Why You Should ID Your Sheep

Identification is a very important tool when managing livestock. Every successful business operation must have accurate records, and the livestock industry is no different. Where sheep are concerned there are several differentiations in identification. There are permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary. Curious what each is used for? Read on.

lamb[1]

Ear Tags

Ear tags are some of the most commonly used form of livestock identification. They come in many forms and colors and are usually made from plastic or soft metal, such as brass. The metal ear tags are usually the same size and take along the same shape, the plastic ones come in different colors and a few different shapes. Brass tags are ideal for using on small and newborn lambs because they’re light and won’t pull down on the ear. Each style of ear tag, metal and brass, can be numbered or be left blank in case you use your own numbering and ID system. These tags are applied to the animal’s ear using an ear tagger which acts similarly to a piercing gun used for human ear piercings.

Scrapie Identification

While not used primarily on the farm, these tags are used when shipping sheep and lambs out of state. The U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture requires almost all sheep and lambs to have premise identification ear tags before leaving their farm of origin. This is done to help eradicate scrapie disease, and identifies where every sheep came from when shipped. These tags are applied like a normal ear tag using a tagger.

Tattoos

Tattoos are one of the best forms of permanent livestock identification. They don’t harm the animal’s appearance nor reduce its value. This is usually done by tattoo gun or by press, with the numbers and letters made of needles that place very small holes in their shape and then ink is applied to the holes so that the number is readable. The downside is that the tattoos are very hard to read at a distance and will require catching the animal to read the tattoo.

Ear Notching

Ear notching is done by placing a V-shaped notch placed somewhere in the ear. While swine producers use this system as a way to identify their livestock. Sheep producers mainly use it for simple differentiation. For example, a farmer may use ear notching to denote birth type or when the lamb/sheep was born. Additionally, it can be used to mark ewes for culling.

Neck Chains

Finally, there’s neck chains. This form of identification is most commonly used for dairy animals such as cows or goats. The chain needs to be placed around the animal’s neck tight enough that it doesn’t fall off but loose enough so it doesn’t choke them or cause growth problems, which means constant inspection. Additionally, chains can be caught on objects causing the animal to choke. I would not consider this a permanent form of identification as the chains can be easily removed.

What do you use as a form of livestock identification? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you’re in need of some livestock ID tags or tattooing supplies check out our full line of supplies.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Tips for Raising Sheep

sheep

A couple of weeks ago we released some tips on lambing that will help you make it a smoother process. There are many reasons to raise sheep and it’s important to first find out your reasons for wanting to raise sheep in the first place. They can be great for improving your agricultural landscape as livestock grazing helps to to control vegetation and preserve open lands. Also, they can be great to raise for profit, and it isn’t as hard as some think it is. But, whatever your reason, here are some tips to help you get started if you want to start raising sheep.

Tip #1 – Housing

Traditional barns are, by far, the most standard choice for housing when raising sheep for profit. While they might be expensive, they give the best protection for sheep, the feeds, and the equipment. If you’re looking for something less expensive, a hoop house can be a good alternative. Additionally, you’re going to want to make sure where you put the barn is on elevated ground, has good drainage, wind protection, electricity, and easy access for deliveries and trash collection.

Tip #2 – Feeding

Whatever you plan on doing with your sheep herd, I would recommend that you invest in some feeders, not only will it make feeding easier, it will also reduce the risk of your sheep contracting diseases. Feeding sheep on the ground can increase this risk because your sheep are likely to use the same area that you feed them in as their bathroom, which means that the feed can get contaminated.

Tip # 3 – Handling

Sheep are very tame and sociable creatures, like goats, they strive for an environment that follows a routine and is peaceful. Also, make sure to keep your sheep together, this will help foster a sense of home and helps them stay comfortable. The more comfortable your herd is, the healthier they will be.

two lambs

Tip #4 – Management

The style in which you manage your herd’s breeding schedule is also extremely important. There are three different styles of lambing. Early lambing takes place from January to February, and then selling the lambs in early summer. Late lambing, which occurs between April and May, which will reduce production costs but the lambs will also be sold for less. Finally, there is also accelerated lambing, which increases production, but also puts additional strain on the sheep and needs extremely close attention to your herd.

