ISA Brown chickens and Golden Comets are both types of red sex-links. That means at birth, females are a reddish-brown color, and males are white. You might have heard around the farm that all red sex links are the same. But we are here to tell you there are some pretty significant differences between these two. You just have to know what to look for. Today we are comparing ISA Brown and Golden Comet chickens.
Are They Hybrids?
When comparing ISA Brown and Golden Comet chickens, their origins are the root of all differences. Though these chickens may look similar, they are a cross of different breeds. Breeders selected these breeds to create some of the perfect birds you’ve ever met.
The Golden Comet hybrid is a cross of the Rhode Island Red and a White Leghorn rooster. They also go by other names such as a Red Star and Golden Buff depending on the breeder. But they are all the same chicken we know and love.
ISA Brown chickens, on the other hand, are a trademarked bird. No one knows precisely what they are a hybrid of, but we can’t argue with their results. If you were wondering what ISA means, it stands for Institut de Sélection Animale. That’s right. These chickens are a French bird created in 1978.
Why Does Being A Hybrid Matter?
Hybrids are fantastic birds because it combines the best of two breeds. It shapes everything from their personalities to how many eggs they produce. But it’s also important to know that they are a hybrid for breeding purposes.
With both the ISA and Golden Comet, you can not breed these like any other chicken. Breeding two sex-linked hens won’t give you sex-linked chicks. Not to mention, breeding two hybrids together won’t always produce the healthiest second generation.
If you want to breed Golden Comet chickens, you will have to cross the Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns yourself. But ISA Brown chickens are impossible to reproduce. There is some speculation about what breeds make up the ISA, but no one knows for sure.
Fascinatingly enough, the ISA and Golden Comet chickens have very similar temperaments. That is because it is speculated the ISA is part Rhode Island Red and White Leghorn. Along with a few other breeds, that is.
Both of these birds are very docile. They love their humans and even enjoy a snuggle or two. They are also very quiet birds that keep to themselves. But they don’t back down in the pecking order. While they might be gentle with people, it’s different in the flock. Both of these birds can get a little testy to protect their position.
What Are Their Eggs Like?
ISA Brown and Golden Comet chickens are lovely egg layers. They both produce beautiful brown eggs, and you get those eggs sooner than most other breeds. Both the ISA and Golden Comet chickens laying age is as early as 16 weeks. And they keep their laying frequency up for the first two years. But when it comes to how many and the size of eggs, the ISA is a real winner.
ISA Brown chickens lay about six eggs a week and averaging 300-350 eggs a year. Golden Comets only average five eggs a week and 250-300 eggs a year. But that’s not it. The ISA’s eggs are also larger, with most being large to extra large. The Golden’s eggs are only medium to large. So if you are looking for the better egg production chicken, the ISA brown is the better option.
How Do They Fair In Winter?
Both the ISA Brown and Golden Comet chickens do just fine in the winter. They both keep up with producing those delicious eggs, and they don’t mind the cold. With a little weatherproofing, these chickens have no problems staying warm all winter. They fluff up their feathers to keep in the heat, and they even enjoy the snow. All you need to worry about is preventing frostbite on their faces and feet.
What makes them do so well? Their breeding. These chickens are hybrids of some of the best cold hardy birds. Breeders made these purebred lines to withstand harsh winter conditions while still laying eggs. And in turn, their parents have passed down these genetics to their chicks.
Are They Dual-Purpose?
Most people keep these chickens for their egg production. But since they have short laying years, some people opt to butcher them after two years. But they might not be worth it to you. These chickens don’t fatten up as broilers do, and both breeds only get 5-6 pounds. But it’s an excellent way of getting the most out of your hens.
When comparing ISA Brown and Golden Comet chickens, they are relatively hearty birds. They don’t easily get sick. And if they do get a virus, they recover quickly. But they do tend to have problems with reproductive health.
Chickens that produce as many eggs as these girls always have some reproductive concerns. Problems like egg peritonitis, egg binding, and ovarian cysts are common in these hens. But don’t worry, if caught early, you can remedy these problems quickly.
But one worry you should have with ISA brown chickens is kidney disease. These hens are very prone to a genetic kidney disease that can be life-threatening if not caught early. And unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to prevent this. But once you see it, you can treat it and still have a quality hen in your flock.
Other than that, all you need to do is prevent the typical ailments that your flock could get. Monthly preventatives for mites, fleas, and internal parasites are a must for any flock. And if you perform daily health checks, you will notice any abnormalities faster. Common signs of illness are:
- Lethargy and lack of appetite
- Not coming out of the coop
- Walking abnormally
- Discolored wattles and combs
- And not laying eggs
What’s The Average Lifespan Of These Chickens?
Comparing ISA Brown and Golden Comet chickens isn’t complete until we talk about lifespan. ISA Brown chickens might not lay eggs for very long. But they have an incredibly long lifespan. The average ISA will live 5-8 years and make perfect pets once they stop laying eggs. The most common reason for premature death in ISAs is kidney disease. But as long as they are healthy, they live a long life.
Golden Comets, on the other hand, only live 4-5 years. And that’s only if they stay healthy. Most Golden Comets end up getting sick with reproductive problems that shorten their lifespans to about three years. That is why most breeders choose to use them as meat birds once they stop laying.
What Are Roosters Like?
So we have spent most of this article talking about the hens. But roosters are just as impressive and serve a great purpose as well. Both of these roosters grow up to be white with red/brown on the shoulders. Some might even have striking flecks all over the body.
As for their temperaments, people often misunderstand them. These roosters both are docile and calm. But they also have a job to perform. The roo is the protector of the flock. They watch over and break up fights when needed. Roosters also keep the day to day schedule flowing for their girls.
But if a rooster doesn’t respect you, they will become aggressive. That’s why we don’t recommend having roosters around children. You will have to train these roosters to be docile and to trust you. But it doesn’t take much.
You can find an ISA Brown rooster and Golden Comet rooster at any hatchery. But you will want to make sure that you have one rooster for every ten females. Otherwise, you will get a little competition that won’t end well.
So Where Do I Buy These Chickens?
Now that you know more about these chickens, you might be wondering where to get them. Golden Comets are in every hatchery you can think of. You can buy them as day-old chicks or fertilized eggs to hatch on your own. No matter if you go to a local breeder, feed store, or online there is no shortage of the Golden Comet. You could even breed your own Golden Comets and start selling the chicks.
ISA chickens, however, can only be bought through certified retailers. But it shouldn’t be hard to find a retailer near you. Between hatcheries and online stores, you can have your dream chicken. Unlike the Golden Comet, though, these birds are only available as chicks, or ISA Brown started pullets.
And the best news is that these hens are cheap to get. Day-old chicks sell for less than $3 apiece, or you can get pullets ready to lay for $25. This makes them affordable for anyone who wants or needs one.
Do You Have A Favorite?
Comparing ISA Brown and Golden Comet chickens, it’s easy to see that they are both incredible. If you want an amazing chicken that also doubles as a fantastic pet, the ISA might be your favorite. But if you are thinking about a dual-purpose breed, the Golden Comet is a better fit.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!