EARTAGS FOR PYGMY GOATS by Hilary Breakell May 2022

All adult goats (over 12 months) must have two ‘identifiers’ with the same unique ID numbers. Currently, goats aren’t required to have an EID (electronic identifier) unless they are going to be exported. Identifiers for goats are typically eartags but one of the two identifiers can also be a pastern tag, a bolus EID or an injectable EID (in groin) Kids must be ‘identified’ by 6 months of age and must be identified before moving off your holding.

Tag colours
Red tags are specifically used for replacements for when a previous tag is lost and the new owner does not know the original tag number.
Yellow tags are only used for electronic tags.
Black tags are used to denote that the animal has either a bolus EID or injectable EID as their second identifier.
We are allowed to choose any other available colour for standard goat ear tags.

There are several UK ear tag manufacturers who sell tags suitable for goats but, of course, goats’ ears vary in size and finding tags suitable for tiny pygmy kids’ ears is not easy. The tags I used to use, and recommended, were called D-Tags and these were quite small and discreet with the thinnest stem - which I thought made them ideal. However a few years ago the company I used to buy them from stopped selling them. I spent a good deal of time contacting other manufacturers asking for an equivalent tag which, apparently, just wasn’t available. Thankfully I recently posted on the PGC Facebook page asking for recommendations for tags and was informed that there is a company still manufacturing the small, thin-stemmed tags. So I contacted them and placed my order and now have a good stock of them. These tags are a one-piece loop style, which I cut in half so that there is less chance of them getting caught or snagged. I particularly like the fact that if a goat should happen to catch the tag on anything it will ping out cleanly- rather than rip their ear. Unfortunately goats being goats, they do tend to catch them and so quite a few lose their tags – which is why I needed a new stock of them to replace lost tags (all my goats are home bred so no need for red tags) I can usually find and re-use the same tag hole so it’s a quick, painless procedure to snap a new tag through the existing hole.

The tags are called Easy Tag (management tags) available from  www.quicktag.co.uk .

It was useful to learn through my Facebook post which other tags some breeders use, so I shall list those preferred suppliers below so that anyone looking for tags can take their choice. Some sell two piece tags, others are button shaped. Most suppliers will send out samples if requested.

Ritchie Tags (no website found)
Mole Valley Farmers (tags not found on website but can be ordered in store)

The full list of officially Approved Tag Suppliers can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/approved-sheep-and-goat-ear-tag-suppliers/approved-sheep-and-goat-ear-tag-suppliers

For all further information on livestock movement and identification (England) please visit. www.gov.uk/topic/keeping-farmed-animals/sheep-identity-registration
Guidance for Wales: gov.wales/keeping-farmed-animals
Guidance for Scotland: www.gov.scot/publications/livestock-identification-and-traceability-guidance

I don’t think any goat breeder particularly likes ear tags or having to tag kids, but unfortunately at the moment they are compulsory. Personally I think the tags I’ve mentioned above are the safest to avoid torn ears but if your goat should suffer any damage to the ear or an infection caused by an ear tag there is a reporting form which is used to gather information. This form can also be used for issues with other identifiers too. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/928208/ear-tag-report-form-v7.pdf

Hilary Breakell