When you think of paint marker applications, the first images that come to mind are probably either artistic or industrial. Whether it’s a street artist outlining a mural or a machinist marking where cuts are to be made on a sheet of metal, paint markers have a huge range of potential uses.
But there is an important paint marker application that’s often overlooked: livestock marking.
From small family-owned farms to large agribusiness operations, specialized paint markers are answering the needs of livestock producers every day.
Let’s take a look at what these applications are and how our products serve this crucial niche.
Tracking the Herd
Generally speaking, paint markers in the livestock industry are used for tracking purposes. This applies to everything from monitoring breeding to indicating medical treatment to herd management and more. At the end of the day, when managing cattle or other farmed livestock for commercial purposes, the herd needs to be tracked.
Out of all the possible ways you could do this, the simplest, easiest, and most cost-effective solution is to use specialized paint markers. Of course, not all paint markers are created equal, and marking livestock is a fairly unique application. That’s why there’s a host of marking tools designed specifically for livestock.
What You Need in a Livestock Paint Marker
Livestock paint markers have been used for decades. They are often referred to by a variety of names, including livestock paint crayons and “tail chalk.” Whether they come in the form of a solid paint crayon, a twist-up marker or paint marker tube, livestock paint markers need to be specially designed for the job.
When you’re marking livestock, there are a few key qualities you need your marking tool to have, including:
- Safe for the animals
- Quick and easy application
- Clearly visible markings
- Good adherence to a variety of unusual surfaces (hides, fur)
- Weather and temperature resistant
Livestock Paint Markers and Specific Industries
There are three main livestock industries that use solidified paint marking sticks: dairy, beef and swine. Each has their own unique needs and has spurred the development of a variety of marking tools in use today.
Dairy farmers and ranchers primarily use paint crayons for the purpose of artificial insemination. Cows which are expected to come into “standing heat” are marked on the tail. When, after careful observation, it appears that the mark has been smeared or rubbed off, the technician determines that the cow is ready for insemination.
After this process, a different colour marking is be applied to denote the genetic line of the sire (father) in question, mark the date of exposure, or indicate any other specific circumstance that requires special attention from the technician.
In the beef and swine industries, paint crayons and markers are mainly used to temporarily mark which animals are ready for breeding, have already bred, or are already pregnant. The marks can also help indicate which trimester of pregnancy the animal is in.
In grazing areas, markings serve as visual aids to identify those that have already received veterinary treatment. This helps avoid duplicate treatment, following up on the same animal, or passing over those still in need. Bold bright colours become particularly important in this case, as the livestock are out in the open and gathered together.
When it’s time for feeding, and the livestock needs to be sorted into specific spaces, livestock paint crayons and animal marking crayons also play an important role. Here they can be employed to separate the animals deemed ready for harvest from those which require more feeding time and growth.
Identifying Quality Livestock Markers
There are many livestock paint marking sticks on the market today, so it can be difficult to know which to choose. If you’re looking for a reliable, quality product, there are a few things that set Carmel products apart from the rest.
First, they are specifically designed to mark quickly and effectively on livestock surfaces such as hide, fur and wool – whether wet or dry. They work under all weather conditions and are fade resistant, even in bright sunlight.
Finally, Carmel products are made with high-quality solidified paint that has been tested and formulated to answer the particular needs of the livestock industry. This paint adheres quickly (and safely) to the animal’s hide and leaves a long-lasting mark. We always use high-quality pigment mixtures to achieve great colour quality.
A Few Unique Livestock Marking Tools
Carmel has developed several unique livestock marking tools specially designed for specific applications in the industry. Below are a few notable products that stand out in today’s market.
Livestock Ear Tag Pen
This valve-activated marker is designed to mark livestock ear tags. It applies specially formulated ink designed to strongly adhere to plastics, which is ideal for marking the standard ear tags used in the livestock industry. It creates bold, durable, weather-resistant markings.
Retractable Livestock Crayon
Carmel’s unique Retractable Livestock Crayon consists of semi-solid stick of fresh paint in a rotary-type plastic dispenser. It creates easily-applied bold markings on wet or dry livestock hide.
This innovative Twist-up dispenser maximizes use and reduces wasted paint. The cap provides extra room for part of the extracted crayon, so there’s no need to retract it completely before replacing the cap.
When the marker is in use, the crown of the cap fits into the base of the crayon and helps rotate the dial. This also prevents residue inside the cap from soiling the crayon when replaced.
These features make the livestock crayon easier to use and keep your hands clean. Packaging and any unused materials can be discarded with ease, and there’s no special handling required.
Sheep Marker Crayon
This livestock marking tool has a very specific use: to identify which ewes have been “served” by which rams. It’s designed for a variety of climates, and comes in an assortment of colours.
The sheep marker crayon is inserted into the ram harness with the cotter pin located under the label. Then, the harness is fastened to the ram. When it mounts the ewe, it will leave a coloured marking.
Using different colours on different rams will keep track of which rams have served which ewes.