I've had a few questions about the ear tags so thought I'd share a story from the weekend that might help illustrate how useful and important they are.
I was lamb sitting at Final Frontier Farm while Kathy had to go to the city. I heard a lamb crying in the nursery. She wasn't crying the "I'm lost and can't find my mom at the grocery store BAA!" It was a sadder "I'm hungry and no one loves me baa?"
The first thing I did was go look. She was easy to find, standing in the middle by herself while everyone else was gamboling about. I picked her up and felt her tummy...yep, not full. I checked her ear tag. Blue, triangle, right ear (Rocket daughter) 654 also known now as Rockette 654 :-).
I went to the record book, found her mother's tag number and also that she has a sister, Rockette 653. Back to the nursery. Found Rockette 653...fat and sassy and on the move (thankfully the numbers are easy to read ;-). Found mom, looked to see that she was okay and put hungry 654 next to her.
She nuzzled her lamb back to her udder, the lamb latched on for a couple seconds, but didn't stay with it. Now I know this is a lamb situation, not a bad momma situation. I am also now able to make a note for Kathy to check Rockette 654 when she gets back to the farm and she'll know exactly which lamb I'm concerned about.
This is not the lamb in question and is just another super cute lambie who just happens to be walking through a picture that shows (may have to biggify) how you could stand in the nursery pen (or big field once they leave the nursery) and from a distance, without stirring everyone up, note a tag number if needed.
I know they look cumbersome, especially on very young lambs. And yes, it hurts them for a second or two when they are put on, but I really believe just that second or two. I don't think the tags bother the lambs and sheep any more than earrings people wear and the benefits far outweigh the "costs" in providing care for a large flock.