Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What should I do about my unregistered livestock?

Today's mail brought a question that we see all too often.  What happens when you've either bought livestock that were registered but never got the transfer paperwork, or lost the paperwork, or never registered their offspring?  

If you have purebred heritage breed livestock, it's worth looking into this a little harder.  Just check out the small numbers of heritage animals registered each year, and you will soon realize the importance of keeping the genetics of your herd or flock contributing to the genetic diversity of the breed!

Properly identified St. Croix sheep
The process of recovering the registrations will take patience and persistence, and satisfaction is not guaranteed.  The first step is to do some detective work and find as many records as possible about the registration status of your foundation animals.  These are the sires and dams you started your herd with, and any new sires you've bought since.  Dig into your barn records and find any paper records for the animals.  Also find contact information for the breeder(s) you originally bought stock from, and collect the individual ID’s on any animals that were registered.  If you've lost the breeder's contact information, it might be available from the breed association, registry, or other breeders who bought stock from him/her.

Once you have this information, call the registry, and throw yourself at their mercy.  Also call the original breeder, and ask if he/she still has copies of the original registration paper for the foundation stock.  If you have ID and breeder information, ask the registry to forward a replacement copy of the original registration.  You will probably need to pay for this, and they may insist on sending it to the original breeder.  It's best if the breeder will cooperate with you to arrange to get those animals registered and/or transfered, but sometimes it's just not possible.  Then you need to go back to the registry and/or the breed association and ask them what form of identification they would accept (photos, etc) to identify your animal and get it transfered.

If you’re able to get your foundation breeders back in good graces with the registry, then you can move on to registering their offspring, and finally registering subsequent generations.  This assumes you've kept records of parentage!  Recovering registrations is a challenging process, but definitely worth your time for the good of the breed, and the additional bonus of selling your stock as purebred.  If you can't get your animals back into the herdbook, your only option is to slowly add registered stock to your herd over time.  Members can always contact the Livestock Conservancy for personalized advice.