Friday, December 8, 2023

ISA Brown Chicken, (Comprehensive Guide)

An ISA Brown chicken is perfect for your backyard flock. As a specialist in egg-laying, this chicken will make sure you’ll get a fresh egg almost every morning. 

And if that isn’t enough! Isa Browns are friendly and well-mannered chickens that love to follow you wherever you go.

A perfect companion for your backyard, even when having small children!

Isa (Hubbard) Brown Chicken Breed

Isa Brown and children

If you have children and you’d like to know if your future hen or rooster will be a good match. Then, you want to see how those chickens react amongst people and especially children, right? 

Don’t worry about this part. Isa Brown’s are well known for being very docile and extremely friendly.

Don’t be surprised to find your feathered friend looking for attention. This breed of chicken loves to be cuddled and hold. It is almost a lap-pet, LOL. 

They won’t lash out if your little one grabs the chicken wrong or pets slightly too hard. So that is why this breed is perfect for when you have smaller kids running around the house.

What about the noise of Isa Browns?

A good question to ask, especially when living in a suburban area. Most people love being outside. But they don’t want to hear their neighbors or whatever they have in their garden. 

At the same time, you don’t want to be “the one with the loud chickens.” So you don’t want a breed that cackle too loud. 

Luckily these chickens are superb! Sure they talk and cackle along but not with intense outbursts. 

How to keep ISA Browns in your (urban) backyard?

Isa Browns are bred to be caged inside a battery. Luckily we have the power to set those chickens free. And the hens and roosters love it! Running and roaming free is what they like to do.

But be careful. Chickens eat everything and will do everything to get it. So If you have your chickens outside the coop, running through your garden. Make sure to protect your veggie garden and flowers. 

Isa Brown and their Coop

If you keep them in a coop, make sure they have enough room and supplies to play with.

Luckily this breed is pretty small, so you can use a relatively small coop. However, it is advised to calculate with 4 square feet or  0,37m2 per chicken. Only when you let them run freely, though.

Don’t you have the space to let your hens and roosters ‘go out’? Then it is wise to take a much bigger coop like 6 square feet or 0.55m2 per chicken.

The chances are that when using a smaller coop, the animals develop anti-social behavior like picking one-another. 

Therefore the hens require between 8-10 inches or 20,32-25,4 cm perch space.

Looking at nesting box a measurement of 12×12 inch or 30×30 cm will work perfectly.

A nice run for you backyard chicken-flock

When having a little bit more space you can think about having a run for your chickens if you do, it is recommended to calculate with 8 square feet of space or 0,7m2 per chicken.

Chickens need to have stuff to keep them entertaint, you can make particular areas in the run to put/make things like water baths, dust baths, ramps, dead leaves, perches of different heights, and other stuff to keep them busy during the day.

What to feed a Hubbard ISA Brown

So you’ve decided to get some (Hubbard) ISA Brown chickens. Congratulations, a good pick. But what to to feed them? 

  1. Almost make sure they Rooster and Hens have acces to fresh (drinking)water
  2. Quality crumble with 20% protein at least till fully feathered
  3. From 16-20 weeks switch to crumble with 16% protein

Don’t forget to give them Flint grit or Insoluble grit. This grit passes through to the gizzards of the chicken and helps to digest food more easily.

And to help the hen to keep up her calcium it is advized to give your chickens oyster shells, but offer it separatley. The hen will only eat it when she really needs it. 

Isa Brown egg color

Many people wonder what egg color Isa Brown hens lay. Well, the answer is short and simple: In general, the eggshell color is brown. If, however, your hen is laying white eggs, this should be no problem. It can either mean two things:

  1. This chicken is no Isa Brown.
  2. It is an Isa Brown, but the hen makes too little pigment for the eggs to turn brown.

How many eggs can one Isa Brown hen lay?

Don’t worry about your breakfast eggs anymore because one hen can lay up to 300 eggs per year. You are dealing with a bread designed for its leg laying abilities. 

ISA Browns are bred, designed for-, and used in the poultry industry. But please promise me, don’t cage them. Let them run freely.

What are Isa Brown Pullets?

A pullet is a hen under the age of one year, producing eggs for a few months. Pullet eggs are the very first eggs a chicken lays. Mostly around 18 weeks old. The difference between these pullet eggs and ‘normal’ eggs is that the pullet eggs are much smaller.

A lot of chefs would kill for a pullet egg over a regular egg. They seem to be much tastier, and the yolks are brighter in color. And because they better ‘stick’ together, these types of eggs are perfect for poaching and frying. 

Origin of this chicken breed and meaning of ISA Brown

This breed originally comes from France, which is strange to say because it is a human-made breed. In other words, it is a hybrid breed.

The name ISA Brown refers to two things:

  1. ISA – Institu de Sélection Animale
  2. Brown – The color of the feathers

The gene concoction is one of the poultry-industry best-kept secrets. 

Some people guessed it contains genes from Rhode Island Reds, Rhode Island Whites, and White Leghorn. The rest is a big secret.

Created in 1970 by the French “Institut de Selection Animale” makes the ISA or Hubbard Brown a proprietary or copyrighted hen. Nobody is allowed to use the name ISA brown for other poultry breeds.

How old does an Isa Brown chicken get

On average, an Isa Brown chicken will reach four years of age. 

Most common health issues with Isa Brown hens and roosters

Since the breed is designed to produce a lot of eggs. Chances are you’ll face some egg-laying problems also known as reproductive ailments. Below you’ll find a list of the problems

  1. Egg Yolk Peritonitis
  2. Blood on eggs
  3. Soft Eggshells
  4. Strange Shell Colors
  5. Egg Eating
  6. Disappearing eggs
  7. Lash Eggs
  8. Egg Binding
  9. Odd Shaped eggs

Special thanks to and

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Blogging about everything I learn regarding (urban)homesteading, off-grid, and outdoor living and what it takes to build my own CO2-neutral home, one-day ;-).

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