If you keep cattle, bison or buffalo, you need to get a herd mark before you can buy new or replacement official ear tags.
A herd mark is a unique identifier for a herd of animals. It is issued by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). In England and Wales it is possible for a holding to have more than 1 herd mark (for example if you run your beef and dairy herds separately). In Scotland you can only have one herd mark per holding.
Cattle herd marks have a specific form:
- herd marks issued before 1 January 2000 were made up of 1 or 2 letters followed by 4 numbers
- since 1 January 2000 herd marks have been made up of 6 numbers
How to apply
APHA will register you as a cattle keeper and send you a registration document containing your herd mark.
How herd marks are used
The herd mark is one of the pieces of information printed on each cattle ear tag. You need a herd mark before you can: