Tagging Sheep

A momma sheep with her week old ram.

A momma sheep with her week old ram.  She is now tagged.

Scrapie (sounds like scrape e) is a fatal disease in sheep and goats.  The USDA is trying to eradicate this disease in the US.  One method is to tag all the sheep and goats so they can track where the infection came from if an animal gets it.  Tagging the sheep also helps us to keep track of when we purchase or sell animals, vaccinate, treat, etc.  If you haven’t noticed, it can be tricky to tell the sheep apart.  As our herd grows, it will get trickier.  Having a number on their tag helps us to tell them apart and to track who has received what medical care.  It is like having a numbered ear ring.

The USDA provides the tags and the tagging tool free of charge to all farmers.  The process is very simple but you have to have a strong grip strength to carry it out.  First, you must catch your sheep.  It is better to tag them as youngsters.  Our older ewes hadn’t been tagged before we purchased them so we got to experience tagging both older and younger lambs.  I held each sheep and hubby tagged them.  In one case, we both held the sheep as he tagged.  I tried to tag them but I was not strong enough.  Ugh.  Guess I better get a stronger grip.

Hubby is straddling the sheep as he tags her ear.

Hubby is straddling the sheep as he tags her ear.

The lambs were easy to catch and tag.  I just picked him/her up and hold him/her against my chest and used the other hand to hold their head still.  Hubby grabbed the ear and tagged.  The momma ewes were tougher.  Those ladies are pretty strong and skittish!  Our five year old volunteered to take pics.  She is gaining more and more interest in this farming thing!  🙂

Here you can see the tagging device loaded with a tag.  I tried to tag this one but wasn't strong enough so hubby finished it for me.

Here you can see the tagging device loaded with a tag. I tried to tag this one but wasn’t strong enough so hubby finished it for me.