Electronic ID Tags for Sheep & Goats: A Practical Guide

There’s no need to panic on eID tags.  You have until the 1st of January 2025 to start using them.  Lambs or kids born on or after this date, or stock leaving the property from this date will need eID tags.  Please note the information below references sheep but applies to goats as well.

eID tags are already used on cattle in WA and will be used in a similar way to the existing tags, in that:

  • Lambs will still be marked with a year of birth coloured tag, except this will be an eID tag. So, when stock are moved to a different location, the tag will simply be scanned and there’ll be no need to mark the animal with an additional tag.
  • Pink post-breeder eID tags will still have to be applied to sheep that weren’t bred on the property when they’re sold or purchased. Or if you notice a sheep that is missing a tag and there is uncertainty around place of birth, tag it with a pink post-breeder tag.  The same applies if you buy sheep in and they have lost their tag, simply mark them with a pink post-breeder tag.
  • From the 1st of January 2025 farmers selling existing sheep bred on the property will mark the animal with a yellow eID tag before the sheep leaves the property. Animals bred on the property that have lost their tag can also be marked with a new yellow eID tag.  Visual tags remain on such existing stock to provide year of birth and previous ownership history.


Key Takeaways – Electronic (eID) Sheep & Goat Tags

  • eID sheep tags are currently about five times the cost of visual tags, and there are a range available. The WA government is providing a $0.75 per eID accredited tag subsidy/discount for the 2023 sky blue year of birth tags until the 31st of December 2023.  They may also consider subsidising 2024 year of birth tags, as well as yellow and pink eID tags.  The discount is applied when you buy eID tags from stores, so there is no paperwork involved.
  • eID tags used must be fully NLIS accredited, not provisionally accredited. We supply fully accredited Allflex and Leader eID tags and a list of fully and provisionally accredited tags is available on the Integrity Systems website.
  • All eID tags are printed with a 16-character code. This is the only information the tag stores.  The PIC of the property is the first eight characters, the next three characters stipulate the manufacturer and whether the farmer is a breeder or not and the final five characters are a serial number which can be specified at ordering by the farmer.  You can also print your farm name or brand on the tag if there’s space.
  • eID tags can be read by cheaper wand scanners (up to $1,500), or panel readers. You need to get hold of a scanner if you move stock between different PICs or if you buy stock privately, because movements must be uploaded to the NLIS database.  Whether you upload or someone else uploads, always obtain the ‘Upload ID’ number and record this on the NVD/waybill for the transfer.  Farmers who don’t buy stock privately won’t need to buy a scanner, as sheep sold at public auction (including at on-farm ram sales) will be scanned as part of the usual sale process.



Huge thanks to Paul and Sue at Allflex as well as these website articles:  Electronic Identification For Sheep and Goats at DPIRD WA, Excessive Number of Sheep ear tag Breakages First Sign of eID Teething Issues at ABC News and Ear Tagging and Ear Marking at MLA.


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