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Farming Standards Advice - Guidance Leaflets

Sheep - records, identification and movement

Sheep that were born or identified after 31 December 2009, and are not intended for slaughter under 12 months of age, must be electronically identified and individually recorded in your flock register. When moving these animals they should be recorded individually on your movement document (ARAMS-1, in paper or electronic form) unless you are moving them within a business or you move them through a central point recording centre (CPRC). These sheep will generally be your breeding stock but may also be sheep you keep for whatever reason beyond 12 months of age (including pets).

You do not need to electronically identify sheep that were already officially identified before 31 December 2009. In addition, you do not need to record these animals individually in your holding register.

There are different rules for sheep destined for slaughter within 12 months of birth.

In the guide
When should I identify my sheep?
What can I identify my sheep with?
Sheep born before February 2003
Sheep born before 31 December 2009
Sheep born or identified after 31 December 2009
Replacing ear tags
Where do I record my animal movements and who do I report them to?
Recording movements in the holding register
Recording movements in the movement document
How do I record the individual numbers?
What is central point recording?
Further reading

When should I identify my sheep?
Lambs born on your holding must be identified within the following timescales:

  • within six months of birth if the animals are housed overnight
  • within nine months of birth if the animals are not housed overnight (kept in extensive conditions)

or before the animal moves from its holding of birth (including moves to slaughter, temporary grazing, common grazing, market etc) if this is to happen before six/nine months have passed.

What can I identify my sheep with?
Sheep can be identified with any of the following identification devices:

  • ear tags
  • tattoos
  • pastern tags
  • boluses

What is used depends on whether the animal is a full EID identified animal (generally one that will not be slaughtered before it is 12 months old) or a slaughter animal (one that is intended for slaughter within 12 months of birth).

However there are different rules that are dependant on when your sheep were born or identified.

Sheep born before February 2003
Before 1 January 2001, sheep did not need to be identified with a permanent mark.

Between 1 January 2001 and February 2003, sheep were identified with a single ear tag showing a UK flock mark but not an individual animal number.

If these sheep lose their tag or need to be moved, you must double identify them with the identification device which have the same individual animal number (one of which may be electronic and therefore the animal becomes a full EID identified animal).

Sheep born before 31 December 2009
Sheep born between February 2003 and 10 January 2008 were identified with a single tag bearing a flock mark and individual number.

Sheep born between 11 January 2008 and 30 December 2009 were identified by double tags bearing a flock mark and individual number.

Sheep identified before 31 December 2009 do not need to be electronically identified and you do not need to replace the identification devices that are already on the sheep.

There are various options regarding upgrading the identification devices for such sheep. Further guidance on identification devices for the historic flock can be found on the GOV.UK website under Rules for replacing lost, damaged or illegible sheep tags.

Sheep born or identified after 31 December 2009
Full EID identified animals should have two identification devices, one of which must be electronic.

Both identification devices must have the same individual number - your unique flock mark (with a zero in front) followed by a five-digit animal number.

  • an EID tag must be yellow
  • a non-electronic identification device can be any colour apart from yellow, red or black

Slaughter animals should have one single tag, which can be an electronic slaughter tag or a non-electronic batch tag:

  • a single electronic slaughter tag - this has the flock mark printed on the outside of the tag and the individual number contained in the electronic chip - it must be yellow to show that it is an electronic tag
  • a single non-electronic slaughter tag - this will only have the flock mark printed on the outside of the tag

Reserved colours for tags (as stated in the Regulations):

  • yellow - used only for electronic tag
  • black - used only for ear tags where the sheep has an EID bolus and should be marked with the letter 'B'
  • red - used only for replacement tags (including replacement electronic tags)

Replacing ear tags
Regardless of when it was born, if your sheep loses its identification device or it becomes impossible to read, you must replace the device in one of the following ways (whichever comes soonest):

  • no later than 28 days after the tag was removed or discovered to be lost or illegible (either visually or electronically) - or
  • before the sheep is moved from your holding

Whenever you apply replacements you must make a record of this in the replacement section of the holding register.

