by Albert Makendenge

Good farm management depends on being able identify each and every individual farm animal. Especially as the herd or flock increases, different identities may become mixed up if there is no proper identification method.

One simple way to do this, besides the more reliable ways of branding, ear notching or ear tattooing, is ear tagging.

Ear tagging simply means attaching a metal or plastic identification label or badge to the ear of an animal and this name or badge usually has a number on it. A number which then identifies with a particular animal. This method is used for most livestock but not commonly on dairy goats because of infections and allow for quick identification of each animal.

Animal identification is the basis of keeping accurate production records of the herd or flock. Individual animal identification allows producers to keep records on animal’s parentage, birth date, production records, health history, nutritional requirements, particular behaviors and movements as well as a host of other management information.

Accurate records provide the producer with enough information to make individual or whole herd/flock management decisions. In many instances, the producer needs to be able to identify an animal. Besides making this task more efficient, ear tagging is also important to indicate ownership of a particular animal or to indicate the herd or flock of origin.

Identification tags are therefore as important to animals just as names and identification cards are to human beings. The need is even greater for animals which have decisions made for them rather human beings who are in charge of their own decisions.

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