Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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A simple yet inexpensive goat identification system is important for accurate record keeping and identification. This is how I eartag for quick and easy visual identification at Onion Creek Ranch. Because eartags can be lost or removed, this system is generally not considered a form of permanent identification (like tattooing or RFID chipping).

There are six pieces of information that eartags are used to provide at Onion Creek Ranch: sex, breed, herd, individual, sire, and scrapie. The first five items are identified by a single eartag; sire is identified by a second color-coded tag. Location of the tag identifies sex. Color of the tag identifies breed.

All females receive this five-item identification tag in the right ear, while all bucks are similarly tagged in the left ear. The information printed on the tag includes the OCR herd ID (numbers that are used both to identify the goat within the ranch's herd and for purposes of the scrapie program) and Onion Creek Ranch's Texas scrapie herd tag number.

Raising breeding stock requires the maintenance and utilization of multiple genetic lines, so a second tag was introduced to identify the sire of each goat. I use a small (about one inch square) double-sided mini-tag that is available in multiple colors and can be imprinted on both sides with the sire's name. This sire tag is put into the opposite ear. Does are sire tagged in the left ear and bucks in the right ear. If I run out of available colors, then blank white double-sided tags with the sire name written on it with permanent marker are used.

Onion Creek Ranch raises breeding stock and ships them across the country and around the world. Therefore, scrapie tagging is required. By using the double-sided mini tag, it has been possible to combine all this information into one color-coded tag. The individual scrapie tag number also serves as the individual goat identifier within the herd. This combo tag has eliminated the need for a third ear tag, leaving each goat with one eartag in each ear . . . . one tag identifying the breed, herd, sex, scrapie, and individual goat ID and the other tag recording the goat's sire.

While this may sound complicated and difficult to learn, you will be pleasantly surprised just how quickly you learn that a the color of the sire tag indicates the genetic line of the goat. The colored tags "jump out" at you when you are in the pasture looking at them. An additional benefit is that if one tag is lost, the remaining tag makes it easier to backtrack and find out who the goat is for retagging purposes.

There are additional benefits in managing the annual kid crop: I tag kids with the appropriate herd tag when I give them their first CD/T and pneumonia vaccinations. I install the sire tags when the booster vaccinations are given 30 days later. Because of the number of kids born at Onion Creek Ranch and the extended time frame that kidding entails, the older kids are vaccinated sooner than the younger ones. If kids have a tag in each ear, I know they've have initial and booster vaccinations. If kids have only the herd tag in the ear, I know that booster vaccinations haven't been given. No tags means that no vaccinations have been received.

When weaning time arrives for the boys, the placement of the herd tag helps me easily identify males from females at three months of age.

These tags are inexpensive, customizable, easy to use, and a tremendous management tool.


Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas 7/1/22

Meat Goat Mania

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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