[Jacob-list] Tags and microchips
gordon at westergladstone.fsnet.co.uk
Sat Jan 3 13:52:28 EST 2004
Apparently the trouble with microchips is that they migrate around the body a bit - it's not too bad having to search around one dog with the reader to find it, but 3000 sheep?
About infected ear tags - yes, we have had problems with that. We don't put the adult tags in at birth - our Jacobs are the largest of the breeds we keep and even their ears tear readily with big tags in, hence the little temporary 'turkey wing tags' (the other good thing about them is that , being made of metal, they reflect sunlight so it's easy to spot when one is missing and replace it).
What we do now to prevent infection in tagged ears is to dip the applicator in surgical spirit before each application, clean the ear with surgical spirit, then spray with an antibiotic afterwards. Many of you will question the use of antibiotics here, but we have one Hebridean with a huge hole in her ear (and nowhere left to put a tag as her other ear has the breed registration tag), a Soay with a floppy ear and a Shetland now without a tag because I refuse to expose to her to such painful infection again, so I feel justified in using the antibiotic for the sake of the welfare of the sheep. Since we started that regime we have had no further infections. We might try the Tea Tree oil next time instead.
We find that the button tags are best, especially if the antibiotic is sprayed between the tag and the ear, towards the pin, on both sides. With loop type tags, the whole thing can be pulled round so that the join part is inside the flesh of the ear, causing terrible pain both when it's there and again when you try to pull it out - it requires a local anaesthetic to the ear. The type with two small rectangular parts pinned together (Flexitags) can swing round so that the inside one irritates the delicate inside of the ear.
We hate tags, but here in Britain it is the law that every sheep must have one, or two, or three, and we are all subject to government visits to make sure we comply.
BTW Betty, here in Britain we say Scrapie, not Scrapies too. I thought it must be an American thing <G>. My pet hate is 'pacific' when folk mean 'specific' - totally different meaning !
Juliet in Scotland UK
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