Safe way to mark chicks.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Witchgrass, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. Witchgrass

    Witchgrass Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 18, 2016
    Bandera, Texas
    I'm contemplating hatching a few varieties of chicks from different breeders. Is there a safe way to mark and distinguish these as to tell what is what?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I use colored zip ties on their legs till they're big enough to put numbered bandettes on them.
    Some people use wing bands but The birds have to be handled to be able to read them.
    Toe punching is another option.
    If using zip ties, make sure to check them weekly and replace if they get tight. As they mature, the need to replace them will become less frequent.
  3. Arielle2

    Arielle2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2016
    Massachusetts, USA
    As CC mentioned zip ties need regular checking as the legs grow very fast.

    I prefer to use colored vet wrap as it is both cheap and expands....

    Many breeds of chicks are different colors..... so most can be distinquished by color as chicks and adults. For my flock of buckeyes with 3 strains, I cut the webbing at hatch to match the mother line. No blood and very easy..... just like the breeder who sent me my starter chicks.

    I can quickly see the cut web when holding the chicks...and the adults get leg bands to see at a distance.

    Good luck!!
  4. Maeschak

    Maeschak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2016
    Maryland, USA
    Can I ask what you mean by 'cut the webbing'?
  5. Arielle2

    Arielle2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2016
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thanks CC !
  6. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Or if you only need to separate them while they're in the chick down, just take a magic marker and mark them on the head or the back with different color magic markers .that'll only last as long as they have chick down but if that's all you need ,
    go for it . Is the easy way to Mark them right at hatch and then later on, when there is more time, you can put zip ties or something on them. but a magic marker is easy and you don't have to leave the hatcher open so long.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Instead of a colored magic marker, you can use food coloring on the chicks. It works the same way. And I’ll emphasize, you have to keep up with the marking. They grow feathers and they will molt while young. You have to check often and keep redoing the colors until you come up with a permanent system. Hopefully if you have different breeds or color/patterns, you won't need a system when they feather out.

    Are you planning on hatching different ones in the incubator at the same time. As mentioned many can be identified by down color or pattern, but some can be difficult to tell apart, especially as chicks. A trick to keep them separated as they hatch if they will look alike is to make a basket out of wire mesh, I recommend hardware cloth, and put that basket over all the eggs of one type. That way when they hatch they are trapped, they can’t get mixed up.

    I also use zip ties to mark mine when they get older. I’ll use a certain color on the left leg to tell me what year they were hatched. Orange means 2015. Purple means 2016. I don’t know what color I’ll use this year. I use the right leg to tell the individuals apart. One of last year’s red hens has a blue band on her right leg. Another red hen has two bands, a red and a purple.
  8. Arielle2

    Arielle2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2016
    Massachusetts, USA
    I forgot to mention--- I like vetwrap. It expands as chicks grow, and comes in MANY colors. Not a permantant ID but should work until permanent bands go on.

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