Instructions & How-to Guides

This page is designed to provide answers, instructions and how-to guides for members regarding frequently asked questions. If you can’t find an answer to your question on this page or in the handbook, please email us or call 1-888-571-3580.

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Year & Corresponding LetterCow Status Codes

Calf Fate Codes

Member Handbook

Entering Registrations and Weights with AngusNOW

What is an RFI (Request for Information)?

How to use EPDs

How to Transfer an Animal

How to Tattoo an Animal


Registry Help

Year and Corresponding Letter Chart

Cow Status Codes

Cow Status Codes
1 – Died (disease) 10 – Sold for Breeding (transfer forthcoming)
2 – Died (age) 11 – Animal on Lease
3 – Died (other) 12 – Open (missed calving opportunity)
4 – Culled (physical defect) 13 – ET (donor dam)
5 – Culled (fertility) 14 – ET (recipient dam)
6 – Culled (performance) 15 – Moved to Next Calving Season
7 – Culled (temperament) 16 – Still to calve in current Season
8 – Culled (age) 17 – Aborted / Premature
9 – Sold for Breeding (no paper transferred)  18 – Moved to Commercial Herd

 Calf Fate Code

Calf Fate Codes
B — Stillborn (full term)

C — Died at birth (defect)

D — Died at birth (other)

E — Born alive, died before weaning (disease)

F — Born alive, died before weaning (other)

G — Died after weaning (disease)

H — Died after weaning (other)

I — Sold (no transfer)

J — Sold (transfer forthcoming)

Member Handbook

Please refer to the Breeder Handbook for answers to questions you may have as well as the bylaws for your Canadian Angus Association.

If you have further questions please call the office at 1-888-571-3580

What is an RFI (Request for Information)?

Sometimes a registration cannot be processed because registry staff have questions about the calves. If this happens, the calf will be assigned a ?number (question mark number) and you will receive a Request for Information (RFI) in the mail. The RFI identifies the specific information required to proceed with the registration.


Simply make the corrections or add the necessary information on the RFI and return it to the Canadian Angus Association office by fax (403-571-3599), email or mail. The fee for the registration will be held for 90 days to allow you time to respond. After 90 days the registration fee will be assessed as per the current fee schedule.

How to use EPDs

Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) are the most powerful genetic tool we have for selecting the best animals for your breeding program. Learn more about EPDs by watching the online EPD 101 Workshop.

Learn some Genetic Evaluation Definitions here!

EPDs are values that predict how the future progeny of an animal will perform relative to the progeny of other animals in the same breed. They are expressed in the units of that particular trait. For example, weaning weight is measured in pounds thus the Weaning Weight EPD is expressed in pounds. Another way to look at it is EPDs measure an animal’s value as a parent.

EPDs are based on pedigree information and performance data such as weight information and are then compared to other animals within a contemporary group. The different traits are adjusted to a standard age to ensure that all animals are equal when they are compared. The traits are adjusted as follows:

  • 205 days of age for weaning weight
  • 365 days of age for yearling weight
  • 365 days of age for bulls in ultrasound
  • 390 days of age for heifers in ultrasound

EPDs are then calculated using complex statistical procedures monthly during the National Cattle Evaluation (NCE).

To ensure that your animals receive EPDs you must:

  1. Be enrolled in the Canadian Angus Performance Program (CAPP).
  2. Submit weaning weights on all of your animals.
  3. Place your animals in a (same sex) contemporary group of more than two.
    • Ensure your animals are within the acceptable age ranges: 120–280 days for WW
    • 290–440 days for YW for all Angus animals
    • Animals that are in a management group of their own, such as twins, fosters, ET calves and lone bull calves are automatically placed into a single animal contemporary group and will not receive EPDs until they are parents to performance-recorded progeny.

To use EPDs effectively you must understand how they work. Imagine you are interested in purchasing a couple of bulls for your herd. You are looking at the EPDs in a sale catalogue. Bull A has a weaning weight EPD of +10 and Bull B has a weaning weight of +60. What does that mean? How can you use the EPDs to choose between the two bulls?

If these animals were randomly mated with 10 similar cows, we would expect the group average weaning weight of Bull A’s offspring to be 50 lbs lighter than that of Bull B’s (60-10=50).


In this example, if you were interested in producing heavier calves, Bull B would be the one to choose.

A note to remember, EPDs evaluate group average and offspring’s performance. They cannot predict individual performance or weights.

Another important aspect to consider when selecting animals based on their EPDs is the accuracy of those EPDs. The accuracy represents the reliability of the EPD against the true breeding value. Accuracies are reported as a percentage value. High accuracy values (greater than 0.80) mean the EPD is closer to the true breeding value than an EPD value with a lower accuracy (less than 0.20). EPDs with low accuracy have a much greater chance of changing as more information becomes available than an animal with a high accuracy EPD. Although EPDs for low accuracy animals can be considered unreliable relative to higher accuracy EPDs, they are still the best objective measure of an animal’s genetic merit.

