Holding numbers, flock numbers and herd numbers

Where livestock is kept it is necessary to obtain a holding number for the land on which the livestock is kept. It is also necessary to obtain a flock or a herd number. These requirements apply not only to farms but also where a single pet animal is kept.

Holding numbers

A “County Parish Holding number” to give it its full name, which is often abbreviated to a “CPH number” or referred to as a “holding number” is required where cattle, sheep, goats and/ or pigs are kept. A holding number is a unique number, the purpose of which is to identify the land upon which such animals are kept.

The keeper of livestock is required to have a holding number for all land on which their animals graze even if the land is not owned by them and even if the animals are only grazing on a piece of land for a short period of time. In the case of land which is temporarily grazed a temporary holding number can be obtained.

Owners of horses do not need a holding number unless they wish to make a claim under the Single Payment Scheme.

A holding number can be obtained from the Rural Payments Agency by telephoning them. The Rural Payments Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Where sheep or goats are kept the holding number covers a five mile radius of the main place of business. If sheep or goats are kept on land outside of this radius a separate holding number is required in relation to that land.

Where cattle or pigs are kept the holding number covers a ten mile radius of the main place of business. If cattle or pigs are kept on land outside of this radius a separate holding number is required in relation to that land.

Herd and flock numbers

A herd or flock “mark”, as they are generally known, is a unique number identifying a herd of animals kept by a person. The primary purpose of a herd or flock mark is to identify any livestock born on the keeper’s farm so that the origin of such livestock can be traced if they are moved from the farm upon which they were born. However, a herd or flock mark is required even if the keeper has no intention of allowing his animals to breed and even if the “herd” or “flock” only consists of a single animal.

Herd and flock marks can be obtained from the Local Animal Health Divisional Offices by telephoning them. Animal Health is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

It is necessary to have a holding number before a herd or flock mark can be obtained.