Thursday, March 25, 2010


(Pic: American Blue buck, ear # DE9)

*These are notes about tattoos that were written at different times and are presented here in no particular order. Originally posted July 2007 on yahoogroups*

Wrap the rabbit in a towel (think bunny burrito) with just the ear sticking out to maintain control of the rabbit for tattooing.

I use clamp style tattoo on rabbits at 4-6 weeks. Older than that and the thicker ear is harder to tat. I squeeze hard and fast, usually the pins go all the way through the ear, I have to peel the ear off the pins. I try to avoid any large veins in the ear.

For ARBA purposes, tattoo goes in the left ear.

I use a cotton swab (like Q-tip) soaked in ink, I put a finger behind the ear, and then I rub/roll the ink into the pin holes so the ink goes all the way through the holes in the ear. If I do it well, the ink goes through the holes and I can read the tattoo (ink dots) on my finger.

If you do it a couple of days before weaning, you can put the rabbits back in with the doe who will lick off the excess ink.

I once mis-read my calendar and tattooed some 3 week old rabbits. The ears were kind of small, but when they grew up, the tattoo grew with them and it was extremely easy to read the tattoos.

NOTE: Be prepared for kits to scream. DON'T PANIC! At first you think you have caused great bodily injury, but you haven't. Give them a moment and they calm down. Before I clamp the tattoo, I squeeze the ear for a moment to desensitize the area. Some people press an ice cube to the ear before tattoo.

You can use a combination of numbers and letters, 3 is usually sufficient, or you can use more letters and numbers if you like. Some people use fancy combinations with buck and does initials, month born, year, etc.

If you only have numbers 0-9, you can just start with a 3 number serial like 102, 103, 104,etc. Note that when you get to 109, you won't be able to make 200, so skip 200 and use 201, skip 202, use 203, 204, etc.

A common numbering system is to use initials of the buck and the doe names with another number or letter to denote which litter and which kit.

LMA2 = Louie, Madison, A is first litter, 2 is the second one that was tattooed.

Or your initials and a number like LAC23

One rabbitry I know kept a tattoo register book and just used their rabbitry initials RR and a sequence RR102, RR103, RR104, etc. You can get hundreds of tattoos with a couple of letters and a full set of numbers.

Just don't lose that book. They recorded buck/doe, date of birth, and whether the kit was a buck or doe. They used the same book for all the breeds they raised.

We have used battery tattoo pens and they work pretty good. My lovely wife used them extensively on her rabbits. Batt-tatt made the best tattoos. The other EZ tat brands did nearly as well.

I do not use the tattoo pens very well because I have very bad handwriting. I failed cursive writing every year in grade school. I found out it is called dysgraphia and is not uncommon. My sons have the same problem. Even my block letters are very bad. So I use the tattoo clamp. And I learned to use a typewriter in junior high school.

I hope this info helps.

Have a good day!