We hope that these tips will help you with your research into raising sheep. For any identification needs, we carry a wide variety of animal ID tags, and Tambra Brass Tags!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Purpose of Cattle Tags

Catttle Tags

What are Cattle Tags?

What could be seen as an added accessory — you know, bling, or earrings — cattle tags actually serve a far greater purpose. Farms can be a confusing place. Typically farms sit on a good chunk of acreage. And with that, the livestock is left to play and explore their land. Between chickens, cows and pigs, you can just imagine the chaos. Having a structured organizational system in place is important so that you can keep track of your inventory. Ear tags are an easy-to-use and simple solution for any farmer to implement.

What is the Purpose of Ear Tags?

When farm animals are born, they all look very similar. As they get older, they continue to mirror the image of their peers. Ear tags are a way for the farmers to identify who is who in their land of livestock. Think of it this with. Ear tags are similar to birth certificates. They let you know who your parents are, when you were born, what your gender is, and what vaccinations you have been given.

The Numbering System

Everyone has his or her own unique method of identification, but the most common system is the numbering system. With this system, it’s common to introduce both letters and numbers. The letter would represent the year of birth. For example, if the calf was born in 2012, it would be given the letter A, for calves born in 2013, B, and so on and so forth. The numbers following the letter could determine the litter, number born on farm, or gender. Each system is unique. Once an animal is given an identification tag, they are to rep that tag for their entire lifetime.

Other Uses for Ear Tags:

While cattle tags are the most popular, they are not the only animal to use this system. Any animal that is raised for profit is typically marked with an ear tag. Pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, and rabbits are common examples.

Animals can also be tagged for research purposes. Flocks of geese or endangered species may be tagged in order to determine migration patterns.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+

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Pink Ribbon Cattle Tags

To show our support for the women and men battling Breast Cancer, Ketchum designed a Pink Ribbon Tag. We featured the Pink Ribbon tags on our website for the month of October. The profit from the sale of the tags was donated to the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County.

How the Tags Started

Early in October, I asked Gary to engrave a ribbon on one of our pink cattle neck tags. I thought the ribbon on a cattle tag was a unique way for us to show our support for the women and men fighting breast cancer. The tag turned out great and I posted a picture of the tag on our Facebook page. We got a very positive response.

Our Customers are so Generous

One of the comments on our post was an order for 20 of the tags, as well as several other inquiries about how to get a Pink Ribbon tag. So the idea to offer the tags for sale actually came from one of our customers! I always say, our customers have the best ideas! We decided to place the Pink Ribbon Tag on our website and donate $2.50 for each tag sold to the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County. While there are many worthy organizations working to find a cure and treatment options for breast cancer, we wanted to keep our support local.

Keeping our Donations Local

Breast Cancer is as personal for us as it is for most people. Our Mother is a survivor; we are so blessed to have her with us! We wanted to keep our donation local and help support our neighbors through diagnosis and treatment programs in our community.

Our goal was to sell 100 of the Pink Ribbon Tags. We didn’t reach our goal, and we did make a $250.00 donation to the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County. We plan to offer the Pink Ribbon Tags again next October, with a more comprehensive marketing plan and a higher goal! Of course, like everyone, we are hoping the cure will be discovered this year!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Feral Swine

Domestic Piglets from Breezy Pond Farm

Feral swine herds have had explosive growth since the 1990′s, with an estimated population of 6 million pigs, according to the New York Times.  What used to be a problem for southern states is spreading and there are now feral swine in 45 states.  The estimated annual damage, in the United States, caused by feral swine is 1.5 billion dollars.

The Spread of Feral Swine Herds

Swine are very adaptable and with a near by source of water, can thrive almost any place.  Capture and release practices are one of the major causes of the rapid geographical spread of feral hogs.  Some people capture nuisance pigs and rather than killing them, transport them to a new location, while other groups may introduce wild hogs to an area for sport hunting.

