ISA Brown chicken
The ISA Brown chicken has long been associated with the British Masters, one of whose descendants was the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. She was said to have tasted the bird’s flesh, which gave her the nickname “Old Rooster”. The name ISA is derived from the Latin phrase, “Isis sedura”, which means “arling bird”. Today, it is bred commercially as a part of the Crested Cockatoos category of chickens.
DescriptionThe ISA Brown is crossbreeding of white chicken, with gender-related coloringation. It is believed to have originated from a group of cross-breds that included Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites. The cross was presumably intended for purely ornamental chicken, since none of these breeds are known to have any natural predators in their areas of origin. The cross was therefore chosen as the basis for a white chicken with red markings, which was designed as a rooster with its tail in the front. This design would make it easier to recognize without having to actually look at the bird itself.
In addition, the cross was intended as a standard breed for those who wanted a white chicken with red markings. The most popular variety of ISA Brown currently is the ‘Bantam’, meaning a female with which a male is sterile. ‘Reds’ refers to crossbreeding with the White and Breasted breed of Cocker, while ‘Whites’ refer to crossbreeding with a variety of breeds where the crest (or “crest”) is white. The word ‘Cockatoos’ is derived from Latin. The word ‘Cockatoos’ was later on used to describe the breed, although this is confusing, since the Latin word for cock was more likely “kosmo” or “mallard”.
For decades, these birds were crossbred with many other breeds to create more varieties that we have today. The first crossbreeds that were chosen were the Pied and the Red headed breeds of Cocker, with the goal of creating a white chicken that had a reddish coloring to it. The Ruddy and the cinnamon crossbreeds were crossbreeding to create the ‘charcoal’ color, which still has a decent amount of white within it today.
When crossbreeding the White and the Red headed Cocker, some desirable lines were created. The Black or dark chested Cocker was created when crossbreeding with a cinnamon colored Cocker. The flatter chested breeds are more common now, but the Black Chested breed has been a serious threat to many farmers since it was first developed. This is due to the increased strength and vigor of the Black Chested chickens in their natural environment, which lead to an increase in their numbers being fatal to many farmers over time.
Crossbreeding with the White Leghorn has also proven to be successful. The crossbreeding began when crossbreeding a lighter colored Cocker with the heavier boned White Leghorn. This caused a lighter colored breed to take on the characteristics of the heavier boned leghorn, which ended up as the current white leghorn. Crossbreeding with the White Macaw was also successful, as the lighter boned birds were able to carry the tan markings that the Macaw had. Crossbreeding with any of these lines was a major success.
The current selection of ISA crossbreeds is what results in the various titles such as the IFA Brown Pearl and the IFA White. These are crossbred birds that have different characteristics that compliment one another. The Pearl has lighter markings, but they are still attractive and appealing to most chicken consumers. The White has an aggressive look to it, which has endeared it to many consumers as well. The crossbreeding between the first two lines and the first four is what led to the current selections that are available today.
If you are a new chicken owner, I encourage you to learn more about ISA breeds. This will allow you to know more about each type before making a purchase. Not all breeds are right for everyone. So be sure to talk with your veterinarian. They will be able to help you make the best choice for your pet.