Goat Ear Tags | Homesteading Guide: How To Keep Goats

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Do your goat’s have ear tags? Learn more about them and how to give your goat ear tags with this homesteading guide. Part of our How To Keep Goats series.

Goat Ear Tags | Homesteading Guide: How To Keep Goats

If you’re a goat owner, you may have heard about ear tagging—but if you aren’t already doing it, you probably wonder whether it’s really necessary. The truth is that it’s not only a recommended practice, it’s actually mandatory. I’ll explain why below, but first, let’s go over some ear tagging basics.

What are Goat Ear Tags?

Ear Tags

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Most people who are familiar with livestock already know about ear tagging, but just as a refresher:

Ear tags are small objects made of metal or plastic which pierce the ear of your livestock.

Why Are They Used?

Goat Ear Tags | Homesteading Guide: How To Keep Goats

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Outside of complying with state regulations, there are a number of reasons why you might consider using ear tags for your goats (or other livestock), but here are a few main purposes:

  • Identification: Keep track of your livestock by using tags.
  • Health: Some farmers use tags to help prevent the spread of diseases among their livestock.
  • Security: You can use tags as a means of insurance against stock theft.

Goat Ear Tagging Methods

Oftentimes, tags will come with their own ID number. You can keep records of your ID numbers either electronically or by hand, depending on the type of tag you choose to purchase. Some come with digital codes, while the more traditional types feature a number that you can hand-write and keep track of manually.

When it comes to applying the tag, some farmers choose to use a piercing device and insert the tag in the goat’s ear on their own. There are also hand-applied goat ear tags available, so farmers have options when it comes to deciding which method will work best for them. You can also check with your state’s Department of Agriculture to learn more about tagging regulations. Some states have national tagging programs available for farmers. Or, if you prefer not to do the tagging yourself, there may be a specialist near you who will complete the ear tagging process for you.

Tagging for Compliance

Goat Ear Tags | Homesteading Guide: How To Keep Goats

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State regulations require animals in the livestock industry, including goats, to have ear tags. On a federal level, the U.S. Agriculture Department has a database of the national herd, called the National Animal Identification System. One of the main purposes of maintaining this database is to prevent—and in the worst-case scenario, track—the spread of diseases. While state mandates enforce livestock tagging, even some smaller groups and clubs require tagging in their regulations. So, when it comes to ear tagging your goats, it’s not so much a matter of choice as it is a necessity.

Choosing a Tag Supplier

When it comes to finding a supplier for your goat ear tag, be sure to choose a company that is registered and licensed for supplying livestock tags. This is especially important if you intend to use devices that are more complex than the average tag, such as Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID). Companies that produce these tags must go through more licensing requirements than conventional tag suppliers, so be sure to do your research when selecting a tag company. When in doubt, just look or ask for the company’s supplier number and check to make sure that it’s in the appropriate licensing database.

For more information on goat tagging and other tips on raising goats, feel free to visit www.GoatSmarts.com.

Want to see how to ear tag a goat? Watch this short video tutorial from OSUMeatGoat:

Does this make you want to tag all the goats on your homestead? Let us know below in the comments!

Next Up: How to Trim Hooves of Goats and Sheep


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