Identification bands for chickens

May 16, 2020
Alright, to explain exactly what I mean I'm going to start by saying that our birds are roughly 50-50, pets and utility birds. We're raising them to be nice and friendly and to come when called- but we're also leaving them to their own devices enough to allow them to maintain their own social order within their flock.
However, most of our birds have reached that stage where they're getting scruffy, and they're growing rapidly. The defining features they had as chicks are starting to disappear.
Tiny is no longer a darker brown than the rest of the birds
Cluck Noris's darker head is being replaced by scruffy feathers
Chickety and Unice are nearly the same size now
(We could always tell Valentina apart because she's a black australoop hen while the rest are red sexlink novogens)
And we want to make them identification bands for their legs.

I've seen a lot of people using zipties as identifiers. Not a bad idea! You can round the edges and color code them. Only one problem: My family is social distancing due to possible contact with covid. We won't know if the possible contact has tested negative until monday- and if he is tested positive? We'll have to go into a 2-week full quarantine.
Yeah...going out to buy zip ties might not be that high on our priority list.

So my sister likes to make bracelets from string. Braiding string and such, you know?
So she had the idea to make each chick (each nearing 3 weeks old) a bracelet out of colors we would use to identify them.

What I want to know, is that a safe alternative? Of course we know that as they continue growing, they will need bands in larger sizes (obviously we aren't going to keep the bands on long enough for them to be outgrown, we'll get better identification bands when we can, right now is just a temporary "Wait which one of them is which" solution)

What we plan to do is to make a thin braided string (She just finished the one for Cluck Noris while I'm typing this) that has plenty of over-length so that we can carefully tie them around each chick's leg. We'll do this with at least two people so that one can hold the bird and the other can band the leg while making sure it doesn't pinch, but isn't loose enough to fall off. A simple, small double-knot, and then trim the rest of the string so that it can't get caught on anything.

I'd love to have some insight! I'm sure that it's nothing that will bother the birds considering what the average identification band looks like (and the general use of zip ties, surprisingly) but if this is something that we shouldn't do, PLEASE let us know. We're just newbie chicken farmers who are happy all of the chicks lived so long.


May 21, 2020
Southern 8600 ft
I'm not sure about the string you have any nail polish ( brigh colors would be great)? If so, paint their nails. I tried coloring my pullets nails with Sharpies, but it only lasted a day. I ordered zip ties from Amazon. That should be here tomorrow. I am going to use one color to denote the year (so all 7 get that color), then a second color on 6 birds. The second will be for "which" one of that breed. I have 3 RIR and 3 Lite Brahma's, so need to distinguish between each of them, for each breed.


Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
May 8, 2020
Central New York USA
Or just wait, they will sort themselves, and you will be able to tell them apart.
I am reading this post just now. I am raising 5 Buckeyes and noticing the same things, it is harder to tell them apart now visually, but they have differences such as boldness, who is first to do things, willingness to be pet, etc. @Mrs. K - Do you mean they will sort themselves by personality and behavior like this? Thanks for your insight in advance!

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