The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: Womble on March 25, 2016, 12:48:46 pm

Title: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on March 25, 2016, 12:48:46 pm
Hi folks,

Has anybody found a way to identify (preferably at a distance) which lamb belongs to which ewe, when dealing with black lambs? We tried various sprays last year but they all wore off after a couple of weeks and we then lost track.

Has anybody found a spray that lasts on black fleece, or some other method of ID that works better?

@Fleecewife - I know you said before that you use small metal ear tags. Do you know which ones they were?
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: waterbuffalofarmer on March 25, 2016, 02:05:52 pm
Have you tried illuminous sheep marker, if there is such a thing, and renew it every time it fades a little. I don't think there is one on the market which does that, but you never know @Womble you may be able to create something unique here :)
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on March 25, 2016, 02:37:51 pm
What, you mean like glow in the dark WBF?

I found a site selling these luminous lamb necklaces (http://d3d71ba2asa5oz.cloudfront.net/12020054/images/gu_8inchdg_me.jpg) and earrings (http://www.fantazia.org.uk/Mailorder/images/glowsticks.jpg), so I suppose I could give them a try. They only last about eight hours though, and I was hoping for a little longer?  ;)
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Fleecewife on March 25, 2016, 02:57:31 pm
This is what I wrote back in 2010:

<<<<We use turkey wing tags at birth to identify the lambs - Soay and Hebridean.  They are tiny with 3 numbers on and look like a tiny padlock.  The wire loop is just pushed through the ear then clicked shut, so mimimal trauma.  They do occasionally lose one but it's not a major problem.  Then at 4 months ie weaning we swap for the bigger permanent tags and cross-ref the numbers.  The tags come from Roxan and can be re-used if you clean them. This year our Soays are a variety of colours and we can tell them all apart so we didn't bother with the turkey wing tags.>>>>

This is the link  http://www.tagfaster.com/padlock-startin-tags-61-p.asp (http://www.tagfaster.com/padlock-startin-tags-61-p.asp) I suppose they must be made by 'tagfaster' and are sold through roxan.  They come in 4 colours, numbers of your choice.  You're not supposed to tell them they're for sheep........ just suddenly become a turkey owner for the day.


BUT you can't see them from a distance, other than to see they are wearing them.  We leave them until the lambs are 4 months when we put in the Bubblegum tags.  A few will have lost their little tags by then, but you can still sort them out by the 'see who baa's at which lamb' method.

I love the idea of luminous paint - you could put it on their toes  :idea:.  Once they have horns of course you can use various colours of electrical tape, but no use for lambs.
Or, if you keep topknot sheep you could tie a coloured ribbon in that - not sure how long it would stay in place.  I suppose that could work on fleece anywhere.  I don't like things tied around their necks though.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on March 25, 2016, 03:38:45 pm
Stunning, thanks Fleecewife!

My earlier searching turned up a comment from you about using turkey wing tags, but it didn't mention which type. I note that the Startin tags are now also sold specifically for lambs, so it looks as though you've started a trend!  :)

So the wire just pushes straight through the ear and then fastens then?  How do you undo them when it's time to permanently tag them?

I've ordered a sample pack of the Roxan tags to see what they're like (Hope I don't have to put on the red light  ;D).
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Fleecewife on March 25, 2016, 05:11:32 pm
The square part of the tag has a curled edge.  When you've pushed the loop through the ear (they don' usually seem to feel this), you close it over and press the curled bit shut.  To open it again, open out the curl with your thumb nail. You'll see what I mean when your sample arrives. These tags don't leave a hole, and if they should pull out it heals over almost immediately.  Time to order mine too.
Oh I'm such a trend setter  :llama:
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: landroverroy on March 25, 2016, 05:48:34 pm
About 10 years ago, when I had more black lambs than I get now, I used to buy a fluorescent orange spray for them. It had to be refreshed every few weeks, but it certainly showed up on black. I haven't seen it recently, but then I haven't looked as it didn't last as well as ordinary marker sprays. so I don't need it now I have white lambs. 
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: SallyintNorth on March 25, 2016, 06:50:22 pm
Those tags now come in 'lamb' and 'chick' options... Would you still choose 'chick' for lambs of primitives?
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Hevxxx99 on March 25, 2016, 10:25:29 pm
Bleach?  :thinking:
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Fleecewife on March 25, 2016, 10:44:20 pm
Those tags now come in 'lamb' and 'chick' options... Would you still choose 'chick' for lambs of primitives?

