How to apply EID ear tags to ensure lifetime retention

Information supplied by Shearwell Australia

Photo of a sheep facing the camera with an EID tag in the upper part of its right ear, one-third of the way along from the base.Tag manufacturers must ensure lifetime retention of sheep electronic identification (EID) ear tags to have their tags approved under Australia's National Livestock Identification System (Sheep and Goats). Part of the story of retention rate is how they are applied in the first place.

These tips are provided by Shearwell Australia.

Getting ready to tag sheep:

  1. Make sure you have the correct applicator for the tags you are using.
  2. Load the tags correctly according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
  3. Disinfect the loaded applicator's jaws in disinfectant.
  4. Have the sheep to be tagged held securely.

Placing the tag in the ear:

  1. Insert the tag with the pin from the upper side of the ear. For Shearwell SET tags, this ensures that the RFID microchip is on the inside of the ear.
  2. Place the tag one-third of the way along the ear from the base.
  3. Ideally, apply to the upper edge of the ear (front), because this is the strongest.
  4. In older sheep, it may be necessary to apply to the back of the ear (if the top edge is too thick).
  5. Allow room for the ear to grow if applying to lambs or weaner: 4–5mm if tagging at the top (front) of the ear, more if tagging at the back of the ear.
  6. Avoid piercing the cartilage along the top of the ear, to prevent deforming the ear and causing infection.
Page last updated: 03 Jul 2020