EPDs are useful tools when planning breeding programs. Attention should be paid to the heritability and correlations to the traits a breeder wants to improve upon within the herd. Some traits are more heritable than others resulting in faster progress being made in comparison to other less heritable traits. Also, many traits are correlated, wherein the trait is affected by the expression of several other traits. It is important to be aware of such logistics when developing selection criteria in a breeding program.

Trait Heritability Range Level
reproductive less than 0.20 low
growth 0.20 – 0.40 moderate
carcass greater than 0.40 high

Understanding the heritability and the effects of correlation between traits will aid in developing a genetic selection program that will optimize improvement on desired traits while minimizing undesirable side effects.

Each individual breeder must set his own selection goals based on the needs of his operation, the situation for that trait in his herd, and his production environment.

Sire Selection

It would be easier if we could assume that the highest EPDs are the best. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Like most decisions, using EPDs for sire selection involves tradeoffs. For example, bulls with high growth EPDs may sire calves with a higher birth weight as well. And there may be other impacts on your operation to consider.

For example, when breeding heifers it is desirable to produce calves with lower birth weights, so a breeder may want to pay special attention to birth weight EPDs of prospective bulls. If all calves were sold as feeders, the milk EPD would generally not rate much attention. Yearling weight will be important if you want to ensure finished steers in the appropriate weight range.

It should also be kept in mind that reaction to selection can differ from trait to trait. This is because some traits have higher heritability than others, and are more easily passed to offspring. For instance growth traits such as weaning weight respond faster to selection, than reproductive traits such as age at first calving.

A balance of traits is required, and the perfect balance for you will depend on your climate, nutritional and economic environment, as well as the management goals you have set for your herd.

One way to select for several traits is to set minimum and maximum acceptable levels for each trait, and then choose sires that meet the criteria. Another method would be to rank all sires on each trait, then develop a weighted index which ranks each bull from one (most desirable) to five (least desirable) for each trait. The bull with the lowest total score would be your first choice.

A Sample Sire Summary Evaluation

Bull Birth Weight Weaning Weight Yearling Weight Milk
  EPD Acc. EPD Acc. EPD Acc. EPD Acc.
A 6.6 0.75 31.3 0.75 39.5 0.68 -5.6 0.58
B 0.1 0.82 14.6 0.83 24.6 0.80 6.0 0.73
C 0.0 0.89 0.3 0.89 11.1 0.88 18.9 0.87
D -5.9 0.87 -3.8 0.87 -14.4 0.86 10.3 0.85

Producer 1 is looking for a sire that can be used on heifers; he wants a bull that will produce low birth weights and he wants to keep some heifer calves as replacements. Growth performance is not his first priority. The sire that fits his needs is sire D. He has a low birth weight EPD and above-average milk EPD.

Producer 2 has a sound breeding program; he is looking for a sire that will maintain performance and milking ability. He will select a bull that will increase growth performance and milk while maintaining calving ease. Sire B is his choice.

Producer 3 has a herd of above-average-frame cows and is not planning on keeping heifers as replacements. She is looking for a bull that will give her the most profit at weaning. Sire A will give her the best result in weaning weight. If heifers are kept as replacements, they will, on average, be inferior for maternal milk.

Producer 4 wants to maintain his calving performance and growth performance but would like to increase the milking ability in his females. Sire C is his choice.

EPDs are the most powerful genetic tool we have for selecting the best animals for your breeding program.

Commercial buyers rely on EPDs to make their purchasing decisions. Producers that do not have EPDs for their animals often lose out on selling their animals because of this. Buying an animal with EPDs provides a genetic snapshot of an animal’s breeding potential. While appearance and pedigree should be considered, EPDs allow a fair comparison of breeding value by removing environmental bias such as climate, feed and special management.

Depending on your target market, you can improve your herd by selecting for the right traits. Choosing a bull with high growth EPDs, in particular the weaning weight EPD, means more pounds at sale time. Looking at the EPDs of a prospective bull is essentially just as important as looking at specifications of an engine when buying farm machinery or vehicles.

To evaluate seedstock, use a combination of EPDs, pedigree and visual assessment. With EPDs, the concept of “intermediate optimums” works best. Selection for one trait or for extremes generally results in unexpected consequences due to genetic correlation. For example, intense selection for high yearling weight will also increase birth weight. Successful cattle breeding requires a thoughtful and balanced approach to optimize fertility, growth and carcass merit while improving profitability and efficiency. EPDs are the best tool we currently have to compare animals between herds and countries.

The quality of your EPDs also reflects the quality of data that comes into the office. Taking pride in your paperwork increases error-free data entry. Submitting your data on time or early eliminates the chances of receiving a Missing Data Report and your animals subsequently not getting EPDs due to non-compliance.

How to Transfer an Animal

You can transfer animals online using AngusNOW by clicking HERE.

To transfer animals, complete the Application for Transfer of Ownership located on the reverse side of the registration certificate and return it to the Canadian Angus Association with the appropriate fee as per the current fee schedule within six months of the date of sale. 

