How to tag your Goats
It is very important that goats are tagged so that they can be easily identified especially for serious goat producers who are keen on maintaining records of their quality animals. Tagging should be done before the animal reaches the age of six months.
The need for record keeping cannot be over emphasised as it gives the farmer data on how well the animals are performing thus enabling proper management decisions to be taken. Although there are various methods for tagging animals, the most frequently used for goats are ear tags.
Hygiene is always important when tagging your animals to reduce the risk of infection.
- Tools for tagging should be cleaned before and after use.
- Store tagging applicator and tags in a clean airtight container.
- Always clean the area on the animal to be tagged before the process begins.
- After tagging. Check the tagged area regularly to ensure that the area is not infected.
Rubbing alcohol or a disinfectant should be used to clean the tools for tagging and the site on the animal to be tagged.
Types of Tags
There are several tag types and colours which can be used for easy identification of animal.
Tags may also be numbered or unnumbered. Colours can be used to identify birth type (single, twin or triplet) as well as the sex of the animal (male female). Each tag has a male and female end.
Strip tags - are well suited for newborn dairy animals, fibre animals and tail tagging.
Panel tags are ideal for pasture animals, meat animals and for producers who want more visual identification.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags will appeal to goat producers who want to use an electronic management system
12 Steps to tagging your goats
- Make sure you have all the items needed to begin tagging.
- Before applying the ear tag, be sure to record the number to be assigned to the goat.
- There are some tags that are pre numbered; if not use a permanent marker to indicate number on tag. When completed load the tag in the applicator.
- Place the female component of the tag on the base, seating the plug into the cavity of the tagger, below the metal plate. The metal plate will serve to hold the female component in place. Place the male component of the tag on the tagger pin on the opposite side. Dip the jaws of the applicator holding the tags into an antiseptic solution.
- Squeeze the handles of the tagger to check that the pin slides easily into the hole on the opposite end of the tagger, to ensure that the halves of the tag will meet in proper alignment.
- Restrain your goat kid by holding it allowing free access to the ear to be tagged. Older goats will require more constraint and can be straddled and their head pressed against your attendant's thigh for ease.
- Identify the area on the ear to be tagged. Be sure to go between the large veins in your goat's ears. The veins are located in the large creases in the ear.
- Clean area identified for tagging with alcohol. A few farmers have used ice to numb the area to be pierced
- Position the ear tagger over the area you have selected and give it a strong squeeze.
- Ear tagging causes about as much pain as getting your own ears pierced. Goat kids will want the comfort of their dam after the ear tagging is finished.
- When you are done, you will have an easy-to-read identification number on your goat that can be used for herd records and health certificates.
- Watch the animal over the next week for signs of infection or tissue death associated with the ear tag. If severe pain, redness, or discharge develops, the tag may need to be removed and replaced at a later date after a course of antibiotic treatment and resolution of the infection.