A field of Herdwick sheep taken during a smallholder training course at South Yeo Farm West



“Many thanks for a quite amazing day” A.M. Bristol
“It’s the best course I’ve ever been on – and I’ve been on a lot of courses.”  E.N. Devon

Two Berkshire pigs with their front trotters resting on the top of a gate

Who would benefit from this course?

Unlike our allrounder Introduction to Smallholding course, this programme focuses entirely on sheep, pigs and cows. Are you thinking about taking on some four-legged livestock for the first time? Are you uncertain which animal or breed is for you? Do you want to move beyond rearing poultry to sheep, pigs or cattle and spend time with experienced livestock keepers who can give you an insight that will help you on your way? Do you want to produce your own amazing pork and bacon, or keep sheep to graze your land and produce fabulous lamb? Are you wavering between rearing a few calves for beef or taking on a small suckler herd? If so, this might just be the best couple of days you’ve spent in a while.

Course content

Having livestock is a big responsibility and ensuring sound animal welfare is a must for all smallholders. This course gives you the opportunity to consider what it really means to have sheep, pigs and cows. You will get to grips with the pleasures and pains of all three species, so that you have a clearer idea of what animal and breed might best suit you and your land, and what’s involved in caring for and rearing four legged livestock.


10.00 Start the day

  • Introductions : understanding your livestock ambitions
  • The legal bits and associated paperwork for sheep, pigs and cattle
  • Land management and forage
  • Lunch
  • Sheep: the shepherd’s year, choosing your breed, care and welfare, handling and housing, feeding, fencing, breeding and lambing (hands on time with the sheep)
  • Health planning & medication for sheep, cattle and pigs; knowing your limits and when to seek advice
  • Cream tea and Q+A – picking up on all those questions you really want answers to

5.00 Finish for the day


9.45 arrival

  • Tea / Coffee. Picking up on any outstanding questions from day one
  • Pigs: the pigkeeper’s year, choosing your breed, care and welfare, handling and housing, feeding, fencing, to breed or not to breed (time with the pigs)
  • Dealing with the abattoir, the butchery and the meat
  • Lunch
  • Cattle: the cattlekeeper’s year, choosing your breed, care and welfare, handling and housing, feeding, fencing, breeding and calving (out with the cattle)
  • Choosing your livestock. Breeding or buying in? What are your options and sources?
  • Cream tea and Q+A

4.45 Feedback and finish


COSTS: £210 per person for the weekend, including our comprehensive handouts, homemade lunch, Devon cream tea and refreshments on both days. There is a discount for multiple bookings for the same course date (e.g. £390 for two, £585 for three people etc).

Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 June 2022
Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 June 2023

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.

Two Whitefaced Dartmoor lambs on the introduction to smallholding course at South Yeo Farm West
Weaner pigs in their outdoor pen taken during the introduction to sheep, pigs and cattle smallholding training course at South Yeo Farm West
Red Ruby Devon calf standing face to face with its mother and resting it's head on hers.

I wasn’t particularly interested in having sheep, but their nature and Debbie’s passion shed new light and now I’ll look into having a local sheep breed.

South Yeo Farm West logo of a barn owl with the words forming a circle around it