What Is the Difference Between ISA Brown and Golden Comet?

ISA Browns and Golden Comets are both great options for your backyard farm. But it’s hard to tell these hardy birds apart.

Just what is the difference between ISA Brown and Golden Comet chickens?

ISA Browns and Golden Comets have different parent breeds, though there is speculation there is some overlap. Golden Comets result from White Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds, while the exact parentage of ISA Browns is unknown. 

Now, we’ll cover the similarities and differences more in-depth.

Keep reading to learn how these prolific egg layers are different from each other and how to tell them apart.

isa brown and golden comet

Why Are ISA Browns and Golden Comets Confused?

These two breeds of chickens are hard to distinguish because they have many similarities. First, they look very alike.

Both breeds are red sex-links. When they are born, male and female chicks are different colors. 

Male chicks are white, while females are reddish-brown in color. As ISA Browns and Golden Comets grow up, both breeds turn a very similar reddish-brown color.

ISA Browns and Golden Comets are hybrid chickens. 

This means they are the result of a specific mix of other breeds. To be classified as an ISA Brown, each chick needs the right mix of parentage. 

The same is true for Golden Comets.

It is not considered true breeding if you breed a Golden Comet with another Golden Comet. A second-generation offspring is also likely to suffer from health complications.

Golden Comets are specifically the offspring of a Rhode Island Red and a White Leghorn. ISA Browns’ parentage is not explicitly known.ISA stands for Institut de Sélection Animale. 

This breed was developed in France in 1978, and their hybrid origins are kept secret.

However, there is speculation about Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns being part of the breeding mix. 

If this is true, it’s no wonder the chickens look and act similarly.

Both breeds have similar temperaments.

They are docile, quiet, and rather friendly. However, they enjoy higher ranks in the pecking order. 

When this is challenged, they don’t back down. Instead, they become more aggressive.

isa brown and golden comet hybrid chicken

How Can You Tell ISA Brown and Golden Comet Apart?

With how similar these chickens look and act. However, there are differences visible if you know what to look for.

Egg Production

Both hybrids are great for egg production because they were bred for this purpose. However, there are differences in the frequency and size of the eggs.

ISA Browns and Golden Comets begin laying brown eggs as early as 16 weeks old, and they’ll continue peak laying for roughly two years.

ISA Browns’ egg production is unmatched. They lay an average of 300 to 350 eggs yearly, compared to Golden Comets’ average of 250 to 300. 

This comes to 6 eggs a week for ISAs and 5 eggs a week for Goldens.

Regarding size, ISA Browns will lay large to extra-large eggs. Eggs laid by Golden Comets are in the medium to large range.


Once again, ISA Browns do better in this category than their similar counterparts. ISA Browns will live for 5 to 8 years, while Golden Comets live until they are 4 or 5 years old. 

After they stop laying eggs, both breeds make good pets. Even though you will only get 2 years of solid egg-laying from them, many owners keep them around afterward.

Unfortunately, both breeds suffer from different health issues, which may lead to premature death.

ISA Browns have a heightened risk of kidney disease, while Goldens develop reproductive problems. 

Because of this, some owners opt to use them as meat birds instead of pets after laying eggs.

How to Buy and Breed These ISA Brown And Golden Comet

Goldens are available nearly everywhere chickens, chicks, and fertilized eggs are available. 

You will have no trouble finding them. If you already have Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns, another option is to breed them yourself.

ISA Brown chickens are a lot harder to come by. This is because true ISA chickens have to come from a secret parentage. 

Only certified retailers can guarantee their chicks are the real deal. However, it is fairly easy to find reputable hatcheries online.

Keep in mind these crosses don’t breed true. It doesn’t work to simply breed two of the same hybrids together to get the same resulting chicks.

isa brown and golden comet differences

Other Similar Breeds

Now you know the differences between ISA Browns and Golden Comets. However, there are a few other breeds similar in nature.

Golden Buffs are a group of different breeds that look similar and are hybrid crosses. 

This includes both the ISA Brown and the Golden Comet. 

Other chickens in this group include the Red Star, Cinnamon Queen, and Gold Sex-Link.

Related: Guide To Cinnamon Queen Chicken Breed

All of these chickens are reddish brown, and they are medium-sized chickens. 

They typically fall in the range of 4 to 6 pounds. They are hardy birds who do well in cold climates.

Because many share a common parent in the Rhode Island breed, they lay lots of eggs. However, their exact parent stocks shape the rest of their charming traits.

  • ISA Brown: exact parentage unknown, but likely Rhode Island Red and a white breed
  • Golden Comet: Rhode Island Red and White Leghorn
  • Cinnamon Queen: Rhode Island Red rooster and a Rhode Island White hen
  • Red Star: Rhode Island Red and White Plymouth Rock
  • Gold Sex-Link: Rhode Island Red rooster and Rhode Island White hen

As you see, many of the hybrids have similar breeding. In fact, some of them even have the same breeds mixed together. 

However, there are different names due to the different bloodlines used.

Different hatcheries use different bloodlines to produce their chicks. Because of this, these very similar hybrids have slightly noticeable differences. 

Their feathers may be slightly different shades based on the exact gene pool in each bloodline.

All of these different crosses are excellent birds to add to your backyard flock. They are excellent egg layers with a nice temperament and lovable personalities. 

Learn more about rare ISA Brown chicken aggression and grumpiness.

They’re also hardy in colder temperatures, making them fantastic birds for colder climates.

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through Farmpertise.com, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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