A question about ear tattoos.

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whitelop

Morgan
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I'm not a breeder nor do I show rabbits. But I have a question about ear tattoos, and which method a lot of you guys use.
I know there are the hand held tattoo guns and there are the tattoo clamps.
Which do you guys use and/or prefer? Which is easier to use and produces a better quality tattoo?

I've watched videos of tattoos given in both ways and to me in my non-rabbit-showing personal opinion, I think the clamp looks better. Like to me, it looks like it would hurt a little less and it looks like it produces a better looking tattoo. That is just my opinion and I've never used either method, but if I started showing rabbits I would choose the clamp I think.

I don't want this to turn ugly because of people being against tattooing rabbits or whatnot.
 

Kipcha

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The way we have it done now is through the vet when we get them spayed/neutered. That way they're asleep when it happens, but obviously if you're showing them you would not get them fixed. I'm pretty sure some vets will do it for you by numbing the ear so the rabbit does not feel it.

Back in my early days of 4-H before we knew any better, the leader at the time talked us into giving Frost and Willow a tattoo via a clamp so we would have a way to identify them in case of any kind of emergency and I would NEVER recommend it again. They did them both at the same time so we could not even back out after one was done and both were extremely traumatic.

The one on Frost got stuck in her ear and they could not get it out, so she started freaking so they held her down to the table and pried it open. Meanwhile, Willow started screaming when his went down and started freaking out as well. Needless to say, I ended the day in tears and vowing never to allow something like that to happen to my buns again.

I would not recommend a clamp under any circumstances.
 

gmas rabbit

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Derby came from the breeder with his. Personally as just a pet would have rather that he didn't have one, but the advantage I guess is if for some unknown reason if he gets lost he is traceable. No idea how she did it. I hope it wasn't the clamp after reading about the above trauma. From having a tatoo myself, would rather that they just did it with a needle.
 

OakRidgeRabbits

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I prefer the tattoo pens and own one of them. The rabbits I've done have occasionally seemed nervous about the noise (it sounds like an electric toothbrush) or the vibration in their ear, but very few have done more than shake an ear when I'm done. For me, the tattoos were easy to "pencil in" and last longer than the clamp tattoos I've had come through from other breeders.

When I was in 4-H, the tattoo clamp was used. Some people do prefer this because it's quicker and probably easier for those with bad handwriting. Some say they last longer. However, I've seen too many screamers, injuries, blood and torn ears to be comfortable with that. I don't think the actual pinch of the tattoo is the problem, but rabbits are reactive animals. So they may be startled by the clamp and scream, or may hurt themselves while trying to scramble away. There is really no safe way to restrain a scared rabbit, which is the trouble with the clamp.

In any case, tattooing in and of itself is a very quick process and doesn't harm the rabbits permanently if it is performed correctly. Just like getting your ear pierced or skin tattooed, there is a pinch, but that's all. A lot of rabbits don't even move as I quickly tattoo their ear number in with the pen.

Tattooing in the middle of the ear is less painful. Tattooing over veins or toward the edge of the ear is when they become uncomfortable, so I stay away from that. I've also found that rubbing Anbesol (oral pain reliever) on the ear and letting it sit for a minute or two before tattooing seems to numb the ear a bit and make the bunnies happier.
 

ldoerr

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Though I have not tattooed any rabbits in a couple of years I do own a pen style tattoo gun. I rub ambosal (sp?) in the ear, let it sit for a minute or two and then tattoo them. I also have a tattoo wrap (most of the way down on this page). https://www.bunnyrabbit.com/brcom.html. It is the same concept as a bunny burrito but works MUCH better. You put them in it with their head (and ears) sticking out and go to work. I do not do numbers in ears. Instead I do the rabbits name. Since I suck with tattooing my friend does most of the tattoos for me. She has written "Death By Chocolate" in a 8 week old Mini Rex's ear. That is not even the longest one that she has done. I think that according to ARBA you can tattoo up to 24 or 26 letters and numbers in 1 rabbis ear (because of those lops with craze ear lengths). The pen style tattoo pens work SOOOOO much better and last SOOOOOO much longer than the clamps. When I get a rabbit that has had a clampp tattoo the tattoo is worn off within 6 months normally and I have to go back over it with the pen. The clamp ones seem cheaper, but they as NOT worth even the little bit of $ that they cost.
 

ladysown

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both clamp and pen have their place. Clamps do NOT need to be traumatic and I think that if it was, I would wonder if it was done correctly. I find they work best on younger rabbits, older rabbits can get a bit freaked.

Pens have the disadvantage in that they are dependent upon the steadiness of the hand operating them. I currently have a pen, I like that it causes very little upset in the buns and I can use it easily all by myself. It works well for me. But I've used the clamp in the past and it did the job nicely but often required a second body helping, particularly if I was doing an older bunny.
 

