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Keeping livestock on smallholdings

Here can can find out what you must do if you want to keep livestock. This is specifically for cattle, pigs, sheep, goats and deer.

If you intend to keep livestock, like cattle, pigs, sheep and goats, you must register before you get the animals. There are strict laws around the keeping of livestock.

If you are a keeper you must:

  • Get a holding number from the Rural Payments Agency (Newcastle), phone: 03000 200 301. For more about this, visit: Rural Payments Agency (GOV.UK).
  • Register with your local Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs office as a pig / sheep / cattle / deer/ goat keeper. They will issue you with a herd or flock number.
  • Complete a licence for any movement of pigs, sheep and goats on or off your premises. You must also get one to take a pet pig for a walk outside your land. For more about this, see: Animal movements.
  • Keep records of such movements in a herd or flock book. To get one of these, visit: Keeping Farmed Animals (GOV.UK).
  • Cattle keepers should be registered with the British Cattle Movements Service (BCMS):

For more about this, visit: Defra: Animal health and Animal Health (GOV.UK).

Livestock movements and identification

In the aftermath of the first Foot and Mouth outbreak, a rigorous regime of licensing was introduced. This is to control the movement of a range of animals. Animals whose movements must be licensed are:

  • Sheep;
  • goats;
  • pigs;
  • and deer.

This allows movements to be traced should an outbreak of disease occur.

The conditions that apply to these movements vary and depends on the:

  • Type of animal.
  • Destination.
  • Type of trip.

Note: These conditions are subject to regular review. It is important that you make yourself aware of the latest conditions, before moving livestock.

For more about this, please see: Animal movements.

For details on the rules for livestock movements and identifying your animals, visit: Animal Health (GOV.UK).

for more about this, visit: Defra: Animal health.

For copies of movement licenses, please contact: Environmental Health.

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