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TOPIC: Farm animal identification methods.

A livestock farmer is expected to establish the identity of an animal as soon as the animal is born or some days after birth. A lot of farmers have ignored animal identification which is very important. Giving names to farm animals may serve the purpose to an extent for a small heard, but may not be feasible for a large herd or farm with many animals. So, it is important to put some sort of identification marks on each animal present on a farm.

Animal identification is the basis for keeping accurate production records of the herd/flock Individual animal identification allows producers to keep records on an animal’s parentage, birth date, production records, health history, and a host of other important management information. Accurate records provide the producer with enough information to make individual or whole herd/flock management decisions. In many instances, the producer needs to be able to quickly identify an animal.

The common methods used for identifying animals are

  1. Branding
  2. Tattooing
  3. Tagging
  4. Ear notching
  5. Use of specific natural body markings
  6. Neck chains
  7. Collars
  8. Banding
  9. Use of electronic identification (microchips etc.)

Branding (Skin and Horn Branding)

It is the imprinting of any distinctive design, mark of identification or number or letter or a combination of these on the skin or horn with a hot iron, chemicals or any other means for the purpose of identifying the farm animals. Branding is suited for animals like cattle, buffaloes, horses, and camels. Calves should be branded by the time they are about one year old.

Branding is the most common identification method used in animal husbandry. It is normally done when the animals are very young or before they are weaned. This method involves gentle press of a heated number or symbol on the body of the animal. This causes partial burning of the skin tissue and results in a permanent scar showing the number or symbol. Branding can also be done using a cold stamping iron. Here, a branding liquid is used and the stamp is dipped in the branding liquid and applied on the animal’s body the same way the hot iron is done. The wound takes longer to heal up under this type of branding

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