Red Ruby Devon cattle in a field during the cattle for beginners course by smallholder training at South Yeo Farm West



” Supremely well organised and informative. One of the best courses I’ve been on”. RS, Abergavenny
“Wonderful day and full of appreciation of your high levels of husbandry and animal welfare”. NS, Banbury
“The technique of gently immersing us in knowledge and enthusiasm was highly effective – I was delighted by how much we had covered by the end of the day, and very impressed by how you weaved in information to cater for our diverse individual needs.” MJ, Dorset

Devon Red Ruby cow and calf on the cattle for beginners course

Who would benefit from this course?

Are you thinking about taking on a small herd of cattle or rearing a few calves for beef? Have you just brought home your first cows and need guidance? Are you wondering how you might keep cows for conservation grazing?  Spending a day with cattle and people who will share their deep affection and appreciation of their herd will give you a real feel for what it’s like to have cattle of your own. This course will deal with the practicalities, the pleasures, the legalities and the needs of cattle so that you go away far more confident about making those first choices.

Course content

This one day course will give you the opportunity to consider what it really means to keep cattle. We will cover choosing the right cows for you, getting ready to bring your first cows home, the daily routine and other less regular tasks, keeping yourself and your cows safe, essential equipment, fencing, land management, cattle housing and muck management, when to bring in a specialist, breeding, calving, Bovine TB, handling and moving your cattle, feeding, the healthy cow, cattle passports, ear tagging, other legal requirements, record keeping, the abattoir and selling your beef. Much of the day will be spent outside with our wonderful suckler herd of Devon Rubies.


9.30am Introductions and your cow hopes

  • Cattle basics
  • Finding, selecting and bringing home your first cows
  • Equipment, housing, the routine and other tasks, fencing, grazing, forage
  • The legal stuff: movement requirements, ear tagging, cattle passports, medicine records, the abattoir & selling your beef
  • Lunch and discussion on TB testing and its implications for the cattle owner
  • Handling, transporting, feeding, breeding and calving, muck management, land management
  • Health planning and basic medication for healthy cattle
  • Feed the cows
  • Devon cream tea and discussion and dealing with any outstanding questions

4.45pm finish.


Cost: £145 per person including homemade lunch, Devon cream tea and refreshments. Our book The Complete Guide to Smallholding is included (one copy per booking), which has detailed information about keeping cattle.  Additional material is also provided.

Saturday 23 November 2024
Saturday 1 February 2025
Saturday 22 November 2025

Booking: Booking is simple. Just send us your name, address, phone number and email address indicating which course you want to book with your preferred date, and we’ll send you an invoice (payment is required in advance), directions to the farm and any other information you might need. And don’t forget to tell us if you have any dietary restrictions.

Accommodation: For those of you travelling some distance, we don’t provide overnight accommodation on the farm but you’ll find some lovely options close by, ranging from B&Bs to camp sites and seriously luxurious treats here.

Do bring: outdoor clothes, clean wellies, waterproofs and a change of clothes if it looks like rain.

Devon red ruby cows walking down an autumnal lane in single file on the smlalholders training course, cattle for beginners at South Yeo Farm West
A newborn Devon Red Ruby Calf laying in a bed of straw taken from cattle for beginners smallholder training course at South Yep Farm West
A Red Ruby Devon calf stood with its mother resting it's head on hers taken during the cattle for beginners smallholder training course at South Yeo Farm West

“The [cattle] course was very informative and was structured in such a way that all aspects of cattle farming are covered, from ear tagging, getting a passport, vaccinating, behaviours and handling the cattle, feeding, muck management, setting up the shed, de-worming, fencing, structuring the farm within the available resources, up to breeding calves. The venue, the course material and the food was superb. The course has given me ample courage and a positive attitude to go forward with my future plans.”

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