Ear tags are a great way to easily identify an animal out in the field, but they tend to fade after several years or get lost, so should be considered only part of your animal identification system.
For permanent identification ear tattooing, hot-iron and freeze branding are the choices.
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What do the Letters/Numbers mean?
The series of digits used can mean whatever you want. There is no hard set rule, so select a system that suits your needs.
A common way of identification consists of 3-4 digits.
One digit represents your herd/farm name
One or two digits represents the animal itself
One digit represents the year of birth
A = Amazing Acres
2 = animal (could be the second calf born that year)
E = 2017