Sheep Identification: The Basics

China leads the world in number of sheep – claiming 15.9% of the world’s population. Australia and New Zealand have the most power in the world markets for wool and lamb. Iran has over 48 million sheep.

The U.S. is not a world leader when it comes to sheep and numbers, but sheep production is still an important business for many Americans. And as with all other livestock, proper identification very important. Let’s learn a little more.

Why Identify Sheep?

Sheep are multi-purpose animals. In other words, farmers raise them for various reasons. Although it pains most animal lovers to hear, most U.S. lambs are used for butchering. Meat production and dairying is a large industry in the U.S.

Sheep can also used be used for vegetation control, wool production, and even in lamb marketing.

As you could probably guess, it’s important to keep sheep in order for the right tasks. Keeping proper identification is important to know the sheep’s birth year, breed type, owner, sex, etc.

Here at Ketchum, our two most popular solutions for sheep identification are ear tags and tattoos.

Sheep Ear Tags

Farmers most commonly use sheep ear tags. Ketchum offers both brass and plastic ear tag options for permanent solutions. Both kinds of sheep tags have their advantages. Brass tags are light and they keep a low profile, but they’re not easy to read from afar. Plastic tags come in neon colors and are easy to read, but they’re more prone to fading.


Tattoos are an excellent way to identify sheep in the event a tag gets lost. Redundancy can save you from a major headache. Ketchum offers tattoo ink in various colors, as well as the equipment needed to get the job done. Tattooing the sheep absolutely will not hurt it.

There are other ways to identify sheep, such as paint identification, neck straps, and more. These forms of identification are meant for more temporary purposes.

Have questions about sheep identification? Call Ketchum Mfg. at 1-800-222-0460.

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

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Tips for Photographing Your Pet

The end of the year is near, and it’s about that time where people start to send out their annual holiday cards. Some people send out the generic “Happy Holiday’s” cards, others make it personal, and some… attach a recent photo of their family. Personally, the photo cards are my favorite. If all the kids are away or you are dealing with an empty nest, an adorable picture of your pup is the best kind of substitute. Can’t get the little guy to sit still? Don’t worry, by the end of this post you should be a pro!

Turn off the flash!

Every time I bust out the camera, my little girl is so quick to shy away and turn her head. While she might be a bit camera shy, she probably is scared of the bright flash. If you get your pet to keep their eyes open for the picture and your flash is on, you’ll often get zombie looking laser eyes. That’s like a lose-lose for everyone involved.


Get on their level.

Perspective is very important when taking a good photograph. Taking a picture of your dog on the ground while standing up makes their legs appear short, head to appear large, and bodies to appear out of proportion.


Keep treats in your pocket.

In order to get your pup to take a perfect picture you need them to do three things. Sit/Stay, Look at you (or the camera), and have them look lively (get excited). Keep your portions small so that your pup doesn’t fill up too fast. Once you get them in the correct position make sure to shower them with love and encouragement. Yelling at them because they are “not doing it right” will only make them shut down and look miserable every time there is a camera around.


Catch them doing something naturally.

I think we can all agree that candid shots are the most fun! It’s great watching animals in their most natural state of mind. If for some reason your pet can smell the treats hidden in your pocket from the previous tip, try looking away and ignoring them.


Once you have your shot, making Christmas cards can be pretty inexpensive! I would look on Shutterfly, Vistaprint, Walmart, or Snapfish. All of these companies typically have specials running throughout December to help you save on cost! From my furry family to yours—Happy Holidays!













P.S. Have you checked out our Pinterest Page? We have pinned some adorable Holiday Card Ideas! Check it out!!

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

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Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

I treat my dog like it’s my child, and I rarely leave home without it! He’s my better half and I couldn’t imagine traveling without him. Every dog is different. If you are thinking about traveling with your furry friend this holiday make sure you have your bases covered.

