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



“Thank you for a thoroughly enlightening, well structured and enjoyable course. I guess you could tell I loved every minute of it.”
“I think it was perfect! Just what I signed up for and you’ve both inspired me to be bolder and to go for it!”
“Truly fabulous course, so informative, welcoming and inspiring”.
“Thoroughly informative; advised me about all the essentials needed to start keeping pigs”.


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

Who would benefit from this course?

Are you thinking about rearing a few pigs to rotovate your land and produce stunning pork, sausages and bacon but aren’t sure what’s involved?  Have you just brought home your first  weaners and need guidance? Do you want to build knowledge and confidence in keeping pigs before taking the plunge?  Spending a day with pigs and people who will share their deep affection and appreciation of their livestock will give you a real feel for what it’s like to have pigs of your own. This course will deal with the practicalities, the pleasures, the legalities and the needs of pigs so that you go away far more confident about making those first choices and decisions.

Course content

This one day course will give you the opportunity to consider what it really means to keep pigs. We will cover choosing and bringing your first pigs home, the daily routine and other less regular tasks, essential equipment, fencing and housing. We will cover the implications and realities of breeding as well as explaining how you can keep pigs without breeding.  Handling and moving your pigs, feeding, the healthy pig, ear tagging, all the legal requirements, record keeping, taking your pigs to the abattoir and selling your pork will all be dealt with. Much of the day will be spent outside with our Berkshire pigs.


9.30am Introductions and your pig ambitions

  • The paperwork: legal requirements, movement licences, ear tagging, medicine records, preparing for the abattoir, selling your pork, pedigree pigs and rare breeds
  • Pig housing, fencing, feeding, water, wallows and shade
  • Lunch
  • Moving and transporting pigs: on foot, via tractor, and trailer
  • To breed or not to breed: rearing weaners vs breeding, boars, artificial insemination, farrowing, care of piglets/weaners
  • Health planning and basic medication for healthy pigs
  • Mucking out and feeding the pigs
  • Devon cream tea and discussion and dealing with any outstanding questions

5.00pm 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 pigs.  Additional material is also provided.

Saturday 5 October 2024
Saturday 8 February 2025
Saturday 4 October 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 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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