Safe methods of marking chicks.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CuzChickens, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Hey guys,
    So I had 22 chicks hatch in the past thirty six hours and some of them are White Leghorn x Black Australorp crosses. I hear you can feather sex those by looking at the beginings of wing feathers, pullets are more developed, cockerels less. So my question is, what chick safe methods of keeping track of the different sexes do I have in my house? I want to mark one sex or the other to keep track as they grow and figure out if this is accurate or not. Can I use twist-ties? Thank you for your time!

    ~Cuz
     
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would think twist ties would not be safe as any further twisting (from the chicks moving around) could tighten them unsafely. I've seen plastic zip ties used as markers but you'll still have to keep an eye on those but at least they're less likely to tighten further on their own.

    Depending on the color of the babies maybe some form of food safe dye would work, to mark a spot on their head or something? Not sure if that's completely safe for chicks but maybe a small amount would be ok.
     
  3. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    I was afraid of something like that....They are white chicks, so they'd be easy to see the food dye, but it may come off as they feather out before I can tell the gender by sexual dimorphism. I should have bought leg bands....l
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    zip ties work well for me. Yes, you have to keep an eye on them and replace as needed, but it's not that big of a deal.

    For short term you can use food coloring, or a sharpie either on down or toenails, or nail polish on nails. All those things will wear off, but will let you keep them marked for a few days until you get something longer lasting.
     
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    X 2 - I use zip ties and have never had an issue with them and they (or other leg band items) are simply much more practical than the coloring based methods. Also, once you have marked them it becomes easier to start recognizing the differences (even in seemingly identical birds) between each bird and you soon realize you are differentiating birds without even looking at the bands.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I use zipties too...best tip I can give is: get an end cutter to remove bands.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/leg-banding-with-zipties
    Just picked up a set of small cutters at TSC in the bargain bin.

    Not sure about the feather sexing on that cross,
    but you should know for sure by 5-6 weeks who the boys are by comb/wattle color and growth.
     
  7. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    I just realized the BYC gremlins ate part of my earlier reply. With regards to twist ties, in addition to the concern mentioned above, the other issue is the potential for ingestion of the fine wire inside the twist tie should any come off of a chick. While this can also be a concern with larger items such as zip ties (has not happened in any of the times I have used them and should not be an issue if properly secured and tightened to the right fit), the risk is greater with fine wire due to the potential for serious puncture of the digestive organs. Chickens are very curious and figure anything that doesn't eat them first must be fore them to eat - so a twist tie band that comes loose will be quickly investigated with curious beaks, add in the competition of other chicks being present and the chance of a quick gulp to secure the prize is even greater.
     
  8. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Thanks a ton for all the replies, I think I will see if my dad has zip-ties......Will chicks peck at them and tighten them??
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Did you look at my link?
    You cut the tail off after putting it on..so they can't tighten it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2017
  10. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    I did look at it, guess I see how they do not tighten. Do you ever have a hard time getting them off?
     

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