Ear Tags

The yearling ewes I had retained are getting ready to lamb. The lambs from these ewes will be 75% or Full Blood Dorpers. I will be keeping all the ewe lambs from this group of ewes, but all the ram lambs will be able to be registered, either 75% or Full Blood Dorper.

Before the rams were ear tagged with a white colored ear tag, as they would be going to the feeder lamb market. It is easy to sort off the market lambs as they have white ear tags, and the ewes and registered rams have green ear tags. My ewes and registered lambs I have always put a green ear tag. With this group of ewes, all the lambs will have a green ear tag.

I like to make my job easier and faster. The all green ear tags would mean I have to check under the tail when sorting the lambs into ram and ewe pens. I have to separate before the age of six months, as they are able to reproduce at that age, and I do not want that. I am evaluating how to make my job easier.

My solution is different colored ear tags for ewes and rams, percentage and Full Blood Dorper. I will keep the green for the Full Blood Dorper ewes, and spearmint for the percentage ewes. The ewes would still have green ear tags, just two different shades. The rams I am going to use light blue for Full Blood rams and orange for percentage rams. I will still use white, as I have unregistered ewes still, but eventually, when the unregistered ewes are culled and my ewe flock is all registered, I will no longer use that color.

I will not go to the trouble of retagging all my ewes. There numbers are not that large. I will only keep the ewes for three years, so I can struggle with reading numbers until then.

When you look at your flock, and the goals you have, consider how you are going to identify your sheep. Consider what information do you want to know when you look at your sheep. One sheep farmer I know uses a round button type ear tag to denote the sire of the ewe, each sire has a different color. This tag is different than the identification ear tag with a number. The sheep farmer is able to select a group of ewes for each breeding ram, based on this color tag, without looking at individual numbers. I may eventually have to go to a similar system as my sheep flock gains in number.

One option we are looking at doing along with the ear tags is tattooing the ear tag number inside the sheep’s ear. Sheep will sometimes loose an ear tag, I had one do so recently. The checking off numbers to find the missing number that would belong to the ewe missing an ear tag is time consuming. If a sheep looses an ear tag, I can check the ear to locate the number and retag.

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