Where do I record my animal movements and who do I report them to?
When an animal moves, its movement must be reported to the Animal Reporting and Movements Service (ARAMS) within three days using one of the following methods:

  • if you use a farm management package that has been updated, it will automatically report sheep and goat movements onto the ARAMS database
  • if you have internet access, you can report moves on the ARAMS website
  • using a quadruplicate paper ARAMS-1 form in a similar way to the old AML1 form. The new address is: Animal Reporting and Movement Service, SouthWestern, PO Box 6299, Milton Keynes, MK10 1ZQ. Do not send completed forms to your local authority

The movement must also be recorded in the holding register.

The only exceptions are as follows:

  • when an animal which remains under your keepership moves to a piece of land which has the same CPH (county parish holding) number as your main holding and is within five miles, as the crow flies, from your main holding
  • where an animal is moved to a veterinary practice
  • when an animal is moved to adjacent common land that has a Defra-registered 'link' to your CPH
  • when an animal is moved on foot to adjacent land that has a different CPH but is not used for any other livestock

Recording movements in the holding register
Versions of the holding register in Excel and pdf are available on the GOV.UK website.

You must record the individual identification numbers for full EID identified animals when the animal is first identified, dies, or moves to another holding.

Slaughter animals are always recorded as a batch or mixed batch (that is, you you only need to record the flock numbers of the animals being moved).

For animals born or identified before 31 December 2009 you do not have to record individual identification numbers in the holding register. Your options for completing the holding register are:

Individually - For full EID animals. This is where you record the individual identification number of each animal. For example:

DateSheep or goatsNumber of animals movedIndividual ID no. or batch ID or cross ref. to list of animals (where appropriate)CPH/location animals arrived from
01/02/2012Sheep1

UK 123456

000001

01/001/1234
02/02/2012Sheep5

UK 123456

000002 to

000006

01/001/1234

Mixed batch recording - For slaughter animals only. This is where animals moving in batches have different flock marks. You must record the number of animals that have the same flock mark. For example:

DateSheep or goatsNumber of animals movedIndividual ID no. or batch ID or cross ref. to list of animals (where appropriate)CPH/location animals arrived from
06/02/2012Sheep

35

15

UK123456

UK654321

01/001/1234

Batch recording - This is used for slaughter animals, animals identified before 31 December 2009 and for moves within a business where the animals stay under the care and control of the keeper. Also used for full EID identified animals where they move through a central point recording centre that is providing you with the individual numbers. This is where you only record the total number of animals moved. For example:

DateSheep or goatsNumber of animals movedIndividual ID no. or batch ID or cross ref. to list of animals (where appropriate)CPH/location animals arrived from
10/02/2012Sheep50

UK 123456

 

01/001/1234

Recording movements in the movement document
The ARAMS-1, which needs to be completed each time animals move to a different holding, can be found on the ARAMS website.

Moves can be recorded and reported in the movement document in two ways - individual recording and batch recording.

When you move slaughter animals you do not have to record mixed batches in your movement document.

Full EID identified animals born or identified after 31 December 2009 should be recorded individually on your movement document (ARAMS-1, in paper form or electronically) unless you are moving animals within a business or you move full EID animals through a central point recording centre (CPRC) (see below).

Slaughter animals and animals born or identified before 31 December 2009 should be recorded on a batch basis.

From 1 January 2015, you will need to record individual identification numbers for sheep that were tagged before 31 December 2009 on the movement document - except moves to slaughter (direct or through a market), which will continue to be batch reported. You should now be making preparations to ensure you can individually report movements of historic animals in your flock from 1 January 2015.

How do I record the individual numbers?
For individual recording, it is up to you to decide whether you read and record an animal's individual identification number yourself as it moves off your holding or use a CPRC to electronically read and record the numbers on your behalf. By using a CPRC you avoid having to individually record animals as they move off the holding.

What is central point recording?
This is where animals with electronic identification device have their individual identification numbers read and recorded on behalf of a keeper by a CPRC such as a market or abattoir.

Further reading
More detailed guidance, including examples and scenarios, can be found on the GOV.UK Sheep and goats identification, registration and movement guidance page.

Please note
This leaflet is not an authoritative interpretation of the law and is intended only for guidance. Any legislation referred to, while still current, may have been amended from the form in which it was originally enacted. Please contact us for further information.

Relevant legislation
Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (England) Order 2009

Last reviewed/updated: May 2014

© 2014 itsa Ltd on behalf of the Trading Standards Institute.

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