Ear tags

Help Support CattleToday:


Well-known member
Apr 26, 2004
Reaction score
Starting a new herd. I was wondering how some of you keep track of cows, 1st crop calves, 2nd crop.........., we used to use one color of tag for all cows and then a different color for every calf born to that cow. Also, anyone use some sort of cattle management software on their herds? If so, what is the name of it?
we use CattleMax software & have been really pleased with it. their customer service is great.

as for tags, our registered herd is numbered consecutively. as a calf is born it gets the next number. heifers get one color & bulls get another. they're all tagged in the left ear because this frees up the right ear for the bangs tattoo (we tattoo in the top web of each ear and this number corresponds to the tag number).

the commercial calves are also numbered consecutively (separate from the registered) and will have a prefix in front of the number designating which pasture.
The system I'm using is this:
All animals get the same colour CCIA tag and in the left ear.

Cows - commercial : numbered starting with the year they were purchased and how many. Eg. Cow # 121 Purchased in 2001 and the 21st cow purchased that year.

Cows - purebred : numbered and lettered the same as her dam, but with the letter indicating year of birth following. Eg. Bull # 28L-N is born in the N year (2003) and son of 28L.

Calves with the exception of purebreds get the same numbers as their dams...that way if I notice that calf #351 is looking a bit off, I'll hunt down cow #351 to check her udder to see if he's been nursing her. That way I don't need to find my calving records to match pairs out in the pastures.

Commercial heifers kept back for replacements simply get another tag with the letter indicating year of birth first and then the dam's number. Eg. Heifer calf #211 if kept back for replacement last year would have #N211.

It sounds somewhat confusing, but it works for me.

Take care.
Since we castrate all bulls, they get a blue tag in the right ear that is sequentially numbered. Same tags are reused year after year. Heifers are numbered with the lette designation for year of birth and the sequential number for heifers born each year. P1 was the first heifer born in 2004.


Latest posts