Backyard Chickens: The Best Feed to Buy For Healthy ISA Brown Chickens
Updated: 05 December 2022
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 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
- Barastoc Champion Layer 16.5% protein. It's a smaller cut pellet that large and bantam breeds love
- Laucke Showbird Breeder is a micro pellet.
- Barastoc Layer Mash is a grain mash - feed wet, like a porridge
- Red Hen Seventeen
- Country Heritage Layer Pellet - a beautiful organic feed
- 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
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:
Want your chickens to be the healthiest and happiest they can be? I offer backyard chicken workshops, online programs, phone 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.