If a bred female is sold, the service dates and information must be provided on the transfer application. All service sires must be DNA tested and the bull must be AI approved if applicable. If a semen interest is retained on a bull that is being transferred, put both the name of the buyer and your own name on the application for transfer so that both names appear on the registration certificate as current owners.

PLEASE NOTE: The transfer fee is the responsibility of the seller unless otherwise noted on the bill of sale.

All signatures of listed owners must appear on the transfer, unless Signing Authority Agreement for Canadian Angus Association Registered Animals (CAAFORM6) has been provided. In the case where an entire herd is transferred to a new owner, one application for transfer may be completed if a list of animals to be transferred is attached. The completed transfer form and registration certificates of the listed animals must be forwarded to the Canadian Angus Association with the appropriate fees.

How to Transfer an e-stored Registration Certificate

Send your transfer request to the Registry Department by mail (292140 Wagon Wheel Blvd, Rocky View County, AB, T4A 0E2) by email or by fax (403-571-3599).

 Please include the following information in your request:

 Subject: Request to transfer ownership of an e-stored certificate

 Body of message:

  1. Identify the animal by the tattoo and registration number
  2. Identify the buyer by name and address
  3. Provide a sale date

If the animal is a bred female, provide the service details including sire identification and exposure dates.

 You may also provide this information on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and send by email. Your columns should be in the same order as above.

You may also use CAAFORM16-Application for Transfer of Ownership to apply for a transfer.

Non-Financial Transfers

Non-financial transfers are ownership transfers in which no money changes hands. These transfers are usually between family members, partners, company members or estate settlements. Partnerships and company members must all be recorded with the Canadian Angus Association before a non-financial transfer will be processed at the non-financial transfer fee.

Some common non-financial transfer situations are:

  • Transfer from an individual to a partnership, or a partnership to an individual.
  • Addition or deletion of an individual in a partnership or farm name.
  • Estate transfers to another family member or beneficiary. Estate transfers require either a death
    certificate, a copy of the will or a letter from the lawyer of the estate, including the name(s) of the
    executors. The executor will be the signing authority for estate transfers.
  • Transfers of herd names and tattoo letters can also be included in estate settlements.

A Canadian Angus Association membership is NOT required to transfer an animal.

How to Tattoo an Animal

Tattooing Procedure

  1. Ensure that you have the necessary equipment and that it is all in working order.
  2. Sterilize the tattoo equipment with disinfectant so you don’t spread viruses or diseases from one
    animal to another.
  3. The animal needs to be properly restrained and unable to move its head if the tattoo is to be legible.
  4. Be sure the ear is completely clean and free of wax and dirt, which will prevent the tattoo paste from penetrating the skin. Clean the ear with a soft cloth and allow it to dry.
  5. While the ear is drying, determine the appropriate tattoo for the calf. Check each tattoo on a piece of cardboard before applying it to the animal’s ear. Check for even perforations and replace characters that are dull or broken.
  6. Liberally apply fresh tattoo ink to the letters and/or digits using the toothbrush.
  7. Apply the tattoo between the ribs or cords of the RIGHT EAR. (To determine right and left, stand
    behind the animal facing the direction the animal is facing.)
  8. Close the jaws quickly and firmly then release quickly to avoid tearing the punctures. Use enough
    pressure to pierce the skin but do not use so much pressure that the ear bleeds excessively.
  9. Use a generous amount of fresh tattoo paste, rubbing it into the holes made by the pliers. Use the
    toothbrush to thoroughly work the paste into the tattoo.
  10. Record the tattoo and other relevant information in your record book.
  11. Clean the tattoo characters with a wire brush to remove hair, dirt and excess ink.

It is important to get the ink well below the surface of the ear so that the skin will heal over it, leaving a
clear, permanent tattoo. A properly administered tattoo will be legible for the entire life of the animal.

A video outlining the step-by-step procedures on how to properly tattoo an Angus animal according to the official regulations of the Canadian Angus Association can be viewed HERE.

Forms for tattooing

TSU Tutorial (with thanks to Allflex for permission to use).

Click HERE!

TSU Application Guide

Click HERE to view the TSU Application Guide.

Data Collection Guide

Click HERE to view the Data Collection Guide.

Hair Card Sample Collection Instructions

Click HERE for the English version and click HERE for the FRENCH version.

Blood Card Sample Collection Instructions

Click HERE for the English version and click HERE for the FRENCH version.

Canadian Angus Association

292140 Wagon Wheel Blvd,
Rocky View County, AB T4A 0E2

Tel: (403) 571-3580
Fax: (403) 571-3599
Toll Free: 1-888-571-3580
Text Line: 587-439-3440*
*Please note: this is an incoming text line only.  Responses will not be given from the same text line.

CAA Calendar

Upcoming Events

Vision: The Canadian Angus Association exists to preserve and expand the Angus breed for Canadian cattle producers and beef consumers, providing the best opportunities for profitability today and for future generations. Mission: To maintain breed registry, breed purity and provide services that enhance the growth and position of the Angus breed.
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