Clients often ask how to read ear tags, and why they are used. Every breeder registered with either Empress or MCBA has a ranch brand that only he can use. It is only $5 to register your own unique ranch brand. Ear tags are a way of positively identifying a chinchilla, who bred it, what year it was born, and it’s order in the herd. One side of the tag is stamped with the ranch brand. For example, UHC is the unique ranch brand for Underhill Chinchillas. The other side might say L103. Each year, all breeders use the same year-letter to designate that year. L, for example, was the letter used universally for 2001. 103 means that the chinchilla was the 103rd chinchilla tagged in the herd that year. So, a chinchilla with a tag reading UHC on one side, and L103 on the other would be the 103rd chinchilla tagged, born in (L) 2001, and bred by Underhill Chinchillas. You can find out what letter to use each year by looking in the Empress or MCBA magazine. Small breeders may only tag 25 chinchillas a year, and large breeders may tag a thousand or more. Chinchilla do not have to be tagged if they are not bound for the show table, but they MUST BE TAGGED to show at a sanctioned show. This tag helps to assure buyers that they are getting what they are paying for when they purchase a proven show chinchilla. They can cross reference the tag with the show results in the Empress or MCBA magazine. It also helps to identify a chinchilla that has escaped from its cage. Claiming shows and field days are exempt from this requirement, so a chinchilla may or may not be tagged if it is shown at such a non sanctioned show. All chinchillas are tagged in the lower right ear.

There is one other type of ear tag. There is an Empress chinchilla registry tag, and all registered chinchillas are ear tagged ‘ECBC.’ The number on the reverse side of the ECBC tag will correspond with the number on the registration papers. A chinchilla has to win a first place or better at a sanctioned Empress registry show to be eligible for registration. If a chinchilla is registered, it will have two ear tags. It will have it’s breeder tag in the lower right ear, and its ECBC tag in the lower left ear.

 

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