How do you tell your chickens apart?


In the Brooder
7 Years
May 8, 2012
Red Bluff, Ca
I know leg bands are the in-thing but I personally feel like if I were a chicken I'd find it annoying to have a plastic or metal ring around my leg for my whole life.

I recently read that chickens can always tell each other apart even in very large flocks of hundreds and they remember each chickens face. So I wondered if I could do it too. Most of my chickens are different breeds but I have two black australorps that look identical if you don't look closely. I have found a few ways of telling them apart:

One is slightly bigger than the other (this only works if they are standing very close together)
One almost always has her tail sticking straight up, the other doesn't.
Ones eyes are bigger than the others, and her irisis are slightly darker than the other.
Ones beak is all dark, the other has a spot of yellow near her nares on her beak.
Ones wattle and comb are, for the time being, bigger and brighter than the others.

They act a little different but as they get closer to being old enough to lay they have swapped dominance roles. I am curious to know what nuances you all notice in your similar looking chooks?
I have a lot of different breeds, and then some mixed breeds I hatched myself. BUt I also have large runs of production laters, and though there are ways to distinguish some of them from the others, I typically don't. I give names to ones that stand out and have peculiar behaviors, but other than that, I don't attempt to identify each bird specifically...
I have four chooks who are each 2 of a breed. 2 silver laced wyandottes, 2 black australorps... But, I can still tell the difference.. how?

With the black australorps.. the combs and personality separate them for me. One is more friendly than the other, and her comb is "perfect" looking.. proportional, even, nothing out of place. The other has always been more stand offish and aloof. Her comb has a notch towards the back that I suspect is an injury inflicted by one of the other hens because it wasn't like that as a juvenile/chick. Their names are Morticia and Wednesday respectively.

The silver laced wyandottes.. as they matured, they came to look different enough from eachother that its easy to tell them apart. One has "too much black" on her body, skinny framed, and alot of white on her head and neck. The other is much plumper and more even on the ratio of her black and white coloring, very pretty.
I love their names! I used to have two black 'lorps I named Darla and Drucilla after the characters on Buffy. They do seem to fit in with those gothic names (I sometimes call them my little goth girls)

Your silver laced wyandottes sounds gorgeous. My two newest chickens are a Blue Laced Wyandotte Bantam hen and rooster who are both the prettiest chickens I've ever laid eyes on. They are my new favorite breed.
We have two RIR (Pinkie Pie and Nibbler) and two Buff Orps (Muffy and Henny Penny). The RIR's looked (and acted) different from eachother from day one. The Orps looked identical at first but not only are their personality completely different now.they don't look alike, sound alike or even walk alike.

Our Wellsummer is named (Turanga) Leela and our Marans is name Dumpling.
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I have a Buff Orpington mix that looks very different from my two Brown Leghorns. They are rescue birds so they are missing feathers on different parts of their buts/backs...
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I've only got six chickens, of which no two are the same breed. Even our BR and DOM, which look somewhat similar at a glance aren't similar enough to actually confuse with each other. So easy-peasy for us.

NH - Remy
BR - Kevin
BA - Artemis
DOM - Cornelia Amelia
Wellie - Persephone
EE - Dragon
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Well only having 3 girls right now its not real hard but out of the the 3 I have 2 brown leghorns. Now if it werent for ones balding neck (from being plucked) I might not be able to tell them apart except for having looked recently I figured out how i would do it if they both had all there hair/feathers. Henrietta is more calm/layed back & her comb lies on the left side of her head (flops over to the left) whereas Baldy (aside from obvious hair loss right now
) has a comb that lies over to the right side & she is stupid & flighty & initiates picking on my Wyandotte. So there you have it, now as I get more (dont really want more than 6 maybe) Ill have to figure out other ways unless I get different breeds
I have five Golden Comets, three of which I can distinguish easily. Dora is small and a very light gold shade, Red, and Pants has a big fluffy butt that poofs out more than the rest. Then there are the twins, who don't have enough personality to name. If I wanted to I'd differentiate them by their different-colored butt fluffs.

Then there are the 10 Speckled Sussex- four cockerels and six pullets. The cockerels are pretty easy to distinguish based on size and temperament. 'One' (going by wing band numbers) is the biggest and friendliest of the boys. The girls have enough color variation that at worst I can narrow one down to two possibilities. Two has a very pretty, almost totally white head and a very delicate 'face.' Four is the biggest, Three is the darkest and Two-Five (The bf grabbed the wrong band,) is lightest. Birds that seem almost identical are easy to tell apart with enough familiarity.

Come to think of it, I should start assigning names to the little ones. Before they're just known as their numbers for the rest of their lives.

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