Inserting sheep EID ear tags correctly can reduce the risk of losing tags and causing welfare problems to the sheep due to torn and ripped ears.
There are a range of tags on the market from a variety of manufacturers and there are some slight differences between equipment and technique used to insert them.
You can watch the video below of four different manufacturers demonstrating their equipment.
There are some golden rules, however, which apply to all types of ear tags:
1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to insert the tag into the applicator. With two-piece tags, make sure the serial numbers marry up.
2. Make sure the pin slips into the hole easily when the levers of the applicator are depressed.
3. Dip the applicator and tag into mild disinfectant to minimise the risk of infection when the tag pierces the ear.
4. Hold the sheep and the ear firmly to avoid the sheep moving and ripping the ear.
5. Position the tag one third from the head and two thirds from the tip of the ear.
6. When tagging lambs with a looped tag, make sure you allow for growth – around a quarter of an inch between the ear and the outside of the loop.
7. Aim to insert the tag between the thick sinews of cartilage on the inside of the ear, in the softer part.
Avoid piercing the main blood vessels and ridges of cartilage.
8. With all tags the male part of the tag (protruding or flag 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.
9. Depress the applicator levers firmly and smoothly. Some applicators will spring back open, to avoid catching.
Watch the video to see a range of EID ear tags being inserted.