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5. Births

When a calf is born, you must comply with the cattle identification regulations. These include:

• ensuring the calf is fitted with an approved ear tag in each ear

• applying for a cattle passport

• entering the calf’s details in the herd register


Keepers must:

  • order a stock of official ear tags to use for births from registered suppliers
  • provide your herd mark and CPH when ordering tags
  • not apply for more ear tags than you will use in one year
  • ensure unused ear tags are kept securely

Each animal needs one primary and one secondary ear tag, both showing the same unique identification number. The primary tag must be a yellow plastic distance-readable flag tag. It can go in either ear.

The primary tag shall only contain the information detailed below:

  • the Crown logo
  • the country code (‘UK’)
  • the herd mark
  • a check digit
  • a five-digit individual animal number

The secondary tag must be in the other ear to the primary tag. It must have the same information as the primary tag, but may also contain management information and an EID chip.

Deadlines for tag application:
Calf Fitting 1st tag Fitting 2nd tag Replacements


Within 36 hours of birth

Within 20 days of birth

Within 28 days
of loss OR before
animal leaves the holding


Within 20 days of birth


Within 9 months of birth or at weaning (whichever is sooner)

Bovine Electronic Identification (Bovine EID)

The implementation of mandatory Bovine EID is being considered for new born calves. This will require for one of the approved ear tags to contain an electronic chip. At present the official EID tag specifications have not been agreed. Further updates can be found at Cattle Tags-when will bovine electronic identification be introduced