Interesting - they don't give the different measurements, so a phone call is needed.  Will have to be Monday now.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Buttermilk on March 26, 2016, 07:31:29 am
Those tags now come in 'lamb' and 'chick' options... Would you still choose 'chick' for lambs of primitives?

Interesting - they don't give the different measurements, so a phone call is needed.  Will have to be Monday now.

Make that Tuesday as monday is a bank holiday this week.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on March 26, 2016, 08:31:05 am
Well logically you'd think that the ones you've had before were the turkey markers (since that's what they were originally sold for), so I'd expect the lamb ones to be a wee bit bigger than your previous order?
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Fleecewife on March 26, 2016, 10:01:59 am
Those tags now come in 'lamb' and 'chick' options... Would you still choose 'chick' for lambs of primitives?

Interesting - they don't give the different measurements, so a phone call is needed.  Will have to be Monday now.

Make that Tuesday as monday is a bank holiday this week.

 :idea: :dunce: ;D
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Fleecewife on March 26, 2016, 10:03:55 am
Well logically you'd think that the ones you've had before were the turkey markers (since that's what they were originally sold for), so I'd expect the lamb ones to be a wee bit bigger than your previous order?


Ah - logic  :thinking:  mmm think I'll still check  :farmer:
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on March 26, 2016, 12:54:06 pm
Well, the sample tags I ordered on Good Friday at 3.30pm arrived less than 24 hours later - can't fault that for service!

Unfortunately there's no padlock style tag included, which the website seemed to say would be. Their tagfaster system looks excellent for larger numbers of sheep though, whilst we may well go for one of the 'Rubba' designs for permanent ID this year as we need to include the Zwartbles registration number for any that will be kept or sold for breeding.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: mowhaugh on March 26, 2016, 01:42:52 pm
If you are talking about it lasting purely long enough for mothering up, the orange marker spray works, if they aren't managing to get back together by the time it fades, you'll have had to take some sort of action anyway.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on March 26, 2016, 01:45:21 pm
Well, firstly for mothering up, since we need to know who has stolen whose lamb  :) , but also so we know who begat who when we come to tag them properly and register them. We made such a bad job of it last year, I wanted to see if we could improve things this time round!
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Dusty on March 26, 2016, 02:48:22 pm
I decided to use the padlock type from Roxan for our Shetland lambs in 2014 to try to deal with the problem you identify - keeping track for my own records and for registration purposes.  I was pretty disappointed.  Almost half of the tags came out - I replaced them to keep track and quite a few lambs developed infection at the tag site (despite disinfecting each tag and site at tagging).  It could be of course that my technique was faulty.   
In 2015 we decided to try Roxan's Easytags.  They are light and have quite a fine pin and the lambs seemed to deal well with them.  We used them on 60+ Shetland lambs and all but one remained in place until we tagged them permanently.  Only one developed a slight infection. We plan to use Easytags again this year.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: mowhaugh on March 26, 2016, 02:57:54 pm
Well, firstly for mothering up, since we need to know who has stolen whose lamb  :) , but also so we know who begat who when we come to tag them properly and register them. We made such a bad job of it last year, I wanted to see if we could improve things this time round!

For that, I just now tag everything at birth with Shearwell set tags. Work well, even on the shetlands.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on March 26, 2016, 03:21:52 pm
We've been using SET tags up until now Mowhaugh. However, I believe the only way to get breed society info onto a SET tag is to print it on the round tab, in place of the Canadian flag in the example below. This year ours will need to be tagged with ZSA 01234 01C etc, which seems a hell of a lot to fit into such a small space?


(http://www.shearwell.ca/Content/Images/Tags/closed-tag.jpg)
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Hellybee on March 26, 2016, 04:28:40 pm
We didn't number last year, it was chaos, I've also made a bit of a dogs dinner of the numbering so far this year too lol, but the first group are a bit older so I know whose who, but some are numbered some not.  But I ve said to Baz I'm going to make a real effort to go forth from number 18 onwards with no gaps, or Jackson pollock style streaks  :innocent:   We have white lambs so doesn't matter what colour we use, but from seeing local black lambs, orange seems to work x
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: mowhaugh on March 26, 2016, 10:21:44 pm
We've been using SET tags up until now Mowhaugh. However, I believe the only way to get breed society info onto a SET tag is to print it on the round tab, in place of the Canadian flag in the example below. This year ours will need to be tagged with ZSA 01234 01C etc, which seems a hell of a lot to fit into such a small space?


