Cattle Tagging – Best Practice

Tagging of cattle is a mandatory exercise, and first tagging should be carried out within 36 hours for dairy cattle, and 20 days for beef. The British Cattle Movement Service offer advice on best practices for tagging your cattle. You should consider the following points when tagging your bovines.

  • The tag should be applied 1/3 from the head and 2/3 from the tip of the ear.
  • For cattle the tags should be inserted in the middle/lower ear.
  • Avoid piercing the ridges of cartilage in the ear, as this may deform the ear and may also result in infection.
  • Make sure that you or your operator is properly trained and competent in the application of ear tags. Read the Health and Safety Executive’s advice on the handling and housing of cattle (Agriculture Information Sheet 35). HERE
  • Make sure that you are using the correct applicator for the model of tag you are fitting. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Fit in cool weather (where possible) to minimise infections.
  • Secure the animal’s head to prevent jerking during tagging.
  • Apply tags under hygienic conditions. The operator’s hands, the ear, the tag and the applicator should be clean. Disinfect as necessary using an appropriate solution.
  • When fitting plastic tags make sure the tags line up correctly on the applicator and will lock together when correctly fitted.
  • In the case of plastic tags ensure that both parts of the tag have the same number.
  • In the case of plastic tags the female part of the tag should always be on the inside of the ear, this will reduce the chance of the tag snagging or catching on obstructions such as fences, gates and feeding troughs. The male part of the tag should always enter from the back of the ear.
  • Check the ear after about 10 days for signs of damage or infection. Consult your veterinary surgeon as necessary.
  • Store unused tags in a clean dry container.

Cattle tags are available to order from all of our Country Stores, and SAME DAY  REPLACEMENT TAGS are available from our Barnard Castle, Kendal and Stirling branches with their on-site laser facilities.