Tagging calves

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JCcattle
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Tagging calves

Postby JCcattle » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:54 pm

For those of you who tag calves at birth, what do you all put on a tag? So far I’ve been putting mother’s number at the top, then the number of calf starts with last digit of year. Example: 801 would be the first calf of the year. (So far have less than 100 cows. Probably 90 this year together with Dads) I’d like to somehow find a spot to put the bull on it too for heifers that we retain. I didn’t know if this topic belonged here but didn’t see any other spot that suited either.
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby gizmom » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:08 pm

We put bull on top calf in center and dam on bottom. Kind of like registration papers bull pedigree is bull on top cow on bottom, easy way for me to remember what goes where. We also tag bulls in right ear and heifers in left so easy to tell sex from a distance. I like the 801 we use to do it that way until we got to having over 100 then changed to the letter for the year ( which I hate because when working them it is hard to hear the letters being called D sounds a lot like B to these old ears) the boss tells me I have to live with it because it is less tattoo letters numbers to use and tattoo difficulty trumps hearing difficulty.

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Re: Tagging calves

Postby JCcattle » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:13 pm

gizmom wrote:We put bull on top calf in center and dam on bottom. Kind of like registration papers bull pedigree is bull on top cow on bottom, easy way for me to remember what goes where. We also tag bulls in right ear and heifers in left so easy to tell sex from a distance. I like the 801 we use to do it that way until we got to having over 100 then changed to the letter for the year ( which I hate because when working them it is hard to hear the letters being called D sounds a lot like B to these old ears) the boss tells me I have to live with it because it is less tattoo letters numbers to use and tattoo difficulty trumps hearing difficulty.

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Haha I know what u mean. And it’s always hard to figure which letter for which year especially since the system skips a few numbers. Our steer calves we tag with a different colour and just give them 1 or 2 digit numbers (our first calf is a steer so his number is 1) since they’re only around til late fall anyway. What kind of marker do u use? Im not happy with our Allflex markers. The tips spread out so soon so u can’t even write small or clear on tags and they fade too quickly.
Last edited by JCcattle on Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby JCcattle » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:19 pm

One idea I’ve had is to use a special number for each bull. Their numbers are 1352, 3834, and 6212. Was thinking of using their first letter (Year they were born it appears to me) and doing a 4 digit number eg the first calf this year and who’s sire is 6212 would get 8601 or 6801. That might get too confusing ?! :???:
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby gizmom » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:22 pm

I have tried them all and basically haven’t found a favorite for the same reasons you stated. Some work longer than others but eventually they all seem to spread out and that makes it difficult to fit all the info.

Image

This is an ET calf out of Charlo his dam is 0524 you can’t see it but there is a / then the recips number I sometimes think we need bigger tags lol. Terrible picture of the calf but good example of the tag :)

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Re: Tagging calves

Postby Supa Dexta » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:31 pm

Single number in the order of birth, and the letter year. Thats it - thats all. Different colours for bulls and heifers. I prob track more info than most, but I dont need it on their tags.
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby farmerjan » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:16 pm

We have tried different systems. If we can get the calf caught right when she has it, then the bulls get the dams # and the heifers get the year then the dams number. But sometimes that get's too much. So last year we started with 1701, and went from there with all the heifers, and the bulls got their dams # if we were sure, if not they got any number and I just watched to see who went on who the next day. We are lucky in that we have a friend that is a cattle dealer and we get back all the tags they cut out of the ears. So we have all kinds of tags, but get plenty back that we can use. I wash and re-mark all the numbers and then we use a new back. Tags get expensive when you are buying 100-200 a year.
With the consecutive numbers on the heifers, we can change their tag when we do all the culling and whoever we keep often gets a tag that is representative of who her family is ; like year and dam's number.
We also write on the back with a bull name/number.

I have found that the Y-Tex marker to be far superior to the Allflex. Someone told me the other day they really like the Z-tag marker so I picked one up to see if I like it. Most all the markers come with 2 tips and we usually do use them both during the life of the pen. But I have been very happy with the Y-tex one so far. I also do not push real hard so the tips seem to last a bit longer. The Y-tex doesn't seem to put out too much ink; the Allflex one will not put out enough then if you push it like they say, you get a big blob.....UCK
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby TCRanch » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:18 pm

