Custom and Official Livestock Ear Tags


Custom Tags – Our most popular metal ear tag is the style #49. Metal ear tags are one-piece and self-piercing. Another identification option for your cattle is plastic ear tags. These tags are two-pieces, a female and male part. NB&T produces Flex-Lok ear tags, and is a distributor of plastic tags for AllFlex, Destron Fearing, and Perma-Flex. Metal ear tags for cattle are more economical compared to plastic ear tags. But plastic ear tags provide a highly visible number and has more color options.

NUES/ Brucellosis Tags – Can only be ordered by an accredited veterinarian. NUES tags are silver, and brucellosis ear tags are orange.

Sheep / Goat Tags

Custom Tags – Our most popular metal ear tags is the style #505 and the style #681. The #505 is the same style that is used for the official scrapie tag program. We also offer a few select styles of plastic ear tags for sheep and goats. Plastic ear tags will be two-pieces, while metal ear tags will be one-piece that is self-piercing.

Scrapie Tags – We produce the metal scrapie tags. For plastic scrapie tags, please contact the AllFlex Company at 833-727-2743. Metal ear tags can only be closed with our applicator, and the plastic tags can only be closed with an AllFlex applicator. To order scrapie tags from either company you will first need your Flock ID number, which you can get from calling the USDA at 866-873-2824.

505 sheep ear tags


If you have any questions, please contact us at 859-261-2035 and one of our customer service representatives will assist you.


It’s Springtime – Get Ready To Ear Tag!

It is officially Springtime! Farmers and ranchers are gearing up to ear tag all the new baby animals that are about to be born.

Many baby animals are born in spring because spring provides better, richer food. This allows mom to produce quality milk for her baby. The temperature also starts to get warmer, making it is easier for babies to survive.

Ear tag regulations differ depending on the animal, and the state. For example, some animals need to have an ear tag applied by a certain age, or before they leave the farm. Most ranchers and farmers prefer to tag their baby animals within hours, to a few days, of them being born. It is easier to tag the baby as soon as it’s born because it’s easier to handle and get away from mom. This also allows farmers to keep track of which baby belongs to which mom.

Now that we are into spring, don’t forget to order your ear tags and wing bands! Order now so that your ear tags are produced, shipped, and in-hand ready to go for when those babies start dropping. We offer lots of different options for meeting your identification needs! Whether you just need an ID number, want to color coordinate, or need full customization, we can help.

Due to COVID-19, we are still open but have limited hours for April. Please see our home page for our new, temporary hours at


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Plastic Ear Tags, Not Just for Cows.

Did you know that there are many uses for cattle ear tags that aren’t for cows (or any other animal on Old McDonald’s Farm)? These versatile, plastic, bright-colored cattle ear tags can be customized for different personal and promotional uses, such as:

  • Identification for trees
  • Vineyard row post
  • Orchard Tags
  • Invitations
  • Luggage tags
  • Asset tags
  • Asset Color coordination
  • Wedding gifts
  • Keychains
  • Save the Dates
  • And more!

livestock cow ear tags for weddings and save the dates

NB&T resells plastic ear tags from popular manufacturers such as AllFlex, PermaFlex and Destron Fearing. Just pick your tag style, and let us know what text, logo, design, or numbering that you want on your non-ear, ear tags for a free quote.

View more ideas, and Follow us on Pinterest.

Hasco’s Flex-Lok Plastic Tags

As of May 9, 2016, National Band & Tag has acquired the Hasco Tag Company. One of Hasco’s product lines that we have kept on is the Flex-Lok Ear Tag line for livestock animals. These ear tags are different from other plastic ear tags because all male pieces have an open brass tip and it is the actual applicator pin that pierces the ear. We use a hot stamping machine to create large, black, permanently imprinted numbers and letters on the Flex-Lok ear tags. Multiple colors such as: Black, Blue, Green, Neon Green, Neon Orange, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, and Yellow, are available, but color availability is subject to change based on current stock. Please call for availability of a specific color in a certain style. For those who prefer plastic ear tags for their livestock over our metal ear tags, Flex-Lok is a great alternative.

