ISA Browns.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Dead Rabbit, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    this question was started in another thread, which is becoming crowded and over run with numerous unrelated questions. so i thought id start a new thread giving my experience with the ISA Brown.

    here are a couple of links to them. the hatchery is where i obtained mine: http://www.townlinehatchery.com/hatcherychicks.htm

    this
    link gives you a little more knowledge of them: http://www.morrishatchery.com/mngmt_guides/ISA Brown Guide-

    my experence with them is good and bad. they started laying around the 5 month period. couple started as early as 4 months. and these were some of the best layers ive ever known. it was with these hens i can honestly report i hit over 100% laying for weeks on end. i even had 5 different days in their first season i got 16 eggs outa 15 hens in one day. and two days i got 17 eggs outa 15 hens. most scoff at this ability but its true. they did even better than my flock of golden comets which i really did think alot of.

    BUT when the ISA's hit a yr and half, they still layed most every day, but, their eggs got paper thin, every day i had one or two bust eggs and the nests were a mess. eggs a mess and most all of them were hard to wash b/c they were so thin. i finally got sick of it. sold them off cheap as old layers. and got a new flock of golden comets and some red sexlinks. ive been very satisfied with the comets and reds.

    i practice good methods of feeding. i have all that oyster shell, grit and other suppliments on hand in free feeders, plus all my hens are free ranging. so only conclusion i could come up with was the ISA were only good for a season or so worth of laying and then their systems was burned out/up.

    im curious as to others experiences and/or opinions. so please post up.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Yes, I've raised the ISA.

    A couple of questions, which in no way is meant to be seen as loaded in any way. Just curiosity and some comparing of notes. Did you supplement light for the 18 month period? In other words, did you do a light with-drawl, molt allowing period at the one year mark?
     
  3. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes sir. i want/need maximum production. my layer flocks get 2 hrs of additional light this time of yr. no moulting.
     
  4. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    mr Fred. what is your experience/opinion of them. i take it from your post, you raised them. another words. past tense.
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Still have a few, around a dozen. I've also had the Bovan Brown commercial hen. There are differences in two strains. Frankly, I prefer the ISA. The Bovan is also a prolific layer, but we've had ratty looking feathering in year two. But I digress.

    This is my experience. One group we pushed through with some gentle supplemental lighting. Nothing radical, just a couple of additional, pre-dawn hours. Never exceeded 12 hours in the winter. This group experience a ragged kind of continuous mini-moult. Another group, we did not light at all in winter. This second group went into moult, recovered, and their second laying season was as stout as their first. We've no intention of going for a third season, however.

    Just my experience and my observation here. I believe the commercial houses either force a moult after a year or purge the flock. I understand some only keep their birds just the one season, while others want that second year and they have good success.

    I don't/won't "force" a moult, but I do believe that the genetics companies guidelines and "owner's manual" sort of suggests a "re-charge" period after a laying season. I suspect you tested the longevity of the ISA's laying endurance. I think the whole one season, then turn over the flock versus moult/recharge after one season allowing for a strong second season is a management choice. But I'm learning through observation, including your experience, that one needs to make a choice toward the end of that first laying season, one way or the other. Just some musings.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
  6. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    Very interesting! We have several commercial flocks in my town and I think that they do the "get what you can the first year" plan. Then they get them all out and start over. T
     
  7. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    interesting. i appreciate the reply. i believe your correct. i cant say their layability dimished much at all, in their second season. just quality of egg shell did.

    i must say though, the comets have not had that problem. ive had comets that were in their partial third season still laying well with quality shells. i have a very good friend that has had comets in their 4th season bfore they give out, and his is in a small confined coop, no ranging, or greens in their diet.

    so i believe i will pass on ISAs in the future. with the price of chicks, shipping not to mention feed prices, i dont see the sense in buying a new replacement flock every yr. i must go with hens that can keep up the pace for at least a couple of yrs.

    i forgot to mention, my ISAs laid the largest eggs of any strain ive ever had. in their zenith, it was nothing for me to get eggs that i could not close the carton lids,,,,,jumbo size cartons at that.
     
  8. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:from my understanding of commercial layer flocks here,,,,its one season then they are sold with replacement pullets brought in.
     
  9. Dead Rabbit

    Dead Rabbit Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:i must correct this statement Fred. i have a few hens that by their 18 month date of age, they get a very ragged appearance. i never thought of this as a moult though. perhaps it is. i just figured b/c the feathers were "old" they were just wearing out.

    i dont see this in the comets as much as my ISAs and i have some crossed ISA X RIR that i was experimenting with, just a few left, and they are holding on to their feathers very well.
     
  10. meowteri2

    meowteri2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At the end of the second year I am getting the thin egg cracked laying on the poop board. Some of them are like thin rubber. It is a mess.
     

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