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Tags and Tattoos


Approved Ear Tags

Ear tags can be purchased by calling 1-866-300-1825 or provincial pork organizations. Rectangle and trapezoid ear tags are available in white, pink and yellow. FDX-RFID electronic and small piglet ear tags are available in yellow only. The HDX-RFID electronic ear tag is available in white only.

More information on the tags, including photos, is provided further down the page.

Tag Application

It is important to make sure you're using the correct tag applicator for these tags.  These are Allflex tags, and use the following Allflex tag applicators:

(1) Red pliers will work with all forms of tags, including electronic, RFID tags

(2) Orange handled Retrac-o-Matic will work with our large, visual tag only (i.e., will not work with small piglet tags or electronic RFID tags).

Instructions for Ear Tag Application (.pdf)

More About the Tags

PigTrace uses two forms of official identification for identifying pigs:

1. Individual identification: a 15-digit number unique to each pig.

2. Herd mark (formally called the slap tattoo number): a 5-character number that is unique to a premises (assigned by your provincial pork organization).  This may be applied to pigs as (a) a shoulder slap tattoo, (b) an approved ear tag or (c) ear tattoo (only in the case of exported weanling and feeder pigs).

Additional numbers of your choice can be printed below the official identification number for barn management purposes (e.g., 12345B in the images below).  It is recommended that you review PigTrace Tag Options prior to ordering, as we do not offer refunds or returns.

Tattooing for Traceability

REMEMBER:  Proper Tattooing is key to effective traceability and helps to ensure you get paid properly for your hogs!

Step 1:  Material Preparation

  • Use permanent ink accredited by CFIA (preferably black)
  • Keep your hammer in good condition with clean numbers
  • Never clean equipment with alcohol or gas
  • Always replace broken or bent numbers

Step 2:  The Tattoo

  • Use the number(s) that are officially assigned to the premises where hogs are shipped from (contact your provincial pork organization to obtain official numbers)
  • Ensure that the numbers are in the correct order
  • Aim for the shoulder
  • Dip the hammer in the ink often

Step 3:  Monitoring

  • Train and follow up with employees
  • REPORT ALL INFORMATION TO www.pigtrace.ca

Instructions for Proper Shoulder Slap Tattooing (.pdf)