I put their number on the front of the tag. Ranch initials, date of birth, number & name on the back. That would be the name of the calf (don't judge). Each year's first calf heifers gets a different tag color; this year they get pink and next year I'll have to rotate back to the original white. Bull calves/steers on the right ear, heifers on the left. Works for me because I can easily scan the herd/calves & identify the calf based on individual characteristics, the color of the ear tag & placement (because I can't see their numbers unless I'm practically on 'em).
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby TCRanch » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:24 pm

farmerjan wrote:We have tried different systems. If we can get the calf caught right when she has it, then the bulls get the dams # and the heifers get the year then the dams number. But sometimes that get's too much. So last year we started with 1701, and went from there with all the heifers, and the bulls got their dams # if we were sure, if not they got any number and I just watched to see who went on who the next day. We are lucky in that we have a friend that is a cattle dealer and we get back all the tags they cut out of the ears. So we have all kinds of tags, but get plenty back that we can use. I wash and re-mark all the numbers and then we use a new back. Tags get expensive when you are buying 100-200 a year.
With the consecutive numbers on the heifers, we can change their tag when we do all the culling and whoever we keep often gets a tag that is representative of who her family is ; like year and dam's number.
We also write on the back with a bull name/number.

I have found that the Y-Tex marker to be far superior to the Allflex. Someone told me the other day they really like the Z-tag marker so I picked one up to see if I like it. Most all the markers come with 2 tips and we usually do use them both during the life of the pen. But I have been very happy with the Y-tex one so far. I also do not push real hard so the tips seem to last a bit longer. The Y-tex doesn't seem to put out too much ink; the Allflex one will not put out enough then if you push it like they say, you get a big blob.....UCK

I like the Y-Tex marker but the ink fades within 2 years. Threw away too many tags with the Allflex. I've been thinking about buying a dremel.
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby farmerjan » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:37 pm

Also, I forgot to mention that bulls all get one color; usually yellow or orange, and heifers get green for my son's and white normally for mine although I have a few that are blue. If they were like last year and we did not get them tagged right away, they mostly all got green and then if a couple of heifers were mine, it got changed to white. Usually I kept the number though to make looking them up easier.

I have found the Allflex fades too. Also, the green tags seem to fade and don't hold the numbers well after a few years. We will re-ink the tags when they go through for preg check though. Don't mess up too many as the cows aren't too bad. Yellow and orange tags seem to be the easiest to read and hold the numbers better. Black ink on red tags is terrible to read. Have thought about trying the white marking pen.... Don't buy any on e-bay that come from china. They don't hold the numbers for more than a month and it doesn't matter what pen. I even bought a set of pens from there and it didn't work. Pre printed ones are better but we have had to re-ink them. So, it's better that we get them and re-use. I have some of all colors but we mostly use those 4 colors.
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby JCcattle » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:39 pm

I’ve enjoyed reading how you all do it! :) Gives me some ideas. I wouldn’t need a lot of info myself as I know each animal pretty good but when my dad or hubs comes on the scene there’s too much time wasted telling them who’s who and where they come from. Say when we’re sorting cows to put out for breeding etc!
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby Tbrake » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:17 pm

I color code my pastures differently. Some of the pastures are out of plain Jane mixed cows, bred to terminal bulls for pounds. They get a red tag with the date and moms number. Better herds get little more complicated. Everything that is out of ai get a orange and white tag (one in each ear, bulls and heifers) some of my older cows have put 4-5 heifers back in my herd. One cow in particular is #30. Her calf from 2015 is #3015. 2016 is #3016 and so on. That number is also freeze branded on one hip. One tag has her number, and sire name/or number. Other has her date of birth, and her id number again. I also have detailed info on each of these cows in a notebook. I haven’t quite figured out how to number the calves from the #3017 cows yet. Maybe this idea wasn’t as good as I thought
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby gcreekrch » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:41 pm

Males in one ear heifers in the opposite ear of the males and also the cows. They all get mom's number. Makes it easy for sorting pairs if they both have the same id.

Any heifers that are kept for replacements get a cow tag with the year number written at the top. Most of our younger cows have 2 tags but the Z-Tag, feedlot tags have a fairly short lifespan.

Too much useless info can be conjured up in a commercial herd where most are destined for the dinner plate before 18 months old.
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby Silver » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:44 pm

I have no idea who the sire is, so heifer calves get dams number on top, bottom number is order of birth followed by year letter. First heifer calf this year will be 1F. If her mom was 14T that would be the top number.
Steer calves get a different coloured tag, dams number only.
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Re: Tagging calves

Postby M-5 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:04 pm

Dams 22 number with the yr 8 calf is 228 in 2028 and she's still here I hope I can tell a 10 yr old from a 1 yr old .
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