JessicaK

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My dog's ear tattoo was done with a clamp.
When I was flying home with her, her ear was still green from the excess ink. Some idiot in the airport was petting her, and when I didn't notice, he started rubbing the ink out of her ear because "something was wrong with her ear". He ended up erasing the first two numbers of her tattoo.
Luckily our vet had a tattoo gun (for marking shelter puppies after they're spayed, since the scar is so small) and fixed her tattoo when she was spayed.
 

majorv

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We've used both and I much prefer the tattoo pen. When my daughter was in FFA the Ag teacher only had a clamp. It was very readable and quick on our young rabbits. The hazard is that if you press too hard it will go all the way through the ear. I just think the pen is less traumatic. We put our bunniess in a bunny wrap and I hold them while my daughter does the tattoo. I think the bunnies tolerate the pen much better than the clamp.
 

missyscove

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I have no comments on pen vs. clamp tattooing but wanted to mention microchipping as an identification option. It wouldn't really work in a showing scenario, but 3/4 of the pet rabbits I've had have been microchipped.
 

Korr_and_Sophie

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I have gotten a few of mine tattooed and a pen was used since that is more what I especially wanted. I had 3 done and only Korr really seemed bothered by it, the others didn't seem to care all that much.
Of the rabbits I have had, 2 had clamp tattoos and 2 others have pen tattoos when I got them. I think the pen ones look better and don't take up as much space in the ear. Of course, the a tattoo done with a pen does depend on the penmanship of the person doing it.
 

whitelop

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I would like to clarify, i do not want to tattoo my own rabbit, as she is a pet. I found bass.com a month or so ago and saw the clamp tattooer and looked up a video on YouTube. I just got around to asking today as the thought of human tattoos crossed my mind. That's why i asked, i was just curious as to what you guys as breeders/show-ers used.
 

iLuvMyLilBuns

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I show my bunnies and I've seen the clamp and pen method! When I got my first bunny Lila she wasn't tattooed so when I went to my first rabbit show there was a lady there tattooing rabbits with a pen. I don't know if she just had bad handwriting or her hand wasn't steady but the tattoo is kinda hard to read. When I got my second bunny Charlie, his ear was already tattooed and his breeder used a clamp. The tattoo is a lot easier to read and it's like engraved in his ear unlike Lila's that looks like marker lol. I don't own any form of tattooing and I have another rabbit that I need to tatoo... I can't decide wich I should do!
 
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pamnock

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There's no ARBA limit on tattoo lenght. However, most show programs don't accept long tattoos, so most breeders don't have long tattoos. ARBA limits names for registration by 30 characters.
 

BlueGiants

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I use a Tattoo Pen and have for years. Yes, how good the tattoo comes out depends a lot on the persons ability with the pen, but I recommend practicing on a banana before you do a rabbit. I wrap the rabbits ear around an ice cube (on the outside of the ear) and hold it there for 30 seconds to numb the ear, then tattoo it. It takes less than a minute to do a tattoo (up to 5 charaters) and the rabbits seem unaffected immediately afterwards. From my experience, I think there is less trauma to the rabbit using a pen.
Another advantage to the pen is you can "touch up" faded tattoos easier and even right before the rabbit is shown if necessary... it's not as messy as the clamp.
 

whitelop

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Its really interesting to hear about all of your different preferences. It sounds like the pen is a definite winner though. Its interesting to hear it from a pet owners point of view. Thanks everyone for sharing! :)
 

Blaze_Amita

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The one on Frost got stuck in her ear and they could not get it out, so she started freaking so they held her down to the table and pried it open. Meanwhile, Willow started screaming when his went down and started freaking out as well. Needless to say, I ended the day in tears and vowing never to allow something like that to happen to my buns again.
This is meant in no way offensive, but To this point. I'll never use a pen again- no matter how many times I practice my handwriting is just not good enough. This scenario sounds like they didn't keep their clamp and digits in very good condition. If the digits are kept clean they slide in and out of the ear, My clamp looks brand new, despite being many years old and the ear release is checked before I tattoo every time so the situation you had, doesn't happen. Again, like with anything, if it's kept in good condition, everything works better. I tattoo my babies and then give them a treat some kisses and they do not go back to their cage until they are okay-Most of my babies to this day are still little love bugs(One of which will be 4 years old in May).
I used to have both pen and clamp-the pen was stolen at a show right out of my bag- but I go with clamp every time-Pen is backup. I find the clamp to be much more uniform and the judges don't have to guess because the handwriting is different for each human. To me the clamp would make it easier on the judges plus to me it's easier to read as I don't wear my glasses to the barn
 

tmaddox9

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In the rescue I work with we microchip all our bunnies. If they ever end up in a shelter, they can be scanned and returned to us. I have a beautiful blue Flemish Giant that came from a very good breeder but I really wish he didn't have that ugly tattoo in his gorgeous long ear. Somehow it seems undignified for such a regal and handsome fellow. I hope it fades. I had him microchipped when he was neutered.
 
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