- If you are breeding registerable goats, you will have to tattoo them.
- Even if you are raising goats that you may not intend to register, tattooing can be helpful when looking to recover lost or stolen animals.
- Tattooing helps with you record keeping.
- Your goats may seem to be easily identifiable to you until you see them in a field with a bunch of other goats that may not be yours.
In essence, tattooing is a system used that creates permanent identification mark that is places in the ears. If you can't find or read a goat's tattoo, put the animal in a darkened area and hold a flashlight behind its ear.
The nomenclature for tattoos are set up to disclose the year of birth as designated by various breed associations. For example, the letter N was used for 2000. The letters G, I, O, Q and U aren't used to avoid confusion.
Tattooing the goats soon after birth will make things easier as the kids are easier to handle than adult goats. You will want a helper to assist with holding the goat or use a kid holding box. For more mature, larger goats, a milk stand or stanchion will work the best.
Goats should be tattooed before ownership is transferred. Doing so afterwards is possible, but can create a lot of additional difficulties with paperwork.
Tattoo kit sets are generally easiest to purchase from online sources. They are also available from farm supply stores and small equipment dealers.
These will typically include tongs, a couple of ink options and sets of numbers and letters. Numbers and letters are available in 1/4 or 5/16 inch dies. 5/16 seems to work pretty well.
Where to Tattoo
Most goats are tattooed in the ears. LaManchas have no ears, so they are tattooed in their tails.
How to tattoo
- Determine the letters and numbers you will need to use. Insert these into the tattoo tongs and practicing imprinting on a piece of paper a couple of times to make sure the mark appears how you need it to and allow you to get a feel for the tongs.
- Have your assistant hold the kid, place the kid in the kid box, or lock your larger goat into the milk stand or stanchion.
- Disinfect the inner ear area where the tattoo will be placed by wiping down the area with isopropyl alcohol applied to a cotton ball or wipe.
- Apply a liberal quantity of tattoo ink over the ear area. There are some inks that are like a roll-on dispenser or others in a bottle. With the bottle type, you may need to use a small hair coloring brush or tooth brush to help spread the ink over the ear.
- Position the tongs over the ears and depress. If the tongs go through the skin, carefully pull the skin off the tongs.
- Put more ink onto the ear and rub it thoroughly into the ear using either a latex gloved hand or brush.