Before You Order
We are currently out of stock. We will not be shipping orders through the end of 2021.
Our most prolific brown egg layer. ISA Browns are a friendly breed that has adapted extremely well to free-ranging and foraging.
Available at several different ages (see below).
I don’t know of a chicken with more names: ISA Browns, Red Sex Link, Red Stars, Red Comets and other names are used for this hybrid egg layer. Other, similar hybrid egg layers available from other suppliers may have similar or different genetics that involve a cross of two breeds in order to produce sex-link offspring (explained below). These go by names such as Cinnamon Queens, Golden Comets, Golden Buffs, Gold Sexlink and others.
The ISA brown is an excellent brown egg layer which was developed in 1978 by the French “Institut de Selection Animale” — that’s where “ISA” in the name comes from.
The breed was created from a series of crosses including Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites. The baby chicks are color-sexable at birth with the females being a reddish color and the males being smutty white in color. This makes it very fast and very accurate to determine which baby chicks are males or females.
When customers ask me “What breed should I get?” I often recommend the ISA Brown. Despite the fact that they were originally developed for use as industrial, “battery cage” laying hens, they have adapted extremely well to free-ranging and foraging. They are very personable. Mine are very likely to come up to me for a scratch on the back. And they’re the most prolific egg layers of any breeds that we sell. ISA Brown hens can lay over 300 eggs a year with the right feed. Plus they are an easy bird to raise and keep around.
Characteristics of ISA Brown Chickens (Red Stars)
- Approximate weight at maturity: 5 pounds (hens) / 6 pounds (roosters)
- Egg-laying: excellent
- Egg color: brown
- Egg size: large
- Temperament: docile, easy to tame
- Broodiness: ISA Brown hens are not likely to go broody
- Feed conversion: excellent
- Country of origin: France
Will ISA Browns Go Broody?
Because they were bred and developed for excellent egg production, it is not very common for ISA Brown layers to go broody. One might occasionally try to hatch eggs, but if you are looking for broodiness, I would recommend a different breed, such as a Buff Orpington.
How Long Do ISA Browns Lay Eggs?
As with all chicken breeds, ISA Browns egg laying tapers off as they get older. All hens lay their greatest number of eggs per year during their first year of laying, then fewer each subsequent year, as a general rule. The first year is measured from when they first start to lay until one year later.
Since ISA Browns were specifically developed as commercial egg layers, where they are usually replaced at about 18 months of age to keep egg production high, we recommend replacing them about every two years in your home flock. Though they will continue to produce beyond two years of age, replacing them every 2 years will help you keep your egg production high, and it will keep the average age of your flock low.
Can I Hatch Eggs from My ISA Browns?
You can hatch eggs from ISA Browns or any other breed, but since ISA Brown chickens are a hybrid cross of two different breeds of parent stock, they will not breed true. In other words, the offspring that you get will be different than the parents.
When Do ISA Brown Pullets Start Laying Eggs?
Because there are so many factors, such as feed, housing, climate and weather involved, we don’t make any guarantees as to when our chickens will start to lay eggs. But most hybrid chickens, including the White Leghorns and ISA Browns that we sell, under the right conditions, will normally be laying eggs by about 4 1/2 to 5 months of age.
Are ISA Browns Heat Tolerant?
Yes. ISA Brown chickens handle the Texas heat quite well. Typically, smaller, lighter breeds (which would include the ISA Browns) are more heat tolerant than larger, heavy-weight breeds. The ISA Brown’s single comb helps with this, too. Combs are a good heat radiator and play an essential role in keeping chickens cool. For southern climates with hot weather, single-combed chickens tend to have better heat tolerance than chickens with other, more compact comb styles.
How Well Do They Tolerate Cold Weather?
ISA Browns tend to do well in cold weather. As with all chickens, we recommend that their winter shelter provide ample windbreak and protection against blowing rain. It should be well-ventilated to prevent excessive moisture from building up.