At Twin Willows, as at most farms, we tattoo the ears. The herdname designator (ours is TWF) goes in the right ear, and the year letter (preferred letter for 2012 is B, 2013 will be C, etc.) and unique number go in the left ear. Most breeders use birth order to choose the unique number. For example, if the goat you are tattooing was the first kid born in 2012, their unique code would be B1, and if they were the fifth kid born that year, the code would be B5, and so on. This letter/number combination goes in the left ear, and is unique to every goat in your herd.
First, secure your goat in a stanchion and give him some grain.
Tattoo pliers (we use two)
Green paste tattoo ink
Letters and numbers to fit your pliers
A toothbrush designated specifically for this job
LOTS of Paper Towels
Antimicrobial Foaming Hand Wash
Bloodstop powder (Just in case. Trust me.)
A piece of paper or thin card board (MUY IMPORTANTE'!)
A small container for cleaning used letters/numbers
Procedure: The first thing you need to do is arrange the letters and/or numbers in the pliers, and screw down the set screw. It's also a good idea to set out the numbers and/or letters you will need for the next ear. Once you get the numbers and letters in place CHECK YOUR ORIENTATION ON A PIECE OF PAPER!! This is very important. Even if you KNOW that you put them in right, CHECK ANYWAYS! The worst thing would be learning that you put a number in upside down AFTER you tattoo the ear. Next, put your gloves on and dispense some of the green ink paste onto your toothbrush. Coat the needles with the ink on the toothbrush.