Readability of visual and electronic leg tags versus rumen boluses and electronic ear tags for the permanent identification of dairy goats

S. Carné, G. Caja, M. A. Rojas-Olivares, A. A.K. Salama

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Murciano-Granadina dairy goats (n = 220) were used to assess the performance of visual and electronic identification devices: 1) leg tags (LT) on the shank of the right hind leg (metatarsus) consisting of plastic bands (181 × 39. mm, 21. g; n = 220) printed with a 3-digit code and closed with 2 types of electronic button tags (ET1, 3.9. g, 26. mm o.d., n = 90; ET2, 5.5. g, 25. mm o.d., n = 130); 2) electronic rumen boluses (RB, 75. g, 68 × 21. mm, n = 220) containing 32 × 3.8. mm transponders; 3) electronic ear tags (EE, button-button, 4.8. g, 24. mm, n = 47); and 4) visual plastic ear tags (VE, flag-button, 4.2. g, 40 × 38. mm, n = 220). The shank circumference of 47 replacement kids (5 to 6 mo of age) and 103 adult goats was measured to evaluate the proper circumference for fastened LT. Goats were identified with RB and VE before the experiment. Time for leg tagging, reading, and data recording with a handheld transceiver was measured. Readability [(read/readable) × 100] was monitored for 1 yr with goats restrained in the milking parlor. Reading time and errors of RB and ET2 in the milking parlor using the handheld transceiver were recorded. Shank circumference of kids (70 ± 1. mm) was 79.5% of that in adult goats (88 ± 1. mm), thus LT (107 ± 1. mm inner circumference) were only applied to adult goats as they were inadequate for 6-mo-old kids. Time for leg tagging and data recording was 53 ± 3. s. At 1 yr, readability of RB was 96.5%. No LT losses occurred and all were visually readable, although 3 (1.5%) had to be removed due to limping, leading to a final LT retention of 98.5%. Moreover, 7 (3.6%) LT were found open and electronically unreadable. Readability of button transponders, excluding removed LT, was 93.6% (3 lost and 2 unreadable) for ET1, and 98.3% (2 lost) for ET2. Readability was 95.7 and 97.0% in EE and VE ear tags, respectively. Only LT and ET1 readabilities differed. Reading time and reading errors (0.3 vs. 0%) in the milking parlor were greater for RB (61.2. s) than for ET2 (45.9. s). In conclusion, LT were not adequate for the identification of goat kids under 6 mo of age. Only LT with ET2 transponders met International Committee for Animal Recording requirements for official identification of adult goats (readability >98%) under the conditions of this experiment. © 2010 American Dairy Science Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5157-5166
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


  • Electronic identification
  • Goat
  • Leg tag
  • Transponder


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