Rangeviews: Plastic eartags a practical — and stylish — way to not only identify cattle, but other items around home
One of the ways we identify our cattle is by using plastic eartags. They may look like earrings on the cows, but they are more practical. Because the herd has more than one owner, we use different colors to signify ownership and we also have the last names embossed on the tags.
The tags are numbered and we put corresponding numbered and colored tags on calves as they are born. While none of this takes the place of our hot brand, these markers save a lot of steps and time.
That is especially helpful if a cow gets out and is wondering along a road. If someone calls, we can ask if there is simply a number on the tag or if there is a name and the color of the tag. Then, we are closer to knowing if it’s our problem.
We have found additional uses for these practical tags. My husband put one on my suitcase and now I have a luggage tag in the form of a large orange ear tag with the word “SANDERS” on it. I’m betting my luggage will never get mixed up with anyone else’s, and it is very easy to spot in a mass of valises.
Eartags come in various sizes, for extra large animals down to small animals. They are also available in different configurations and mediums. I’m still laughing about it, but I read that there are eartags for mice. They are metal and clip on the ears — how’d you to be a mouse ear-tagger for a job? You must need small fingers or at least a tiny applicator. These are for mice that are used in experiments, of course, and the need for careful documentation comes into play.
I thought of additional uses too. How about as a zipper pull on a heavy coat? It would serve double duty with the personalization and it would be easily gripped even by someone with arthritic fingers.
Tags could serve as key rings. The distinctive shape would make it easier to find the keys in your purse. If carrying it in a pocket, you might want to opt for a smaller size tag. With a permanent marker, you could even add your address and/or phone number on the back, in case you lose the keys.
Fads and fashions are dictated by popular demand. Western wear, cowboy boots, blue jean jackets and broomstick skirts come and go. Maybe eartags, though not in ears, will be part of the next craze. Boot straps would be a good place to hang them, maybe even add a couple of small pieces of metal making a sound so wearers could fancy themselves wearing spurs. Or instead of personalized belts, use an eartag, a different color for every day of the week or every outfit.
I can see the possibilities for cattlemen’s conventions and ID badges. Enterprising eartag companies could supply “nametags” for meetings and show off their new lines, at the same time.
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I want to address a couple of issues in this week’s editor’s note.