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Stackyard News Jul 2011

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Good Tagging Technique Improves Retention and Animal Welfare

A grassroots farming organisation is reminding its members this summer of the importance of applying ID tags correctly. Paul Harper of The Farmer Network advises “It’s worth reviewing your tagging procedures to improve retention rates and reduce potential animal welfare problems such as septic or pinched ears”.

KlikTag Visual

KlikTag Visual

“With all the recent debate on compliance and EID tags, we want to remind farmers of the importance of following DEFRA ‘best practice’ when tagging this summer”.

The DEFRA recommendations are simple to follow. Make sure your operator is properly trained and competent and that the tag is fitted correctly by following the manufacturer’s instructions and use the correct pliers for the model of tag you are fitting – before purchasing tags, think carefully about the best type for your animals and choose a style appropriate for the breed, size and age of your stock.

Loop tags are a popular choice with farmers, but it’s important that they are positioned to allow room for future ear growth. Tags should be positioned according to the manufacturer’s advice avoiding any blood vessels or ridges of cartilage. The male part of the tag should be inserted from the back of the ear so that the female part sits within the inside of the ear to reduce the tag snagging. Restrain the animal’s head to prevent jerking whilst tagging and check both parts of the tag are firmly locked before release.

Hygiene precautions are particularly important with this kind of procedure and ear, tag and applicators should be clean. Applicators can be dipped in diluted disinfectant first and some manufacturers also recommend applying an antiseptic gel to the tip of the male tag. DEFRA also recommends tagging in cool weather where possible and suggests using a topical insecticide (if appropriate) to minimise fly strike. Ears and tags should be checked after 10 days for signs of damage or infection and you should consult your vet if necessary.

The advice coincides with the launch of a new sheep tag from Fearing that features a particularly sharp and strong pin. At the launch of KlikTag™ at the Royal Welsh Show, farmers were impressed by the ease of application.

“We allowed farmers to try out the tag and applicator at the show and received very positive feedback”, says Allison Simmons, Marketing Manager at Fearing. “The pin is slim, but very strong and has a curved design with a sharp head. This means it enters the ear very cleanly and makes an audible click so you can be confident it is fastened correctly.”

“Farmers also commented that the tag sits securely within the applicator pliers which would be very useful when handling lively lambs!” Allison added.

Mark Elliot is one sheep farmer who is interested, “I’ve had a few cases of septic ears over the years, so I like the sound of it. It doesn’t seem to be expensive, so I’d definitely consider it.”

KlikTag™ is available as both EID and visual tags in a range of colours and applicator pliers are free with orders over 200. For more information and to order now visit

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