Title, Maine Anjou Society of Australia

Tattoo Procedures

Diagram of ear tatooing


Tattoo Procedures
Off (Right) Ear Near (Left) Ear
Your Tattoo and Grade Code Year Letter & Calf Number
For example, AB Smith & Sons, holding tattoo AB would tattoo their first purebred calf born in 2006 as follows
The next calf would be:

Grade Codes

A First cross or 1/2
B Second cross or 3/4
C Third cross or 7/8
D Domestic pure or 15/16
P Purebred (from grading up animal only)
F Full blood (full French origin, NOT graded up)

Year Letters

Year Letter




Naming Animals

Names must not exceed a total of twelve letters and numbers combined.


1. The symbol and, or numbers required are placed in the slotted jaw of the pliers and the lock securely closed.
2. Try the pliers on a piece of soft cardboard or your old felt hat in order to be sure the numbers are in the desired order.
3. With the calf held firmly, select a spot on the inside of the ear as near the centre as possible and well back from the edge, where the skin is light in colour, without freckles and free from hair. Avoid veins and cartilaginous ridges.
4. Wash the area with ordinary disinfectant such as a 2% solution of one of the coal tar dips. Other cleansers which have proved satisfactory are methylated spirits, petrol, and warm soapy water. Dry carefully.
5. Rub the tattoo ink or paste over the surface of the marking area and upon the needle points.
6. Hold the head of the calf in such as way as to prevent any violent movement.
7. Apply the tattooing instrument firmly and quickly. Be careful to avoid veins as excessive bleeding will have a tendency to wash away the ink and will result in no mark at all or one that is extremely difficult to read.
diagram of ear clipping8. After the operation more ink or paste should be rubbed into the perforations. The operator should take at least 15 seconds to do this last job thoroughly.
9. Do not disturb the tattooed area until it is completely healed. The time required for healing may be from 5-21 days. Care in the operation will result in a good job and permanent and easy identification of the animal.
10. If possible, it is desirable that each calf be tied up for 3-4 hours after the operation in an area apart from its dam or other calves as it is a common occurrence for these animals to chew or lick the ear and therefore make the tattoo illegible.
11. A clear and easily decipherable tattoo is in itself an assurance to a buyer, and to this extent a guarantee of careful breeding, and correct identification of such.
12. Please note: Some persons prefer to apply the pliers from under the ear. Be sure to always test each setting on cardboard or gum leaf before applying to the animal's ear.

How faults occur

Should unsatisfactory results be obtained these will be attributable to one or other of the following causes:
1. Failure to remove grease from the surface of the ear before applying the ink.
2. Puncturing the large veins of the ear, causing excessive bleeding.
3. Applying the tattoo to that portion of the ear where the hair is growing.
4. Use of poor quality ink.
5. Tearing the skin due to slow release of the instrument after puncturing the ear.
6. Careless in inserting the numbers of letters in the instrument. The operator should not fail to remember that the brand is read from the front and not from above and behind the ear, which is the position of the operator when puncturing the ear.
7. Failure to puncture the ear correctly owing, or perhaps, to the fact that the points of the letters have become worn, irregular, or damaged. Letters with chisel points are to be preferred.

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