Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20: Ear Tags

Telling all the cows on the farm apart is no small feat.  When we got married, I never thought I would come close to telling them all apart.  You can't just say, go bring the "black and white one"....they are ALL black and white!  Spending 4 hours a day with the cows, you get pretty good though; I could tell them all from the business end until I went on break.  However, we don't have to know them all by sight/memory.  That's why we have eartags.  Every farm has their own system.  Ours is a yellow ear tag in the left ear (this is the ear facing you when they walk in the parlor.  It's shocking how useful making sure it is in the left ear is!).  It has the # of the animal (in this case, #147), the # of the calf's dam/mom (in this case #8033), and the calves month and day of birth (December 19th).  It also has the name of the sire/dad on the back.  We can tell what year it was born in by the 1st digit of the #.  All calves are numbered in order at the beginning of each year, and at the start of a new year, we start over the numbers.  This calf was the 47th heifer calf born in 2011.  The first calf born in 2013 will be 301. 

These tags give us lots of information about the calf in a single glance, which is useful when we are doing chores, we don't always have to go back to the recordbook to tell the vital info on each animal, because they all are black and white, and sometimes they look at lot alike! :-)

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