Government Responses

Many states governments are taking aggressive action to decrease the harmful impact  of feral swine on the environment.  New York State, as well as many other states, has an open hunting season on wild hogs.  North Carolina has a serious problem, with every county in the state reporting wild pig populations, along with an open hunting season, new regulations have been adopted.  In North Carolina all domestic hogs being transported on public roadways must be identified with either an ear tag or a tattoo.  The fine for transporting live, unidentified swine is $5,000.00 for each pig.

Tattoo Supplies

Ketchum has a variety of tattoo products available.  We offer a hog slap tattooer that can hold 4, 5 or 6 large 3/4″ digits.  The slap tattoo is an inexpensive way to mark the hogs before they are transported. Our Baby Pig Tattooer is another option and may be the easiest way to tattoo, while the piglets are small and more easily managed.  Ketchum Hog Slap tattoo ink and paste are available in green and black. Please visit our website for more details.

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Ketchum Tags On Location

Parlay Studios in New York, one of our new customers,  is using Ketchum cattle neck tags to identify their expensive photography equipement.  They were kind enough to send us a note on how well the tags are working for them.

Here at Parlay Studios we use your tags on film and photography shoots to label our vast equipment inventory.  They are extremely useful in which they clearly label our gear and make it easier for our clients to differentiate our equipment from their own.  Now they not only set us apart from every other equipment rental studio, but let everybody know where they can contact us to order their own!  
 
EQ tags are not only informative but also stand out amongst a wide range of equipment in the production world.  For example we have about 40 sandbags in our inventory, a necessity during any production, and each one is clearly tagged with our personalized EQ Tag.  
 
There are no doubts as to which sandbags are ours and which belong to clients.  This is a large help to our business because we no longer have to worry about missing gear.  If someone borrows something they know exactly where to return it.  Thank you so much for your amazing product! 
 
 
 I have also attached a few photographs that show how we use EQ Tags.
 
 
Thanks!
Victoria
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Colorful Nylon Kennel Tags

Which pets are on a special diet, who’s having surgery in the morning, what medication is required? Keeping track of the special needs of your guests can be a challenge, especially when they can’t answer your questions.  Busy veterinary offices and boarding facilities have many pets in and out every day with several staff members caring for them.  While having a chart or file on each pet is necessary for recording their care, a quick reference on the cage can be helpful. 

The bright colors and durable nylon make our #421 cattle neck tags the perfect kennel tag.  The nylon tags measure 3-1/2″ x 2-1/4″ with a 1″ hole and are available in Red, Green, Blue, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Purple, Black and White.  The tags are available with 1-3/8″ numbers if you just need to identify each cage or run. 

We can engrave just about any information you may require.  Of course, the number of characters will determine the size of the type.  Some examples of kennel tags we’ve engraved are “Caution Aggressive”, “Under Vet Care”, “No Food or Water”.  We did have fun with one of our customers, they wanted a tag that said “Dislikes Men”, we sent an extra tag engraved with “Loves Men!”

To quickly clip the tags to the kennel, we recommend our Bolt Snap or Trigger Snaphooks.  Either hook is attached to the tag with an 1-1/8″ key ring.

The durability of the nylon makes these tags the perfect reusable marking system.  The 421 neck tag was originally developed for use on dairy cows. The tags withstand heat and cold, and do not chip or break when banged around and can be disinfected right along with the rest of the kennel.

Please contact us at sales@ketchummfg.com with your tagging requirements, we’ll be happy to work with you to get the best marking solution.

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Cattle Tags on the Ski Slope

We were so excited to learn that our plastic cattle ear tags are being used to mark the gate positions on the slalom ski course at an area resort.

The ski team requires a reusable tag that is able to withstand cold, snowy weather as well as being durable enough to survive being run over by speeding skies.  Our 402 cattle ear tags have been working perfectly.  The tags are nailed into the snow for each training session to mark the position of the poles.  Often the poles are knocked down and need to be replaced in the same pattern.

