Tag losses in sheep are often cited by farmers as a major problem, with some claiming losses as high as 50%. Now, with compulsory EID adding at least 50p to tag costs, losses will be even harder felt than before.
However, inserting tags correctly in the first place can significantly reduce the number of tags lost, cutting costs and reducing the welfare problems caused by torn and ripped ears.
And, while each tag manufacturer may recommend a slighlty different insertion technique and tag placment, there are a few universal golden rules which can minimise losses.
Firstly, when tagging sheep ensure the ear is held firmly to avoid it moving while the tag is being inserted. Then once the tag has been inserted into the applicator as directed by the manufacturers instructions, dip the tag into mild disinfectant. This will help minimise the risk of infection when the tag pierces the ear. It is also advisable to only tag sheep when they’re dry as this also helps minimise infections.
Watch a video highlighting correct insertion techniques
With all tags the male part of the tag (protruding part) should be placed at the back of the ear, with the female (receiving part) on the inside of the ear. This minimises the chances of the tag catching on fences, gates etc.
Tags should also be placed so the pin is between the cartilage in the ear, this avoids damaging the cartilage which helps prevent the ear from going floppy.
When fitting loop – one piece tags – ensure enough room is left for the ear to grow, this is particularly important when fitting tags to young lambs when the ear will grow significantly after the tag has been inserted.
|The Zee Tag button EID tag should be inserted with the male half of the tag on the back of the ear, the pin should be placed between the cartilage in the ear and the button should end up about one-third of the length of the ear away from the head and about one-third of the way into the ear from the front|
|The Dalton 25mm I-Tag should be inserted with the male part of the tag at the back of the ear, with the loop at the front of the ear. The tag should end up about one-third of the length of the ear away from the head and it is vital to allow sufficient room for the ear to grown.|
|The Ritchey Hauptner button tag needs to be inserted in a similar way to the other button tags, with the male part at the back of the ear and about one-third of the length of the ear away from the head. The tag should be inserted between the cartilage to avoid damaging the ear.|
|The Ritchey RD2000 EID tag should be inserted in the same way as the button tags. Limiting the movement of the ear when applying the tag, will like all the other tags avoid ripping the ear. The male part should be at the back of the ear and the tag should be placed about one-third of the length of the ear away from the head.|
|The Shearwell EID Set tag is a loop tag and as such should be inserted with the loop facing forwards. The male part of the tag should be at the back of the ear and it must be inserted to allow room for the ear to grown. The tag should be placd about one-third of the length of the ear away from the head.|