Methods of marking of animals for identification

Marking of animals for identification

Marking of animals

“Putting mark or number for identification on the particular parts of animals body is known as marking of animals”.

Almost, in every good cattle shed, a variety of animals such as cows, buffaloes and their young one live. All these animals are tied at their fixed places and useful information is recorded in relation to the milk production of each cow and buffalo and in relation to their parents, therefore it becomes necessary to address each animal by a particular name.

But it becomes very difficult to call and remember each animal and their young one with different names present in the dairy farm. Therefore, in order to make this task easy, temporary or permanent marks or numbers are put on some major parts of each animal in its childhood stage, this action is called marking of animals.

Purpose of marking of animals

The following are the objectives of marking animals:

  • Animals in large herds are marked with a name or number to identify each animal individually.
  • In order to register animals, they must have a name or number on them, so that the record of each animal can be made properly.
  • For information about the pedigree of animals, names or numbers are marked on them.
  • Animals are marked with a number or name to address them by their name or number.
  • When the animals are taken to the fair, many animals get mixed together there. in such a situation it is necessary to have a name or number on each animal to identify the animal.
  • For the inspect of animals, it is necessary to each animal have their name, number.

Methods of Marking animals

The following methods are used to mark different types of animals:

  1. Marking of animals by coloring
  2. Marking of animals by Tagging method
  3. Marking of animals by Branding method
  4. Marking by notching the ear
  5. Marking of animals by Tattooing
  6. Marking of animals by Banding and ringing

Marking of animals by coloring

This method of marking for the identification of animals is adopted for identification of large herds of animals. Many types of colors and pants are used in this method. To identify different animals of the same owner in the herd like sheep, goats, camels, horses and donkeys, the same type of color is applied to the same part of the body of these animals.

Although this is an ancient and temporary method of identification, but when several traders come together to jointly take their animals to a fair, this method is considered to be the best way to identify them.


  • It is an easy method and takes less time in the identification of animals.
  • It is a cheap method as it does not require any equipment.


  • In this method, only one herd can be easily identified from another herd but one cannot identify the particular animals of a herd.
  • The color or paint applied on the body of animals is temporary. It ends after some time and gets washed away in rain.

Marking of animals by Tagging method

Metal strips or metal rings are used to mark the animals by this method. By putting the animal’s mark or number on the metal strip or ring, it is tied with the help of a strong thread to any part of the animal’s body such as the neck or ear or tail. This type of symbol is used for small animals like chickens, sheep and goats etc.

This method is the easiest and cheapest, but the drawback in this method is that the mark of the animal and number can be recognized only by coming close, cannot recognize it by looking from a distance. The tag can also be permanently inserted into the animal’s ear, and apply tincture iodine on the wound.

Marking of animals by Branding method

There are two types of branding methods:

  1. Cold branding method of marking
  2. Marking of animals with hot iron

Cold branding method of marking

In this method, chemical substances such as branden oil and brandelux etc. are used to mark the animal. The symbol or number to be marked is soaked in Branden Oil or Brandelux and applied to the animal’s thigh. The animal’s hair falls out from under this symbol or number and the number becomes clearly visible and this mark becomes permanent.

Marking of animals with hot iron

The symbols placed on the animals by this method remain for a long time. These symbols are put on the thigh of the animals. To mark the number or symbol by this method, put a number or symbol in the number inserting device and heats it in the fire.

When this metal instrument becomes red after heating with a number or symbol, then the animal is marked with this number or symbol. At the same time, carbolic oil or sweet oil is rubbed on the marked place.

Number ink is also used in this method. This method of marking numbers with hot iron is used for big animals like cow, bull, donkey and mare etc. Following precautions should be taken while marking numbers with hot metal:

  • The size of the brand number should not be more than 8-10 cm.
  • The length of the branding iron handle should be at least 75 cm.
  • For branding, firstly the animal must be well controlled.
  • It should not burn too deeply in the thigh.
  • After the branding, camphor oil should be rubbed on the burnt areas for two or three days. In about two weeks, the wounds heal and indelible marks appear on the animal’s body.

Marking by notching the ear

In this method of marking the animals, marks are made by making holes in the ears of the animals or by cutting the sides of the ears. This method is used for those animals whose inner septum of ears is black or strong. Animals like buffalo are marked by this method.

In this method of marking animals, the specific part of the animal is cut at different places by a Notching forcep or machine or holes are pierced with a Punching machine. Before marking the ears, the ears should be cleaned properly by spirit and after making the mark, tincture iodine should be applied on the cut area so that infection can not increase in the ear.

While marking, it is necessary to take special care that no major artery or vein is cut. In this method, when the right ear is cut in a V shape from the top, side and bottom, the numbers 1, 3 and 5 are displayed respectively and when the left ear is cut from the top, side and bottom, the numbers 10, 30 and 50 are displayed respectively and A round hole in the center of the left ear represents the number 100.

This method is mostly adopted in pigs but this method can be adopted in other animals also. This method of marking animals is simple and takes less time and animals can be easily identified.

Marking of animals by Tattooing

In this method, the ears of the animals are tattooed for identification. In this method, firstly the inner part of the animal’s ear should be cleaned thoroughly by spirit. After this, by the ear tattooing machine, the outer part of the animal’s ear is marked by pressing the machine.

In this instrument, the numbers are raised in the form of thorns, these thorns are buried in the inner parts of the animal’s ear. Thus, after tattooing the number or symbol, ink is applied on these numbers, ink penetrates into the tattooed skin, and the tattooed numbers or symbols start glowing in the color of the ink.

Marking of animals by Banding and ringing

This is a popular and cheap and less time consuming method of animal identification. This method is adopted only in small animals like sheep, goat, dog, cat and poultry.

In this method a leash is tied around the animal’s neck on which the animal’s number is written. Whereas in chickens, metal rings are worn on their feet on which the bird’s name, number and sometimes the owner’s name are also written. This is called ringing method. sometimes leashes and rings are also lost.

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Hello friends, I am Jitendra Rathore, Author & Founder of "New Agri India". I am graduate in agriculture. I love to share proper knowledge related to agriculture with the people.

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