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If your goats haven’t been vaccinated you may want to consider giving a tetanus antitoxin before you begin. You are puncturing the skin.
Tattooing is an easy, reliable, permanent method of identification and is required for registration. Do the kids early, especially if they are the look-like variety.
You will need a tattoo outfit:
1. A tattoo case keeps all your equipment together and also has a digit holder to keep letters and numbers in order. If you do not have a digit holder, press the letters and numbers into a piece of Styrofoam. You should have two sets of letters and numbers.
2. A 5/16” tattoo clamp and the tattoo letters and numbers. Two clamps or one with rotating heads are better so you can setup for both sides
3. Rubbing alcohol or alcohol swaps to clean the inside of the ear with.
4. Two tubes of green. It is always better to have enough and sometimes one is dry.
5. Index cards for checking your tattoos prior to tattooing.
6. A soft toothbrush for spreading the paste and for cleaning the letters and digits after we're finished for the day.
7. Gloves to keep hands somewhat clean.
8. Baking Soda
9. Your herd identification code and animal year and birth codes.
10. Listerine to disinfect the digits between use.
Your herd identification letters are assigned by the registry association. If you do not register you can use your initials and the "birth year letter" to identify the birth year of each kid born on your farm. Letters G, I, O and Q are never used as birth letters. The maximum number of digits in one ear or tail web is 4 digits.
Put letters/numbers in clamps. The birth year and identifying number for that particular kid are put in the left ear or on the left side of the tail web for LaManchas. Your herd ID letters are put into the right ear or the right side of the tail web. Test on paper index card before tattooing. Tattoo the individual goat's record page, too if you use one. If not write the goats name or number on the index card. This is a good method to confirm that you have tattooed that goat and it is handy for registering the goat.
Once setup clean the goats ears with rubbing alcohol and dry well. Hold the goat's head still between your legs, use a kid holding stall or kid box. See below for how to hold your goat.
The bottom of the letters and numbers should be toward the bottom of the ear and the tattoo is read inside the ear.
Place the tattooing between the large veins that run lengthwise along the ears. Apply ink to the inside of the ear where you will tattoo and to the prongs of the prepared digits. Do not tattoo upside down. In the case of tail webs, the bottom of the letters and numbers should be toward the outside edge of the tail.
Place the tattoo clamp in position and with a gentle but firm pressure mash the imprints into the goat’s ear. Remove clamp and rub the ink into the holes with the toothbrush. If a hole is bleeding you should wait until the bleeding stops before rubbing ink into the hole. A missing hole can be corrected with a sterile hypodermic needle. After rubbing ink into the holes apply backing soda to the tattoo. This sets the tattoo, helps stop bleeding and makes readability easier over time.
After inking thoroughly, use a paper towel to remove excess ink and check closely to be sure the tattoo is readable. Take your time and do a good job.
Repeat on the other ear.
Prepare for everyone to turn Green as goats seem to show off their wounds. Wear old clothes and keep plenty of rags or paper towels available.