University of Maryland Extension

4-H Animal Tagging Day

For many 4-Her’s across America Tagging Day is just part of what you need to do in order to show your animal at the County and State Fairs. But many people, including 4-Hers who do not show livestock have no idea what Tagging Day is all about.

According to 4-Hers Shelby and Hannah Sheats, Tagging Day is “when you identify each animal with a Maryland 4-H number.” In other words each animal’s ear is pierced with a tag. This tag has a specific number which is recorded, along with the breed name, breed owned or purchased, date of birth, date weighed and tag day weight.

But before Tagging Day can even occur for many 4-H families they need to prepare for the day. Eight year old 4-Her Emma Taylor says, “I help my Dad load the pigs onto the trailer to get ready for tagging.” For other families it means getting up early to feed and separate the animals. If there are more animals then the 4-Her is showing they need to separate the animals being shown this year from the other animals. Some animals need halters (headgear to keep control of the animal) and rope to lead them into the weigh in station and to be tagged. Trailers are used to transport the animals so the 4-H family needs to load all of the animals into the trailer keeping animals separate and safe.

Jasmine Taylor, a 4-Her in Parkton 4-H Club, explains why we tag the animals very directly by saying, “to keep track of the animals.” Other 4-Hers will tell you it is that you can tell them apart and it is way to show who owns the animal. According to 4-Her Maggie Popp, “it is a way to know the animal’s information.”

Additionally, while the animals are being tagged some are also being weighed. Melissa Coroneos, a Chestnut Ridge 4-Her shares “that we weigh the animals so we know the rate of gain.” Shelby and Hannah Sheats add, “so that we know how much they need to gain, so they can make market weight for the fair and livestock auction.” 4-Her Conrad Mellin adds, “to see what their weight is and to keep track of their weight.”

This is a lot of record keeping but 4-Hers know why record keeping is important when raising livestock. Destany Reuter explains, “so you can see the progress the animal and you have made.” Fellow 4-Her Genevieve McClelland adds, “to make sure the animals are healthy and that we are doing everything right.” Cassie Powers has a slightly different reason for good record keeping, “So you know how much money you spent on them to the amount back from the auction.”

After the animals are tagged, weighed and recorded they are loaded back on to the trailers to go back home until fair time. All of this work could not happen without the cooperation of the volunteers who help weigh and tag and the families that bring their animals.

tags for tagging livestock

Orgainizing the tags for the
animals by breed.

Volunteers help with tagging

This event would not
be possible without our
many experienced

4-H holding her lamb ready to tag and weigh

Jennifer, a 4-Her from
Chestnut Ridge 4-H Club
gets her sheep ready
to be weighed and tagged.

Dwayne tagging Sheep

4-H Educator, Dwayne
Murphy with the help of 4-H
volunteers tags a sheep
on its trailer.

4-Her tagging her goat

4-Her Ashley tagged all
of her animals with the
help of a 4-H volunteer.

4-Hers on their trailer ready to go home

Two 4-Hers from Parkton
4-H Club get ready to take
their goats home after


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