During the first 2 weeks of age, kids should be disbudded and tattooed. Humane disbudding can only be accomplished early in life. Swiss breeds and LaManchas should be disbudded before 7 to 10 days of age, depending on birth. Nigerian dwarfs should be disbudded at 3-4 days.
Tattooing assures kids have permanent identification for the lifetime of the animal. In order to effectively manage dairy animals, it is essential they be identified. Without legible, permanent ID, the various performance programs available to dairy goat producers, like registration/recordation, production testing, linear appraisal, show accomplishments, progeny records, and DNA testing are impossible. All dairy goats must be tattooed before they can be accepted for registry or recordation in the herd books of the American Dairy Goat Association.
HOW TO TATTOO A DAIRY GOAT (from the ADGA website)
Success in securing a lasting tattoo mark depends entirely upon the operator. A few simple rules must be observed:
- Halter or muzzle the animal, if necessary.
- Cleanse the area to be tattooed with alcohol to remove dirt, grease, and wax.
- Insert the correct symbols in the pliers and press the thin rubber sponge pad down very firmly over the needles. This pad helps to release the needles from the skin.
- Check the correctness of the symbols by making a mark on a piece of paper.
- Smear ink on the skin, choosing an area free from freckles and warts, if possible. Place the symbols parallel to and between the veins or cartilage of the ear or the veins of the tail web. The accidental piercing of a vein may spoil the tattoo. Green ink/paste is much better for permanent tattoo identification, particularly where the tissue receiving the tattoo is black or very dark.
- Make the imprint with a quick, firm movement and immediately apply more ink/paste and rub vigorously and continuously for at least 15 seconds to ensure penetration (an old toothbrush is excellent for working ink/paste into the tattoo area). This is important.
- Remove the rubber pad and rinse it and the needles in water; then dry. The sponge rubber pad should be replaced when it begins to lose its elasticity.
- Do not disturb the area until the healing process is complete, which may be from five to twenty-one days.
- Keep a list of tattoo numbers with names of animals and enter it in your private breeding record. The safest way to double check a tattoo is to make an impression on the animal’s application for registry, as well as on some other form that will be kept as a permanent record.
- To read the tattoo in a dark-eared animal, hold a lighted flashlight against the outside of the ear.
Appropriate goat ID needs to be both visible and permanent. An electronic implant or microchip may be useful in some cases, but an approved implantation site needs to be agreed upon. Implants are permanent ID, but not visible without a reader. When using electronic implants, it is recommended that visible ID is used for daily management records.