The young pullets are sporting blue leg bands now. The bands are thin and stylish and sparkle in the morning light.
I identify each flock year by the leg band color. The 2012 hens wear green; the 2011 hens wear red; and two sneaky 2010 hens sport yellow. When I merge flocks in the winter, I use the leg bands to help me identify the hen's age. When culling the flock in late summer, I select the older ones for market.
In the past, I've used the thicker, heavier numbered bands.
The numbers also help me identify individual chickens. So instead of just being named, The Escape Artist or the Broody Hen, I can call a hen Escape Artist Yellow 58 or Red Broody Girl 23.
But those leg bands now cost almost a dollar each -- too much to spend on chicken bling.
So I ordered the thin, non-numbered bands.
The young hens love them.
In the morning, they are the first ones out of the hen house, strutting and showing off their bands.
The old hens choose to sleep for another half hour or so. They are in no hurry to show off their chunky bracelets, faded and dirty after years of wear.