Isa brown Chicken – Characteristics, Origin, Breed Info and Lifespan

The isa brown chicken

Isa brown chicken is one of the best egg-laying chickens in the world.

Little wonder they have become the goto chicken for farmers who are in the egg production business.

In this article, let’s talk about the Isa Brown chicken.

What do you refer to as Isa Brown chicken?

Where do they come from?

What are their characteristics and how many eggs does an Isa brown chicken lay in a year?

Continue reading to find out the answers to these questions.

Let’s begin.

Table of Contents

What is an Isa brown chicken?

The Isa Brown chickens are battery hens known for their high egg production.

In their first year of production, they can lay about 300 eggs on average. 

But under certain conditions, they can lay up to 350 eggs.

What is the origin and history of Isa brown chickens?

The Isa Brown chicken is a hybrid developed in France by the Institut de Sélection Animale (ISA) in 1978. 

Basically, this crossbreed came about to solve the need for more chicken eggs in France.

In that regard, they were developed from a genetic mix that ISA kept secret till today. 

The origin of the Isa Browns is such a big secret that the chicken itself is a copyrighted product. 

But many suspected that the secret crossbreeds were the White Leghorns and Rhode Island Red.

In 1997, the parent organization ISA merged with Merck & Co. to become Hubbard ISA.

That’s why the breed is also known as Hubbard Isa Brown. 

The institute also merged with Hendrix Poultry Breeders (HPB) in 2005.

But in March 2005, Hubbard was purchased from Merial Ltd by Group Grimaud La Corbiere, SA 

isa brown chicken

What are the characteristics of Isa brown chickens?

The Isa Brown chicken breed is often referred to as battery hens. 

Without mincing words, this breed of chicken has unique qualities that make them easily identifiable.

When you see a bird with the description below, then you should know it’s an Isa Brown breed.

1. Isa Brown chickens are smallish in size:

The standard size of an Isa Brown breed can be a little petite when compared with other breeds of chicken.

2. They are perky and vary in appearance:

As a hybrid, their appearance can vary. 

Most especially their feather colour. 

Their feather colour can range from red to light buff on the underbelly.

From a general perspective, they have a U shaped profile.

Their skin is yellowish, but their wattles, comb and ear lobes are all red in colour.

Usually, their beak has the normal horn colour but is a little bit stout.

On the other hand, their tails are held at 45⁰.

And also, their legs are feather-free with four toes to each foot. 

3. The Isa Browns weigh between 5 to 6lbs.

On maturity, the roosters of this gang weigh around 6lbs while the hens weigh around 5lbs.

4. Hatching different the Isa Brown boys from the girls

Unlike most other chicken breeds, you can easily differentiate the roosters from the hens.

This is easy on this divide because they are sex link birds.

When it’s time for hatching, the roosters become whitish and the hens assume a tan colour. 

Weird, right?

5. The Isa Brown chickens have just one colour variation

The ISAs have a colour a little bit similar to that of the Rhode Island Red.

However, the Isa Brown chickens are a touch lighter.

Except for the hatching colour changes, the ISA browns are brownish in colour.

Basically, the best colour description is a honey looking, chestnut colour or simply, red. 

However, under their feathers seems to have a lighter colour. Something that looks like a light buff colour.

6. ISA Browns are gentle, calm Foragers. 

This set of chickens have a calm demeanour.

This disposition makes them the perfect candidate for pets. 

Also, this attribute makes them popular among their flock.

Naturally, they love to forage looking for their own share of bugs and worms.

7. The Isa Brown chicken breed are prolific egg layers

They do not just lay a good number of eggs, their eggs are also very large. 

Each weighs about 62.9 grams on average.

By 90 weeks of age, these chickens must have laid an averaged of 420 eggs.

8. The Isa chickens are hardy and healthy birds.

Naturally, these chickens can handle almost any weather.

This makes them a perfect fit for any location.

But on a general note, the Isa Brown chickens are healthy and happy birds. 

Although they are hardy birds, they can be susceptible to a lot of illnesses.

This is because their exceptional egg laying ability takes a toll on the hens after a while.

Table summarizing the Isa brown breed information

Skin colourYellow
Egg colourBrown
Comb typeSingle
Especially DocileYes
UseEgg Production
Cold HardinessHardy in winter
Conservation statusOn the watch
Heat ToleranceTolerates heat well.
Also Known AsHubbard Brown Brown, Red sexlinks
PersonalityGentle, calm and quiet
Country of originFrance
StandardIsa Brown
Bears ConfinementDoes not bear confinement too well 
WeightFemale: 2kg (4.40lb)

Why choose Isa brown chickens?

Knowing which breed of chicken to rare can be a daunting task. That’s why we recommend you looking up as many chicken breeds as possible.

When it comes to the Isa Brown chickens, some attributes make it an interesting chicken to keep.

But on the flip side, these attributes should tally with your intended need for a chicken. 

Now here’s why you should choose the Isa Brown chickens; 

1. They lay very large beautiful brown eggs

These eggcellent egg-laying birds produce really large eggs.

Many farmers keep them because of the exceptional large eggs. 

2. ISA Browns have a gentle disposition

These birds do not make a fuss. 

