I have done some more reading...and toe punching just doesn't sound like the thought I had in my head.
Soooooo........ saying that I just want to make the males......give me some thoughts...they will all be different colours sebbies, africans, cayuga, wh, and the list goes on and on. So some other ideas please
small zip ties - you can find a package of different colors or packages of black or white (or maybe other single colors). Cheap. And once they grow too much, snip off and replace with another loose band.
The toe punching is best done when they are coming out of the hatcher to the brooder...that is when there is little chance of them bleeding and they are least likely to hurt from it. The punch should be sanitized for each duckling and each should be done, if they are done, where blood vessels are not visible in the webbing of the foot.
we toe punch all of our ducklings and most of our chicks.....straight out of the hatcher and we don't clean the toe puncher. The are going into a brooder to walk in poo and we have never had on get infected, but if you do decide to toe punch you need to do it near the back of the web so they don't catch the hole on anything and tear the webb.
You are not punching the "toes" you punch a little hole in the web and they don't seem to mind at all and there is usually no bleeding at all.
When you have so many lines to keep track of it is easier to toe punch and keep records, besides....I don't know how many bands I pick up off the ground that have fallen off a bird.
X2! We are going to use zip ties for ours. Make sure it isn't on too tight, so it doesn't hurt them, but not too lose, so it doesn't slip off their foot. I might not need the zip ties though, because I can tell them apart pretty well...
I clean the toe punch simply because there's no sense in mixing blood from duckling to duckling, if they do bleed at all. I've never had a duckling be sick with anything contagious, but this is my usual habit with some of my horse tools/instruments and I've never changed it because rubbing alcohol is cheap and it's easy enough to do. Also, I have noticed that punches can become dull quick (they're pretty inexpensive, but who wants to order more stuff they already have?) if not cleaned and not punch the holes as effectively, possibly leaving a "hanging chad" of webbing/skin, so I find it best to clean it with alcohol which evaporates quickly. Small tools I've found are always easier to clean before any goop you get on them dries.