March 14, 2012

Photo of the week: Ear notching

The National Pork Board writes, “Ear notching pigs is done to keep track of individual and litter records. This is more efficient than tags because tags are often torn and pulled on by other pigs in pens. The system used for ear notching involves a system whereby the location of the notch signifies a 1, 3, 9, 27, or 81. A notch close to the head on the bottom of the ear corresponds to a 1. Notches closer to the tip correspond to a three. Notches on top of the ear equal 9 near the tip or 27 closer to the base. A notch out of the tip of the ear is an 81. The pig’s right ear is used for the litter designation while the left ear is for the individual pig number. Because of the maximum pigs per litter, the left ear will never have more than 1’s, 3’s or 9’s. This pig shown in the image has an individual pig number of 6 (2-3’s). This process is very safe and very humane to the pig.”

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