Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding uk
Relaxed Ltd: celebrating smallholding uk
Keeping Cattle: The Legalities
Jack Smellie
Celebrating Smallholding
Before you start to keep cattle you will need:
  • A County Parish Holding Number (CPH) for the land on which you intend to keep the cattle (Gov.UK guidance)
  • A Herd Number which is obtained by registering as a keeper with your local Animal and Plant Heath Agency (APHA) (Gov.UK guidance)
  • To Register with the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS). The BCMS manage the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) which issues cattle passports and records all cattle movements (Gov.UK guidance).
Buying your first cattle
  • You must be given their passports (Gov.UK guidance). All cows have passports and you must physically be given these on the day you collect the cows. Cattle passports MUST travel with the animals concerned (ideally you will have seen them beforehand). A cow passport stays with the animal for life
  • The BCMS need to be told the cattle are moving from one farm/holding to another. It is up to the original owner of the cattle to do this.
  • Check their ear tags. Your cattle must have two ear tags: a primary (large) and a secondary (small)
Once the cattle are on your land you must:
  • Tell the BCMS the animals have now arrived: this can be done online or over the phone
  • Update the cattle passports (Gov.UK guidance) by sticking one of your address lables in the relevant box and signing it to show that the animals now belong to you.
Going forward
  • Set up a Holding Register (Gov.UK guidance) and enter the details of all the cattle you own/ breed. You can use the BCMS profoma (available to download) or create your own online or paper version (see below)..
All cattle must have passports which are unique to the animal and stay with it for its entire life. If a calf is born on your land you must apply for a passport within 27 days. If you don't, the BCMS can refuse to issue one and an animal without a passport cannot leave your holding or go into the food chain.
When you first contact the BCMS they will send your own address labels . Each passport you own must have one of these labels stuck in them to show the animal belongs to you. (Gov.UK guidance)
Ear tags
Cattle have to have one primary and one secondary tag - these hold the same information (country code (UK), herd mark and a six-digit individual number) but the primary tag must be a yellow 'distance-readable' flag tag. Tags must be fitted within 20 days of birth (although dairy cattle must have one tag fitted within 36 hours of birth). Lost tags must be replaced within 28 days. (Gov.UK guidance)
Cattle can be moved on and off your land as long as they comply with the following conditions: both ear tags are in place; they have a valid passport and they have been tested for TB in the last 60 days. The 'off' movement must be reported to the BCMS before the animal leaves and the 'on' movement within three days of its arrival. The passport must travel with the animal and holding regsiters must be updated within 36 hours! (Gov.UK guidance)
Holding Register
Your Holding Register records all movements on and off your land, tag numbers, sex and breed of your cows and all births and deaths. You also must record the dam’s ear tag number (from 6 April 2015 this information is only required for animals born on your holding).
You can use the BCMS proforma, create a paper version or keep your own electronic version. You must keep the register for 3 years after the last animal in it has left your holding. It must also be available for any inspection. (Gov.UK guidance)
You must keep a medicine book for your cattle and record all instances of any medications given (Gov.UK guidance). You can buy a blank animal medicine book, download a proforma or make up your own paper/ electronic version. The following should be recorded: number/name of animal; date medicine given, description of health issue; name, expiry date and batch number of medication, where it was purchased from and withdrawl periods; who administered the medication and how much was given; and finally, the date the treatment finished.
When any animal comes onto your holding, no animal may leave it for 6 clear days, e.g. a cow arrives on your holding on a Saturday, thus no animal may leave your holding till the following Saturday. In the case of pigs coming onto your holding, this rises to 20 clear days.
There are exemptions to this rule (Gov.UK guidance) if you have a DEFRA approved isolation facility, need to take an animal to the vets or take any to the abbatoir!

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