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Can RFID Be Used For Animal Tracking?

rfid tag for animal tracking

The RFID technology is being embraced to accomplish animal identification goals today. The technology can be used to track countless livestock and keep tabs on a pet. These animals are tagged using Low Frequency (LF) RFID systems. These tags can be read to identify each animal’s medical information, pedigree, and owner information.


How does it work?


Animals receive RFID ear tags, via an easy-to-use applicator tool, that are tracked by either handheld or stationary readers. Handheld readers can be waved over livestock while stationary ones are incorporated in gateways that animals walk through, or as part of traditional scales used to weigh the animals. The data collected is fed into the facility’s computer system that is connected via the internet to a cloud-based tracking system. This RFID tag is in a durable plastic case that makes it tamper-proof. The tags are composed of two discs joined together through the animal’s ear. Each tagged animal is assigned a unique 15-digital tracking number.


Why use RFID to track animals?


Traditionally, farmers were using metal ID tags to identify and track animals. These tags had to be visually read by farmers making them time-consuming and erroneous. These tags could easily become snagged on machinery and foliage causing them to loosen and end up lost. RFID tags replaced these metal tags because they are more durable and they offer considerably enhanced functionality. These tags are read electronically which eliminates human error. RFID tags open up options for reading animals wherever they are as they don’t require them to stand completely still to be read.

Tagging animals with RFID can be both a personal decision as well as a business decision. Tagging livestock with RFID aids in identifying each animal. An LF reader scans the animal during inventory counts or veterinary visits and uploads the significant information on each animal to a database with the help of specific software. The tags and accompanying software can store an animal’s entire history including its birthing time, sex, age, offspring, weight, and medical records. To track the animal’s movement and identify an animal’s feeding habits, monitor heart rates, and even travel habits, new livestock tracking RFID systems use GPD and UHF RFID. With the right data collected, farmers can better manage feeding, milking, breeding, and other activities from birth to slaughter.

Veterinarians are also pushing for all household animals to be tracked using RFID to create a system to identify lost and found pets. Therefore, when they are found, vets can scan the LF RFID chips on the tag to access information such as the owner’s contact information and identification. RFID chips that identify all pets on a nationwide database can help to reunite owners with their lost pets.

RFID can also be used to manage exotic and endangered animals on preserves or wildlife habitats. Different RFID frequencies (LF and UHF) are used in animal management and a specific frequency selected is dependent on the information needed and the safety of the animals.

RFID tracking also helps farmers to identify diseased animals faster. Animal disease traceability is essential for managing illnesses in animals used for exhibition, interstate commerce, rodeos, and other recreational events.




RFID animal tracking is all part of a trend toward ‘smart farming’ that uses Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to manage all aspects of livestock management.


Nexqo is a professional RFID hardware provider with more than 10 years of experience in the RFID industry.

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