Requirements

Sheep & Goat ID

The National Scrapie Eradication Program requires Official ID on most sheep and goats when they leave the Producer's premises.

Individual States may have additional requirements.
State Animal Health Offices

 

Designated Scrapie Epidemiologists

There are two types of tips on ear tags:
Some producers find the metal tip tags easier to apply as they take less pressure to pierce the ear.

1:  Metal Tip

2:  Plastic Tip

It is best to apply tags as shown here:

Ears on young lambs and kids (particularly 3-4 days old) are less likely to become infected from tagging. Infection usually occurs more often in adult goats and sheep because their ears tend to be dirtier. Using a disinfectant when tagging will decrease the incidence of infection.

 

To Help Prevent Infection from Tags:
  • Tag when they are lambs or kids.
  • Don't place tags close to the skull.
  • Tag when the ear is dry and clean.
  • Keep tags in clean, closed container until used.
  • Don't apply tags during fly season.
  • If you live in a humid climate, tag in winter.
  • Apply an antibiotic, fly repellant or disinfectant to the ear or tag.
To Help Prevent Lost Tags:
  • Follow the tagging diagrams above.
  • Use smaller tags.
  • If you don't use tags, or if you use regular tags for management ID, you can wait to tag with Official ID until required to do so by the Scrapie Eradication Program requirements

It is ILLEGAL to remove any tag that has a US Shield.

 
  • If a sheep or goat loses a tag and you know who they are, apply a new tag and record that number with the original record. If you don't know who the goat or sheep is, create a new record, note that the tag replaces a lost one, and record the date and number of the tag you apply.
  • DO NOT remove any tag with the Official US Stamp. If the ear is infected and you must remove the tag, call 866-USDA-TAG to tell USDA. Replace the tag and be careful to record that number with the old number in the goat's or sheep's record. To protect yourself, take a photo of the old and new tag on the goat or sheep.
 

Alternative Official Id Options

TATTOOS
  • Tattoos may be used as the sole form of Official ID for sheep or goats as long as they are accompanied by registration papers from an USDA-approved breed registry and they are not moving to slaughter or through a livestock market. Both the registry Flock ID and the letter for the birth year with individual ID must be printed on the registration paper.
USDA Approved Registries
  • Tattooed Scrapie Flock ID may be used if it is used in conjunction with individual ID. The Scrapie Flock ID number should either be tattooed above the goat's individual, unique Herd ID, or in the other ear.
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840 RFID MICROCHIP IMPLANTS
   
  • 840 RFID Microchip Implants can be used as the sole form of Official ID for sheep or goats that are not moving to slaughter or through a livestock market, if the implant is located in the lower ear, or web of the tail. When properly applied in either of these locations, the implants do not move.

     

    These microchips can be read by an enectronic reader that will store the numbers to download to a spreadsheet, or software that can be used to make it easier for the producer to record data while treating or handling goats. A tag is still needed for producers who want visual ID.
  • When an 840 RID Microchip Implant is located in the tail web, the goat or sheep must be tattooed in the ear with an "ET."
  • When an 840 RID Microchip Implant is located in the lower ear, the goat or sheep must be tattooed in the ear with an "E."
If the ears are too small to tattoo, the tattoo may be placed in the tail.
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