best way to mark chicks?


In the Brooder
May 21, 2015
I have elastic bands, but they're bantam chicks so the bands are still too big and probably will be for a few weeks. I've read about food dye and washable markers but what's your best advice for marking chicks to identify them?


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
If you color their down or feathers, you have to stay on top of it since they feather out and shed feathers and down so much. Still it’s a very common way. Food dye is probably the most common but other things can work. I would not use washable markers, too big a chance of losing it. Permanent markers can work.

You can use small colored zip ties, but they grow so fast you really have to regularly check them to make sure they are still loose enough.

Another method of marking them is toe punching. I’ll let you do the research if you are so inclined. Some people will be horrified at the thought but it’s a method that has been successfully used for a long time and does not hurt them.

I’ve read about fingernail polish on their toenails. It’s probably pretty effective but I’d stay away from red. That might lead to pecking. There are still a lot of other colors that can work well. Like other methods you would need to check regularly to make sure it is not wearing off.

The few times I’ve marked chicks I’ve used food dye. I use zip ties on the adults

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