Tattooing for identification purposes...

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Cat, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    I am hoping to establish a tattoo based identification system for my 10 ewes and replacements that I will be keeping from this lamb crop. 4 ewe lambs on the ground so far. At any rate, I have a small 5 digit 5/16 tool. I'd like one of the tattoos to be at the very least the month and year of birth, and on the other ear the personal identification number. Does anyone use tattoos as opposed to tags for ID purposes? Since I have such a small flock I'm able to tell each individual sheep without having to check tags so I don't think this would really cause too much trouble. It is also permanent where as tags can get lost (and do! along with part of the ear). I'd welcome any thoughts re: pros and cons of this method.

    Thanks!
     
  2. prhamell

    prhamell Well-Known Member

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    I use ear tags. In WI we are required to use USDA ear tags with our farm number on them to track sheep with diseases and such. If we sell a sheep to market or to another person, it has to have a USDA tag. I've never had a problem with losing a tag. I use the ear punch kind (like piercing the ears). The tatooing would work though. I have a very wooly breed and the wool on their head grows up and covers part of their ears. There are times when I need a certain sheep and don't really want to pick through the whole flock to find her. I think that would be one con to having tatoos. I wouldn't be able to see which one I've got until I've actually got her and pulled at her ear. Becky
     

  3. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Becky!

    I have put tags in, both Allflex and the state issued scrapie tag although those I only put in on the sheep I was planning to take to auction. After changing my mind about a few ewes I ended up bringing them home. Both tags have been ripped from ears leaving torn ears and one ewe has her ear split cleanly in half. These are very well placed tags, too. I only have to put the scrapie tag in sheep I am planning to sell through auction that are 18 mo. and older. Since I have a small flock and can tell individual ewes from one another I don't need the visual ID as much as a permanent one that I can refer to when I need specific info. on each animal. Also, since the majority of my ewes are romanov X they have clean heads and ears.
     
  4. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    [/SIZE]

    Just as a thought to all of those with "my flock is small enough that I can tell them apart" folks out there, I read somewhere that after this lady died, her family had to destroy the majority of her flock as only SHE knew and could recognize her sheep. (Very few had any sort of I.D.) I have tags now, but want to switch over to ear tatoos, does anyone know what the better brands are, or what size to get?

    Steve
     
  5. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    I have a Stone Manufacturing 5/16" pliers or you could use a 3/8". I believe the .300 which is a pet plier would be too small. I do not have the ear release pliers however they are available and I don't know how beneficial it is to have.

    Also, I am confused about your story about the elderly woman. Why would they have to destroy animals simply because they couldn't be indentified as a particular individual?

    I wonder if with a pair of 5 digit pliers a person could actually only use 2 of those digits or even a single digit to tattoo and get a good clean mark. Does anyone know? I'm still trying to decide how I want to establish my routine. :(
     
  6. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sorry Catherine,

    (I'm still trying to remember to check back on posts....)

    I guess they really were not distroyed, as they were shipping to cull them, (same outcome) they were registered, but without any id on them, no one knew who was whom? So the kids had to ship them and get cull prices.... a loss for sure.



    Also, I am confused about your story about the elderly woman. Why would they have to destroy animals simply because they couldn't be indentified as a particular individual?
     
  7. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    dog tatatoo pliers are a small tatoo .when the sheep grows (even at an advanced age there is some growth)the tatoos become unreadable. not always just enough to mess things up. cattle pliers are better ,larger caricters and green ink is preferable.before you tatoo find a purebredsheep or cow that has been tatooed and read the tat. then try reading a tat on a dog! just remember tatoo combo's are regestered so check on what you pick or get a combo regesterd
     
  8. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    OK Steve, I understand now. I didn't think about them being registered. That would be upsetting. :(

    Ford,

    The pliers I have are the 5/16th which is what is recommended for goats and small stock. I was offered a pair of the .300 pet pliers for free but I don't want to have to mess with different sizes, hard enough to get the digits I need for this set! I still haven't gotten anyone tatooed because I haven't been able to come to a decision about how I want to go about it. Both left and right tats, DOB left, ID # right, DOB & ID # as single tat on one ear, etc. etc.
     
  9. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    http://www.ketchummfg.com/index.cfm?d=3119&c=4499&p=14982&do=detail


    if you go to this page they call the 3/16th a dog and small animal tatoo.its easy to come up with a combo. this same set we tatoo dogs with for years .the green ink is very good too can still read the tat on my sil's dog and he's 12.too get a larger tatoo you can get free hand tatooers,these you can see the tat easilee . alphabet for year and numeric for placement. our cattle set you have two rows of four that can be digits or numeric. tatooing is fun !!lots of green ink, when done leave exess as you can wipe the ink from the pin holes. the site i posted also has stone but do not know if they have sets to fit your machine.tatooing is a great way to permanently mark an animal. only thing we have found is distortion from growth and ease of reading(over 40 your eyes get tired). we have looked at micro chipping but still have concerns a bout them traveling.if you tatooed both ears and they lost an ear then your still in the game .only thing is it hurts !so have lots of help and watch for the head coming at ya ,they hurt!!
     
  10. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    I have the 5/16, not 3/16. Everyone I have spoken with has said these will work, although I could use the 3/4 I don't have those pliers!!
     
  11. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    yeap do realize yours are 1/8 inch bigger.was not saying that yours were 3/16just that this is still small!!you had metioned a .003 set but had never seen one , .003 is how big standard or metric ? the larger the tat the easyer read.the 3/16 on a pup grows as the puppy grows and ends up larger than 3/16 but is hard to read.i sent the site with the stone pliers so you might be able to expand your letter/number supply .we have a double row set of ketchums pliers but still need them!you will have to excuse the confusion as i am getting 3 hours of broken sleep in 24. hate lambing in cold weather.
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I'm a big beleiver in using whatcha got, and I hope tatoos work for you. You won't know for sure until you try!
     
  13. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    Ah, okay ford. I understand now. I just found my extra digits yesterday so I need to get everything organized and see if I can come up with a workable system with what I have or if I'll need to order more. I know the ADGA uses a system for tattooing but I'm doing this for my benefit only so I don't need to have the tattoos jive with any organization or club. It's basically a matter of me deciding what I want to do ... *hee hee* I like to change my mind often!!!
     
  14. adnilee

    adnilee Well-Known Member

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    We recently purchased some ewes which were tatooed. Most are just over a year old and the tatoos are now mostly unreadable. If tatooing, I would recommend adding an ear tag too! These ewes we have are Dorper crosses and have pretty clean inner ears. The tatoos were placed inside the ear. Some can be read, but bearly. Maybe the particular tatoo application was poor?

    I would like to tatoo our Border Collie and all our sheep (since a couple are also missing ear tags), but so far I am not persuaded that they are permanent. Maybe someone has some long term experience?
     
  15. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    tatooing is a permanent record .trick is to limmit distortion and good colour, all a matter of practice. my tatooing experience is limited to dogs and cattle. few purebred ewes we have had were already tatooed.tatooing an older dog is very hard ! once long time ago my parents tried to nose print a litter and had to tatoo the dogs at 7months because the nose prints were not readable enough.a border collie might just decide such treatment warrented distane and most likly a nip! a micro chip for the bc might be a better id,ever try and read a tatoo on a flailing fish? i know even reading our old springers tatoo can be a challenge!have a booklet on proper tatooing procedeure ,will have to get some help to either post it or email.
     
  16. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    BC's are registered with a description of their markings. They don't need tatoos or chips if they get lost they just phone home. Ok so chips might help.