When keeping deer, you must follow rules to make sure they can always be traced. This helps to prevent and contain the spread of disease.

These rules apply to anyone who keeps deer on land enclosed by deer-proof fencing. This includes:

  • farmed deer for selling, breeding or meat or skin production
  • deer kept for performance purposes, for example reindeer for seasonal work
  • deer kept as pets

They do not apply to wild deer.

There are also rules you must follow to:

Find out about rules farmers and land managers must follow.

It’s your responsibility to follow the rules to avoid penalties such as movement restrictions on your herd, reduced subsidy payments, fines or prosecution.

Register the land where you’ll keep deer

You must first register the land where you’ll keep deer with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

You’ll get a county parish holding (CPH) number which you’ll need when you:

You must contact RPA to update your details if anything changes after you register. For example, if you change where you plan to keep the deer or stop keeping them.

Get a herd mark

You must register with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to get a herd mark.

The herd mark must be on the ear tags or tattoos you use to identify deer when:

  • you move them off your holding
  • they’re tested for TB

You must make sure your holding details are always up to date with APHA. This is so APHA can track the location and movement of animals to prevent and control disease.

Find out when and how to update your details.

Tag or tattoo deer to identify them

Deer should be correctly identified before they arrive on your holding. You do not need to replace the ear tag or tattoo, but you can choose to replace them with ear tags or tattoos containing your herd mark if you wish.

When you must tag deer

You must also make sure deer are correctly tagged or tattooed when they are going to:

  • leave your holding
  • be tested for TB

They must have a single ear tag or tattoo which clearly displays:

  • the letters ‘UK’
  • your 6-character herd mark made up of letters and numbers (alphanumeric)
  • an identification number which is unique to the animal (you choose what this is)

For example, the format is UK XY 4321 (herd mark) 44 (identification number).

Where to buy ear tags and tattoo equipment

You can choose where to buy deer ear tags and tattoo equipment. You could try an RPA-approved supplier of sheep and goat ear tags.

When ordering, you’ll need the CPH number and herd mark for where you keep the animal.

Report deer movements

You must report movements of deer on and off your holding to LIS.

You must also follow the conditions of the deer movement general licence.

Record the movement of deer

You must keep a record of deer moves off and on to your holding in a holding register. Make a record within 36 hours of each move. Include the:

  • date you moved the deer
  • deer’s unique dentification number
  • CPH number of the premises the deer were moved from or to
  • name and address of the keeper (usually you)

Make a single record if you’re moving a number of deer and they’re moving from and to the same place. But make sure to record all the animals’ unique identification numbers.

You must keep your records for at least 3 years. You may have to show them to a field officer from APHA or an inspector from your local council.

Autor HM Government


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