Sheep and Goat Tagging

Sheep and goat tagging legislation:

  • If the goats or sheep are housed overnight they must be tagged within 6 months of birth
  • If the goats or sheep aren’t housed overnight they must be tagged within 9 months of birth
  • If the goats or sheep are to be moved of the holding of birth they need tagging even if they are younger than stated above

The only time you can take a sheep or goat off your holding prior to tagging for identification and traceability is in an emergency to visit a vet, but then you must:


  • Tag the animal on your return to your holding for identification and traceability
  • Update your holding register and record the move to the vet

When you are taking sheep or goats to market the must be correctly tagged for identification or they will be rejected.


Sheep and Goat Tagging Equipment

Sheep and goat tagging equipment needs to be approved by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA)

The tag supplier will obtain official identification numbers for your animals from the GB Ear Tag Allocation System (ETAS.) The allocated numbers will then be printed on the id tags and encoded in the transponders of electronic identifiers (EID’s.)

Tag suppliers also require:

  • Your County Parish Holding (CPH) number
  • Your flock number for sheep tagging and your herd number for goat tagging, which is printed on the ID tags

If you have animals that were born on common land or on a holding with a temporary CPH you must give tag companies the herd or flock mark of your main holding.



Sheep and Goat Management Information

Sheep and goat tags can also contain management information for your own farming system, such as age of animal, as long as it’s separate from the official animal identity number.

There is also an option to use non official secondary management tags for sheep and goat tagging. The management tags to avoid confusion with official identifiers can’t be:

  • be yellow, black or red
  • contain the letters ‘UK’


Sheep and Goat Tagging Replacements

To adhere to legislation for sheep and goat tagging you must replace any missing or damaged tags within 28 days of noticing an issue.

Your holding register must be updated with old and new tag numbers.

Red tags are required for sheep or goats that have ever been moved in their lifetime. So if a sheep is not on it’s holding of birth or is somewhere other than where it was last identified it requires a red tag.


Replace single ear tags on animals intended for slaughter

If sheep or goats on your holding are intended for slaughter in their first 12 months they require a single ear tag displaying your herd or flock number of the animal.

Single slaughter tags can be replaced with either an exact replacement of the damaged or lost tag showing the flock or herd number or a set of adult tags containing both the herd or flock number and the animals unique identifier.

If your plans change and any of the sheep or goats that were intended for slaughter remain on your holding for over a year, you must then insure the sheep and goat tagging requirements are met. The single tag must be replaced with 2 adult id tags before it’s a year old.


Adult Sheep and Goat Tag Replacements

The requirement for adult sheep and goats is to have two ear tags displaying flock or herd number and the animals unique identification number.

If one of the id tags are lost you can either:

  • You can replace with an exact replica containing the animals existing id number
  • Remove the remaining tag and replace with a pair that contain a new identification number. If an animal has lost both tags you will also need to get tags with a new identification number

Replacement for animals that only have 1 ear tag

For adult animals that only have a single ear tag. Their second identifier can be a:

  • tattoo
  • bolus (an EID which is ingested by the animal and can be scanned)
  • pastern (a leg band, which can be an EID or non-EID).

If the ear tag of an animal with a tattoo, bolus or pastern is lost, you must order a replica as a replacement ear tag (so the new ear tag matches the tattoo, bolus or pastern).



Sheep and Goat Registration

Cattle Registration

Cattle Tagging

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