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The aim of these requirements is to maintain a system for the identification and registration of sheep and goats in order to aid traceability, in particular in the event of a disease outbreak. They apply to you if you keep sheep and goats, even if kept as pets.

Main requirements


All sheep and goat keepers must:

  • register as a keeper with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and ensure details are kept up to date.
  • for keepers who have not been transitioned onto the new County Parish Holding (CPH) rules, ensure that parcels of land that are further than 5 miles from the main holding have a separate temporary CPH number (tCPH). Separate records should be kept for this holding. For keepers who have been transitioned onto the new CPH rules, parcels of land within 10 miles of the main holding may be included under the same CPH as part of changes introduced by the CPH Project.

Further information can be found at: County Parish Holdings and livestock movements


All sheep and goats must be identified:

  • with Defra – approved identifiers, within 6 months of birth for intensively managed animals and 9 months for extensively farmed animals, or before they move off the holding, whichever comes first
  • lambs must be electronically identified with either a single electronic slaughter tag bearing the UK flock mark only (if going to slaughter in a UK abattoir within 12 months of age) or full EID (two identical identifiers, 1 electronic tag and a matching non-electronic tag bearing a UK flock mark and individual number)
  • sheep kept beyond 12 months of age for breeding or live export must be identified with full EID (two identical identifiers, 1 electronic tag and a matching non electronic tag bearing a UK flock mark and individual number)
  • replace lost, damaged or illegible means of identification within 28 days of discovering the loss, or before the animal leaves the holding whichever is earlier. This also includes EID tags which cannot be scanned/read electronically
  • approved identification marks must not be altered, obliterated or defaced
  • removal of a tag is permitted to upgrade a single slaughter tag identified lamb to full EID on an animal that is intended to exceed 12 months of age (e.g. enter the breeding flock), full movement history with evidence to confirm full traceability and cross referencing old identification number with new individual identification number must be recorded in the flock record
  • if the original identifiers(s) are lost, it is permitted to remove any existing tag and replace with new tags
  • replacement tags with a different identification number must be recorded in the flock records
  • replacement tags must be red in colour if re-identifying sheep not on their holding of birth
  • a third tag must be applied if the animal is being exported. Export tags will require a ‘GB’ country code prefix and the animals existing ID number

Record keeping

  • keep an up to date on-farm record for each holding and make available on request
  • complete an annual inventory form for 1 December and return it to the address detailed on the annual inventory form. Record this information in the farm records by 1 February
  • record replacement tags used, cross-referencing with the original number if known
  • record details of movements of sheep and goats on and off your holding to include:
    • date of movement
    • number of animals moved
    • destination or origin of animals
    • the haulier’s name and vehicle registration
    • the full identification of the animal
    • if born before 31 December 2009 and not identified with full EID and moving direct to slaughter, you may only record the number of animals
    • the holding of birth (flock number), year of birth, the date the animal was identified and its identification number
    • the month and year of death
    • the breed and (if known) the genotype
  • keepers should note that from 1 September 2018, keepers moving animals between separate holdings will be required to record the full identities of the animals even if the ownership does not change
  • the identities will be required to be recorded on the movement document and the holding register

Movement documents

  • premises of destination to complete section 3 and notify the central movement database (via online methods or sending movement document) within 3 days of the movement
  • copies of movement documents must be retained for at least three years

Field checks

  • check that all sheep and goats are tagged correctly, in compliance with The Sheep and Goat (Records, Identification and Movement) (Wales) Order 2015
  • check that the flock records meet the requirements
  • check that numbers of sheep and goats on the holding reconciles with the flock records and the most recent Annual Inventory return
  • ensure Movement Documents (AML1’s) are being maintained
  • ensure safe animal handling facilities and assistance are provided during an inspection

Further information