Check out these pictures below of the Style 402F and 410M on some local cows, located close to NB&T’s facility.

cattle ear tag on a cow cattle ear tag on a cow cattle ear tag on a cow


June is National Dairy Month

Before June was National Dairy Month, it started in 1937 by grocery organizations sponsoring “National Milk Month.” By 1939, June became the official “Dairy Month” as a way to distribute more milk during the warm summer months. This month is also used to encourage families to make milk their beverage of choice, and drink more milk for its nutritious benefits.

National Band & Tag provides metal ear tags for dairy farms, dairy associations, DHIA (Dairy Herd Information Associations), dairy cow veterinarians, and genetic companies to I.D. all their dairy cows.

Learn more about National Dairy Month from the Dairy Alliance.


Why Food Traceability in the Supply Chain is Important

When you’re sitting down to eat dinner, do you ever wonder if your food is safe to eat? The CDC estimates that each year, roughly 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases. Food traceability is becoming even more important so outbreaks can be tracked down faster and more efficiently from fork to farm.

food processing diagram

National Band & Tag helps keep food safe with proper identification to make traceability easier. For the first part of the food production chain, we offer ear tags for livestock while they are on the farm. For the processing and distribution part of the supply chain, we off stainless-steel barcoded tags that are safe for use on machines, equipment, pallets, and more.

cattle ear tag

Plastic Cattle Ear Tag

cattle ear tag

Metal Cattle Ear Tag

Identification and barcodes allow the CDC to track when people get sick, what store they bought the food from, what distributor and processor the store got the meat from, and what farm it all originated from. This then allows the CDC to determine where the outbreak started, and create recalls, thus stopping more people from getting sick.

food grade stainless steel tag
Looking for more information on barcodes and tag materials? Check out our website, or give us a call at 859-261-2035 to talk with a sales representative.

Metal Self Piercing Tags

National Band & Tag’s self-piercing tags are usually used as ear tags, but they can also go on wings, flippers, fins, and more. The first row of tags below is made from steel, and are typically used as ear tags for livestock. We offer smaller sizes for sheep and goats (style 505), medium sizes for swine and deer (styles 621, 62, 681), and larger sizes for cattle (styles 49 and 56).

The second row of tags is made from Monel, except for the 681IC which is made from Inconel. (Not shown: 1005-681). These tags are used for wildlife conservation and research purposes. Monel is a metal that has excellent corrosion resistance that performs well in rapid flowing freshwater and saltwater, while Inconel is oxidation and corrosion resistant, and will withstand pressure and heat. The smallest size we offer is the style 1005-1 for mice, the largest size we offer is the 1005-56 for large animals such as deer and elk, and we have everything in between. Our special Inconel tag, 681IC is for Sea Turtles and other animals that live in saltwater.

Sizes 681 and up have the option of both Steel or Monel. All self-piercing tags require an applicator to completely close and are tamper-resistant. The pointed end of the tag will pierce the ear when you are closing it, so a hole does not have to be pre-made.

metal ear tags metal ear tags for conservation

A History of Leg Bands and Ear Tags

Click to download a PDF of our Visual History Timeline.

visual history timeline screen shot


1595 – The first record of a metal band attached to a bird’s leg was when one of Henry IV’s banded Peregrine Falcons was lost and found later in Malta, about 1350 miles away.

1669 – Duke Ferdinand placed a silver band on a Grey Heron around 1669. The bird was recovered by his grandson almost 60 years later in 1728.

1710 – A German falconer captured a grey heron with several rings on one leg. The bander was unknown but one of the rings was placed on the heron in Turkey, more than 1,200 miles to the east.

1803 – The first records of banding in North America are those of John James Audubon, the famous American naturalist. He tied silver cords to the legs of a brood of Phoebes and was able to identify two of the nestlings when they returned the following year.

1899 – Hans Mortensen, a Danish school teacher, began placing aluminum rings on the legs of bird. He inscribed the bands with his name and address in the hope they would be returned to him if found.

