1. Can indicate sex
Allows rapid sorting by sex while sheep and goats are moving down a chute or in a holding pen. No need to get your hands dirty or spend expensive time to check “the plumbing.”
How to do this:
• Males: Insert primary tag in left ear
• Females: Insert primary tag in right ear
2. Can indicate year of birth
No need to catch them to check their teeth. A tag will tell you the age from 40 ft away. Enables faster
decisions when sorting for culling or breeding.
Two ways to do this:
a. Use a different color for each year. Lambs with purple tags were born in 2007. Lamb with yellow tag 2006.
b. Begin tag number series with the year of birth. Tag 7275 indicates lamb is the 275th lamb tagged in 2007.
3. Can indicate sire (& dam)
No need to check records for breeding decisions.
Three ways to do this:
a. Use a different-color second tag for each sire
(blue tags = Sire XYZ; purple tags = Sire ABC).
b. Have sire name printed on the tag of its progeny.
(We will do this for you at no extra cost.)
c. Hand-write the ewe’s tag number with a marking pen on the lamb’s tag. If space is limited write it on the inner surfaces of the tag.
Note: Since tags can be lost, we strongly advise using 2 sire/dam tags (one in each ear).
4. Can indicate single, twin or triplet
Speeds up sorting for breeding and sale purposes. Reduces need to keep and consult records.
To do this: Use a different color for each. Repeat this color year after year.
• blue = single
• green = twin
• orange = triplet
5. Can indicate problems
Allows rapid, positive culling for animals with foot problems, dystocia, mastitis, prolapse, etc.
Two ways to do this:
a. Snap a black tag in every problem animal.
b. Use an ear notcher to mark the animal.
Ear Tag FAQ
How can I reduce tag losses?
• Insert tag midway between the skull and the tip of the ear (see diagram below). We observed in our own sheep over the years that tags placed very close to the skull in sheep were more likely to become infected.
Why? A combination of the tissue being thicker and the wound less able to heal (not enough air to dry it up).
• Avoid the large veins in the ear
Why? When damaged, the veins heal slowly and are more prone to infection.
• Don’t use nylon (e.g. Snapp or Swivel) tags as long-term tags.
Why? UV light will eventually cause them to become brittle.
• Avoid double-button round tags for sheep and goats.
Why? They are more likely to snag and tear on grass and wire fences.
• Avoid low-fiber diets.
Why? Sheep on high-grain or liquid diets are desperate to chew. If one starts chewing tags, its penmates will soon do likewise and pull the tags out. For maximum retention and the lowest risk of bleeding and infection, place ear tags in either of the 2 red spots. (One-piece loop tags only fit in the lower red spot.) Avoid the large veins.
How do I keep track of an animal if a tag falls out?
1. Install 2 tags (one in each ear)—with the same number. Official tags can’t be duplicated—but you can use the same individual animal number on the second “backup” tag if you don’t add a flock or premise number.
2. Tattoo the animal. No animal number is more permanent.
What tags does Premier use?
We are always experimenting, so we use many tags. Our preferred system is to:
1. Tag baby lambs with 2 EasyTags, size 1 (same numbers for each tag) within 4 weeks of lambing.
2. Use tag color/numbers/placement to indicate twin-single-triplet/year of birth/sex.
3. For lambs we retain, we substitute an EasyTag, size 5 tag (much easier to see at distance) in the same hole.
4. Never install official tags until the animal is ready to leave the farm. Why our applicator design is
different from others…Good tag retention requires accurate placement (between the veins, midway
between skull and tip of ear, etc.). Tagging sheep and goat ears requires more care and precision than cattle ears because their ears are small. Accurate placement is difficult if the tag projects forward from the applicator (as it does for most applicators)—because a sheep/goat
will jerk its head away as soon as a tag touches an ear.
That’s why Premier’s tag applicator holds the flag portions of the tag back inside the applicator— away from the ear. That means animals won’t feel anything until you squeeze it shut.
How long does it take to get ear tags from Premier?
Less than 2 business days to print and ship them. Then it’s up to UPS ground or US mail to get it to you. We can expedite the shipment—but it will cost you more for the faster shipping methods.
• We will custom imprint tags with your choice of numbers, farm/ranch name, brands and/or logos.
Consecutive numbers and farm/ ranch names are free! Brands or logos have a one-time $15 setup fee.
• Can we imprint numbers out of sequence or individual names? Yes. But it takes more time per tag so the cost is $1.50 per tag (for any tag size).
What tag colors imprint the best—and the worst?
The tag colors in the charts on pp. 14–17 are arranged in order of readability from a distance.
Light colors such as spearmint, salmon, yellow and white tags are the most readable from a distance.
Dark colors such as brown, purple and red are the least readable.
If you use tags in your breeding flock, it’s wise to install a tag in both ears when they are baby lambs.
Why? Because lamb wounds heal quickly. And it’s easy to cut out the first tag and install a larger tag without stess to the animal or risk of infection.