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Posted: 10/20/2022

Your Livestock Tag Team Partner

Tag, we’re it! The state of livestock tags these days feels like more of a game than ever before, doesn’t it? With unprecedented supply chain issues causing delays and other trouble across the industry, PBS Animal Health is ready to be your tag team partner. We’ll address FAQs from producers like you, and keep you informed about this frustrating situation for all involved.

Farmer tagging a cow

The State of Livestock Tags

For nearly a year, livestock tags have suffered from extreme supply chain challenges stemming in part from ongoing staffing shortages. Tags are incredibly hard to find and some farmers have been waiting for months to receive their tag orders. The shortage makes it more difficult for producers to keep important records of their animals for health, feeding, calving, and other details which are imperative to transportation and sales/marketing for slaughter. Not to mention, often necessary for compliance with local, state and/or federal laws.

Customer FAQs about Tags

Here are the most common questions our Customer Care and Purchasing teams have received about livestock tags this year:

  • What’s the status of my order?
  • I received a partially shipped order (with some tags but not all of them) … where is the rest of my order?
  • Can I cancel my order?
  • How far in advance should I place my order?
When you call in for an update on your order, we go directly to the vendor for a status straight from the source. We do everything we can to get as much information for you so you know what to expect – and when. If you receive a partial order, it’s usually due to vendor shipping what they have available.

As for lead time – we recommend placing tag orders at least 6 months out. That means it’s time to place your spring calving orders now.

Update as of 7/7/23: Below are the most current lead times given to us by Y-Tex for their tag orders.

Chart of lead times to receive tag orders

New Dedicated Email for Ear Tag Questions

We know this is a frustrating situation with no clear end in sight, and that you have enough challenges from inflation alone. For an extra level of support during this time, we’ve created a dedicated Tag Team with the email This is your direct line to all tag questions, concerns, or custom order quotes, so please reach out when you need us.

Ear Tags for Livestock

We know animal identification is a vital part of your operation, so we partner with several vendors to supply thousands of ear tag products. Vendors like Allflex, Destron Fearing, AgriTags, Y-Tex, Z Tags, and National Band & Tag create electronic identification (EID), visual, and/or metal tags, which can all be customized to your specific needs.

Farmer tagging a cow

EID vs. Visual Tags

The two most popular kinds of livestock tags are electronic identification (EID) buttons and visual ear tags. While both tags get placed in the animal’s ear, perhaps the most obvious difference between these two is that you can see the visual tags and identify animals from farther away. The EID tags on the other hand are smaller round tags that can only be seen when in close contact with the animal. Many of our customers believe it's important to have both EID and visual tags (not just one or the other).

EIDs, also known as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, carry a unique 15-digit number. These tags house a transponder that sends the animal’s identifying information electronically to a reader when the animal is scanned. EIDs save time and avoid human error because animals can be scanned on the move and you don’t have to write down each tag number manually. Tags include either half duplex (HDX) or full duplex (FDX) technology to be read by an EID reader. HDX tags read from a range of up to 18” and work better around metal and steel objects that might interfere with transmission. FDX tags read up to approximately 16” but may not work well with metal panels and chutes or even fluorescent lights.

We need your federal premise ID number and some additional information to process an EID order, so you won’t find EID tags listed on the website. Please call us to order those directly at +1 (800) 321-0235 (Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm ET).

Custom Ear Tags

Customization is more common in cattle, but we can do it for sheep, hogs, and goats too. Whether you’re interested in adding a logo, extra text on either side, or something else, we certainly try to figure out how we can make that customization happen. Call our team today and see what’s possible for your herd.

See What Ear Tags are Available

Turn to the PBS Animal Health Tag Team

Livestock tags might be small, but they’re certainly creating quite a large problem across the country. If you have questions or concerns about the state of livestock tags, contact our dedicated team of tag specialists by emailing We’ll do everything we can to guide you through this challenging time.

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