Information & Rules on Cattle Identification
Every newborn calf must have an ear tag in each ear showing the same unique identity number. This number is made up of a:
- herd mark
- an animal number
Calves must be tagged within the following deadlines:
- Dairy farmers – you must fit one ear tag within 36 hours of a calf's birth. You are allowed up to 20 days from the calf's birth to fit the second tag
- Beef farmers – you have up to 20 days from the calf's birth to fit both tags. You must fit both tags before an animal moves off the holding where it was born, even if that is before it is 20 days old
The tags used for double tagging are known as the primary and secondary tag
- The 'primary' tag may be put in either ear
Since 1 April 1998, primary tags have to be yellow.
- The 'secondary' tag must have the same information as the primary tag, but may also contain management information. The secondary tag must be in the other ear from the primary tag. There are many different secondary tags that you can use, for example, metal, plastic, and button tags
You must replace lost or illegible tags as soon as possible, but no later than 28 days after you notice the loss.
Cattle born on or after 15 October 1990 and before 1 April 1995 must be identified with an approved ear tag or a tattoo (or both).
Cattle born on or after 1 April 1995 and before 1 January 1998 must be identified by an approved tag, applied to the right ear that shows the unique alpha-numeric (letters and numbers) identification.
Cattle born on or after 1 January 1998 must have an approved ear tag in each ear. Both must show the same unique alpha-numeric identification. The unique identity stays with the animal for all its life.
Cattle born on or after 1 July 2000 must have an approved ear tag in each ear. Numeric tags were introduced on 1 January 2000 but made compulsory on 1 July 2000. Animals must be double tagged with both tags showing the same unique number. The unique identity stays with the animal for all its life.
All cattle born after the 1st April 1998 to be identified with a unique numeric identifier by means of an eartag applied to each ear. Care should be taken to ensure that any cattle leaving your premises are identified in the correct manner with a tag in each ear.
For information and rules on cattle identification from the Welsh Government website click on the following link: