The Benefits of the ISA Brown Layers for Nigerian Poultry Producers

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Ina previous about aiming for maximum efficiency in Nigerian poultry farming industry in order to remain competitive and meet the domestic supply for poultry farming products, we stressed that breed selection is an integral part to meeting that high level of efficiency. You must choose the right poultry breed in order to succeed. For Nigerian conditions, one of the most suitable layers that you can opt for are the ISA Brown Layers.

There are lots of reasons why the ISA Brown Layers are a popular choice not just for Nigerian farmers but farmers in various other hot conditions across the world across Africa and Asia. The bird is highly adaptable to various conditions and produces big brown eggs which are quite popular with consumers in the market.

ISA Brown Layers are high performance layers. Over 95% will hit their genetic potential and produce a large number of eggs. Only 4% of these birds are poor layers. These birds are French in origin and the name ISA actually stands for the name of the breeding company that produced this bird. ISA is an acronym for Institute de Selection Animale. This ISA Brown hybrid = layers were developed in 1978 by ISA which has since merged with Merck & Co to form another breeding giant-Hubbard ISA. That is why these layers are sometimes called Hubbard ISA Brown Layers.

The “Brown” in the name stands for the colour of the feathers. ISA is also responsible for the ISA white layers, Shaver Brown layers, Shaver white layers, Shaver Black layers, Hisex Brown Layers, Hisex white layers, Dekalb Brown layers, Dekalb white layers, Bovans brown layers, Bovans white layers, Bovans black layers and the Babcock layers. Along with the ISA Brown layers, the Bovan Nera are the other breeds from the company that are currently used widely by many Nigerian farmers thanks to their adaptability and excellent production characteristics.

The ISA Brown Layers are not necessarily a poultry breed. They are a hybrid although the genetic component of the bird is a complete secret. Just like the Coca Cola and its recipe, breeding companies may keep this information secret treating in order to ward off competitors from easily replicating their developments.

The Temperament of the Chicken

If you are starting your layer operation, the ISA Brown Layers are a great hybrid bird that you can start with. They get along well with humans and they also produce a very large number of eggs. If you have kids, they will get along perfectly as they are not aggressive chickens. These chickens are generally very affectionate.

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However, they are likely to be aggressive to newcomers in the flock-it is about chickens and pecking order issues. When you are adding new ISA Brown Layers to an already established flock, bring hens that are larger and put them in a room where there is plenty of space to run away when the pecking begins. It is good to spread the food around the house in order to reduce chances that any newcomers to the flock will not get adequate food. This is where stocking density will be of great importance. More spaces will prevent the more dominant ISA Brown Layers in the flock from “bullying” the newcomers. If you have a cage battery system, the better.

Egg Production

The ISA Browns are prolific layers which is perfect for Nigerian poultry farmers looking for maximum profitability in egg laying farms. They produce big and brown eggs which are quite popular with many Nigerian buyers. They will produce over 300 eggs during their laying period.

The ISA Brown Layers hybrids give you a level of production that is only comparable to what you would expect from some of the pure poultry breeds that were used for production in the past such as the Leghorn. The ISA Brown Layers will also begin laying at a much earlier age of 20-22 weeks compared to the 24 weeks for chickens that are pure-bred. During the laying period, they are likely to have a loss of feathers around the neck as the proteins that they consume goes into egg production instead of the feather production.

Broodiness in the hens

The ISA Brown Layers are not broody hens especially in a commercial battery cage environment where 4-6 hens are sharing the same space and where there is no nesting area.  However, if you are rearing them in a free range or backyard setting, it is possible for them to become broody.

Life expectancy

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Compared to the pure breds, the ISA Brown layers generally have a lower life expectancy which is between 2-3 years, especially in the commercial caged environment. However, in a free range production model, it is possible to have higher life expectancy but this is rare.

The reason the ISA Brown layers have such a reduced life expectancy is due to their higher egg production. With over 300 eggs per hen in their laying period, these are just very prolific layers. The ISA Browns have been in bred such that will lay eggs throughout the year.  The reproductive systems of the birds has no time to “rest” and this puts it increased stress that will lead to various conditions such as cancer, tumours, prolapses along with various other health issues that lower their life expectancy. They must also die simply out of sheer exhaustion from laying too many eggs.

With its high productiveness, this is the perfect hen to meet the needs of the Nigerian poultry farmer.

For more information on layer breeds and efficient farming practices for the Nigerian market, check out our Nigeria layer farming guide below:-

Layer farming in Nigeria

Layer farming in Nigeria

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