Register as a cattle keeper with the British Cattle Movement Service

How to register or re-register your holding with the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), what happens next and what to do if your details change.

Applies to England and Wales


Register as a cattle keeper in England or Wales


Save time registering as a cattle keeper

To register as a cattle keeper in England, you must contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).

You can take part in a trial where keepers only need to contact the RPA. Fill in this form if you’re applying for a CPH number for the first time and would like to take part.

Before you move cattle, bison or buffalo onto your holding, you must register your new or reopened county parish holding (CPH) number with BCMS. This is so that you can:

You must do this by law so that cattle can be traced to prevent and contain the outbreak of disease.

Read more about what you must do when keeping cattle, bison and buffalo.

How to register

  1. Open the form in a PDF reader, such as Acrobat Reader
  2. Download and save the form to your computer.
  3. Fill in the form and save it again.
  4. Attach the completed form to an email and send it to Use ‘Register as a cattle keeper’ as the subject header of your email.

You can register by phone if you prefer.

Telephone (England): 0345 050 1234
Telephone (Wales): 0345 050 3456
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

What BCMS will do

BCMS will register you as a cattle keeper and send you:

  • a letter confirming your details are on their Cattle Tracing System (CTS) database
  • barcode labels to use in passports

You’ll also get a:

You can use these to register cattle births and report movements and deaths online.

What you need to do next

Make sure you have also contacted the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to tell them you intend to keep cattle.

This is so that APHA can send you a herd mark to identify cattle born on your holding. Even if you do not plan to rear calves, you still need to have a herd mark to comply with the law.

Find out how to register with APHA and get a herd mark.

If anything changes

You must let BCMS and APHA know if there are any changes to your registered details.

You must also let the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) know of any changes to the details you gave when you applied for your CPH) number.

Find out how to update your holding details.

Updates to this page

Published 30 June 2020
Last updated 7 December 2022 + show all updates
  1. New version of the form attached

  2. Added translation

Sign up for emails or print this page