Sales of Isbar hatching eggs and day-old chicks are over. Sadly, yesterday we re-homed our Isbars to a friend, except for one female who has joined our layer flock.
We have been working diligently with this breed since 2011 when first became available following importation from Sweden. Things were going well in the beginning. We hatched strong healthy chicks from our trio and added to our flock from other breeders to reduce in-breeding. We sold lots of chicks and hatching eggs and had many happy customers.
Things began to change, not only our Isbar breeding program, but with other breeders as well. Chicks began to hatch with curled toes and splayed legs. Many chicks required booties and hobbles to correct these orthopedic issues. Once the foot problems were corrected the chicks were strong and healthy.
Then we began to suffer losses of a few young chicks in the brooder, for no clear reason. From there the problem spread to the incubator. It became more and more difficult to hatch Isbar eggs. During this time we suspended sale of chicks and Isbar eggs. As stewards and conservationists of rare breed chickens, the last thing we want to do is to pass our problem on to someone else. We purchased more chicks and attempted to hatch more eggs to rebuild our flock. Hatching Isbar eggs became a true nightmare with all but a few of dozens of eggs failing to reach full term and hatch. It is important to note that we were able to hatch other breeds in the same incubator at the same time. It was clearly a problem with the Isbars.
Internet friends breeding Isbars had even more difficult situations. Some people were able to hatch Isbar eggs, but the chicks lived only a few weeks before dying, one by one in the brooder. Necropsies attributed the deaths to bacterial infections.
Finally the original importers of Isbars acknowledged that they have had similar problems. They now believe that the Isbars they imported originally were closely related, resulting in immune deficiencies among the offspring. They imported more Isbars and raised them to the point that they are now offering the new imports for sale at $99.00 per chick. I won’t go into how I feel about this, except to say I feel duped. I feel duped and disappointed, but not disappointed enough to give them any more money.
After much soul-searching, we have decided to abandon our Isbar breeding project. We don’t know enough about the second importation of birds to be assured the same thing won’t happen again. We love the breed but just have to cut our losses. We will continue to follow the progress of Isbars in the US and may get back into it again in the future, but for now we must move on to other projects. We extend our thanks and appreciation to those who bought chicks and eggs from us and hope they are doing well.