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Tagging recommendations for sheep with bitten ears

Dealing with the aftermath of a dog attack on sheep clearly presents all manner of problems; alongside the financial and often emotional hardship sits the practicality of identifying an animal which may have suffered with the loss of one or both ears.

The following information can be used as a guide on how to stay legal if you find yourself in a situation where you need to use non-conventional tagging methods to overcome this problem.

Adult/breeding animals (ewes and rams more than 12 months of age or lambs under 12 months and intended for breeding)

Options for one ear only:

  • Both EID and non-EID identifier ear-tags can be put in the remaining ear. This is due to the fact there is no legalisation stating it is a requirement to put one tag in each ear, although this is clearly logical under normal circumstances.
  • An EID ear-tag in the remaining ear and a pastern band around one of the animal’s legs. 
  • Administration of a ruminal EID bolus and a black ear tag in the remaining ear.

When both ears have been lost: 

  • Administration of a ruminal EID bolus and a pastern band around one of the animal’s legs.

Lambs (under 12 months old and intended for slaughter)

Options for one ear only:

  • These animals are usually identified with a single non-EID eartag so, if one ear is remaining and able to withstand a tag, this is suitable.

When both ears have been lost:

  • If no tags are able to be held, contact your local authority to agree a method by which the animal can be identified. This might be a paint/spray mark.

Any changes to the conventional recording of stock, including agreed changes with third parties such as your local authority, should be recorded in writing and recorded within the holding register and/or movements licence.

More extensive information on the above information is available on the Defra website.