Tagging Regulations

Find out about keeping Farmed animals from DEFRA

  • All cattle must be double tagged with a primary and secondary tag. The primary tag has to be distance readable and therefore a minimum size is required.
  • All cattle must be tagged with an approved ear tag in each ear within 20 days of birth. In the case of dairy animals, at least one of the tags must be fitted within 36 hours of birth. You are allowed up to 20 days from the calf's birth to fit the second tag.
  • Cattle born after 1 January 1998 must have a Defra approved ear tag in each ear (double tagging). The tags must have the same unique number. Animals will be identified throughout their lifetime by this unique number. Animals born in or imported into Great Britain before 1 January 1998 may continue to be identified by a single tag. Cattle born after 1 July 2000 must be identified by all numeric tags.
  • The tags used for double tagging are known as the primary and secondary tag. Primary cattle tags must be distance readable therefore can be either large or medium. Secondary tags can be large, medium, button or metal. If an animal looses an ear tag it must be replaced with a replacement tag with the unique animal number printed on.
  • Management tags are to be used for the owners identification only and not for official identification. These can be blank or printed. Tag applicators are available for all tags.

Find out more about tagging cattle here