More than two centuries ago, farmers found a way to identify their cattle among the big herds. Ear cattle tags have been in use for a long time, but only from 1953 do they look almost the same way as they look today!
This article’s purpose is to present the best cattle ear tags you can discover out in the market nowadays. Nevertheless, before we go this far, we will first learn about why they are that useful and how you can properly apply them to your cattle. So, buckle up, because you are about to find out where to find the best cattle ear tags and how to search for them!
- What is a cattle ear tag?
- Why should I use cattle ear tags?
- The Best Cattle Ear Tags
- Buying guide
- How to apply cattle ear tags
- FAQS about cattle ear tags
- Can I use the cattle ear tags for other animals?
- If the tags don’t have a printer number, how do I write on them?
- Will the tags cause a problem to a cow’s ears because of weight?
- Can I use a different applicator from the one in the package?
- How will I understand if the ear tag has been put correctly on the ear?
- If I have extra ear tags which I didn’t use, where should I store them?
What is a cattle ear tag?
Cattle ear tags are small labels that are placed on the ears of the cattle. They are usually made from either plastic or metal, materials that are safe for the health of an animal. They kind of look like earrings with numbers on them and help to tell which animal is which.
Of course, as technology has progressed, in some farms they use Electronic Identification Tags which work through radio frequency and they hold all the details of a cow’s life. They have an identification number that you can scan and then store any kind of information you want.
Although this kind of technology is quite helpful, this time we will go through the more simple and more economic solutions which actually work very well! Moreover, ear tags are not used only to identify the cattle as you will find out below!
Apart from being the ideal recognition method, cattle ear tags serve a lot of purposes you might have never thought about. Since they are an essential element for every cattle farmer, you might as well know why!
- Identify each cow
Instead of trying to find a particular cow only from the color of her fur or some other physical characteristic, a number is much easier to remember and locate. Thus, you will be able to separate an animal with a simple method, something which saves time and labor.
- Keep track on the age
By using different colors for each year a cattle was born, you will have the records of their age right in front of you. Of course, it doesn’t have to be color because you can always write on the tag the date of birth for each cow.
- Sex distinction
With the same way, meaning different colors or even different ears, you can distinguish which calf is female or male. Again, it doesn’t have to be color, and when they are older you will understand their sex from their appearance. For earlier years though, and in a big herd, this way assists a lot.
- Performance review
When you have the tags with numbers on their ears, you can create a list with everything you need to know about their performance in general. You can keep track of their births and their productivity instead of leaving things to luck.
- Problem indicator
A very important matter when you own any kind of livestock is to identify an animal’s illness and watch how it progresses. Any kind of problem, even a wounding, can be observed by having a certain ear tag.
- Think Long-Term
Imagine, if you ever want to sell a cow, you must know exactly in which state she is. When you keep track of everything, just by having ear tags and keeping records, you will know when, why, and how you can sell the cattle!
- The more, the merrier
When you have a lot of information on an animal, you can use more than one ear tag. The cows have two ears as well, and plastic ear tags are not heavy at all for them. This way, you can discover a system that serves you best!
The Best Cattle Ear Tags
We searched online to save you some time, and we found the best cattle ear tags for you. Take a look, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the best one for you!
1. Goldpaddy Livestock Animal Ear Tagging
Goldpaddy Ear Tagging is a package of 100 green numbered pieces of cattle ear tags. It also includes an ear tag plier of the same color and 2 spare ear tag pins, in case they need to be changed. Additionally, it is a decent product with laser-printed tags made from plastic, an element that prolongs their longevity. When they are made from the laser, they don’t get erased that easily.
Furthermore, the plier is apparently easy to use with an automatic lock for safety. This feature also helps when it comes to the pain of the piercing since it is minimizing it. It is made from metal, it has a stoving varnish and a comfy handle!
On the other hand, people who used them have had some complaints about the plier which didn’t work. or the pins were too small. In addition, in some peoples’ opinion, the numbers were too small to read. Somehow though, most of them managed to use them properly. An important pro here is that the shipping is quite fast!
2. WMYCONGCONG Livestock Ear Tag
This three-colored ear tag package looks pretty appealing! It comes in 300 pieces, with 100 blue, 100 orange, and 100 yellow ear tags. They are made from plastic and they are designed for smaller livestock animals, like goats and sheep.
They come with a red ear tag applicator. The material is metal and it has a stoving varnish. Moreover, the numbers are already printed on but they appear to fade after 6 months or so. Their size and shape indicate that they could be ideal for secondary ear tags for cattle and small calves!
The drawbacks here exist as well since there were confessions that they break off after a while and their quality is not so good. Also, the tagger is not a very good fit with the tags. In contrast to these reviews, many people found them very useful but not big enough for cattle.
3. Nomal Blank Cattle Ear Tags
Normal ear tags come in a delightful light blue color. Some people might see this as a disadvantage, but for them to be blank means that they can also be used as secondary tags for additional information about the cattle. They are 100 pieces and they are made of plastic.
There is a negative point here because they don’t come with a plier, but you might also have one, so it will not be necessary. They are compatible with standard applicators. Their simple design is quite an appealing one. They have mostly positive reviews and they appear to be sturdy through rain and wind!
