ISA Brown vs Golden Comet

ISA Brown vs Golden Comet

Can’t decide on which type of chicken you want between the ISA Brown vs Golden Comet? In this article, I’m looking at how they compare in size, temperament, egg-laying expectancy, what they’re like as backyard pets, and much more.

ISA Brown vs Golden Comet Comparison Chart

 ISA BrownGolden Comet
Ave Hen Weight4lb4lb
ColorBrown w/whiteBrown w/white
Comb TypeSingleSingle
Egg ColorBrownBrown
Egg SizeLarge-X LargeMedium-Large
# Eggs/yr 1300-330300-330

What Are Sex-Link Chickens?

First of all, it’s important you know that both ISA Browns and Golden Comets are sex-linked hybrids. They are not ‘breeds’ of chickens in the true sense of the word.

Both of these hybrids were ‘created’ to produce a large number of eggs at a low economic cost for the commercial industry.

And that’s exactly what they’re most commonly used for and are great at doing – laying LOTS of eggs.

Something else that’s interesting about sex-links is that the females and males are different colors when they hatch.

Sexing most regular breeds is incredibly difficult until they start to develop combs around 6 months of age. It’s only then you usually see that males (roosters) have larger, redder combs.

Any methods of determining the sex before this point are not 100% reliable for most breeds. This is another factor that makes this type of hybrid so good for commercial use.

RelatedA look at ISA Brown Roosters vs Hens.

What Are ISA Brown Chickens? A Closer Look at This Hybrid

Let’s get the obvious question out of the way, the ISA has an interesting name for a chicken. They’re named ISA after the company that created them, which is called the Institut de Sélection Animale.

The mysterious part of the story is that the exact breeds and genes that were used to create the ISA have never been publicly disclosed by the company. It’s assumed that Rhode Island Reds and maybe even Rhode Island Whites were involved though.

I think due to the nature that the ISA is such a profitable bird for poultry and egg farmers, it’s a smart business decision to keep their genetic makeup under wraps.

ISAs lay almost an egg per day, which, seeing as an egg takes 24-26 hours to make, that’s about as much as you can expect from a chicken!

They lay around 300-330 in their first year. That number drops quite sharp in years two and three, and then that, unfortunately, is usually the end of their lifespan. 

Appearance-wise, ISA Browns are brown (of course), with white flecks, usually on the end of their tail feathers and down their wings. They have a single comb and are medium in size.

RelatedYou can find out more about ISA Browns and how many eggs they lay here.

What Are Golden Comet Chickens? A Closer Look at This Hybrid

Golden Comet chickens are very similar to the ISA Brown. So similar, in fact, that they are often mixed up when looking at them side by side.

They are a hybrid that created by crossing Rhode Island Reds with White Leghorns. What this creates is pretty much what you would expect, a chicken that lays as prolific as those two breeds, and looks a little like a cross.

Golden Comets are brown, with white tail feathers and some other white flecks. So, not only do they look a lot like the ISA, but they also look a lot like Rhode Island Reds.

They also lay around 300-330 eggs in their first full year of maturity. Tailing off in the following years and having a life expectancy of around 4-5 years.

Which Is the Best Option for Your Backyard Flock?         

Honestly, there really isn’t much to split these two apart when it comes to which is a better choice for a backyard flock.

The decider is often going to be the fact that Golden Comets are easier to get a hold of. ISA Browns are only sold by selected hatcheries.

I’ve seen other hatcheries selling ‘ISAs’ and some other similar names, but these aren’t always genuine ISA Brown chickens. They often sex-linked chickens that are similar, but as the exact gene pool isn’t common knowledge, they’re often not ISA Browns.

If you do have the choice between the two, it’s going to come down to personal preference. Both chickens lay a similar number of eggs, look similar, and have very similar temperaments.

You can kind of just look at ISA Browns as a brand, compared to the Golden Comet being a know crossbreed between the Rhode Island Red and Leghorn.

Where To Buy ISA Brown and Golden Comet Chicks, Chickens, Hatching Eggs

The best place to buy poultry online is Cackle Hatchery. They’re a family-run business based in Lebanon, MO. Cackle Hatchery is NPIP registered, they stock hundreds of breeds, and in my experience ship out pretty quickly.

Their staff are super helpful and knowledgeable, too. If you have any questions, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask them.

You can see what Cackle Hatchery has available for ISA Brown and Golden Comet sex-links by clicking here.

In Summary

Hopefully, I helped clear up the difference between ISA Brown and Golden Comet chickens. The facts are, these are two very similar hybrids. They’re both awesome, friendly, birds that lay a lot of delicious eggs.

Obviously, the commercial side isn’t ideal. I’m not going to go into that here, but you need to be aware that both of these chickens were created as battery hens and to produce as many eggs as possible.

I much prefer to hear they are happily grazing around in a spacious backyard. They tend to live happier, healthier lives for it.

Interested in other chickens similar to ISA Browns? Check out:

Resources

Image credits – Header photos by Étienne Godiard and Brett Jordan on Unsplash

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