Print Types for Tags


There are several print types for the printed ear tags for livestock and they vary in longevity (fading out) and how well they show up on the tags.

Laser Print

Laser print is recommended for long-term use. It shows up as more of a dark gray color rather than a true black but is guaranteed against fading out for the life of the animal.

Laser print is offered by most of the tag manufacturers. The setups for custom orders are quicker and easier with laser allowing for more flexibility in the size and layouts of the designs on the tags.

Tag manufacturers that offer the Laser print include Temple Tag, Z tags, Y-TEX, Duflex and Allflex with Duflex and Allflex both offering "Ink over Laser" which is a blacker print for the main Numbers on the tags with all other print information on the tags being printed in straight Laser print.


Hot-stamp print uses a foil which is "hot-stamped" onto the tag and indents the tag slightly when the print is applied. Hot-stamp print is not a very long-lasting print, usually fading or flaking off in about 1 to 4 years.

The hot-stamp process involves more steps for the setup and hot-stamp orders can take a bit longer than the laser print orders. Because of this, if you are wanting more information on the ear tags than just basic numbering, it can cost a bit more for hot-stamp.

Tag manufacturers that offer the hot-stamp print include Temple Tag, Z tags and Y-TEX.

Digital Print

Digital Print is offered by Y-TEX. It is similar to hot-stamp in that it is a shorter term print lasting about 1 to 4 years before fading out and is a blacker colored print.

The setup and print process is the quickest one available.

If ordering basic numbered tags you will find that the price is usually the same as the other types of prints but can cost a bit more per tag when adding more information to be printed on the tags.


Engraved ear tags are offered by Ritchey tags.

This option is a bit more expensive but looks very nice and doesn't fade out.

The Ritchey tags are a three layered tag with the main color on each side and the "print" color in the center of the layers. The tag is then engraved down to that center layer to expose the "print" color.

Ritchey tags can be purchased engraved by Ritchey or you can purchase them "blank" and engrave them yourself using a Dremel tool.

Here is an example of an engraved Ritchey tag.