DEPARTMENT: AGRICULTURE

Legal identification marks

All owners of livestock have the chance to get a registered identification mark. The identification mark shows to whom the animal belongs. A legal identification mark is very useful: if lost or stolen animals are found, it will be possible to find the owner


How to register an identification mark

Rules for registering an identification mark

Ways to identify your animals

Permanent identification marks can be put on animals by means of hot iron branding, freeze branding or tattooing.
Hot iron branding: The stock owner burns a mark on the skin of his animals with a hot iron.
Freeze branding: A brand mark is put on the animals by way of freeze-branding. Freeze branding is done by means of dry ice and alcohol.
Tattoo mark: Tattoo tongs and ink are used to mark the animals.

  What does an identification mark look like?

Cattle (large stock)
Sheep, goats (small stock) and pigs
Ostriches

On what part of the animal may
you put the identification mark?

Cattle
Sheep, goats and pigs

Look at the picture

Second owner

First owner

The first owner can put the tattoo in the left ear, the second owner in the right ear,
the third owner in the left oxter and the fourth owner in the right oxter.

Ostriches

Tattoo ostriches younger than 6 months underneath the left wing.

Brand ostriches older than 6 months on the thighs.

The first owner must put the brand on the outer side of the left thigh. The second owner must put it on the outer side of the right thigh.

Marking with a hot iron

Step 1

Use a separate iron for each character of the mark. It is easier.

Step 2

Get everything ready before you start marking.

Step 3

Get someone to help you. The helper must bring the animal closer and hold it firmly. If you have a crush-pen, branding will be easier.

Step 4

Heat the iron well. When the iron becomes whitish it is hot enough. You may test the iron on a piece of wood to see if it is hot enough.

Step 5

Knee-halter the animals so that they do not kick you.

Step 6

Take the first iron and put it against the animal's skin for 3 counts. Do not press. Count 1, 2, 3 slowly. Take off the iron. Take the second iron and do the same. The same with the third. Now the mark is complete.

Step 7

Spray some cold water onto the brand so that the animal's skin can cool down. You can also spray wound oil on the mark. Do not wipe it with a cloth and never rub manure on the mark.

Marking with a freeze branding iron

Equipment needed

Step 1

Get everything ready before you start branding.

Step 2

Get someone to help you. The helper must bring the animal closer and hold it firmly. If you have a crush-pen, branding will be easier.

Step 3

Knee-halter the animals so that they do not kick you.

Step 4

Shave off the hair on the spot to be branded.

Step 5

Freeze the irons by putting them in liquid nitrogen or in spirits which has been chilled to _40°C by means of dry ice.

Step 6

When the irons stop giving off bubbles they are cold enough to brand letters onto the skin. Shake off the nitrogen or spirits, otherwise the flow-off will also leave a mark on the skin.

Step 7

Press hard for the following exposure times:

Animals of 6 to 8 months: 20 to 25 seconds

Animals of 9 to 18 months: 25 to 30 seconds

Animals over 18 months: 30 to 35 seconds.

Marking by means of tattooing

A third method of identification is the tattooing of animals by means of tattoo tongs and ink.

Step 1

Get everything ready before you start tattooing.

Step 2

Get someone to help you. The helper must put the animal down and hold it firmly.

Step 3

Put the characters in the right order and position in the tattoo tongs.

Step 4

Apply the tattoo ink on the area to be branded (ears or oxters).

Step 5

Press the tongs until little holes on the skin appear.

Step 6

Rub the ink into the holes.

The tattooing process is complete.

 

If you want to know more about the identification of animals, consult your nearest extension officer, veterinarian or stock-theft unit of the South African Police Services.

You can also phone the Registrar of Brands in
Pretoria at (012) 319 6000, or you can write to:

Registrar of Brands

Private Bag X138

Pretoria 0001

You can also contact the Resource Centre of the Department of Agriculture tel (012) 319 7141/7085


2001

Compiled by Directorate Communication, Department of Agriculture

Printed and published by Department of Agriculture
and obtainable from Resource Centre, Directorate Communication
Private Bag X144, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
This publication is available on the web: www.nda.agric.za/publications