Rules & Regulations

Rules change with monotonous regularity and vary in different parts of the UK.  The best advice is to check with the DEFRA website or

Holding Number

You must register your holding within 30 days from the date you first keep animals

You will need to register your holding with the Rural Payments Agency (tel: 0845 603 777)

They will give you a County/Parish/Holding( CPH) number and this is used on all correspondence and forms that you will need to complete

Flock Mark

Tell your local Animal Health Office (AHO) that you intend to keep sheep, they will ask for your CPH number and will then issue you with a  unique flock mark.  You will need to provide this flock mark when you buy ear tags.

Ear Tags

Ear tags are applied on the holding of birth.  The type of ear tag used depends on whether the animal is a full EID identified animal (one that will not be slaughtered before it is 12 months of age) or a slaughter animal (one that is intended for slaughter within 12 months of birth).

Full EID (electronic identification)  identified animals require two ear tags one of which must be electronic.

Slaughter animals require one single tag which can be an electronic slaughter tag or a non electronic batch tag.

You can get a list of approved ear tag providers from the RPA website

For detailed information on identifying your sheep go to

Movement Documentation

A sheep and goat movement form (ARAMS) has to be completed every time animals move on or off your holding.  A pad of movement documents is available from your local authority office. Copies of your movement documents together with your farm records need to be kept for three years. You can see the latest version of the movement document at

Everything concerning the movement and identification of sheep can be found in the document ‘Guidance for keepers in England – Rules for identifying sheep and goats’ available for download at

Farm Records

You will also need to obtain and complete either a Holding Register (available from DEFRA), a local authority record book or have  a computerised spreadsheet version.  This records all movements on and off your premises and is required for disease control purposes and may be inspected from time to time.

Medicine Records

A medicine record book or spreadsheet is to record any medicines you administer to your stock, when, what dosage and the source of the medicines.  Further information can be found at:

Transport Regulations

Sheep can only be transported in a vehicle or trailer which is of sufficient size, fully enclosed, ventilated and which can be completely washed and disinfected between uses.  The EU Regulation for transporting animals has been in existence since 5 January 2007.  The full regulations are available from:

If you are transporting animals beyond 65km (40.3 miles) and for a journey length of up to 8 hours you will need to hold a Type 1 Transporter Authorisation.  If you wish to transport animals for over 8 hours you must apply for a Type 2 Authorisation before transporting.  To obtain either of these authorisations you will need a 'Certificate of Competence',  for which the training and test can be taken at most agricultural colleges.  For a Type 2 Authorisation there are also further specific requirements.

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