Performance and effects of small ruminal boluses for the electronic identification of fattening lambs

D. Garin, G. Caja, C. Conill

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Two types of electronic boluses were evaluated in two experiments using intensively reared lambs. In Experiment 1, 148 lambs were assigned to three treatments defined by bolus type and lamb's age: mini (M, 5.2 g) applied as early as possible; small (S, 20.0 g) applied after weaning; and control (C), without bolus. Application of the M and S boluses required lambs older than 8 and 46 days, respectively. No differences in total mortality (6.8%), milk and concentrate intakes, and final live weight (LW) were observed between bolus types at the end of fattening (11 weeks). Total retention rates of boluses were 59.0% and 100% for the M and S boluses, respectively. Abattoir retrieval was 100%. Conventional ear tag loss rate in the same period was 2.1%. In Experiment 2, we used 94 lambs in three treatments, 2 of them applied with M boluses at: M1, 1 week before weaning; M2, 1 week after weaning; and C, without bolus. Bolus retention rate (43.5%) of M boluses was not affected by weaning. Ear tag loss rate was 3.2%. In conclusion, application age of M boluses was earlier than 8 days of age but their retention rates need to be improved. The S boluses are feasible to use as a permanent identification system in lambs older than 7 weeks. For earlier tagging, boluses as small as M but with greater weight and specific gravity should be developed. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-58
JournalLivestock Production Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • Bolus
  • Capsule
  • Electronic identification
  • Sheep
  • Specific gravity
  • Transponders


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