Numbering zip ties as leg bands?


6 Years
Mar 6, 2013
Conroe, TX
I looked for an answer to this question, but really couldn't find anything.

Does anyone write numbers on zip ties to identify their chicks? I could only find people who color code their chicks. I'm getting 25 and I know trying to come up with that many color combinations would drive me insane.

If you do, does it work for you? What sized zip ties do you use if you're writing on them?

I already looked at numbered bandettes, but no one sells the right size for chicks. Not to mention having to have a bunch of different sizes on hand for growing babies...
They sell color coated numbered zip tie leg bands here:

They are really cheap and already numbered so you don't have to mess with it. Keep in mind that with growing birds you may have to replace with larger zips as they grow. Or, if you are cheap like me, I leave a little left over when I cut them. When they need bigger I place the nail file from finger nail clippers under the tongue (of the zip tie) and pull it loose. The extra they don't even notice after a day as long as it is not longer that a normal spur, you don't want too much extra flapping around.
Most breeds stop growing at 16-20 weeks (laying age). If they are still growing at that point it wouldn't be much and just a little slack in the zip tie would be enough with the exception of giant breeds.
I have seen people use velcro for leg bands, maybe you could get white velcro and write a number on it with sharpie? Maybe that wont work in the rain/snow? The lady I saw who used velcro, she wraped a piece of colored pipe cleaner around the velcro to differentiate them.

I also use colored bands for chicks, but not numbers. I have to use different combinations, sometimes 2 bands on one leg, or you could band half the birds 1 leg, and half the birds both legs?
I have the large size bandettes with numbers for when they get to adults.
I just purchased the numbered zip ties from Stromberg's. I currently have 12 birds, never intend to have more than 25.

My plan is to color code by year so that I know how old any bird is. The numbers will help in tracking. Sometime this summer I will apply the zips to last years birds.

This year for chicks I plan on using Vetrap (Used to wrap horse legs). I was told it worked great by cutting of 1/4" and wrapping a chicks leg. There are lots of colors.
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With three bands of three colors, you can count 27 chickens.

Black-black-black = 0
Black-black-white = 1
Black-black-green = 2
Black-white-black = 3
Black-white-white = 4
Black-white-green = 5

You don't have to map it all out, just some very simple math:

Top band = 9
Middle band = 3
Bottom band = 1

Black = 0
White = 1
Green = 2

Multiply position x color and add.

Green-black-white = 9x2 + 3x0 + 1x1 = 19

If you have a larger flock, use more colors. 3 bands x 5 colors = 273 combinations.

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