Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

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ksmit454
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Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by ksmit454 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:20 am

Hi,
I had a few questions concerning ear tagging. I purchased some cattle at the start of this year and there are purebred Herefords, unregistered. I am keeping one cow/calf pair, and two heifers. The previous owner however didn’t keep any records of them. I would like to tag them for my own records. Here are a few questions I had.

1) For beef cattle, is there a specific color that is most popular or that I should be using? I chose green tags but I not sure if the color really matters at all.

2) What system do you use for the numbering? I have heard of tagging right ears for male and left for female, which I like, but as far as the numbering goes, what system do you use?

3) I have never tagged an animal before but I’m using the Allflex tags and the Y-tagger. I will look up videos as to how to do it but do I need to be cautious as far as preventing infection and dip the tagger in iodine or any disinfectant?

Any other tips would be much appreciated. Thank you!



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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by Rafter S » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:30 am

ksmit454 wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:20 am
Hi,
I had a few questions concerning ear tagging. I purchased some cattle at the start of this year and there are purebred Herefords, unregistered. I am keeping one cow/calf pair, and two heifers. The previous owner however didn’t keep any records of them. I would like to tag them for my own records. Here are a few questions I had.

1) For beef cattle, is there a specific color that is most popular or that I should be using? I chose green tags but I not sure if the color really matters at all. No, color doesn't matter.

2) What system do you use for the numbering? I have heard of tagging right ears for male and left for female, which I like, but as far as the numbering goes, what system do you use? Right ear for male and left for female is a good system. I buy the pre-numbered tags for calves. When I retain heifers that tag is replaced (and re-used later) with one with my numbering system. The first digit is sequential, followed by the year the calf was weaned. I avoid the numeral 1 because I also brand this same number, and 1 is often difficult to read. So the first heifer through the chute will be 220, followed by 320, etc.

3) I have never tagged an animal before but I’m using the Allflex tags and the Y-tagger. I will look up videos as to how to do it but do I need to be cautious as far as preventing infection and dip the tagger in iodine or any disinfectant? I don't dip mine, but it probably is a good idea.

Any other tips would be much appreciated. Thank you!
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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by TCRanch » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:44 am

I also tag right for male, left for female (because men are always right?). My tagging "system" is a cluster only I understand and I've used every color they make, except for black. For some reason, the ink doesn't seem to fade as much/as fast on green, red & pink tags. I tag calves day 1 and the front has their number, back has number, date of birth, ranch initials and name (don't judge). There is no right or wrong numbering/tagging system, just whatever works for you.

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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by Dave » Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:00 am

Here everyone in the neighborhood uses a different color. Makes it easier to sort one of Joe's cows out of Bob's cows. They are all branded but different color ear tags are quicker and easier to spot. They also often get custom printed tags with their phone number. Cows out on range might decide to wander. Here in a month or two cows will start coming out of the hills. They have been known to show up 50 miles from home. ET phone home. I don't know why you would dip the tagger in disinfectant. It is the tag back itself which comes in contact while it pierces the ear. The brand I use says on the label that it has a disinfectant built into it.

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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by Dsth » Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:01 am

I use white tags on my calves, but each of my neighbors use a different color tag. It just worked out that way and it makes it easier to tell who's cattle are on the road if they get out. I use prenumbered tags on the heifer calves and blank tags on the bull calves and write month number followed by birth day just to record number with dam. All my tags go in the left ear. I do not use any disinfectant on calves or cows if they lose a tag. If you are worried about infection from tagging, you should also clean the ear good since that is where I would think most of the germs would be. I use the Allflex tags as well. I try to locate and avoid the larger blood vessels in the ear to prevent bleeding.

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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by bird dog » Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:01 am

I tag my calves with with a different color for their sex. Boys are always blue, girls are different. Tagging the girls a different color every year gives me an idea of how old they are when they are kept in the herd. They get a cow tag if they make the cut but I leave the calf tag in for quick reference.

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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by Lee VanRoss » Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:03 am

Telling someone how to tag cattle is a little like having another person put your cap on your head.
That said, I use an alphabetic designation in the first position to identify cow A thru ZZ .
2nd position (or 3rd if req) 0 thru 9 is for year born.
3rd position is for heifers born in 1st 30 days of calving cycle. Otherwise a dash or blank.
Heifers with blank or dash do not stay in herd.
Steers, I just number sequentially with name on tag and usually market as yearlings or before.
I feel it is only necessary to tag heifers born in 1st 30 days. The rest can be done as time permits.
Calves born in the 1st 30 days will determine the direction of your herd..jmo

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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by Brute 23 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:41 am

You can definitely tag what every colors you want and even use different colors. At one point I was tagging different properties different colors to help know where they came from.

I've also tagged left and right for male and female because I'm sure it has its purpose, but eventually I got away from that also.

I use to start at 1 with momma cows and go in order from there. If a cow was removed from the herd I would fill her number back with a heifer to keep them in sequential order. The calves I would tag 1 what ever for the purpose of matching them up and it fidnt really matter what was on the calves that went to auction. I would retag replacement heifers once they made the cut.

Fast forward to now. :) I currently use identification tags with our brand and phone number in the left ear on every thing... cows, calves, bulls, heifers... every thing. A number tag goes in the right ear on everything. Cows run numbers 1-1000. Calves start at 1001 and go up. Its handy purchasing the custom tags in bulk so your not scrambling to find numbers at the feed store every time you need to work cattle.

The right left ear deal became a pain IMO. I want to be able to bring a box of tags and go down the line. I put the sex in my spreadsheet plus I can see if its Male or Female with my eyes in the pasture.

