How to mark chicks for identification?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Want Less, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Want Less

    Want Less Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2010
    New Bern, NC
    Any advice on how I can mark chicks (hatching today) so that I can tell them apart? I have eggs from three of my hens and they so far are all hatching black (bcm and bcm/ameraucana crosses) Is it too early to put mini zip ties on their legs? That is how I've tagged a few of my adults so I know what color they lay.

    Any other suggestions? Keeping them in seperate brooders isn't an option.

    By the way, we've been showing our hatches live online all day and will probably continue through the night... check it out if you need a chick hatch fix!
  2. Brickman House

    Brickman House Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2009
    For brand new hatches, I normally just use a dot of food color on their chests or heads (depending on what color they are). Their little legs seem so fragile, I normally don't band until after a few weeks, when the food coloring starts to wear off.

    I know lots of people who band at hatching using the small plastic slip rings, though, and have no problems.
  3. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    I've used zip ties on 3wk olds - but not hatchlings before. With the 3wkers, I changed the zip ties every 5-7 days to make sure they never got too tight. Depending on how many chicks you have, this might be time consuming (I had 12 chicks and it'd take up to an hour to change their ties, weigh 'em and take a picture of them weekly to chart progress).

    Since they're all going to be black chicks - could you mark only the ones from the hen you MOST want to track? I know my Storey's guide to chickens recommends wing banding for id as an alternative to ankle banding. If all of 'em have 'em, it won't be like some are different. Although mine pecked at their 'bracelets' for a good week! Both their own, the sister next to them, the brother by the feeder.....! But no one drew blood.

  4. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    There is a person on our group that uses the mini ties right from hatching...she changes them every 2 weeks if needed. She uses a system (only known to her) of 1-2 or 3 bands and can tell who hatches from what pair and on what date etc...I admire her greatly! Terri O
  5. Want Less

    Want Less Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2010
    New Bern, NC
    Thanks for the tips! I decided to go the food coloring route, and I dabbed it with a qtip on their chest fuzz since all of their heads are black/dark gray.

    I hatched 5 full BCM chicks and then 6 BCM/Ameraucana chicks from two different Ameraucana hens. Im using the coloring to identify which AM/BCM cross chicks came from which Ameraucana hen so I can track egg color outcome. When they get older I will band their legs like normal. All 11 chicks are off my BCM rooster. This is our second hatch off him this year and so far I'm very happy with the results of both times :)
  6. JMKearns

    JMKearns New Egg

    Nov 20, 2011
    Our feed store has bands of various colors ... red, purple, yellow, orange, etc. It helps us tell them apart. Right now our "yellow" is the only one laying eggs.
  7. AlphaRoo45

    AlphaRoo45 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 18, 2013
    The Thumb in Michigan
    I know this is an old thread but can someone explain how u band these chicks if the incubator is on lock down til they all are hatched?
  8. RustyBucketFarm

    RustyBucketFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 15, 2016
    West Virginia
    HELP! Right now I have 33 eggs on lock-down (20th day) and would love to know the answer to your question! I didn't see anything posted so I'm hoping that someone will see this again and have some advise. I also wonder if the food coloring is diluted or used straight from the bottle? Thanks for posting this!
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  10. hfamily

    hfamily New Egg

    Feb 6, 2016
    We have 5 different breed in the incubator right now. Once we moved them out of the big incubator in to the small styrofoam the eggs are put into dollar tree baskets. I just ordered the rubber bands that were recommended in another post to keep them identified. [​IMG]

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