Be Prepared Before You Travel:

  1. Properly identify your pet with ID Tags. We recommend you give your pet an additional tag with the address and number of the place you are staying just in case your pet wanders off once you get there!
  2. Talk to your vet before making your trip. It is important to make sure your furry friend is healthy enough to travel! Some pets get anxiety while traveling in cars. If this is the case, your vet may be able to write you a prescription for some sedatives. Also! While you are at the vet, it wouldn’t hurt to have a copy of your pets most up-to-date record and vaccinations (it’s better to be safe than sorry)
  3. Make sure you have EVERYTHING you are going to need. Depending on your stay arrangements, trusting new litter or a different pet food might not seem like a big deal to you, but when your pet is adjusting to a new environment it can make a huge difference. The last thing you want is for your pet to act out and decide to use that newly installed carpet as a litter box. Try to keep their lifestyles as normal as possible.

Traveling by Car?

  1. Make sure you keep your dog out of the front seat. If the airbag goes off, it could seriously hurt your furry friend.
  2. Cats belong in carriers. Most cats are uncomfortable traveling in cars, so it’s best to keep them constraint while traveling.
  3. Plan Rest/Exercise Stops
    Make sure to stop frequently to allow your pet to exercise, go to the bathroom, and hydrate. Pets are like humans, they can only hold it for so long- the last thing you want is for an accident to happen in your car while traveling! That smell would not be pleasant! Plan Accordingly! If traveling long-distance it is ideal to try and stop every three hours.

We try not to recommend traveling by plane due to the possible harsh conditions of the cargo. Unless your friend is small enough to be used as a carry-on, we recommend you think about overnight kennel boarding options. Double check with your airline to make sure pets are allowed. Ask about carrier restrictions and try to arrive to the airport early to alleviate any additional stress on your pet.

Whatever you decide to do, travel smart, be safe, and enjoy the time spent with your loved ones. Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

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

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The History of Animal ID Tags

Dog with tags
We all know what a dog tag is for. If your dog ever loses its way, there’s that little piece of metal is there to save the day. And if you ever visit a farm, you’ll notice that cattle have a small tag on their ear. Most people don’t give this tag a second thought. What’s the real significance of these animal tags? Why did we start using them? Read below for a quick history on this system.

Dog Tags

The famous jingling sound coming from a dog’s neck has been around for a very long time, and it has a fascinating history. Most dogs used to have just their name written on the tag. Over time, people avoided putting their dog’s name on the tag. One reasons was that it became easy for a thief to steal a dog simply by calling it over. And when dogs were stolen, the thief wouldn’t have to give authorities much proof it was theirs – they would simply say the dog’s name and the dog would respond, which was proof enough that the thief was the “owner.”

To avoid these highly illegal and truly sad acts from happening, people started putting different info, such as a phone number or an address, on the tag. In the last half-decade or so, you could even put a QR code on an ID tag. Or use an ID tag with a microchip installed. As helpful as all of that can be, putting your dog’s name on a tag has its advantages. One popular advantage is that when a lost dog is found, the finder can use the dog’s name to comfort it.
Stanley Iwanski's WWII Dogtag (1942)
Ever since the early days of information getting put on identification tags, the army started using what were basically real “dog tags” as a way to identify anyone in the military. These tags became very popular in World War II. Still today, soldiers wear dog tags. If a soldier is wounded in battle, they can be identified. Back before dog tags were used, soldiers would identify themselves in any way possible – even if it meant putting paper notes on their coats.

Cattle Tags

Cattle tags have been around since farmers started to need a way to distinguish their cattle in a herd. Branding used to be the most popular way to do it, and it’s still sometimes the method of choice today. For humane and economic reasons, America has adopted a method of using livestock ear tags. What gets put on the tag differs. It could be as simple as a two to four digit number that makes the sales process easier. Sometimes your auction name can be customized on the back. Or if the cattle is already at home on a farm, the tag could include its gender, date of birth, and its parents. Ankle tags and neck tags are also used on cows, while poultry commonly have leg and wing bands.

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

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