Debbie’s Books

Debbie’s books The Complete Guide to Smallholding (September 2023),  Keeping Goats – A Practical Guide (May 2022) and Keeping Ducks and Geese – A Practical Guide (November 2021) were commissioned and are published by The Crowood Press.  You can buy them direct from us, signed if you wish, at a discount.

The Complete Guide to Smallholding is the book I’ve wanted to write for decades, building on the comprehensive information packs we provide on our courses and much more. There are so many approaches to smallholding and being a smallholder and this way of life should not be about wearing a hair shirt as if it only feels real if there’s some suffering in the mix.  You have so many possibilities ahead of you, so choose the things that give you joy.  What this book provides is a truly comprehensive insight and guidance into the various elements of a potential smallholding existence; pick and choose the bits that feel right and fit with your life and aspirations.  The Complete Guide to Smallholding is filled with all the information that every budding smallholder needs, from finding a place that suits, all the legal requirements, the lowdown on livestock (poultry, waterfowl, pigs, sheep, goats, cattle and more), veg, fruit, foraging, fencing, land management, breeding, meat, health and welfare of livestock and self.  And then there’s the financials and marketing and whether you should be selling surplus or focussing on producing for your own table.  Dealing with the biggest smallholder headaches from predation to having a break isn’t forgotten either.  It provides a truly comprehensive insight and is packed with practical guidance for the 21st-century smallholder.  A 208 page paperback with over 400 illustrations.  £18.50 (RRP £20).

Keeping Ducks and Geese – A Practical Guide is stuffed with all the things we’ve learned about how to keep and look after these great birds (good and bad) in our thirty plus years of having them.  It covers the legal stuff, choosing breeds and bringing them home, housing and fencing, nutrition, breeding and hatching, health and welfare, security and pest control, dispatching, raising for meat, using for craft and even some favourite and unusual recipes.  Rammed with our own colour photos (those of you who have been to the farm will recognise all kinds of things) and by other brilliant keepers from all over the world, it also includes information on 80 breeds of ducks and geese to be found in the UK.  I’ve been lucky enough to be able to include wonderful historic black and white photographs by James Ravilious too, my favourite photographer, thanks to Beaford Archive.  192 page hardback with 290 photos. £17.50 (RRP £18.99).

Keeping Goats – A Practical Guide is full of information and practical advice, invaluable for anyone thinking about keeping goats, for those who have recently acquired goats, and the more experienced keeper. It provides everything you need to know including: legal requirements; land, fencing, housing and equipment; the breeds that will suit you best and acquiring your goats. There is information on year-round husbandry tasks; feeding and nutrition; health and welfare and breeding and kidding and detailed guidance is given on dairying, raising for meat and other ways to make the most of your goats. The book includes a comprehensive guide to over 80 goat breeds.  In addition to the many colour photographs there are captivating historic black and white images by James Ravilious, thanks to Beaford Archive. 224 page hardback with 400 photographs and diagrams. £18.50 (RRP £20).


The Complete Guide to Smallholding:
“A refreshing and non-preachy approach and Debbie’s writing style is very engaging.  Debbie offers expert insight into smallholding practicalities…a great all-round source of inspiration and guidance for smallholders of all descriptions.” Practical Pigs magazine, winter 2023/24
“This book is so helpful for people at all levels. Whether you have been a smallholder for a few years or are just thinking about how you might go about being one, there is so much to enjoy in this beautifully researched and presented book. If you know anyone who is interested in living the good life, this would be a perfect gift. Debbie’s expertise and clear, simple way of explaining things shines through. Highly recommended.
KU, Builth Wells
“If you are thinking of living the dream and having a little bit of paradise then this is the book for you. Packed full of useful, clear information written by someone who definitely has the knowledge. The modern day John Seymour”.
GE, Isles of Scilly
“I was given your new book for Christmas. Absolutely brilliant. Gave me lots to think about and a good few light bulb moments”. RF, Cardiff
“I can say hand on heart (and no bias), this is one of the best all round smallholding books I have read, even for us who have been doing it for a couple of years.
JB, Frimbles Farm
“I’m loving your new book on Smallholding! I’m coming up to the time of thinking about abattoirs as my Berkshires are 6 months this Friday, and your check lists are exactly what I need. Thank you once again for being amazing and keep doing what you are doing!P Huckfield
“This book is simply brilliant! I have not been able to put it down since it arrived yesterday.” G Oxton 

Keeping Ducks and Geese: “With a wealth of information for anyone with an interest in keeping ducks and geese, it is full of sensible advice; essential reading to enable the new keeper to get it right from the start”. British Waterfowl Association
“Essential reading. Full of the things you need to know about keeping waterfowl in one handy volume. Putting this advice into practice will give the newcomer the best possible start with a rewarding pastime. There are hints and tips for the more experienced keeper too”. M Jones
Very knowledgeable author and well written. A great book for a novice or someone with experience alike. A worthy read”. I Sullivan

Keeping Goats: “Finally, an up to date reference book for goat keeping.  This book covers every possible topic you need to know about goats, goat breeds and goat keeping. I can see it becoming an essential part of every goat keeper’s reference library. I highly recommend it to anyone new to goat keeping or thinking about keeping goats. It is also useful for experienced goat keepers, covering topics relevant to the 21st Century United Kingdom and has found a worthy place on my book shelf, even though I have kept goats for over a decade”. Jo Tavernor, English Goat Breeders Association
“We were recommended your book… it was an early part of our goat planning and has been invaluable“. Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust
“Highly recommend this book. This is a fantastic book with down to earth information.” Jane Ross, Wytsend Herd
“Its like a goat bible. Debbie has a wealth of knowledge of all things goats (and more). This book is a great read, giving you all the knowledge you need to decide if goats are for you and more importantly how to look after them well”. P Huckfield
Bought this book for my OH for Christmas, it’s brilliant. Well done and thank you for passing on your knowledge”. J Williams
“It’s a really good book, best I have read about goats”. K.More