A course for smallholders considering taking on pigs, sheep or cattle for the first time is being run near Dartmoor in June.

The course, run by Debbie Kingsley and Andrew Hubbard who live and farm at South Yeo Farm West, north of Dartmoor, will help students decide which animal or breed is right for them, explain the rules and regulations that apply and how to get started.

Students will be spending some carefully structured time with experienced livestock keepers who can give an insight that will help them on their way. The course will cover different options, for example producing pork and bacon, keeping sheep to graze your land and producing lamb or rearing a few calves for beef.

The practicalities to consider, the needs of the animals and of course the pleasures that result from keeping livestock will also be covered. This will include handling facilities, muck management, winter housing, breeding, health and welfare, feeding, grazing and fencing.

Debbie and Andrew have a herd of pedigree Devon Rubies, Berkshire pigs and four breeds of sheep. Since 2009 they have delivered smallholding and livestock training courses to over 1,000 people.

Debbie said: “Our courses are designed to be lively, interactive sessions, with lots of time spent outside experiencing it for real on the farm (rain or no rain), so that we combine theory with practice and send you away with a real sense of what you can do next.”

The course runs for two days between 15 and 16 June.

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