(http://www.shearwell.ca/Content/Images/Tags/closed-tag.jpg)

That'll fit fine, It's what we do. Not for Zs but Kerry Hills, but same structure - KH 2455 DXN 16 on each wee round bit. Used to do it for Zs too.  It is wee, but perfectly legible.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on March 26, 2016, 10:44:09 pm
OK, thanks Mowhaugh. I'll give that a go for this year then and see how it goes. I've nothing to lose really, and I do really like the SET tags - haven't lost one yet!  :thumbsup:.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Foobar on March 27, 2016, 03:23:35 pm
Net-tex Promark spray is the only spray marker I've found that lasts on black wool - will last for a month or two. Other brands don't last a week.  It's not easy to find - you might have to get it ordered in.  They do a branding fluid too.


I've just put in Roxan startin tags for the first time this year.....I didn't find them very easy to put in, maybe my lambs ears are made of tough stuff!! Several pricked fingers...ouch!  I didn't order my shearwell set tags in time as I've just moved house (and hence flock number), but would usually use those from day old.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on April 03, 2016, 10:15:26 pm
Well I think we solved the temporary marking problem. Probably not a solution for entirely black breeds, but it turns out even a little bit of white can be put to good use!  ;D


(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j216/Blutack/TAS2011/Sheep/BS1sm.jpg)


(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j216/Blutack/TAS2011/Sheep/BS3sm.jpg)


(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j216/Blutack/TAS2011/Sheep/BS2sm.jpg)


I'm not convinced these marks are going to last more than a week though. We'll see!


(http://i81.photobucket.com/albums/j216/Blutack/TAS2011/Sheep/BS4sm.jpg)

Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on April 16, 2016, 07:43:54 am
OK, the Shearwell SET tags arrived (see attachment). The ZSA number overhangs the round tab by quite a bit, so is still reasonably readable. Obviously the font is smaller than on a button tag, but hopefully we'll lose fewer of these!

The results are also in on the temporary marker test, and Foobar's recommendation was spot on. After nearly two weeks, the order from most visible to least visible is:

1) NetTex Promark Red - Still nice and visible from a distance. Looks like a nasty accident when first applied though!
2) NetTex Promark Blue - Still nice and visible from a distance
3) NetTex Marksman Purple - Fading a little, but still ok
4) Ritchey Super Sprayline Green - Started off a browny-green colour (See pics above), and has now faded to greeny-grey, so easily confused with dirt or poo. Smells weirder than dirt or poo. Not recommended.
5) NetTex Marksman Yellow - Goes on like a foam and doesn't penetrate the fleece. Lambs transfer smudges of colour onto other lambs. Marks on white tails and heads had to be re-applied after 1 week to keep them clear. The yellow "Ts" on black wool (see pic above) were only just visible after two weeks - if that had been a number, I'm not sure we'd have been able to read it without saying "Is that a 6 or an 8?". Not recommended.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: SallyintNorth on April 16, 2016, 12:04:30 pm
Thanks for writing that up, Womble, and for showing the tags.   :thumbsup:

Personally, I use the Ritchey sprays only for very temporary - marking the ones I've treated in the pen, so no one gets two doses, that temporary.  It's not rain proof, so a few days is all you can rely on.

We use the Carrs Billington ones, which are the best I've tried, they will reliably show for two months or more on white wool.  (So can be used for scanning marks, and will still be visible at lambing.). Sounds like the Nettex are similar.  We usually use orange, red, green, blue or purple for lasting marks.  Yellow for more transient, as it's less visible to start with.  You do need to shake the can vigorously before spraying, or you can get clods of powder, which do rub off on other sheep. 

Marks on heads never seem to last long at all.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: beagh-suffolks on April 16, 2016, 08:35:37 pm
suffolk lambs are black for ages and i have had the same problem as you trying to get something to identify them out in the field, but for Christmas as a joke my brother bought me a tin of luminous pink sheep marker an it is brilliant, not only can it be saw from a distance but it lasts a good amount of time! when im home i will try and get the name of it for you ...but it can be saw as clear as anything on dark/black wool.
Title: Re: Temporary Lamb Marker
Post by: Womble on April 16, 2016, 10:57:07 pm
Cool! They don't do a glow in the dark one do they?  ;D


For temporary "have I wormed you yet?" markers, we use one of the wee pritt-stick style crayons, which works just fine. I have mine attached to a retractable ski-pass holder (http://www.accidentalsmallholder.net/forum/index.php?topic=71859) for ease of use  :thumbsup: .


The best marker of all seems to be orange raddle paste. It's still going strong on several of our ewes after 160+ days!