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Farming Standards Advice - Guidance Leaflets

Goats - records, identification and movement

Goats that were born or identified after 31 December 2009, and are not intended for slaughter under 12 months of age, must be double identified and individually recorded in your herd 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. These goats will generally be your breeding stock but may also be goats you keep for whatever reason (including as pets) beyond 12 months of age.

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

In the guide
When should I identify my goats?
What can I identify my goats with?
Goats 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 goats?
Kids 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 goats with?
Goats can be identified with any of the following identification devices:

  • ear tags
  • tattoos
  • pastern tags
  • boluses
  • injectable electronic identification device (EID) (in groin)

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

Electronic identification (EID) for goats is voluntary. However if you intend to export then they must be full EID identified. For further details please see Rules for identifying sheep and goats on Defra's website.

Goats born or identified after 31 December 2009
Need to be double identified with two non-electronic identification devices (if choosing not to use EID). These can be:

  • two ear tags with the same unique 12-digit animal number
  • an ear tag and a tattoo with the same unique 12-digit number (UK code and flock number on one ear, individual animal number on the other) - the tattoo can go across both ears
  • an ear tag and a pastern mark with the same unique 12-digit number
  • an injectable EID (in groin) and a black ear tag with a letter 'I' printed on it with the same unique 12-digit animal number

In the case of animals intended for slaughter within 12 months of birth only one single slaughter tag is required with herd mark printed on it.

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

  • yellow - used only for electronic tag
  • black - used only for ear tags where the goat has an EID bolus or an EID injectable
  • red - used only for replacement tags (including replacement electronic tags)

Replacing ear tags
If your goat loses its identification device or it becomes impossible to read, you must replace the device (whichever comes soonest) either:

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

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

Before 1 January 2001, goats did not need to be identified with a permanent mark. Between 1 January 2001 and February 2003 goats were identified with a UK herd mark tag which did not have an individual number.

If these animals lose their tag or need to be moved, you must double identify them with two matching tags with the same individual numbers, one of which may be electronic.

Replacement tags for slaughter animals:  

  • apply a new slaughter tag
  • if animal is NOT on the holding of birth, the tag must be red

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
A template holding register is available on the GOV.UK website.

You must record the individual identification numbers for double 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 only need to record the herd marks of the animals being moved).

For animals born or identified before 31 December 2009 you never have to record individual identification numbers in the holding register.

Individually - This is where you record the individual identification number of each animal. It applies to double identified animals. 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
01/02/2012Goat1UK 123456 9301/001/1234
02/02/2012Goat5

UK 123456 93

to UK 123456 98

01/001/1234

Mixed batch recording - This is where animals moving in batches have different flock or herd marks. You must record the number of animals which have the same flock or herd mark. It applies to slaughter animals only. 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
06/02/2012Goat

35

15

UK123456

UK654321

01/001/1234

Batch recording - This is where you only record the total number of animals moved.

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. 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
10/02/2012Goat50UK 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. However, some receiving keepers (for example, abattoirs) may ask you to do so.

Double identified goats 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.

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

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 central point recording centre (CPRC) to electronically read and record the numbers on EID goats 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 identifiers have their individual identification numbers read and recorded on behalf of a keeper by a central point recording centre (CPRC) such as an approved market or abattoir.

Further reading
Extra information, 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.