What is the tattoo test?
It is very simple.
Do your cows have a tattoo in their ear?
Why do your cows need a tattoo in their ear? The simple answer is because it is required in order for them to be registered.
The tattoo is the only permanent and recordable identification mark to differentiate a specific cow. This mark not only identifies the animal, but it attaches the animal to the registration paperwork. Each cow's registration certifiate has a left or right ear tattoo recorded.
Why not just use an ear tag?
Ear tags are great on the farm. They help you to identify a cow from a distance. However, ear tags break and fall out. Also, many cattle shows, including the BEST, do not allow any farm tags. At the first show of the season, all farm tags are cut off of the show animals and the only tags allowed are county 4-H tags.
Why not use EID tags?
What is an EID tag?
An EID tag is an electronic "button" that is placed in the cow's ear. Each farm purchases a pre-programmed tag that has coding specific to their farm. Your veterinarian will use this tag to record your bangs vaccination as well as several other aspects of your cow's health.
The EID tag is supposed to be a permanent tag that stays with your cow for life. However, they have been known to fall out.
A tattoo is a permanent identification mark that cannot break, fall out, be removed or changed. It is with your cow for life.
At the Ohio State Fair, all of the cows were run through the chutes for weight, height and tattoo checks. If you did not have a legible tattoo, you were not elligible to show. We quickly discovered that many people had never thought to check their tattoos before the show.
With flashlight in hand to help illuminate the tattoo, ears were thoroughly checked and rechecked. It turns out that very few of the tattoos were easily read. On many, they had to stretch the imagination to make out the numbers and letters.
Ear tattoos are such an important part of identification verification, but an often hastily and poorly done part of the registration process.
Gather your supplies. Rubber gloves (so you don't have to go to church with green hands), alcohol, tattooer, numbers and ink,
Place tattoo numbers in tattooer. Make sure that these numbers are unique to that animal. You can use whatever numbers you would like. We use a four number system. The first 2 numbers represent the year of birth, the 3rd number is the last number of the dams tattoo and the 4th number is the birth order of the calf.
Make sure that the numbers are in correclty. I usually grab a piece of paper to stamp to make sure everything looks ok.
Decide which ear you are going to tattoo. It doesn't matter if you tattoo the left or right ear, just as long as it is recorded on the registration papers correctly. We tattoo in the left ear.
Rub ink into the ear.
Position tattoer in ear between the rib veins. Press firmly with tattooer to imprint the ear.
Rub more ink into ear. This helps to ensure that the ink is more thoroughly absorbed into the tattoo and also helps to stop any bleeding.
Record tattoo number with American Hereford Association.
A lot of information is gleaned from an animals registration papers. Blood lines are very important in determining qualities of animals. Accurate geonolgical information is essential to building a herd with strong genetic traits.
Tattooing your animals may seem like a tedious step, but it is essential for the integrity of your animals and your farm. It is very easy to get animals confused, especially as your herd grows, and tattooing is the only sure way to verify animals.
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Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.