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 Brown, Red Sex Link and other names are used for this hybrid egg layer.
This excellent brown egg layer 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 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.
ISA Brown Characteristics
- 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 Browns 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’s not very common for ISA Brown layers to go broody.
How Long Do ISA Browns Lay Eggs?
As with all chicken breeds, egg-laying tapers off as your hens 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 Browns 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 Will My ISA Brown Pullets Start to Lay?
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 hybrids, 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 Browns 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.
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 wind break and protection against blowing rain. It should be well-ventilated to prevent excessive moisture from building up.