How to: Matching Eggs to Hens
As I mentioned previously, I have a duck on meds, whose eggs cannot be eaten for 6 weeks after her last dose. This is somewhat problematic, since this means that even if she’s healed, she can’t be returned to the flock, since I’d be unable to eat any eggs collected.
I was on BackYardChickens.com and it came up that marking (chicken) hens with food coloring was a thing that people apparently do. (NEWS TO ME!) Though I was somewhat skeptical since after a bunch of googling, none of the sources I found included photos of the end result, just descriptions of what the marked egg looked like and a few others chiming in to say they’d done it and it didn’t work.
I’m here to tell you that it CAN work, but you have to do it correctly.
However, this is what happens when you do it incorrectly:
The first time I did this I must have messed up when applying the food coloring because the next morning I had a duck with blue-green butt and bill. Over the weekend, there was only one egg laid, but it only had the faintest of coloring, little more than a pin prick (probably because all the food coloring ended up on her butt,) and the color was such that it was impossible to tell if the egg had just come in contact with some green-ish duck poop. The good news is that while she did get covered in food coloring, it all washed off pretty quickly, and I had to use leg bands to ID her the next afternoon.
Sunday night, while the rest of America was watching football, I headed out once again to my coop with my food coloring bottles. This time I decided to add a little bit of red to the blue, since the blue alone looks quite green when washed out. I think I managed to successfully mark an egg.
The question now is how long will the marking last. I’ll update as I find out more.