Replacements keep their same number from birth so I never have to retag.

Also, now with some of our calves going straight to the feedlot our identification tag stays with them in the FL. The FL only changes the number tag for their tag. In my spreadsheets I add the FL # when it hits so it can be tracked further.

I may still do some more changing around over time but I'm liking where it's at right now. I cut simplified some work but made it more effective for books and tracking cattle longer in their lives. We arent a pure blood operation by any means but we do retain a decent amount of cattle and try to track production as best as possible.

My suggestion is read thru every ones way they do it on here and why... then develope a plan for your operation.

... and I've also got away from any two piece tags. I've had great luck with one piece tags. I even keep a pile of blanks to write on with a marker and have had great luck with that also.
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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by simme » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:33 am

"I have never tagged an animal before but I’m using the Allflex tags and the Y-tagger."

Be aware that the tagger needs to be compatible with the tag. You can't just use any tagger with any tag. One piece or two piece tag? I don't believe that a Y-Tex tagger is compatible with a 2 piece Allflex tag. May work, but may end up with the pin on the tagger coming out the side of the button. Check the directions on your tags.
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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by ksmit454 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:23 pm

simme wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:33 am
"I have never tagged an animal before but I’m using the Allflex tags and the Y-tagger."

Be aware that the tagger needs to be compatible with the tag. You can't just use any tagger with any tag. One piece or two piece tag? I don't believe that a Y-Tex tagger is compatible with a 2 piece Allflex tag. May work, but may end up with the pin on the tagger coming out the side of the button. Check the directions on your tags.
Yes thank you good call. I realized that after bought the tagged, it wasn’t the same brand as the tags.

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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by farmerjan » Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:31 pm

Yep, we all have a system. My cows have white, my son's are green..... calves used to get cow's number at birth but I don't often get them tagged then with my knee problems... so they all go through the chute. All bulls/steers get yellow with a number and then I match them to their momma. Heifers get green most of the time because I am not sure whether they are his or mine. Unless I know for sure, then his heifers get green, mine get white. Have used the blanks to write on, but have gone more towards preprinted as some of the tags do not hold the ink good.... When a heifer makes the cut to stay, then she will get the right color tag (his or mine) with whatever info I want on the back and the number on the front. Most of the neighbors seem to use different colors than us, so we don't have much trouble keeping them straight. If there is a question.... I have a list of every cow/calf pair, whatever is at the pasture, and if there are cows together or something, I can pull my lists and tell you if it is ours or not.
We also buy and sell some, so have some other colored tags too. They all get listed with the cows' button (state ID needed here to buy breds or c/cf pairs at a stockyard sale), when/where she was bought, approx age and any other info like distinguishing marks...

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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by JW IN VA » Fri Sep 11, 2020 12:19 am

We started using tags in 1975 with the Allflex tags.Dad picked orange so they could be seen easier in the woods.
The tagging was for me,not him.He had a photographic memory for cattle and could tell you their history as well.
Started out using the right ear and still do for all females.Started tagging steers in the left for easier sorting when we had a graded sale association and took in calves different days for steers and heifers.Made for easier sorting in larger groups.
I switched to Z tags for the cows because of button breakage and too many lost tags feeding in rings and cows rubbing cedars to shed hair.Calves get Ytex because they are cheaper.Usually marked with Momma's number.If aheifer stays,she gets her own number in order.
There is certainly nothing wrong with Allflex and I'd use them again if I couldn't get Z tags.The new one piece looks interesting.
As someone said,try to miss the big blood vessels.If you haven't tagged before,you might want to put a halter rope on to keep the head as still as possible.
DO NOT,under any circumstances,GET YOUR HEAD OR FACE ANYWHERE NEAR THE COW"S HEAD OR WHERE IT COULD BE.A search of my posts will tell you more. :hide:
I suspect white or yellow are easiest to read from a distance although I still use orange.Most of our neighbors use different colors than the people who join them and it's a good idea.
Not everything your neighbors do is wrong-Not everything they do is right,either.

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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by Rafter S » Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:26 am

Someone mentioned the Allflex buttons coming out. Some years ago I ran across some larger buttons that are shaped similar to a tag, though smaller (probably around 2" tall and wide). I have since used them when tagging heifers I'm keeping. They rarely lose those. If I remember right I bought the first batch on eBay, and since then I've gotten the folks at the local feed store to order them when I run low.
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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by WFfarm » Fri Sep 11, 2020 7:47 am

The short answer is: you can do it anyway that works or makes sense for you.

We use blank tags for the calves and write on the number of their mother. It's easier to match baby and momma in the field without having to have a decoder sheet. The ink usually last well enough for the first 8-12 months where they will either be sold or retagged. We insert all in the left ear because controls on our chute are on the left and makes it easier to read. I know some people that use different colors for male or female. This is helpful when working in a pen and they are bunched up, otherwise just look for who has a weiner to tell sex.

We only keep a few heifers a year, and they will get new permanent larger tags when they become cows. We number by the tens for each year to help give an idea of age. So, lasts years keepers were numbered 61,62, and 63. This years will be 71, 72, etc. Eventually we get back to 10, 11 but it makes it easier to buy sets of the pre-numbered tags. Ten years from now we'll use 73,74,75. It's not a exact system and any new bought cattle can be numbered with any fill in left overs.

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Re: Ear Tagging Beef Cattle.

Post by OleScout » Fri Sep 11, 2020 5:46 pm

I use Z tags. Steers get preprinted blue. Heifers get write on white cow size, number starts with year of birth, this year 201,202,203 etc. If kept as replacements they have their cow number and its easy to tell how old they are.

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