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Sheep and Goat Identification Requirements

Federal and State regulations on Sheep and Goat identification requirements at livestock markets, slaughter establishments, shows/exhibitions, change of ownership and movement throughout the state:

Animals that MUST be officially identified

  • ALL sheep regardless of age
  • ALL goats regardless of age

Animals that DO NOT have to be tagged

  • Wethers less than 18 months at slaughter ("At slaughter" means that the wether less than 18 months old is delivered directly to a slaughter establishment by the owner of the flock at birth. "At slaughter" does not mean delivered for sale at a livestock market or auction.)

Types of Official ID in Tennessee

  • Registry tattoo - must be accompanied by registration papers. Click here for more information.
  • Official scrapie tag (plastic, metal or RFID)
  • Electronic ID (Microchip) with number recorded by registry, accompanied by registration papers and reader, Ear must be tattooed with and “E” for Ear implant or “ET” to designate Tail implant.  Earless goats may be tagged in tail fold. Unregistered animals can now be microchipped but they must be from a flock registered with the Scrapie Data Base (Have Flock ID), tattooed with flock ID, have the E or ET tattoo and be accompanied by an ICVI or Owner Hauler Statement listing the implant number as well as a reader.  If changing ownership, new owner must have Flock Recorded in the Scrape Database (have Flock ID) and have reader.Blue Meat Tag (if no owner statement to verify flock of birth and/or flock of origin, animals must be tagged with a blue meat tag and go directly to slaughter)
  • Blue Meat Tag (if no owner statement to verify flock of birth and/or flock of origin, animals must be tagged with a blue meat tag and go directly to slaughter)

In order to trace a positive, suspect or exposed animal, official Scrapie ID must be linked to market ID and adequate records maintained. Please call the USDA Office to order Scrapie Tags at (615) 781-5314 (in Tennessee) or 1-866-USDA-TAG (which routes you to the proper State by telephone prefix) or order sheep and goat tags online by clicking here.

Note that Tennessee follows the minimum federal requirement for sheep and goat identification. Other states may have more stringent requirements. Tags and health certificates or owner/shipper statements are required to move animals across state lines. Please contact the destination state prior to moving your animals.

Additional Resources