All cattle keepers must keep a holding register showing births, movements and deaths for cattle, bison and buffalo they are responsible for.
As a cattle keeper, you must keep a holding register for your cattle. The register includes specific information about each of your animals.
The format of the holding register
You can keep your records on paper, a computer or a combination of both. The law does not specify the form of the holding register, so you can:
- download a contact the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) to get a copy posted to you or
- use a record book produced by your local authority, if available in your area (not available in Scotland or Wales)
- use a computerised spreadsheet or a software package
- use any notebook or other record book (so long as you record all of the information listed below)
Records must be available for checking by an official inspector on request (eg at a holding inspection). If you keep your records on computer, you may wish to keep a paper copy as a back-up.
What to record in your register
The register must contain the following details for each animal:
- its ear tag number
- its date of birth
- its sex
- its breed
- the dam’s ear tag number (from 6 April 2015 this information is only required for animals born on your holding)
- the date of any movement it makes on and off your holding (including movements to or from any other holding you occupy)
- details of where it has moved from or to (record either the CPH number or the name and address of the keeper)
- its date of death
You must also record these events:
- movements on or off your holding (even if you don’t have to report to the Cattle Tracing System, for example because the movement was to a linked holding)
- replacement tags for cattle born before 1 January 1998, where the number is changed
Records for calf movements through markets
A calf under 12 weeks old must not go to market more than twice in any 28 day period. When a calf under 12 weeks old is brought to a market, the market operator should check with the seller whether the animal has been to a market during the previous 28 days. If it has, the operator must record:
- the address of that market (even if it’s the same one)
- the date(s) on which the calf was there
Deadlines for updating the holding register
You should complete your records as soon as you can after the event concerned. You must complete them within:
- 36 hours in the case of movement on or off a holding
- 7 days for the birth of a dairy animal
- 30 days for the birth of all other cattle
- 7 days of death
- 36 hours of replacing ear tags where the identification number is changed
How long to keep your records
Holding registers must be retained for 10 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last entry was made. Other registers (eg those kept at markets) must be retained for 3 years from the end of that year.
British Cattle Movement Service
BCMS helpline 0345 050 1234
Welsh language helpline 0345 050 3456
Normal BCMS helpline opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm, closed weekends and bank holidays. All calls charged at local rate.