They are quiet and very docile. As long as there is food and water, they are alright.

This makes them ideal for beginners and fits for suburban regions.

And when it comes to temperament, they are melancholic. 

3. These chickens are everywhere you go

I don’t think the Isa Brown chickens will ever go extinct.

They are very popular and easy to find in hatcheries all over the world.

Although they originated in France, their fame has spread across french borders.

4. Isa Brown chickens have great food-to-egg conversion ratio.

You don’t have to worry about food wastage because for all the feed they eat, they convert it to eggs. 

This is the reason why they lay more eggs than most breeds. 

Also, this makes them very more profitable breeds for commercial purposes.

5. The Isa breeds are easy to care for

This chicken is very ideal for beginners because they are low maintenance birds. 

Their docile temperament also adds to this advantage. 

Isa brown chicken breed male

What are the disadvantages of having the Isa brown Chickens?

Could there be something wrong with this all perfect chicken breed? 

Well not really.

But certain attributes of the Isa Brown chickens are not quite a good attraction. 

Here are some reasons why this breed may not be convenient for you;

1. The Isa Browns are not good for exhibitions

Since they’re always found laying eggs, their body goes out of shape. 

This makes them not ideal for shows and exhibitions. So if you’re in need of a “show-bird”, go for the Cochins.

2. Isa Brown chicks do not retain the features of the parents

This is very heartbreaking. 

You already see a feature you like in a matured Isa Brown chicken, but you’re not sure if the offspring will have it as well. 

Chicks from the Isa Brown chicken breed do not retain the characteristics of the parent.

And some tend to have kidney problems. 

This actually makes them a poor choice for breeding.

3. After 2 years, the egg-laying ability of the Isa Brown chickens reduces

These prolific egg-laying birds will fill the whole coop with eggs for the first 2 years.

Following this are years of redundant egg productions. The decline continues as it grows.

4. They usually have health problems after 2 years:

After laying such a number of large eggs, the Isa Brown hens become prone to reproductive health problems. 

Also, this can further cause prolapse, tumours, and cancer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Isa brown chickens

1. What is the lifespan of Isa brown chickens?

Well, the Isa Brown chickens do not live quite long.

Most chicken breeds live up 8 to 10 years, but the Isa Brown chickens have a lifespan of 4+ years.

2. Are Isa brown chickens good for meat?

They are best raised for eggs.

Their body does not make quite a good table food. 

3. Can Isa brown chickens be trained as pets?

The Isa Browns are sweet loving creatures. 

Very friendly, gentle, calm and docile. 

This makes them a cuddly buddy for children and the family at large.

These birds are very social.  Also, they enjoy lap cuddles and excursions.

You may find them following you around your home. 

4. Are Isa brown chickens good egg layers?

Yes, they are really eggcellent birds. 

Naturally, they are very prolific birds.

This is the only chicken breed that competes with the Australorps.

In fact, they can lay more eggs than the Australorps.

5. How often do Isa brown chickens lay eggs?

The Isa Browns lay about 6+ eggs in a week.

Each hen will lay in excess of 420 large eggs per year for 2 years.

Also, they have the potential to produce up to 500 eggs per year.

Usually, the owners smile as they go to the market each weekend.

Their egg quality is superb, uniform and large in size.

All of these make it a valuable chicken for commercial egg production.

6. What do Isa brown chickens eat to grow big?

Because they are an egg-laying breed, they need more protein and calcium.

You can feed them on oyster shells so they can keep up with production.

This also makes their eggshells hard.

Also, letting in sunlight into the coop will help the Isa Brown hens produce more eggs. 

Because they like to forage, the addition of bugs and grubs will fatten them up.

But sadly, since they have a petite nature, getting them fat might not be really successful. 

7. How fast do Isa brown chickens grow?

From a general perspective, their Isa brown breeds grow normally. 

They start laying eggs at 2 months. 

8. Are Isa brown chickens noisy?

Not at all.

The Isa breeds are gentle in nature. Their calm easygoing nature makes them the perfect candidate for suburban areas.

Even when they sing the egg song, they do not loud it like the Rhode Island Red Chicken.

9. What is the habitat and environment of Isa brown chickens?

The Isa Brown chicken breed needs rays of sunshine to help them forage and graze. 

During summer, they will need plenty of water for hot.

Also, because they are great foragers, you need to provide enough space for foraging. This will keep them more active.

A nesting box and perching space will help them stay comfortable. It also helps the cool environment stay clean.

Also, a clean coop will keep them less messy.

It will also prevent disease-causing bacteria from growing and will keep your flock healthy.

Also, establishing a routine will be great for the Isa Brown chickens.


Isa brown chickens are all-round chickens best reared for their large brown eggs.

Whether you are looking into raising chickens as a hobby or business, the Isa breed is a good choice.

Also, their egg-laying personality makes them the best buddy.


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  1. charlie xiong says:

    what’s the length, width, and height of an Isa Brown female and male?

  2. Edward kilel says:

    Where will I get the ISSA brown fertilize eggs for incubation

    1. Mbazu Chibuzor says:

      You can only get the ISA Brown chicks and not the fertilized eggs.
      Hatcheries like to keep their parent stock secret to prevent competition.

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