After 10 years on the ski slope some of the tags are beginning to break down and need to be replaced.   We think the harsh environment of the ski slope is a great testament for the durability and longevity of our plastic tags.  We also like to hear about the unusual places our tags are employed!

402 Cattle Ear Tags are molded from urethane, measuring 2-3/8″ x 2-7/8″ ,and are available in green, red, blue, yellow, violet, black, orange, white and neon colors; pink, green and orange.  Our plastic ear tags can be ordered in numbered sets, the large numbers are hot stamped into the plastic, creating a permanent, highly visible number.

Our line of plastic ear tags are available in several sizes, one that’s sure to meet your tagging requirements, whether you’re tagging livestock ears or ski slopes!  Please check out our full line of products on our website www.ketchummfg.com.

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Are Ewe My Maa-Maa?

The new lambs and kids will be arriving soon!  Of course, the ewes knew which little bundle of cuteness belongs to them, but do you?

As children, one of our favorite Dr. Seuss books was “Are You My Mother?”  A baby bird hatches while the mother bird is away from the nest and spends the rest of the book running around asking various animals, “are you my mother?”  Our Mom always used different voices for each of the characters, probably why we liked ths story so much!  Today I’m picturing a flock of lambs all baa-ing for their Mama! 

At Ketchum, we manufacture several  small metal ear tags that are perfect for little ears. The #314 Tambra http://www.ketchummfg.com/c32/c117/Tambra-Ear-Wing-Tags-Brass-Numbered-p437.html, is a small brass tag, measuring 3/4″ long by 3/16″ wide with a tamper proof locking button. The tags are sequentially numbered on one side and can be personalize with up to six characters on the other side.  These same tags are also available in aluminum.

Our #312 Kemco http://www.ketchummfg.com/c32/Kemco-Aluminum-Ear-Tags-c116.html , is slightly larger, made from aluminum and measures 1-1/4″ long by 1/4″ wide.  The Kemco can be personalized with up to nine characters in one or two lines.

You may prefer or require a tags that is visible from a distance, Ketchum carries plastic ear tags.  We recommend the #404 and #405 plastic tags for sheep and goat ears http://www.ketchummfg.com/Plastic-Ear-Tags-c87.html

If you prefer to tattoo the ears as a means of identification we carry a full line of tattoo equipment http://www.ketchummfg.com/Tattoo-Equipment-Animal-c120.html, including pliers, digits, inks and pastes.

Order your ear tags Today at http://www.ketchummfg.com/ so you’ll be ready to identify which lamb belongs to which ewe as soon as they’re born.

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Structure Fire

“The building collapsed with four firefighters inside!”  Our customer, Travis, called to tell us how well his fire company’s accountability system worked.

There were 27 volunteer fire companies at the working structure fire.  I’m sure you can imagine how easily a fire scene can become confusing.  The trucks are loud, there are fire fighters from different companies and the adrenaline is running high.    Four fire fighters, including Travis, were inside the building and the building collapsed, thankfully, all four men were able to escape unharmed.  A firefighter from one of the other companies was shouting that there was still a man inside.  The safety officer assured him that everyone was out.  He was correct and all of the firefighters were out of the building. 

The fire company in charge of the fire scene has established an accountability system.  Travis is our contact and he orders the 421-FF accountability tags from us. They use a two tag system, one tag stays on the fire fighter’s gear and the second tag is given to the safety officer when the fire fighter enters the building and is retrieved when he exits the building.

We are very proud to have our tags involved in programs to keep our firefighters safe.  The design, implementation and consistent use of the accountability system is very important.  The team needs to understand the routine and to use it every time at every scene.

Travis has had three of the volunteer companies that were at the structure fire contact him to help with the design of their accountability programs.  He assures us they will be ordering their accountability tags from Ketchum! 

Thank you, Travis, and all your fellow firefighters, for the dedication and time you spend training so that when we call, you are able to come to our rescue.

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