Goats - identification, records and movement
- This guidance is for England
Goats that were born or identified on or 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 must be recorded individually on your movement document (ARAMS-1, in paper or electronic form) unless you are moving them between premises that are part of your county parish holding (CPH) number and within a 10 mile radius of your 'point of business' (usually the postal address of your main animal handling point) or you move them through a central point recording centre (CPRC).
Individually identified 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.
- Before moving goats to your holding
If you want to keep goats you will first require a CPH number, which identifies the land where they will be kept.
To apply for a CPH number you need to contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) customer registration helpline on 03000 200 301.
- Notification of holdings
An occupier of a holding who begins to keep goats on that holding, and any person who takes over the occupation of a holding where goats are kept, must notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) of their name and address, and the address of the holding. This must be done within one month. APHA should be contacted on 03000 200 301 or email@example.com. They will provide you with your herd number at this stage.
You must also notify APHA, within one month, if you stop keeping goats.
- 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')
Kids must be identified before they leave their holding of birth (including moves to slaughter, temporary grazing, common grazing, market, etc) whether or not the six / nine months have passed.
Your goats will be rejected if they are not correctly identified when they arrive at a market or abattoir
- What can I identify my goats with?
Goats can be identified with any of the following identification devices:
- ear tags
- pastern tags
- 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 old) or a slaughter animal (one that is intended for slaughter within 12 months of birth).
More information on the types and combinations of identification devices (opens in a new window) can be found on the GOV.UK website.
Electronic identification for goats is voluntary. However, if you intend to export then they must be full EID identified. For further details please see Sheep and goat keepers: how to identify your animals (opens in a new window) on the GOV.UK website.
- Goats born or identified before 31 December 2009
Before 1 January 2001 goats did not need to be identified with a permanent mark. Between 1 January 2001 and 31 January 2003 goats were identified with a UK herd mark tag, which did not have an individual number. Since 9 July 2005 all goats have been required to be individually identified (exception for goats slaughtered before 12 months of age).
If any of these older animals have not been identified and are to be moved, you must identify them with two identification devices that have the same individual number (see below).
- Goats born or identified since 31 December 2009
These animals 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 herd 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 requiredwith the herd mark printed on it.
Reserved colours for tags (as stated in the Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (England) Order 2009):
- 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 identification
If your goat loses its identification device, or it becomes impossible to read, you must replace the device within the following timescales (whichever comes soonest):
- no later than 28 days after the tag was removed or discovered to be lost or illegible (either visually or electronically)
- 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.
Replacement tags for slaughter animals:
- apply a new slaughter tag
- if animal is NOT on the holding of birth the tag must be red
Goats with an EID bolus
Any replacement ear tag or pastern tag must have the same animal identification number and must be black. If the bolus fails or cannot be read the animal should be re-identified using an ear tag or pastern tag; you should not insert a new bolus.
Goats with a tattoo
If the goat has a tattoo and loses its other identifier the replacement identifier must have the same number as the tattoo. If the tattoo becomes illegible it should be replaced with a conventional ear tag.
tattoos are not suitable for use for export.
Animals identified before 2010 are known as the 'historic flock'. The individual tag numbers of the historic flock must be recorded on the movement document unless the move is direct to slaughter. If you have to replace an ear tag on a historic-flock animal, you may wish to consider replacing both ear tags with a new pair that include an EID. This is not a legal requirement but it will make it possible to gather your animals' individual identification numbers using scanning equipment and is recommended by Defra and industry bodies.
- Where do I record my animal movements & 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 on to the ARAMS database
- if you have internet access, you can report moves on the ARAMS (opens in a new window) website
- if neither of the above are appropriate, you can use a quadruplicate paper ARAMS-1 form in a similar way to the old AML1 form. The address is: Animal Reporting and Movement Service, Capita Customer Solutions, PO Box 1470, Northampton, NN1 9GB. 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 that remains under your keepership moves to a piece of land that is registered under the same CPH number as your 'point of business' and is within a 10 mile radius of it
- where an animal is moved to a veterinary practice
- when an animal is moved to common land that is adjacent to the holding
- when an animal is moved on foot to adjacent land that has a different CPH but is not used for any other livestock. However, this exemption will cease on 1 January 2018 if within a 10 mile radius of the 'point of business' it can be part of the main CPH, either permanently or through a 'temporary land association' (TLA)
- Recording movements in the holding register
Versions of the holding register in Excel and PDF (opens in a new window) are available on the GOV.UK website.
You must record the individual identification numbers for double-identified animals when the animal is first identified, moves to another holding or dies.
Slaughter animals are always recorded as a batch or mixed batch (you only need to record the herd marks of the animals being moved).
For animals born or identified before 31 December 2009 (historic flock) you never have to record individual identification numbers in the holding register and can continue to batch record them. However, printouts of individual numbers relating to the historic flock, provided by a CPRC (opens in a new window), should be cross-referenced with batch movements in your holding register (although this link appears to be for sheep only, it is relevant for goats as well).
The examples below show the different ways of recording goat movements.
This is where you record the individual identification number of each animal. It applies to double-identified animals only. For example:
Date Number of animals moved Herd mark / individual ID number CPH / location animals arrived from 01/10/2015 1 UK0123456 00001 01/001/1234 02/10/2015 5 UK0123456 00002 to 00006 01/001/1234
This is where you only record the total number of animals moved. It is used for slaughter animals, animals identified before 31 December 2009 and for moves through a CPRC that is providing you with the individual numbers. For example:
Date Number of animals moved Herd mark CPH / location animals arrived from
10/10/2015 50 UK0123456 01/001/1234
Mixed batch recording
This is where animals moving in batches have different herd marks. You must record the number of animals that have the same herd mark. It applies to slaughter animals only. For example:
Date Number of animals moved Herd mark CPH / location animals arrived from 06/10/2015
the leading zeroes in the herd marks in the above tables are only necessary for full EID-identified animals.
- 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 (opens in a new window) website.
Moves can be recorded and reported in the movement document in two ways: individual recording and batch recording.
Slaughter animals should be recorded on a batch basis.
Double-identified goats born or identified since 31 December 2009 should be recorded individually on your movement document (ARAMS-1, in paper form or electronically) unless you are moving animals within the 10-mile rule or to slaughter (direct or through a market), which continue to be batch reported.
- How do I record the individual numbers?
For individual recording, it is up to you to decide whether to 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 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 CPRC, such as an approved market or abattoir. A list of approved CPRC premises (opens in a new window) can be found on the GOV.UK website (as for the holding-register link above, although this appears to be for sheep only, it is also relevant for goats).
Failure to comply with the requirements of the Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movements) (England) Order 2009 is an offence under the Animal Health Act 1981. The maximum penalty is a fine and two years' imprisonment.
- Further reading
Extra information for sheep and goat keepers (opens in a new window), including examples and scenarios, can be found on the GOV.UK website.
- Key legislation
- Animal Health Act 1981 (opens in a new window)
- Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (England) Order 2009 (opens in a new window)
Last reviewed / updated: September 2017
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
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