Keeping track of your chickens can be challenging, especially raising a large flock. That leads us to ask what is a banded chicken?
Even an experienced chicken owner will have a difficult time remembering past a certain number. Fortunately, you can use leg bands to keep track of your birds.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about a banded chicken. We will look at how you can use leg bands in ways that will work best for you. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Use Chicken Leg Bands
A chicken leg band is not just a fashion accessory. Here are a few reasons chicken keepers attach leg bands to their birds.
Identify Different Varieties Or Breeds
Identifying the varieties or breeds of chicken in your flock can be difficult, especially when still young.
If you have several varieties or breeds in your backyard flock, you can give them leg bands to keep track of their breed information.
Any experienced chicken keeper or breeder will tell you that it is not easy to keep track of generations.
One of the best ways to achieve it is by getting colored bands for every generation in your flock. You can also track the numbers of the bands to distinguish each chicken.
Tracking Medical Issues Or Requirements
Another vital role of chicken leg bands is to keep track of every chicken’s medical requirements.
If you have a chicken in your backyard flock with special dietary requirements, are injured, or have any other health-related issue, it can be difficult to keep tabs on them.
One of the best ways to keep tabs on them is by placing a colorful band around their leg. It is important to keep the medical records of your chickens anytime they are checked by a vet.
You can easily file your records and arrange them by numbered leg bands for birds.
General Record Keeping
Some chicken keepers use leg bands to keep an accurate record of their chickens in a flock.
While it is often helpful for backyard chicken keepers, it is often required in commercial settings. With leg bands, it will be easier to keep the general record of your chickens.
However, when using leg bands for general record keeping of your flock, you must be sure to start with a good system that will be easy to follow.
If you realize along the way that you have made a mistake, it can be difficult to go back and change everything.
You can use leg bands to track the chickens in your flock that produces certain traits.
Breeders and chicken keepers can look at the chickens in a flock and know which birds produce colored eggs, beautiful colors, or have the best temperaments.
Some chicken keepers also use leg bands to track the chickens with bad genetics that they do not want to be passed down to future generations.
Keeping Track of Your Chickens
While some breeds of chickens tend to fly over higher heights, backyards chickens are considered flightless birds.
However, it is not unheard of for birds to escape from your yard or chicken run. They will escape looking for more food if you do not offer them adequate feed and a well-balanced diet.
Some chicken keepers put leg ring bands on their birds with their contact details to identify the chickens as theirs in case they go missing. This is similar to the use of microchips in pets.
Types Of Leg Bands
There are different types of leg bands that you can use. While you can prefer one over another for practical reasons, each has its pros and cons. Here are some of the leg bands in chickens.
Most chicken keepers prefer metal leg bands because of their stability. These leg bands do not fall off or break easily, and your birds will less likely break them during their daily activity. They are also easy to fix.
Therefore, anyone can easily put them on the chickens. Since most of them are lightweight aluminum, your birds will hardly notice them.
These bands are great for chicken keepers who want to use leg bands to keep the medical records of their birds. Their downside is that they are not usually colored.
If you are looking for leg bands for your baby chicks, you can consider rubber bands. They are good for your chicks because they will stretch as they grow and will not hurt or injure them.
You can reuse them, and you will not have to worry about your chicken outgrowing them too fast. However, they can easily break if you pull them too hard.
Plastic leg bands are the most common among backyard chicken keepers. They are colored and lightweight.
They are also numbered in a print that is easy to read. Besides, they are cheap and come in a variety of sizes.
Some of them will even come with easy sizing clasps to make the process painless and quick.
It is also easy to remove plastic leg bands. Their online downside is that they do not last for long. Many chickens will pick them off themselves or get them snagged on fencing.
Colored zip ties are an easy and cheap solution for backyard chicken keepers who do not have a huge flock. You can size them quickly and get them off quickly as well.
They are a great option for chicken keepers who only try to tell their birds apart. The only downside to these DIY leg bands is that they snap easily.
Besides, if you fail to file down the edge, it will irritate your chickens.
These leg bands are mainly designed for growing chicks. They have a thin and flexible material that is perfect for the sensitive skin of chicks.
They are also pliable; thus, your little birds will not mess with them to a large extent. In addition, most of them are adjustable to grow with the chicks.
The only downside of the flexible leg bands is that they can easily fall off if they get stretched or snagged.
If you are interested in metal leg bands but want something simpler, you can go for spiral bands. They are straightforward and brightly colored.
Their durability and lightweight materials will bring the same benefits as metal leg bands. Since they do not have numbers, they will work better when distinguishing chickens apart.
Cons To Using Chicken Leg Bands
While using leg bands on your backyard chickens has several benefits, it also has its downsides. Although the cons are not too many, here are some of them.
Metal leg bands, including spirals, usually have the possibility of rust, which will mostly occur during the rainy seasons.
Rusty leg bands can cause infections in your chickens if they develop cuts. They will also break if they rust.
Snagging is the biggest challenge that comes with using chicken leg bands. If you use strong leg bands like spiral and plastic, catching them could lead to an injury if your birds try to escape.
Besides, your bird can accidentally break it while trying to escape. You can prevent snagging by regularly checking your fence to ensure that nothing catches the band.
Bands tend to hold dirt, especially if your chicken run has a lot of dirt. This can be a big issue as it can lead to infections if your chicken is hurt or injured.
Therefore, you must ensure that your coop is clean when using leg bands.
Irritation and Pecking
Not all chickens are okay with leg bands. Some hens get irritated and pick on them frequently.
Besides, other chickens in the flock may tend to peck on them, which can lead to cannibalism.
Banding is a great way of tracking your backyard chickens. There are many chicken leg bands on the market that you can use.
However, you must ensure that your birds are comfortable with them and that the bands do not become another problem.