4. Lucky Farm Cattle Ear Tags
The distinctive and most common color of cattle ear tags, let’s face it, is yellow. The plastic Lucky farm ear tags are laser printed and durable. The package contains 100 tags which are weather resistant and are characterized by their sturdiness. To add to that, pins are made from stainless steel and the size is ideal for cattle.
In addition, the package includes a metal plier with an automatic lock. It is easy to use, it provides safety for the person who applies the tags, and has minimum pain for the animals. Although there are many positive reviews, in some cases there were complaints about a non-functional applicator and the breaking off of some of them in a small amount of time.
5. COCOLELE Livestock Identification Numbered Plastic Ear Tags
Finally, cattle ear tags for a big herd! Cocolele package includes no less than 1000 tags and it is for you, dear farmers, who own a really big number of cows. The most fun fact about this product is that you can actually communicate with the company and order the numbers you want. They can laser print whichever numbers you want on the tags (0-1000 or 2000-3000 etc.)
Longevity is what Cocolele cattle ear tags are about. They are made from TPU material, the best one for ear tags and they are laser printed, something which ensures that the numbers won’t face so easily. They are red, but they can also be made at any color you prefer. Along with everything else, a plier comes with them an automatic lock and is made from stainless steel.
In spite of all these good characteristics, there are always some black pages in every product. Some witnessed problems with the numbering while others said that the shipping took a really long time.
What would this review article be without its buying guide for the best cattle ear tags? Here are some tips for you to think about before ordering any kind of product to make sure it is the right one for you.
- Count your cattle before you buy ear tags. You don’t need to purchase a bigger number of tags than the number of your cattle.
- Check the size of the ear tags. There are many ear tags out on the market for different kinds of livestock. Make sure that the ones you will buy will be big enough for cattle and not for goats!
- Pay attention to the material. The best materials are plastic and TPU. They last long, they don’t cause infections and you can write on them anything you wish.
- Prefer cattle ear tags, at least for the primary ones, which have laser printed numbers on to avoid extra labor for yourself. They must be quite dark, because it will take longer for them to fade.
- Search for a package which includes an applicator as well, especially if you don’t have one already. The reason for that is simple: the plier will be a match for the tags and the pins if it is from the same company.
- Always check the reviews of anything you buy. It is the number one rule for every product we find online. We learn a lot from people who already have used the specific item.
Since we got this far, it is only fair to know how to correctly apply the ear tags on the cattle. The magic word here is the same as when we pierce our own ears: hygiene! Read below to learn step by step how to do the job in the best way possible.
- Use cattle ear tags to calves. Do not wait for them to grow older because doing it when they are still young will help you keep your records for a longer time, which is actually the whole point!
- Instead of doing it yourself, ask your veterinarian or another expert on the subject. You would do ear piercing on yourself, by yourself, right?
- It is always better to do it in the winter when the weather is cool and there are not many flies around. It will help to avoid any kind of infection.
- Cattle ear tags usually come with their own pliers. Check the instructions of the company you ordered to make sure that you are following the right procedure.
- Make sure that everything is decontaminated. From the tools and the tags to the environment, you will do the tagging. In other words, protect the welfare of your animals.
- Try to calm down each cow, to avoid an agitated animal when the operator will be trying to pierce through its ear. In other words, protect both the welfare of the operator and the cattle!
- After every tagging, check if the ear tag has been put correctly. There are many defective products that might fall off the ear after piercing it.
- When the procedure is over, inspect the ears of your cattle. There is always the chance for an infection afterward, something you must foresee in time.
Ear tags come in many sizes. Usually, the sizes of the cattle tags are quite big, but there are some which can also be used on goats, sheep, pigs, and other livestock.
The best solution is to buy laser-printed ear tags because whatever else you use will fade. An indelible marker could work for a long time, but it will also be erased eventually.
If they are from the right material, they won’t. Plastic is a light material and it will not cause any problems for your animal’s ears.
Can I use a different applicator from the one in the package?
Yes, you can, as long as it does the job.
How will I understand if the ear tag has been put correctly on the ear?
It is the same as when we do ear piercings. If the applicator/veterinarian does a good job, they will avoid the blood vessels and there will be no mark or bleeding.
In a clean plastic box could be a good solution. When you want to use them you have to sterilize them again to be sure that they won’t cause infections.
Finally, ear tags for cattle are a necessity for a farmer to keep things organized in a herd. There are many prerequisites someone must think about before applying anything on their animals’ ears, but as long as they are careful, they might just end up with many colorful and healthy ears on the farm.
Choosing the best cattle ear tags can be challenging, but if you are careful on certain points, and know exactly what you want, it will be a lot easier. As for me, for a small herd, Lucky farm ear tags could be a good pick. Simple, sturdy, and effective. They are made from good material, yellow color is quite distinctive in a herd of cows and they come with a plier.
For a larger herd of cattle though, Cocolele could be the ideal choice. TPU material is really good for animals and The fact that you can customize the tags is amazing. Think about it, read what every product has to offer, and make the perfect pick for you and your lovely cows!