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-FARM-FACT-FRIDAY- Ear Tags

Updated: Jan 2, 2022


We use ear tags on all of our cattle as a way to identify them; a sort of name tag if you will. Our herd is small enough that we can pretty much tell who’s who by looking at them, but ear tags are helpful for record-keeping and proper identification.


We tag babies a day or two after they’re born. The tag is basically like an earring that goes through the cartilage of the ear. The tags are marked with a special marker that resists fading, although some of the older cows have to have their tags touched up every few years.


This guy’s tag says “20-2”. What does that mean? The first number is the year that the animal was born and the second number is the sequence in which it was born. So this guy was the 2nd calf born in 2020.


Some of the older cows or heifers (females that haven’t had a baby) that we will keep have their mom and dad’s info on their tags. This lets us know what cow and bull they were out of so we know for breeding purposes down the road.


Hope you enjoyed this little lesson on ear tags. They’re a pretty basic technique that many farmers use, but very helpful.




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