Elements of this system
This system will help to prevent, or to reduce the cost of, an outbreak of a serious disease, such as, Foot and Mouth Disease. The main elements of the system are outlined below and further information can be obtained at the related links section.
The rules regarding the identification of sheep and goats were introduced on 31 December 2009 and replaced all existing arrangements for sheep and goats. This system was introduced in order to comply with the following regulations
- Council Regulation (EC) 21/2004 (Eur-lex website)
- The Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) Order (NI) 2009 (legislation.gov.uk)
- Legislation guidelines for the approval of identifiers and readers for sheep and goats
- IRM Compliance checks legislation for Sheep and Goats
Lambs must be identified with an EID tag set (EID device and conventional tag) before they reach 9 months of age (or 6 months if normally housed overnight) or before they are moved off the holding, whichever is the earlier.
Goats must be identified with two conventional tags with matching numbers before they reach 9 months of age (or 6 months if normally housed overnight) or before they are moved off the holding, whichever is the earlier.
Animals identified before 31 December must be upgraded to an EID tag set for sheep and matching double identifiers for goats, before they are moved off the holding.
EID tags are yellow and the matching conventional tags can also be yellow, but can be any colour other than red, light blue or black. The tag matching a bolus (and any replacement tags to match a bolus) is light blue.
Keepers must replace any tags that have been lost, or that cannot be read, with 28 days of discovery and before the animal leaves their holding.
Ear tags should be ordered in advance of them being needed, and sufficient stock of tags should be maintained on the holding, this should include a stock of red replacement tag sets.
An accurate up-to-date flock register must be maintained by recording births, movements on and off a holding (by recording the movement document serial number), replacement tag details, deaths and annual inventory result.
A movement document must be completed each time sheep and goats are moved off a holding and this includes moves to common grazing not adjacent to a holding and moves to Shows.
Tag numbers do not need to be recorded on the movement document sheep when are moving sheep to a Central Point of Recording (CPR).
The CPR (Market, Meat Plant or Export Assembly Centre) will provide keepers with a list of tag numbers and keepers must check the accuracy of this list and retain it with the flock register.
Retention of Records
Flock and Herd Registers, Movement Documents and CPR Documentation must be retained for at least 3 years.
Applying Identification to Sheep and Goats
It is important that ear tagging is carried out correctly to ensure the welfare of your animals. Taking care will also minimise ear tag losses and associated problems.
Follow the guidelines below carefully to ensure that the ear tag is correctly applied and to avoid unnecessary pain or distress to your animals.
- the law does not set out which ear you should apply the electronic tag to, however, we recommend that you apply it to the animals left ear
- make sure that your operator is properly trained and competent
- think carefully about the best type of tags for your animals. Use a suitable style and size of tag for the breed, size and age of animal
- make sure that the tag is fitted correctly by following the manufacturer’s instructions and use the correct pliers for the model of tag you are fitting
- fit in cool weather (where possible) to minimise ‘fly strike’ and infections
- secure the animal’s head to prevent jerking during tagging
- apply tags under hygienic conditions. Make sure that the ear, tag and applicator are clean. You may wish to consider cleaning your equipment and the area in which you are tagging with disinfectant. You may also wish to consider using a topical insecticide on your animal, but should take care to comply with instructions for each product used, so that health and safety regulations are met, and to avoid residues in meat or milk. Check that the chemical you are using does not remove the writing on the tag
- the tag should be placed through the ear, avoiding the main blood vessels and ridges of cartilage. The different styles of tag are designed for different locations in the ear. You should therefore follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the tag to perform in the way it was designed. Remember to allow for ear growth when fitting loop tags
- store unused tags in a clean container
Problems with ear tags
If you have problems with tag retention make sure you are fitting them strictly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. In many cases tags can become detached from the animal because of incorrect insertion. As with any other product, if you have problems with sheep or goat tags, you should discuss these with your supplier. A veterinarian should be consulted in cases of infection. Where you are still dissatisfied with the performance, or there are welfare issues, please inform your local DAERA Regional Offices Addresses and Opening Hours.
Sheep and goat electronic identification (EID) guidance
Detailed below are guidance documents for rules regarding the electronic identification (EID) of sheep and goats which was introduced on 31 December 2009, this replaces all existing arrangements for sheep and goats.
Below are quick guide for the new rules regarding the electronic identification (EID) of sheep and goats which were introduced on 31 December 2009, this replaces all existing arrangements for sheep and goats.