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Tatoo on sheep ears

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Has anyone had experience with tatoos on sheeps ears? How would it work on dark ears? Any pros and cons would be appreciated.

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I find them difficult to read, and of course you can't read them at a distance. But unlike tags, at least a tattoo can't be pulled out!

 

I think light inks are available for dark ears, but the time I helped someone tattoo ears, it was time consuming and very messy! (You have to remember to load the tattoo implement backward from the way the tattoo will read.)

 

J.

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Hello Ancarrow,

 

If you are trying to decide whether to tattoo or tag your sheep, here's my input. I have found that applying an ear tag is less stressful for the sheep than tattooing, and as Julie wrote, you can read ear tags more easily, especially at a distance. You may need to catch the sheep and hold its head to read the tattoo, which can be rather impractical.

 

Regards,

nancy

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I've had tattooed sheep, and we have tattooed goats. The sheep al also had ear tags; the tattoos were for registry purposes. Our goats don't have ear tags. On dark ears, you can use white ink. You can also use green ink and the tattoo can be read by holding a flashlight behind the ear. Tattoos are nice for permanent ID, since tags can get ripped out (or cut off) so easily. I had one old ewe who had torn out so many tags I gave up trying, but her tattoo was still readable. They're no good for ID'ing a sheep out in the field without catching it.

 

Tattooing is messy- wear gloves. We do a test "stamp" on a sheet of paper before doing it on an animal's ear to make sure we've set it right.

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Thanks all for the replies. Just the info I needed. I think I'll give tags one more try. Most of mine either come out or the ink wears off the tag. Lovely to have a ewe with a tag and still not know who the heck she is. I have gone to using a new color each year so at least I know how old she is. Thanks again.

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If long-term ID is desired but not absolutely critical, you can use two tags and have them cross-referenced in a file. Then if you discover that one tag is missing, you can replace it and update your cross-reference. I place one tag, colored to mark the year of birth, in the lamb shortly after birth, and add a scrapie tag later if I decide to retain it as a breeder.

 

Premier supplies good quality ear tags that are laser etched, so there is no ink to wear off. Many of the colors are hard to read at a distance, but they are very durable. I have had the best luck with their Snapp tags as far as retention, but they are not easily readable. The X series is more readable, but because it has dangly parts it tends to get caught in things and either break or rip out of the ear more readily.

 

But any ear tag system can fail, and short of the loss of an entire ear (which has been known to happen) a tat is forever.

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Thank you Bill, good info. I'm looking at the Premier catalogue right now. Like the two tag system. Just might do the trick.

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