Sheep and goat keepers: how to keep a holding register
Records you need to keep in a holding register including identifiers applied on your premises, animal movements and an annual inventory.
You’re a sheep and goat keeper if you have responsibility for the care and control of any sheep or goat. This includes those kept as pets or temporarily (for example at a market). You don’t have to own animals to be a keeper.
As a keeper of sheep and goats, you must maintain a register of animals for each of your holdings, to record:
- new or replacement identifiers applied to sheep or goats
- movements of sheep or goats to and from your holding
- deaths of sheep or goats (record the date and the individual identification number of the animal that died)
- an annual inventory of the sheep and goats that are on your holding on 1 December
How to keep your holding register
You can keep your register:
- on paper
- online using the Animal Reporting and Movement Service (ARAMS) website
- electronically using other software
You can download a sample sheep and goat register or order paper copies from the Defra helpline by quoting PB13281:
Telephone: 03459 335 577
If you use the ARAMS website to keep your register, it can automatically record your livestock movements to premises that also use ARAMS online (such as markets and abattoirs).
For example, when you send animals to a market that reports the move to ARAMS online, your ARAMS holding register can automatically record the tag numbers of the animals moved.
You’re responsible for the accuracy and completeness of your register. You’ll be able to correct any wrong information that’s recorded.
You must keep the register for 3 years after the last animal in it has left the holding. You must make it available to an inspector if asked.
How to record new and replacement identifiers in your register
For new identifiers, record the:
- date you applied the identifiers
- year of birth of the identified animal (if it was born on your holding)
- breed and genotype of the identified animal if you know them
- flock or herd mark for slaughter lambs or kids
- individual identification number (for adult animals identified since 2010 only)
For replacement identifiers, record the:
- date you applied the identifiers
- details of the previous or surviving identifiers if you know them
- flock or herd mark
- individual identification number (only for adult animals identified since 2010)
When you apply tags with new identity numbers (rather than replicas) you must cross-reference the old and new identity numbers in the replacement section of your register. This is so that it’s clear they belong to the same animal.
Find out how to identify your sheep and goats.
Record moves in your register
Check the standstill requirements when sheep or goats arrive on your holding from another holding.
You must record any movement of sheep or goats to or from your holding in your register within 36 hours of the animals leaving or arriving, unless the movement is to or from:
- a holding within 5 miles of your main holding that shares the same Country Parish Holding (CPH) number
- common land that borders your holding, if your holding is linked to the common on Defra’s Animal Movement Licensing System (AMLS)
Contact the Defra helpline on 08459 335 577 to apply to link your holding to a common.
The requirement to record moves in your holding register applies to moves to any holding that has a different CPH number, even if the holding is within 5 miles and you own or rent it.
What to record
For movements of animals tagged before 2010, you only need to record the total number of animals moved.
For animals tagged after 2010 with 2 identifiers, you only need to record the total number of animals moved to either:
- a holding where you’re still the keeper (this applies to movements between 2 holdings that you own or rent, but that have different CPHs)
- a Central Point Recording Centre (CPRC)
You must record the individual identity number of each animal for movements of adult animals tagged since 2010 with 2 identifiers to any other location.
You only need to record the total number of animals moved, and the number from each flock or herd mark, for movements of lambs or kids intended for slaughter.
How to record a move to a CPRC
Central Point Recording Centres (CPRCs) are markets, abattoirs and collection centres that scan EIDs of sheep when they arrive, and give you a list of identification numbers for your records.
If you send sheep to a CPRC you must record the total number of animals you move in your holding register within 36 hours of sending the animals.
The CPRC will give you the individual identity numbers of the sheep after they arrive. You must add these to your register within 48 hours of sending the animals.
Frequent moves to or from neighbouring holdings or fields
If you move animals to an adjacent or nearby holding that doesn’t share your CPH there are fewer recording requirements, as long as the move meets all of the following conditions:
- it’s frequent
- it’s by foot
- there is no contact with other livestock
Examples of such moves are regular moves to allow animals to graze in:
- a neighbour’s field that shares a gate with yours
- a field across a road
For these moves, you must use a ‘standing entry’ in the off-on movements section of your holding register to record:
- that such a move takes place
- the frequency of the move
- the CPH numbers of the land the animals are moved from and to
You don’t need to record how many or which animals are moved.
Record and submit your annual inventory
In December every year you must:
- update your holding register with the number of sheep and goats that are on your land on 1 December
- complete an annual inventory and send it to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
Defra will write to you in November to tell you how to complete and return your inventory. Contact Defra if you don’t receive a letter or email.
Telephone: 020 8026 6532 (Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm)
If you fill in and return the paper form, Defra must receive it by 31 December.
If you complete your inventory online, you must submit it on or before 31 December.
Published: 1 June 2014
Updated: 1 December 2016
- Removed overview of standstill rules and linked to guidance with clearer rules. Added link to submit annual inventory online and who to contact if you need help with the inventory.
- First published.