What Are Advantages to Using Ear Tags?

Ear tags serve as a visual tool for distinctive identification, indicating features like a flock or premise number, and facilitating the identification of sex, birth year, sire, dam, and other relevant information.


When incorporating tags into your breeding flock, it is advisable to affix a tag to each ear of the lambs when they are still young. The rationale behind this is that tag wounds in lambs tend to heal rapidly with a lower risk of infection compared to tag wounds in adult animals. This approach ensures the presence of a pre-existing, clean, and secure hole when a larger tag needs to be installed later on.


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1. Sex Identification:


- Benefits of Ear Tags:

  - Facilitates quick sorting by sex during the movement of sheep and goats in a chute or holding pen.

  - Eliminates the need to individually examine each animal, saving valuable time and keeping hands clean.

- Procedure of Ear Tags:

  - Males: Insert the primary tag in the left ear.

  - Females: Insert the primary tag in the right ear.


2. Year of Birth Identification:


- Benefits of Ear Tags:

  - Allows age determination from a distance of 25 feet, eliminating the need to catch animals to check their teeth.

  - Speeds up decision-making during sorting for culling or breeding.

- Methods of Ear Tags:

  - Use a different color tag for each year.

  - Commence tag number series with the year of birth. For example, tag 17275 indicates that the lamb is the 275th one tagged in 2017.


3. Sire (and Dam) Identification:


- Benefit of Ear Tags: Eliminates the need to check records. Three methods to achieve this:

   - Use a different color second tag for each sire (e.g., blue tags for Sire XYZ, purple tags for Sire ABC).

   - Print sire names on the tags of their progeny.

   - Handwrite the ewe's tag number on the lamb's tag using a marking pen. If space is limited, write it on the inner surfaces of the tag. Note: To account for tag loss, it is recommended to use two sire/dam tags (one in each ear).


4. Problem Indication:


- Benefit of Ear Tags: Enables swift and decisive culling of animals with issues like foot problems, dystocia, mastitis, prolapse, etc. Two methods to accomplish this:

   - Insert a tag labeled "cull" or use a black tag for problematic animals.

   - Use an ear notcher to mark animals earmarked for culling.


5. Single, Twin, or Triplet Indication:


- Benefit of Ear Tags: Streamlines sorting for breeding and sale purposes, reducing the reliance on record consultation. To implement this:

- Utilize a different color for each lamb type, repeating these colors annually. Premier's code is:

 Blue = single

 Green = twin

 Orange = triplet

Maintain consistency with the plan when marking ewes or lambs with Sprayline.

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