Dairy goat kids born during a 3-yr period (n = 97) and their mothers (n = 29) were used for a long-term evaluation of the performance of 9 types of identification (ID) devices. Kids wore multiple ID devices: visual ear tags (V1, tip-tag, n = 47; V2, official, n = 50), electronic ear tags (E1, button-button, n = 46; E2, flag-button, n = 46), electronic rumen boluses (B1, mini-bolus 14 g, n = 92; B2, mini-bolus 20 g, n = 28; B3, standard bolus 75 g, n = 34) and glass-encapsulated transponders injected in the forefeet (T1, 15 mm, n = 75; T2, 12 mm, n = 100). Visual ear tags were applied at birth and removed in yearlings, whereas electronic ear tags were applied after bolusing with B1 (6.7 kg BW and 30 d, on average); B2 were administered in the event of a B1 loss, and B3 in case of a B2 loss and in goat does. At d 60 of age, kids were allocated into 2 groups to evaluate the effects of rearing system on ID. Treatments were: weaned (n = 46), and not weaned (n = 46) where kids suckled a milk substitute until d 150. Readability of ID devices (read/readable × 100) was monitored from 1 to 3 yr of age, depending on device and year of birth. Long-term readability was analyzed using a nonparametric survival analysis. A total of 3.3% infections and 6.5% tissue reactions were reported for electronic ear tags, but ears were fully healed in yearlings. Weaning numerically reduced B1 losses at d 150 (weaned, 84.8% vs. not weaned, 73.3%). Readability of visual ear tags in yearlings (V1, 82.9%; V2, 94.0%) was lower than for electronic ear tags (E1 and E2, 100%). Mini-bolus readability in yearlings did not differ by type (B1, 71.4%; B2, 84.6%) or with visual ear tags. No effect of inject type was reported (T1, 92.0%; T2, 96.0%). Survival analysis after yr 3 gave the greatest readability value for E1 (100%), which did not differ from B3 (96.8%). The lowest readability was estimated for B1 (66.3%), followed by E2 (79.8%), B2 (81.4%), and T1 (90.4%). In conclusion, button-button electronic ear tags and standard boluses were the more efficient devices under our conditions, their readability values being greater than injects, electronic mini-boluses, and visual and flag-button electronic ear tags. Transponders injected in the forefeet and mini-boluses used here are not recommended in practice. Further research on E1 and B3 electronic devices should be done in a higher number of goats to confirm the current results. © American Dairy Science Association, 2009.
- Ear tag
- Electronic identification