Questions on ISA Browns *PICS*

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gotchooks?, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. gotchooks?

    gotchooks? Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 17, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    I knew ISA Browns were production layers, but it came as a real surprise to me how much I have come to adore mine. I chose 2 for my flock because they lay sooner and regularly. I wasn't prepared to enjoy their personalities and the fact that they're so affectionate. They're the first to greet me and practically bowl me over to be picked up for a cuddle and scratch. They both close their eyes and coo/purr in contentment. My dh laughs at me for talking to them, but he says he can't deny they're listening when they cock their heads from side to side and cluck right back at me.

    I have been collecting an egg a day each (usually very large) but now I'm wondering if this type of laying causes problems for them later. Will they burn out after a couple of years, or develop problems connected to laying? I keep reading about production egg companies replacing these girls after about 2 years due to the fact that egg numbers taper off. Most of the information I've found on ISA Browns only pertains to laying, not their lives and health after. Are they a breed that has a genetic predisposition to only be good for a specific amount of time?...Kinda like meat birds and their propensity for leg problems, heart attacks, etc. Someone, say it ain't so!

    I have a big soft spot for these ladies and I want to keep them healthy and happy well beyond their peak egg producing years. And to think, they were the two chicks I picked as an afterthought...[​IMG]



    These are my Goofballs. I love 'em. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

  2. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    I want to know the answers to these questions too!

  3. warren

    warren Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2007
    I had two ex-battery Warren hens given to me when they were 2 years old. One laid an egg almost every day for 6 months but then got poorly and died aged around 2.5 years. The other is now 3 years old and still laying around 4-5 large eggs per week. She did not lay over the winter and has just started again after taking a week off. She was not as heavy a producer as the other one. Mine had a hard life so I was not surprised to lose one of them. She does not have any health problems except her poops are a bit watery and her comb goes purple at the back when she gets angry. She is my top hen and bullies the other two, especially the youngest.
  4. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Dumb question: What does ISA stand for? [​IMG]
  5. gotchooks?

    gotchooks? Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 17, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    Quote:Wikipedia: ISA stands for Institut de Sélection Animale, the company which developed the breed in 1978 for egg production as a battery hen.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Oh cool, someone else who likes them not just as egg-producing machines but as PEOPLE (well, insofar as chickens are people in the first place) [​IMG] As you will see from my pages
    I feel that way about 'em too, and it's THEIR fault that I now have a buncha other chickens too <g>

    I have heard enough about them having more and earlier health problems (of a 'female' and fatal kind) than heritage breeds to be entirely willing to believe it's possible. From just my 3 I couldn't tell you for sure... but I lost one from being eggbound/internal laying (salpingitis, whatever you want to label it) when she was less than a year old, and one of the other two (now getting towards age 2) has quit laying for several months and I sadly suspect it's female problems not just a molt or anything like that [​IMG]

    The feedstore lady here (who doesn't know super much about chickens but has evidently *had* them for a long time) says that after 18 months they turn their ISA Brown hens loose in the farmyard to scrounge freerange, and they usually last a good year or two or three before disappearing for whatever reason. (We have enough predators around here I couldn't begin to guess whether this reflects getting eaten vs other health problems vs what).

    Certainly I do not, and would not, light them in wintertime to *encourage* laying (tho mine laid straight thru last winter without pause even with no lights), because I suspect it's probably even less likely to be good for production sexlinks than for any other chicken.

    I really do LIKE them, though -- they are very friendly and levelheaded and personable. Moreso than my others even though the Browns came as wild little-handled 18 wk old pullets and the rest I've had since day-olds. I just *like* them [​IMG]

    Good luck and have fun with yours,


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