1902 – National Band & Tag is founded and starts selling leg bands for poultry.

1904 – The real pioneer bander in the Americas was Jack Miner who established the Jack Miner Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Between 1909 and 1939 he banded 20,000 Canada Geese alone, many of which carried bands returned to him by hunters.

1920 – Frederick Lincoln forms the North American bird banding program that we all know today as the United States Geological Survey (USGS Bird Banding Lab).

2010 – NB&T starts making Replica Bands.

2017 – The oldest banded bird, Wisdom, a Laysan Albatross, has a baby at age 66.


1799 – Livestock ear tags were developed in 1799 under the direction of Sir Joseph Banks, for identification of King George III’s Merino sheep flock. Matthew Boulton designed and produced the first ear tags for sheep made from tin.

1895 – Ear tags were incorporated as breed identification in the United States with the forming of the International Ohio Improved Chester Association.

1913 – Ear tags were developed in Canada as a means to identify cattle when testing for tuberculosis.

1945 – The first ear tags were primarily steel with nickel plating. After World War II, larger, flag-like, plastic tags were developed in the United States.

1949 – National Band & Tag invents the style 49 ear tag for cattle.

1953 – The first two-piece, self-piercing plastic ear tag was developed and patented.

1956 – National Band & Tag invents the style 56 ear tag for cattle.

1992 – NB&T assists in getting the first USDA Organic Certification.

2004 – The U.S. Government asked farmers to use EID or Electronic Identification ear tags on all their cattle. This request was part of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

What bands and tags do you sell the most?

At NB&T we offer hundreds of bands and tags to choose from, all in a multitude of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. We sell tags to various industries, including, but not limited to: poultry, cattle, lab animal research, companion animals, wildlife conservation and industrial applications.

With so many different tags to choose from, we took a poll amongst our customer service representatives and asked, “What bands and tags do you sell the most?”

(These numbers are not a true representation of our sales overall, but show what our customer service reps get the most phone calls about).

tag pie chart

History of the Orange Brucellosis Tag

At National Band & Tag, we produce orange Style 49 tags for the Brucellosis vaccine. Brucellosis or “Bang’s Disease” is a disease that infects heifers and causes abortion or premature calving of recently infected animals, most often between the fifth and eight month of pregnancy.

orange brucellosis tag

Bangs was the last name of the Danish veterinarian who first isolated Brucella abortus as the causative agent of Brucellosis back in 1897. Once a vaccine was formulated to immunize cattle against Brucella abortus it took on the name “Bangs vaccine.” Bangs vaccination can only be done by a licensed and accredited veterinarian who applies an official USDA orange metal tag and tattoo to the right ear at the time of vaccination. Orange metal ear tags are reserved for Brucellosis vaccines by APHIS under the Animal Disease Traceability Framework, Official Ear Tag Criteria report.

In 1934, the first year of the eradication program, about 15% of the cattle in the United States were infected with the disease. In 1942, the USDA declared Brucellosis to be the worst bacterial zoonotic disease (disease transferred from animals to humans) present at the time.

Currently, all 50 states are Brucellosis-Free. The biggest threat is from Brucellosis-affected wildlife such as elk, bison, and deer, which can spread the disease to domesticated livestock.

If you are a veterinarian and need to order your orange Brucellosis Tags, give us a call at 859-261-2035!

brucellosis tag

A Look Back at 2016

It has been an exciting and busy time here at National Band & Tag this year! Besides growing our product lines, we also grew our business with the acquisition of Hasco Tag Company back in May. We are very excited to welcome all our new Hasco customers to the National Band & Tag family, and look forward to providing everyone with identification solutions in 2017!

employees 2016 web

While everyone is excited for New Year’s, first, let’s look back at some of the highlights of 2016:

