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Understanding Toe Punching

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Orange Ribbon, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Orange Ribbon

    Orange Ribbon Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    I've been studying on marking poultry for identification, and although there are many toe punching posts and they say it is for identification, I could find none tell exactly what it is intended to identify.

    I see there are 16 combinations that can be done with toe punching. At first I thought perhaps each chick got its very own individual toe markings, but that wouldn't work out past 16 birds. So it seems that toe punching is only used to identify which pen the birds come from. Is that right? Say you have PEN 1, you can punch all the birds from that pen outside right. Those from PEN 2 would get inside right. PEN 3 might get outside left, and PEN 4 could get inside left. You could use the different variations up to 16 pens. Am I understanding this correctly?

    As for marking individual birds that is where the leg or wing bands come in, right?

    Let me ask this also while I'm at it. After looking at the various bands, I think I'd like the wing BADGES better than the bands, but it seems not very many people use these anymore. Seems to me they would be readable at a distance whereas you'd have to catch the bird to read the little numbers on the band. Any reasons why wing badges or wing bands are better worse than others?

    Thanks! [​IMG]

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    It can identify anything you want it to identify. You just have to find a system that works for you.

    Toe punching has its limits, 16 as you noticed. It can be for individual birds, pens, families, hatches, whatever. I've never done wing bands so I'm not familiar with them. The only ones I've seen have been metal so you would have to be able to read them for them to do much good, but maybe they have colors. They have leg bands where you can number them too.

    I use colored leg bands. I don't have a lot of birds so I use a specific color on the left leg to identify which hatch they came out of and use the right leg for individual identification within that hatch. You can get a surprising number of combinations with just two different colors and I use three different colors. Plus each different colored bird helps separate them too. I can tell the difference in a red bird with a blue band from a black bird with a blue band.

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