Leg bands are an excellent way to add a unique tag to each of your chickens and make it easier to remember and track everything about that chicken.
These little bands that go round the leg of a chicken are used to document everything from the breed, generation, and medical history of a bird, to simply remembering their name.
The main question that comes up when someone wants to use a leg band on their birds is not whether or not it’s a good idea, it’s more so why type of leg band should be used.
Classic or traditional leg bands are metal. These are great and have served their purpose for a long time, but the modern alternative is flexible leg bands.
If you’re looking for leg bands for your chickens, I recommend considering flexible leg bands made from non-toxic medical-grade plastic.
They’re safer, easier to use, and have fewer long-term issues than metal leg bands as they don’t rust, etc.
Best Flexible Leg Bands for Chickens
When choosing leg bands for chicks and chickens, the most important considerations are safety and ease of use.
Here are a couple of leg band brands on Amazon I recommend checking out:
Flexible Leg Bands for Chicks
This bag of poultry leg bands above are for chicks, but there are other sizes available.
They're flexible, quick, and easy to pull off and put on, so it's not a problem to replace the bands as your chickens' legs grow.
Numbered Colorful Chicken Leg Rings
These colorful bands come with numbers on, making them easier to use as part of a record system for your chickens.
They're not as flexible as some other bands, but you can set your own length.
Why Use Chicken Leg Bands?
Chicken leg bands aren’t a fashion accessory, they provide some helpful utility - although the colorful ones do look cool!
The main reasons why people attach a leg band to their chickens, or any birds, are to:
Related - Here's a look at how 'no crow' collars work.
Identify Different Breeds/Varieties
This can be something as simple as identifying what breed a chicken is, to keeping a detailed record of their lineage or pedigree.
The same can be said if you have all the same breed of chicken and want to mark or tag your chickens so you can tell them apart.
Track Medical Requirements/Issues
If you have a bird in your flock that has a medical issue, special dietary requirements, is nursing an injury, or anything else health-related, it can be hard to keep tabs on them.
Placing a colorful band around their leg is a sure way to keep tabs on them as is commonly used to do so.
General Record Keeping
For most bird owners, leg bands are used to keep an accurate record of their birds. In commercial settings, it’s often required. For backyard owners, it’s often helpful.
Just make sure you start with a good system that’s easy to follow. It’s hard to go back and change everything if you realize you’ve made a mistake.
Identify and Keep Track of Your Chickens
Some owners put leg ring bands on their chickens with their contact details on or a way to identify the birds as theirs in case they go missing - a bit like microchipping a pet.
Are Chicken Leg Bands Safe?
When you use them correctly, leg bands are perfectly safe for use on chickens.
As long as you’re buying bands that have been designed to be used on chickens, they should be perfectly safe.
It’s still a good idea to read through the safety instructions. Make sure the bands are made from non-toxic plastic, and that you’re fitting them correctly.
How to Put a Leg Band on a Chicken (With Video)
Putting leg bands on chickens is about as easy and straightforward as it gets - you just need to get a hold of the chicken.
This video talks you through some of the common types of leg bands, their pros and cons, and how to put them on a chicken:
The types of bands covered in the video were:
Spiral leg bands - These are spirals (a little bit like a slinky) of plastic that can basically just be turned around a chicken's leg to secure it.
The plus side is that they’re very easy to use. But the downside is that you may need to change the size several times as your chicken’s legs get bigger.
Rigid clip bands - Rigid plastic clips are basically the same as the old metal leg bands, with the only difference being they’re made from plastic, not metal.
They fit securely in place and do not have any movement. So, if you’re going to use them with growing chickens, again, you’ll need to buy several sizes.
Flat leg bands - The best of the three options were the flat leg bands. These are not flexible, as such, but they are capable of expanding if they’re too tight.
The problem is that they’re the easiest for chickens to remove themselves though, which is why I still rate the flexible bands as the best option.
Do Leg Bands Hurt Chickens?
Leg bands should not hurt chickens, no.
It’s important that you’re using the correct size band, and you check your chicken's legs regularly to make sure it’s still fitting comfortably to ensure they don’t hurt.
If you’re fitting bands on chicks and growing chickens, the best options are flexible bands. This way you have a little more ‘flexibility’ when checking if the band is becoming tight.
If you want to band or tag your chickens for any reason, I recommend using flexible leg bands.
There are various types of leg bands on the market, but in my opinion, flexible bands are the easiest, safest, and most effective option on the market.