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

SHEEP FOR BEGINNERS

AN INTENSIVE 2 DAY COURSE

“We kept being asked if we would run an in depth course specifically on keeping sheep, so for 2020 we’ve added it to our programme”

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

Who would benefit from this course?

Are you thinking about taking on some sheep for the first time? Have you been inspired to raise sheep as grazers, or to produce fleece, your own meat or lambskins but aren’t sure what’s involved? Do you want to build knowledge and confidence in keeping sheep before taking the plunge? Perhaps you already have a few sheep but feel out of your depth? Unlike our allrounder Introduction to Smallholding course, this programme focuses entirely on what it means to have sheep.

Course content

This intensive two day course on sheep keeping will give you a solid grounding for getting started and up to speed with current good practice.  We will cover the essential topics of legal and statutory requirements, the shepherd’s year, tools and equipment, sheep handling, healthcare, breeding, land management & fencing for sheep, choosing your first sheep and more. There will be lots of time working with, handling and observing our different breeds of sheep and you’re encouraged to ask a raft of questions. Whether you are planning a flock of six sheep or 100, or already have a few and now know the questions you want answered, this course aims to leave you feeling confident and appreciate the practicalities of living and working with sheep

DAY ONE

10.00 Start the day

  • Tea/coffee. Introductions: understanding your sheep keeping ambitions
  • The shepherd’s year
  • The legal bits and associated paperwork for sheep
  • Tools and equipment: from dagging shears to handling equipment, weigh scales and trailers
  • Lunch
  • Sheep handling: moving, penning, handling for health checks, body condition scoring, weighing, teeth/tits/toes, foot care, dagging, tagging, dosing, injecting and more
  • Cream tea

5.00 Finish for the day

DAY TWO

9.30 arrival

  • Tea / Coffee. Picking up on any outstanding questions from day one
  • Sheep healthcare and medication, best practice for dealing with parasites
  • Land management for sheep: grass management, fencing, water, grazing rotation, stocking rates, forage for winter feeding
  • Lunch
  • Breeding: rams/ram care, preparing for lambing, the lambing kit, care/feeding of the in-lamb ewe and young lambs
  • In with the sheep: choosing your sheep – what to look for when buying sheep, where to buy
  • Making the most of your produce: the abattoir, meat, fleece & skins
  • Cream tea and Q+A

4.45 Feedback and finish

INFORMATION

COSTS: £195 per person for the weekend, including our comprehensive handouts, homemade lunch, Devon cream tea and refreshments on both days. There is a 10% plus discount for multiple bookings for the same course date (e.g. £350 for two, £525 for three people etc).

DATES:
Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 May 2020
Saturday 3 & Sunday 4 October 2020

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