Rules & regs

Get­ting started

Country Smallholding - - Inside This Month -

First of all, don’t panic when you re­alise that there are a range of rules and reg­u­la­tions for keep­ing live­stock. It will all seem hazy at first but the re­al­ity is not too daunt­ing, al­though the rules vary from species to species which can be a bit con­fus­ing at the be­gin­ning. It’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand that there are no light touch rules for small­hold­ers – you need to abide by the same rules as any large scale farmer. Even so, I only spend min­utes, not hours on meet­ing my le­gal obli­ga­tions each month.

What’s crit­i­cal is that you check what’s re­quired from the di­rect source on www. gov.uk; search for keep­ing farmed an­i­mals for links to all the rel­e­vant top­ics. Don’t rely on so­cial me­dia sug­ges­tions which are a mix of ad­vice that’s com­pre­hen­sive and on the money, and that which is, shall we say, ill-in­formed; be­ing new to this you are not yet in a po­si­tion to tell one from the other. With the caveat that the rules re­ally do change from time to time, the next few ar­ti­cles in this First Steps se­ries are ded­i­cated to shar­ing those rules and regs that you will need to get your head around.

Reg­is­ter­ing your land to keep live­stock

Whether you keep a cou­ple of sheep as pets or have a com­mer­cial herd or flock, you need to be reg­is­tered as a hold­ing, which means you need to ap­ply for a County Par­ish Hold­ing num­ber (CPH) from the Ru­ral Pay­ments Agency (RPA). There is no cost in­volved, other than the time you spend on the phone, but you must do this within 30 days of live­stock mov­ing onto the land. If you keep one or more of the fol­low­ing you will need a CPH num­ber: cat­tle, deer, sheep, goats, pigs, and poul­try if you plan to have 50 birds or more. Cur­rently, you do not need a CPH to keep camelids (al­pacas, lla­mas etc), al­though some keep­ers choose to do so. If you keep an­i­mals on some­one else’s land, you will still need your own CPH.

CPH num­bers are used to track the lo­ca­tion and move­ment of live­stock to pre­vent and con­trol dis­ease.

Reg­is­ter­ing your live­stock – herd and flock marks

Once you have your CPH num­ber, the next step is to reg­is­ter the live­stock you al­ready have or are in­tend­ing to keep. Con­tact your lo­cal An­i­mal & Plant Health Agency of­fice (APHA) who will give you a unique flock or herd mark which will be used to iden­tify your sheep, pigs, cat­tle, goats etc, linked to your CPH. Herd marks for pigs are one or two let­ters fol­lowed by four dig­its (e.g. AB1234 or A1234) and flock/herd marks for sheep, goats and cat­tle are six dig­its. Th­ese are the num­bers that you will need when or­der­ing ear tags (de­tails on this next month).

If you in­tend to have 50 or more poul­try (i.e. col­lec­tively hens, geese, ducks etc), you also have to reg­is­ter your flock within one month of their ar­rival.

Most herd and flock num­bers can be al­lo­cated to you even if you don’t in­tend tak­ing on those par­tic­u­lar species for a while. How­ever, if you are in­tend­ing to keep cat­tle, APHA will nor­mally only al­lo­cate you a herd num­ber if the ar­rival of cows on your hold­ing is fairly im­mi­nent. In ad­di­tion for cat­tle, you will need to reg­is­ter with the Bri­tish Cat­tle Move­ment Ser­vice cat­tle trac­ing sys­tem https://www.gov.uk/ cat­tle-trac­ing-on­line

Next month: ear tag­ging and iden­ti­fy­ing sheep and goats.

ABOVE: Cheeky Badger­face lambs in the goose hut TOP INSET: Bull calves out first ABOVE INSET: Wean­ers

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