Monday, March 14, 2011

Tagventory Day: Figuring out This Year's Perfect Ear-Tagging System

Every year I do this, sort through the old ear tags that I have remaining, count them, and figure out how many more I need.

This is done each year in conjunction with my current Perfect Ear-Tagging System.

My perfect system depends on each animal having 2 tags-- one numbered tag, and one tag, purchased blank, which has the animal's name written on it with a tag pen.

I've been buying Premier One Easy-Tags, size two, in a wide variety of colors to indicate things like birth year, single/twin status, breeding group.... And every couple years I scrap the system and start a new one.

It's the same this year, but now I'm going for simplification. My major problem with the tags is that they are hard to read from a distance--- and boy, do my girls know how to keep their distance when I'm looking at their ear tags!

I've decided to go with a baby tag system this year--- lambs will be tagged with a size 1, pink or blue numbered tag. When they get to weaning age, (or some point afterward) the baby tag will be replaced by a size 5 adult tag--- the next size larger than the size 2 tags I have been using.

In place of the many colors I've used, I'm down to 2--- yellow for purebred Shetlands, and blue for Shetland-Dorper crosses. No, wait, the government owns the color blue (on scrapie-numbered eartags, anyway) and so I've had to order lime-green instead.

The hand-written name tags and the number tags will be the same color. (I'll also be writing the name and number on the underside of the hand-written tags, in case one of the girls loses her numbered tag and her name tag is faded.)

I do have a lot of spare numbered tags, and I do plan to use them up. Single (non-twin) lambs will be getting the old tags until they are gone. This will remind me to not get so attached to the singles that I keep them for breeders instead of the twins.

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