I waited until it was dark and all the unsuspecting chickens were asleep.  Then I creeped into the coop with a flashlight and one by one grabbed each chicken by its legs and swung it upside down.  Sometimes they squawked and flapped for a few seconds before relaxing.  Sometimes the other chickens stuck up their heads and squawked back in concern, but they always fluffed their feathers and settled back down to sleep.

And so it went, grabbing, swinging upside down and tagging.  It’s important that chickens have identification tags when you have a bunch.  You can watch for patterns, pay attention to age and health and so on.  I don’t put the tags on until the dorking chickens are bigger as I’m always afraid of forgetting to change them in time (I am very forgetful) and then I’ll have things like this *shudder*:

[ezcol_1half]Chicken leg band grown into leg[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end]leg band grown into chicken leg[/ezcol_1half_end]

If you’re a cheap and don’t want to buy bands, here’s some homemade options such as:

  • Different color zip ties.  Those will only last for about a year and then start falling off.
  • Toe punching.  This is permanent and probably the best option except that you’re physically doing something to the chicken if you’re a softy. There’s also a limited number of combinations so if you have a lot this won’t work.  http://www.dominiquechicken.com/Toe_Punch_Chart.html
  • Plastic spirals from spiral notebooks with wire clipping the ends together.
  • Some people even paint their toe nails, but if you have few enough that this is feasible, you probably have few enough to tell the difference by sight!
  • Leg bands

chicken leg bandI used leg bands.  I bought the metal ones, but I really think I’m going to try the rubber spiral bands next time.  The metal ones are supposed to last longer and their size is adjustable, but what I’ve found is for a sissy girl like me, they’re difficult to put on, especially when you’re making it tighter to make the bands smaller.  The metal bands are difficult to curve into circles (they come flat) and then you have to use a plier like tool to put them on.  The rubber spiral leg bands just snap around the chickens leg.  Much easier.  HOWEVER, having said that, I got the metal ones because they come with numbers printed on them.  The spiral bands come in different colors, but don’t have numbers.  Because I have so many Dorking chickens, I wanted each to have individual numbers.  So now that I think about it, I may not get the spiral ones lol.

Anyhoo, that was my adventure for the evening.  How did you spend your sunday evening haha!