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Veteran Contributor

Why do cows these days have ear tags?

Some other livestock animals have them too. Growing up and reading story books about farms and ranches with illustrations, cows were never pictured with ear tags. Many had cowbells around their necks and horns intact. Story books always showed farms with bright red barns and silos and plenty of green fileds surrounding them. Farmers always were depicted with bib overalls and straw hats and inevitably a hoe or hay fork in his hands. . Some brands were seen on some of the animals bodies. Our semi-rural neighbors had cows, steers and other farm animals and none of them had ear tags. I am age 49. 

 

If I were to ever own a farm I'd fancy an old-timey storybook farm.

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18 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Why do cows these days have ear tags?

 

WE know who you are. Smiley Happy

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Why do cows these days have ear tags?

Well, who am I then?

 

But that does not answer my question about ear tags. 

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Senior Advisor

Re: Why do cows these days have ear tags?

As intriguing as that sounds, have you ever wondered why they are few and far between today? Not meaning to burst your bubble, but I can think of two reasons, but I'm sure there are many more.

1. They might have been useful years ago, but modern farms have evolved just as technology has. The old story book farms just aren't as functional today as they were years ago.

2. They are expensive. Most farms I know of are in business to make a profit and live to farm another day. Paying top dollar to build or buy a story book farm just doesn't have a good ROI. I agree, they look nice and would be appealing to an urban dweller wanting to move out to a rural setting or possible some type of agritourism.
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Veteran Contributor

Re: Why do cows these days have ear tags?

Having nicely-painted barns is expensive? Paint does not improve property value and add longevity to the buildings?

You can't hire some neighborhood boys out of school for the summer to do cheap beautification labor on your farm?

 

Out at Point Reyes, CA the dairy buildings often look badly weathered and run-down.

 

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU4-UrEWV2k

 

 

Why is this hand using an ATV and not a horse to drive his cows home?

 

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Senior Advisor

Re: Why do cows these days have ear tags?

Most barns are not painted wood, they are covered with metal. Don't know where you're from but around here the dairy guys do a pretty good job of keeping their buildings up. It is from them that they make their living.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Why do cows these days have ear tags?

Have never needed to paint a barn. The steel for a new building comes already painted. A building dad built in the early eighties still looks pretty good. You may have answered you own question when you put where you are looking....CA.
Some think the Amish still live a lifestyle similar to what you seem to think farmers should live. However around here they are some of the trashiest looking "farms".
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Senior Advisor

Re: Why do cows these days have ear tags?

With all do respect, I can see your mind is set and you won't believe anything someone replies to any of your questions.  You've come to an ag site to ask a bunch of aggies questions then argue with the replies.  Do you work for A&E television?

 

As far as the ATV is concerned, it has multiple uses on any farm, grain or livestock.  Horses are nearly a thing of the past (notice I said nearly, yes I know some farms still do use them).  Some even refer to horses as hay burners.  You asked.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Why do cows these days have ear tags?

As for ear tags. They are a form of identification. I think they are a thing of the past though. The farms I know of that need to identify each individual animal use chips.
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Senior Advisor

Re: Why do cows these days have ear tags?

Branding is still a popular form of herd identification as well.  It doesn't work for individual animal identification, but it lets you know who the owner is.

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