Identify Birds: Wing Bands? Leg Bands?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by pkarkos, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. pkarkos

    pkarkos Songster

    70
    68
    111
    Jul 9, 2017
    Hello!

    I am curious about how people identify their birds in a large breeding flock. I have done some research on leg bands and wing bands, but I wanted to hear some advice from others with more practical experiences.
    I am hoping to do some informal research with dual purpose breeds and would find it helpful to track an individual through their life with a number attached to them for easy ID. I was hoping to find some sort of ID method that would not need to be replaced (like wing bands, it seems?). Do people find wing bangs easy to put on and use?
    The other option would be legs bands, but it seems that chick and adults need different sizes so they might need to be replaced when a chick begins to out grow a leg band. What is y'all's experience with leg banding chicks?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    14,173
    14,217
    716
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I use leg bands, and they are far from perfect! I use a different color for each year, and then numbers on each band. I don't put them on until the birds are almost or fully grown; this won't work if you have the same breed and are tracking family lines.
    I've never used toe a toe punch, or wing bands. They are both more reliable, I hear, but the leg bands are what happens here.
    Metal numbered leg bands are available, and also numbered zip ties. Both would stay on better than the spiral plastic ones.
    Mary
     
  3. The Dapper Duck

    The Dapper Duck Songster

    222
    437
    116
    Apr 9, 2019
    Coastal Humboldt, CA
    In a large breeding flock you would probably just need to track age and/or cohorts, so color bands work. I use colored zip ties when the birds are nearly grown, give a little wiggle room but not enough to get snagged on something, and then cut them short. Then when you want to select members of a specific cohort to keep, you know which is which. I realize this won't work for your meat bird development if you are weighing cockerels and want to track multiple cohorts, but it will work for laying hens if you make nest traps because then all you need to know is if they are producing well or not.
     
    ChickNanny13 and pkarkos like this.
  4. pkarkos

    pkarkos Songster

    70
    68
    111
    Jul 9, 2017
    Yes, I would like to be able to track the weights of individuals cockerels. I would like to be able to track all the individuals throughout their lives and for each to have their own number. It seems that wing bands can last a birds entire life, but I have never used them and it seems like something that might do damage to the bird when done wrong. I also wonder about processing birds when they have wing bands?
    I think our flock would be relatively small to start out with (maybe 50 to 100 birds). Would it make sense to put a smaller leg band on the chicks and then replace them with a larger size when they out grow them?
     
  5. AMERAUCANAS4REAL

    AMERAUCANAS4REAL Crossing the Road

    2,950
    39,973
    987
    Nov 8, 2017
    Wisconsin
    My Coop
    I use numbered zip ties, a different color for each year; however, wing bands are better because you can put them on at hatch.
     
    pkarkos likes this.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    62,404
    52,751
    1,417
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Wing bands might be best for you....most backyarders don't use them.

    I use zipties but have less than 2dz birds so monitoring/changing out isn't a big deal.
    They can break and fall off, annoying but not critical here.

    There's a couple folks here who have experience with wing bands.
    Let's see if I can remember who:
    @centrarchid @Brahma Chicken5000
     
  7. Brahma Chicken5000

    Brahma Chicken5000 Araucana Addict

    17,235
    40,679
    1,187
    Sep 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    I started off with colored zip ties to identify my birds, but recently changed over to wing bands as I had a few birds with scaly leg mites and issues with the bands being a bit too tight. While I am not breeding chickens for the time being I do have plans to.
    Here’s a video I made of me wing banding a hen. Sorry if the quality isn’t so good for some reason my videos don’t come out as clearly on YouTube as they do in my camera roll. :hmm
     
  8. pkarkos

    pkarkos Songster

    70
    68
    111
    Jul 9, 2017
    I was a bit worried about the leg bands getting tight or giving the birds rubs. I also live in a very cold and wet place, so I thought the leg bands might freeze or rust. So I think everyone is right and that wing bands might be best. Have you had any issues with them? They seem to go in easily in your video (great video! also what a pretty bird) and others I have seen. But I have no experience when it comes to wing bands and I don't want to damage the birds.
    Also where do y'all get your bands? And is the tool you are using necessary?
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  9. Brahma Chicken5000

    Brahma Chicken5000 Araucana Addict

    17,235
    40,679
    1,187
    Sep 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    I’ll tag you in the thread I have on wing banding adult birds. For the style of wing band I’m using (jiffy wing bands) the applicator is necessary to apply the band.
     
    AMERAUCANAS4REAL and pkarkos like this.
  10. The Dapper Duck

    The Dapper Duck Songster

    222
    437
    116
    Apr 9, 2019
    Coastal Humboldt, CA
    Given that I would definitely say wing bands. We use them for wild birds, though I don't have much experience applying them, mostly reading them through binoculars. I would check out National Band for supplies and talk to them if you have questions about which type to use. Some are applied at hatch but you might just want to save your effort and wait for all the weaklings to die off and band with adult tags or wing badges that you can read from a distance (if you are interested in selecting behavior this would be important).
     
    pkarkos likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: