The ISA Brown is a humble chook. The name ISA Brown is not actually a breed name, but a copyrighted brand name. The breed was developed and patented by a French company in 1978 for optimum egg production and since then their popularity has grown to great heights. They are the most well-known choice for backyard chicken coop keepers and farmers alike, but these gorgeous girls are renowned for a bunch of reasons. We love the ISA Brown for her gentle nature, her resilience and her egg-straordinary egg laying talents that leave all other hens in the dust-bath! Have a sticky beak at the five reasons the egg-sperts here at Backyard Chicken Coops are in love with the humble ISA Brown and coo her praises daily.
1. ISA Browns are Ready to be Rescued
ISA Browns were specially bred to be egg-ceptional layers, which is great for backyard egg recipe lovers, but unfortunately means they are the most common breed of chook used in battery egg production in Australia. Because of this, they can spend most of their egg production years exposed to heat lamps that create false daylight to promote irregular laying. Frankly, our ISA Brown girls deserve better!
On the bright and sunny side up, these gorgeous girls are often available for adoption from local rescue organisations. Their hardy nature and happy go clucky attitudes means that these go get ‘em girls don’t require much from their backyard chicken coop keepers to live out a happy and healthy hen life. ISA Brown hens are a great choice for first time Chicken Ladies and Lads and for those looking to add to their feathered family flock. Check out your local and state rescue organisations (such as Hen Rescue in NSW and Homes for Hens in QLD) to start your flock off with a few friendly and fabulous ISA Browns.
2. More Chicken Cuddles Than You Can Shake a Feather At!
The ISA Brown is an affectionate chook who adores human company. They love nothing more than getting to know their family, both feathered and human, and can often be found gracing the laps of Chicken Ladies across the nation. They like to be cuddled and touched and, because of their docile nature, tolerate even the tiniest and clumsiest of hands. Especially if it means they will get pats and a lap to sit on! The ISA Browns are great for families with kids and also Chicken Ladies who are looking to snuggle with their fine feathered friends and form that special chicken bond. Of course, every chook is unique and their own clucky personalities will develop over time, but ISA Browns are a pretty safe bet if cuddling chickens is on your agenda! Their food motivated minds will respond positively to treats and this is a great way to build a loving and lasting relationship with these amber hued beauties. You will have a constant free range companion who will curiously look on as you tend to the garden or work in the yard.
3. Here an egg, there an egg, everywhere an egg egg!
These chooks sure know how to make an egg! In fact, the ISA Brown were bred specifically for that purpose. In the case of adoption, these girls are usually rescued from the battery after their prime years of laying. You may not get the egg yield out of a rescue ISA Brown hen that you would if you purchased a hen at point of lay but with the right care and diet they may still produce a lovely bounty of eggs for the family to enjoy.
If ISA Browns join your flock at point of lay (which is an early 20-22 weeks of age!) then get ready to be gifted with a delicious, nutritious and abundant supply of eggs. These ladies are almost unstoppable layers and have been known to provide up to 300 delicious eggs per year for your family. If you had two ISA Browns that could be as much as 600 eggs per year! If you had three ISA Browns that could be as much as 900 eggs per year! Who said math isn’t fun? That’s a lot of eggy goodness from such a small feathered flock and when you run out of recipe ideas it might be a good idea to become the egg queen of the neighbourhood and give the gift of fresh eggs to all your fence sharers!
4. A Hardy Hen to Share Your Coop
Isa Browns are a hardy breed of chook and can live almost anywhere. They adapt well to almost any climate, are not fussed by the cold and don’t require any fancy grooming to flourish. As deeply invested Chicken Ladies and Lads, we know that these girls will prefer the warmth of a secure coop, a sturdy perch, and a protected run in order to live the hen life of their dreams. Like any hen, they will excel with enrichment, so provide them with plenty to peck at and forage for and don’t be shy about giving them occasional treats of delicious cracked corn or mealworms.
The beauty routine of the ISA Brown is minimal, but important! It includes the traditional chicken ritual of dust bathing, so access to dry soil on occasion is a must. Like any other breed, ISA Browns require worming and need to be protected from lice, mites and other pesky pests, so a pest repellent and absorbent bedding material like hemp is an egg-cellent choice for keeping your graceful girls peacefully pest free.
If you do go the route of adopting an ISA Brown, it’s good to know that these hens may require a little extra care and attention during the first few months of their much needed retirement. They may not quite understand the concept of bed time or where the appropriate place to lay an egg is, but over time will adjust to their routine and will figure out the best way to do things in their new coop home.
5. What Pretty Plumage You Have!
They say that blondes have more fun, but these beautiful brunettes are out to prove that brown is just as brassy. The ISA Brown’s beautiful, amber hued plumage, soft red combs and sparkling copper eyes make these graceful birds a pretty pick for your flock. It is a delight to watch them frolic and forage in afternoon light and see the sunrays reflect off of their shimmering copper feathers. And yes, we know that looks aren’t the most important aspect of choosing a chook, but there is a lot to be said of their understated elegance.
Rescued or purchased. Brunette or blonde. No matter where you get your chooks, or how they look, it’s super important to keep them protected and warm and provide enough freedom for them to live out the happiest hen life they possibly can.
If you're still considering which breed is best for you, why not check out the online chicken courses by our friends at Chickenpedia. They have a specific course dedicated to Chicken Breeds where they compare each breed to suit your needs and lifestyle very well. Visit Chickenpedia or go directly to the online course called Ultimate Chicken Breeds.