Earmarking sheep and goats

To possess or use sheep and goat earmarking pliers you must first register an earmark.

Earmarks must be placed in the off (right) ear of a male animal and the near (left) ear of a female. All earmarks must be made using pliers. It is illegal to use any instrument (e.g. a knife) other than earmarking pliers.

The marks must be of the shape and on the portions of the ear or ears as indicated in the registration certificate.

View the shapes and patterns of sheep earmarks.

Registered earmark districts

Queensland is divided into registered sheep and goat earmark districts.

Earmarks are allocated to and registered for use in relation to specific earmark districts.

View the map and districts for registered sheep brands and earmarks (PDF, 103KB).

Assessing your earmark application

Earmarks that are too similar or easily changed to look like a neighbours' earmark will not be registered.

You can use an earmark elsewhere in the same district if it does not conflict with earmarks used by your neighbours at the new address. You must provide in writing the address of the new property where the earmark will be used.

If an owner moves into a new earmark district, any existing earmark is automatically cancelled. You will need to register again in the new district if you wish to continue using the earmark.

Age or class marks

An owner of a registered sheep and goat brand or earmark may use any number of distinctive marks to denote the age or class of their sheep or goats. These distinctive earmarks do not need to be registered.

These marks must not be made on the same ear as the registered sheep earmark. The Brands Registrar or a Stock Inspector also must not consider them similar to or readily convertible into any sheep earmark registered and used in the same locality.

How to register an earmark

Your earmark must be registered before it can be legally used in Queensland.

Branding and earmarking submissions

You must consider the following submissions information when applying for a brand or earmark:

  • there is a temporary COVID-19 branding exemption in place for cattle producers – you are not required to brand cattle for sale
  • submit your applications electronically so that we receive them quicker and can process them faster
  • email all brand and earmark applications to brands@daf.qld.gov.au
  • do not enter credit card details on the application form for security reasons
  • when your fully completed application form is received by the Licensing Transaction Unit, we will accept it into the processing system
  • applications will be processed in order of arrival
  • when we are ready to begin processing your application, we will phone you to process the fee payment(s) via a secure line
  • there is an 80 working day turnaround period for processing fully completed applications.

Applying for an earmark

To apply, submit your completed application for a sheep brand and/or earmark with the correct fee. Include the property identification code (PIC) with your application to make sure your earmark is established in the correct district.

Applications are processed in the order we receive them and only if they have been fully completed.

When your earmark has been approved, you will be issued a registration certificate.

Earmark pliers

Earmarks must be of the shape and on the portions of the ear or ears as shown in your registration certificate. You must not remove more than one-third of the ear and earmarks must be made using earmark pliers. It is illegal to use any instrument (e.g. a knife) other than earmarking pliers.

Find a list of manufacturers and suppliers of earmark pliers.

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