How many of you have your ears pierced? I’m sure you have to get your parents’ permission beforehand. Lambs get their earrings done when they are only a few days or weeks old, and we don’t ask the mum’s permission first. They don’t get to choose the style but ours are bright yellow which happens to look great on black lambs. Each ear tag has UK and a unique six digit flock number printed on them.
How is your dog uniquely identified? Every dog has a microchip the size of a grain of rice inserted under its skin. If your dog is lost, it will be scanned to read the chip number, which is linked to your contact details. A sheep doesn’t have a chip inserted under the skin, that chip is inside the ear tag. The number is the flock number (as on the outside) and then a ten digit number such as 000 000 0236. How would you write this number in words: 900 000 0001?
How did we catch them all? Well, imagine if someone scattered mini eggs on a table for you to grab…. We built a big pen out of the metal hurdles and spread sheep nuts on the ground. The mums ran in to eat the nuts and we closed the gate behind them. Most of the lambs came with their mums although some stayed outside to race around. One by one we lifted them out, put in their ear tag and sprayed them with a weak solution of fly repellent along their back and bottom. Once on the ground, they charged around in their ‘lamb-gang’ while their mothers loudly bleated their disapproval.
I mentioned a dog so here’s a delightful old song (composed in 1892) “Daddy wouldn’t buy me a bow wow” performed by the Muppets. The chorus is fun and very easy.