New Products

  • 505 Ear Tags – This new metal, self-piercing ear tag is the perfect size for sheep, goats, deer, and swine. This ear tag is also used as a Scrapie ear tag for sheep, and is approved by the USDA.
  • Asset Labels – Made of a Military grade 3M™ 7847 polyacrylic matte black stock, labels can be laser cut into any shape or size up to 6” inches. They are completely customizable with logos, text, barcodes and more.
  • Flex-Lok – Hasco’s plastic ear tag line is still available through NB&T.
  • Napkin Rings – Custom napkin rings are perfect for weddings, holiday gifts, and more.
  • New Dog & Cat Tags – We have converted some of Hasco’s dies over and they now have new NB&T style numbers.
  • HIN Tags – Replacement tags should you lose the original or get a new HIN (Hull Identification Number)
  • 1242-22S – A new shorter version of the 1242-22 aluminum Butt-End Band

New Colors

  • Pink Vinyl – Vinyl plant and tree labels are now available in pink!
  • Turquoise Aluminum – Rabies tags, some industrial tags, and butt-end bands are all now available in turquoise!

New Family Member

Back in August we welcomed our 11th family member to the team, Ryan Haas has taken on a sales and account manager role here at NB&T and we look forward to seeing his work next year.

tag makers

Please note our holiday hours: We will be closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s (December 26th – 30th). Have a safe and happy holiday season!

The First USDA Organic Certification

In the early 1990’s the organic beef industry was beginning to take off, with more people recognizing that while it was more expensive, organic meat tasted better because it didn’t have antibiotics or growth hormones used in it. One pioneer of Organic Natural Beef was Mel Coleman Sr., who had a passion for providing natural products to the market.

Kobe beef of Japan had approached Coleman to use his cattle as a source for their natural beef but they wanted more documentation about his “Natural” claim.  This is when Mel Coleman Sr. teamed up with National Band & Tag to create an ear tag that could partner with a tracking system his son-in-law was programming. With this new tracking system, Coleman would then be able to prove that his animals were raised from birth with No Antibiotics, No Added Hormones and No Preservatives… Ever!

National Band & Tag’s Kevin Haas worked closely with Coleman, “My first impression of Mel Coleman Sr. was that he was larger than life. He was a tall, strong man who had a commanding presence but was as gentle as a lamb and was very passionate about his family and his business. I remember talking to Mel one time and he said he wanted us to taste his product to make sure we understood the difference. Two days later a cooler of fresh steaks showed up at our factory. We went out and bought some local steaks and did a blind taste test. Coleman’s products were definitely better! I was so impressed, I saved the label!”

Coleman Beef Label

Coleman Beef LabelTo solve Coleman’s problem of proving his meat was all-natural for Kobe beef, Haas came up with the idea of using a special coated metal ear tag that allowed for a permanent bar code to be Laser Marked onto the tag. Due to the design of the tag, the bar code was protected inside the ear throughout the life of the animal. The bar-coded ear tag, Style 56, proved to be a low-cost method to electronically identify his entire herd of Natural Cattle, thus showing the “Farm to Table” traceability.

At about this same time, the USDA had created a new food label called “Organic”. Coleman applied for this label using the new ear tag program as proof of his organic methods and he was immediately granted the 1st Certified Organic Beef label in the USA. There was a lot of work that went into this accomplishment and everyone from National Band & Tag was proud to have been a part of it.

In 2004 Mel Coleman Sr. was named as one of BEEF Magazine’s Top 40 contributors to the building of today’s dynamic and exciting beef industry, “Coleman was one of the first to use ear tag record systems for verifying production protocol, and developed humane production and handling requirements that are now standards for natural meat production.” (

Today, organic products are in high demand. The bar has been set high for safe, fresh and wholesome foods. Little did he know, but Mel Coleman Sr. was way ahead of his time.

style 56 cattle ear tag

Style 56 – Bar Coded Cattle Ear Tag

The picture above is a sample from the 1990’s of the tags NB&T made for Coleman. In a 1997 interview with In Motion Magazine, Mel Coleman Sr. mentioned the ear tags used to identify the cattle, “When we get about 100 [calves] we’ll move them off and work them. We call working them as this: when they’re about a month old, we’ll put a tag in their ear, which is an ID tag. … They carry this little white tag in their ear all their life.” (

Mel Coleman Sr. passed in 2002, but his legacy and practices continue through Coleman Natural Foods, “The Way Nature Intended, for Over 125 Years®”.

