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Identification of Sheep

Sheep must be identified (tagged) in accordance with the rules set down under the National Sheep Identification System (NSIS) and only tags that have been approved for use under the NSIS and purchased from approved tag suppliers may be used for official identification purposes. 

The identification requirements for sheep as outlined here apply to all sheep, with effect from 1st June 2019.

  • All sheep must be identified electronically by 9 months of age or on leaving the holding of birth, whichever is the earlier date. 
  • Lambs aged under 12 months moving directly from the holding of origin to a slaughter premises may be tagged with a minimum of a single electronic tag placed in the animal’s right ear.
  • All other sheep, without exception must be identified with a full electronic (EID) set of tags or an electronic bolus set. This is also an option for lambs moving directly to slaughter.
  • An electronic set of tags comprises one electronic tag bearing a unique 12 digit animal identification number and a matching conventional tag bearing the same 12 digit identification details. The electronic tag should be placed in the animal’s right ear and the matching conventional tag should be placed in the left ear.
  • A ruminal bolus set is made up of an electronic bolus bearing a unique 12 digit animal identification number placed in the animal’s stomach and a matching conventional tag bearing the same information placed in the animal’s left ear.
  • Both single electronic tags and electronic tag sets are yellow in colour.
  • The conventional tag element of a bolus set is blue in colour. 

 

  • Live Trade – All sheep (regardless of age) engaged in intra-community trade or third country exports must be double tagged with a conventional tag in the left ear, bearing a 12 digit number, and either a ruminal bolus or an electronic tag in the right ear, bearing an identical 12 digit tag number to the conventional tag.  Sheep purchased for export must be properly identified in this manner at the point of sale.

Any animal being exported must, prior to presentation for certification at the export assembly centre, have been tagged in accordance with the rules of the NSIS.  Both tags on a sheep fitted with an electronic set of tags will be yellow.  The tag on a sheep fitted with a ruminal bolus will be light blue. 

Click list of Tag Suppliers who have tags approved for use under the NSIS (NSIS & NGIS Tag List):Approved Tag Suppliers for the National Sheep and Goat Identification Systems (NSIS and NGIS) (pdf 107Kb)