Slapping hints for the first timer
A few hints to successful slap marking with a new slapper tattoo kit
The ink pad when new has a thin rubber skin on the inking surface. This has to be punctured to allow absorption of ink. The easiest way to do this is by going to town with the slapper tattoo pins on the ink box pad. Taking a spatula or the flat of a knife, force tattoo ink into the pad, but don't over do it. You now have a pre-inked pad.
You will find that the more you use the pad, the better it will become. Re-ink as and when it becomes necessary. (If the pad is not used on a weekly basis wrap in cling film to prevent drying out, and always reseal the tattoo ink bottle after use.)
Should you be right handed, stand to the left and far enough back from the pig in order that you can reach both shoulders with the head of the slap marker. Should you have many animals to mark, carry the ink box with you in your left hand and slap the pre inked ink box pad prior to every pig slap mark.
Be at ease with your pigs and you will find that they do not even react to being slapped. Do not swing the slapper tattoo like a sledge hammer, but use only a light wrist action. Despite the length of the tattoo pins, providing they are inked well, you will only need a light penetration of the skin to leave a good legible mark. Some types of slapper tattoos using conical shaped tattoo pins tend to require more impact to achieve a good result and can suffer from clogging with hair. Our pointed parallel section pins do not suffer from these problems and are therefore easier to keep clean and require less effort in use. (See less stress )
Using ordinary slapper tattoo ink you can satisfactorily slap your pigs up to two weeks prior to slaughter, rather than trying to mark them as you load them all in a rush.
By using Id & Trace food grade slapper ink, it is possible to slap mark your pigs from 12 weeks old (50kg). The mark will then grow with the animal, so that by the time they are another 8 weeks older the mark will be around 20mm high and still legible. Slapping earlier with your herd mark is also useful as a deterant to theft.
When considering slapper tattoo ink, bear in mind that the tattoo ink may be consumed with the meat, and many tattoo inks contain animal or mineral fats and non food grade ingredients. Therefore to ensure no risk of contamination or consumption of non food grade product, only use a fully synthetic food grade slapper tattoo ink.
If you are only going to mark a few animals at a time it’s easier and less expensive not to bother with an ink box but use an old tooth brush to transfer tattoo ink to the tattoo pins.
See our Small Farms Slapper Kit
Take it easy and be slap happy.
If you still feel uneasy about slap marking please give us a call on 01634 364832