as a matter of ethics. I expect the 'breed' will improve or die out soon enough. I hope so anyway. The Isabrown website claims the company is aiming at introducing longevity into them; here's hoping, for the chickens' sake. It's a miserable breed.

    Some people, obviously, have better experiences with them. You may.

    Best wishes and good luck.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
  3. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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