Flex-Lok Plastic Ear Tags

These two-piece plastic livestock ear tags can be combined (any female and any male piece) to form a single unit. All male pieces have an open brass tip, it is the actual applicator pin that pierces the ear. This line of tags is now available at National Band & Tag, please call us at 859-261-2035 for a free quote or if you have any questions!

Style #401 Male & Female

  • Style 401 plastic cattle ear tagFor use with cattle, hogs and game animals
  • Measurements: 1-3/4” height x 2-1/4” width
  • Attach with 485SA applicator

Style #402

style 402 flex-lok tag

  • For use with cattle and game animals
  • Measurements: 2-3/8” height x 2-7/8” width
  • Attach with 485SA applicator

Style #404 Male & Female

  • Style 404 plastic ear tagFor use with hogs, sheep, lambs, goats and game animals
  • Measurements: 1-3/8” height x 1-5/8” width
  • Attach with 485SA applicator

Style #405 Male & Female

style 405 flex-lok tag sheep ear tag

  • For use with hogs, sheep, lambs, goats and game animals
  • Measurements: 2-5/8” height x 3/4” width
  • Attach with 485SA applicator

Style #410 Male & Female

  • Style 410 stud tagFor use with hogs, sheep, lambs, goats and game animals
  • Male button is used to seal any female piece
  • Measurements: 1-1/8” diameter
  • Attach with 485SA applicator

Style 485SA

style 485SA flex-lok applicator

  • Double compound leverage applicator for all plastic Flex Lok tags
  • Aluminum and stainless steel
  • Applicator pin pierces the ear
  • Permanent Imprinting: Hot machine stamped numbers, letters, and brand to your specifications
  • Material & Retention: Multiple colors in the highest quality virgin polyurethane – pliable and unbreakable assuring the highest retention rate
  • Colors: Red, blue, orange, green, yellow, white and others available
  • Backside numbering and stamping available

Help Eradicate Scrapie!

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. This disease is comparable to mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in cows and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in people. Infected flocks that contain a high percentage of vulnerable animals can experience significant losses. Sheep and goats sold from infected flocks spread scrapie to other flocks. The presence of scrapie in the U.S. also prevents the export of breeding stock, semen and embryos to many other countries.

The National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP) coordinated by the USDA is a joint effort that includes participation by state governments and producers. National Band & Tag is approved by the USDA for the official identification of sheep and goats in interstate commerce.

scrapie tags

Style 505 – Scrapie Tags

At National Band, we offer metal ear tags — Style 505. The Flock Tag is white, and the custom flock tag can be: white, orange, mauve, green or bright metal. Restricted animal tags are yellow and infected animal tags are red.

Click here for pricing and more information on how to order scrapie tags and applicators. 


Click to on Image to View Poster

scrapie info sheet

National Dairy Month

The month of June is dedicated to the hard working dairy farmers all over the country that produce one of America’s most valued items: Milk. Milk is produced in all 50 states of America and the farm value of milk production is second only to beef among livestock. Most everyone in the world consumes dairy in their daily diet. It’s safe to say that dairy is pretty important to the economic production of America.

National Dairy Month started as National Milk Month in 1937, but over the years has turned into National Dairy month to recognize the hard work of the dairy industry. But what would the dairy industry be without the dairy cows? When you have that many cows to keep track of, life can become hectic unless they are tagged and accounted for.

Here at National Band and Tag Company we make quality livestock ear tags including plastic ear tags and metal ear tags that come in many different styles, sizes and colors. These tags can be customized with your ranches name, barcodes, numbering and more. We also have RFID tags, AIN Tags and Lifechips for all your livestock identification needs!

Style 49 Cattle Ear TagsStyle 49 Cattle Ear Tag

RFID Livestock Ear Tags

RFID Livestock Ear Tags

Destron Fearing Plastic Ear Tags

destron fearing plastic ear tags