Backyard Chickens: The Best Feed to Buy For Healthy ISA Brown Chickens

Updated: 14 May 2024

ISA Brown and other hybird commercial layers are popular backyard hens, especially for beginners. They’re low maintenance, friendly and many are easy for children to catch and hold.

Plus, they’re exceptional layers!

As I've mentioned in other articles, these girls will lay up to 300 eggs in their first year of lay. After their second year of lay, they severely decline in the number of eggs laid.

To keep your ladies laying lots of high-quality googs, you need to provide them with the nutrients they need to keep them fighting fit.

What to feed ISA Brown chickens

What do backyard chickens eat? Read my blog on the essential nutrients you should include in your backyard chickens’ diet.

Hybrid ISA Brown, Hyline Brown, and Lohmann Brown chickens are highly demanding ladies with high dietary requirements. 

Aim for feed rations of 17% protein, but 16% will suffice. Anything less than this, though, and you'll notice a drop in your ISA Brown’s egg quality and quantity. 

Elise's top 6 feeds for layers

what to feed isa brown backyard chickens

    1. Barastoc Champion Layer 16.5% protein. It's a smaller cut pellet that large and bantam breeds love
    2. Laucke Showbird Breeder is a micro pellet.
    3. Barastoc Layer Mash is a grain mash - feed wet, like a porridge
    4. Red Hen Seventeen
    5. Country Heritage Layer Pellet - a beautiful organic feed
    6. Barastoc Golden Yolk 16% protein - the feed that many ISA Brown breeder and grower farms recommend 

How much grain does a chicken eat per day?

Use the below quantities as a guide, and keep in mind that you may have a boss hen with the ravenous appetite of a Labrador. While others, no matter how much food you offer them stay sleek and slender!

How often should you feed backyard chickens? Feed your ISA Brown chickens the following quantity of grain daily:


70 to 110g per bird 

ISA Brown, Hyline Brown and Lohmann Brown

110 to 120g per bird 

Standard or Large Purebreed

130g to 180g per bird

How to get ISA Brown chickens to lay longer

ISA brown eggs are not all brown. Especially eggs from older hens

Hybrid layer genetics are quite remarkable. 

They are bred and built to thrive on 111g of high quality layer pellets or grain per day, and weigh in at a slim 2kg or 2.005kg to be exact!

Having farmed ISA Brown chickens, I'll always have a soft spot for them. Their personality makes them the number one choice for open range egg farms.

On the farm, ISA Browns are free ranging, so they need constant access to feed. However, if they're not free ranging all day, and are in a chicken house and or are getting treats, they can become overweight, reducing egg lay.

So trick to getting them to lay for longer? 

Don’t let them get fat! 

Poultry expert and editor of Australasian Poultry, Megg Miller told a story of a farmer who owned a 7-year-old ISA Brown chicken who still laid! This is quite remarkable, given that the egg production of most hybrid hens declines after their second year of lay. And few live beyond four years of age.

What’s the secret to this hen's egg-cellent production? She was well-fed but not over-fed, foraged daily, and maintained a healthy weight at around 2 kg.

If you want to know where to buy ISA Brown chickens, read my blog on finding healthy backyard chickens for sale in Australia.

Are you new to backyard chickens? Or want to get started with ISA Browns? Check out my video here:

Join me for Simple Steps To Successful Backyard Chickens here > 

I’d love to hear your questions and success stories with ISA Brown hens. Drop a comment below, tag me on Instagram or Facebook, or send me an email -

Want your chickens to be the healthiest and happiest they can be? I offer backyard chicken workshopsonline programsphone coaching, and in-person support to families, schools, and free-range egg farmers. Visit my online shop for natural, tried-and-tested poultry supplies in Australia.

Grab my free guide, The First 8 Steps To Naturally Healthy & Happy Backyard Chickens now! 

Elise McNamara, Chicken Consultant & Educator.

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Elise - Chicken Coach - May 23, 2022

Hi Lyn, it could be a couple of things. Are they getting access to green feed (such as grass or fresh veggie scraps)? If they don’t get time to free-range, this could be a factor. Sick chooks will also have lighter yolks, but super unlikely if the whole flock. Soft eggshells are common in aging ISA’s. They tend to lay bigger eggs in year 2 and 3 and beyond, and shell quality can be inconsistent. Keep up the layer pellets (minimum 16% protein for ISA Browns), use the scratch mix as a treat, give them access to greens and also shell grit. Vitamin D3 in Solaminovit may help, and you should see harder shells when they return to laying after moulting. Let me know how you go. Elise

Afia Hungerford - May 23, 2022

First backyard chickens

Lyn Hocking - May 23, 2022

My isa brown chickens aren’t laying a lot of eggs and the egg shells aren’t really hard the yolk is light yellow, I feed them laying pellets, scratch mix and chic wheat what am I doing wrong

Elise - Chicken Coach - August 23, 2020

Hi Helen, sounds like it could be a layer mash? That means it’s been crushed and can be quite fine. I would suggest feeding it as a “porridge”, and adding a little water to it. Only feed what the hens will eat in a day. So 110g each should be about right for Lohmanns. Replace daily. That way they will get all of the goodness that’s in the finer powder and no wastage. If that doesn’t work for you and your feeder, I would suggest one of the feeds above. Best, Elise

HElen kIlmartin - August 23, 2020

I have Lohman chooks, really beautiful and laying well, I use layer feed from the commercial farm I got them from and ‘they’ say their feed is excellent and they make it their.. but as a lot of it is fairly fine and they flick quite a bit if it from the feeder. Happy for any suggestions
Thank you

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