Pigs - brand tattoos

Branding and earmarking submissions

When applying for a brand, you must consider the following:

  • We prefer to process applications electronically as this results in faster process times.
  • All brand and earmark applications should be emailed to brands@daf.qld.gov.au.
  • Note: We will not receive posted applications as fast as electronically submitted applications.
  • For security reasons, credit card details must not be entered on the application form.
  • Once a fully completed application form is received by the Licensing Transaction Unit (LTU), we will accept it into the processing system.
  • Applications will be processed in order of arrival at LTU.
  • A staff member will call you to process fee payments via a secured line when they are ready to begin processing your application.
  • Currently there is an 80 working day turnaround period for processing fully completed applications.
  • A branding exemption is currently in place and cattle producers are not required to brand cattle with a live weight in excess of 100kg before sale.

All pigs of 30kg or more (live weight) must bear a registered brand (tattoo) before being sold in Queensland.

Brands can be used to establish legal ownership of pigs and pig carcases.

A pig brand is registered for use only in a specified pig district and initially at a property indicated by the applicant. Its use on any other property in the same pig district depends on it not conflicting with neighbouring pig brands.

Some people or classes of pigs can be exempted from sale branding.


  • Owners of only 1 or 2 pigs are not required to sale brand their pigs.
  • Pigs weighing less than 30kg (live weight) do not have to be sale branded.
  • If resold within 7 days of purchase, pigs do not need to be rebranded provided they bear the previous owner's registered brand.
  • Stud pigs sold for breeding purposes and identified as required by the Australian Pig Breeders Society do not need to be body branded.

Registering a pig brand

To use a pig brand in Queensland, you must submit an application and pay the correct fee.

At the time of application, the property identification code (PIC) allocated by Biosecurity Queensland for the property where the pigs are to be kept should be shown. Properties with one or more pigs must be registered with a PIC.

Read more about registering your property to obtain a PIC.

Registration of paint brands used for temporary identification, ear tags and ear tattoos is not necessary under the Brands Act 1915. Age, stud or herd-book numerals used by the breeder in conjunction with a registered brand do not need to be registered.

Body tattoo branding

Ensure your tattoo brands are easy to read after slaughter by using suitable equipment and by following the recommendations.

Brand (tattoo) code

The Queensland pig tattoo code has 4 characters (a number followed by 3 letters). The number used is 4, matching the state postcode.

The first of the 3 letters denotes the district or shires in which the property is located, while the last 2 letters identify the owner of the brand and the property on which the pigs are kept.

Each producer is required to have an individual tattoo registered for their use only.

Branding equipment

You will need a branding tool that holds 4 character blocks (the number 4 and the appropriate letters) and a suitable carbon-based marking ink or paste. These are also available through farm and rural equipment suppliers.

The character blocks must be the same shape as those shown on the registration certificate; the face depth must be between 12mm and 25mm and the space between characters must be 12mm or less.

Branding procedure

  • Use only the tattoo brand allocated to you by the Registrar of Brands.
  • Before tattooing, check that needle blocks are the right way up and in the correct order in the holder by pressing it against a scrap of cardboard.
  • Make sure needle blocks are clean and free of dried ink, dirt and pig bristles by scrubbing in water. Pigs coated with mud or manure should be hosed clean. When tattooing a large number of pigs, clean the tattoo needles occasionally to remove excess dried ink.
  • Use only an approved ink or paste.
  • An ink pad (larger than the tattoo head) made from a foam sponge in a shallow container makes the job easier. Press the needles into the ink-soaked pad before branding each side of the pig.
  • The tattoo 'striker' should contact the pig's skin just hard enough to ensure penetration of the inked needles but not cause bruising or injury.
  • Don't dilute the ink as the brand will be faint or illegible.
  • Keep spares on hand to replace blocks with broken or bent needles; a few missing needles can alter the brand.

Other requirements

You can use additional tattoos to identify individual pigs for specific purposes, but such tattoos should be applied beneath and within 35mm to 65mm of the registered brand. With some tattoo strikers, you can apply the registered tattoo and an additional distinguishing tattoo at the same time.

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