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The Farm yard

Smallholder Introduction

A hands-on 1 day course to give aspiring smallholders a broad understanding of life with farm animals.

This course is aimed at someone who is about to start out on the smallholding life and wants a general understanding about how to get up and running, choosing animals, daily life, environment such as housing, fencing and cleaning, health and medicines, and the more formal things such as Defra, record keeping and where to get help and services.

So that you get a broad picture, we cover a bit about each of the animals that we have here including goats, pigs and poultry.  You will get hands-on with the animals and birds whilst we discuss feeding, looking for signs of illness and what treatments might be appropriate, and you’ll help with some of the regular husbandry jobs such as foot clipping, ear tagging and worming injections!

Some members of your family may feel nervous around animals.  If they come along on the course, and would like some “quiet time” to help them become acquainted with the animals, we will set some special time aside to help them build a relationship and understand handling techniques.  Our animals are extremely friendly and responsive which really helps.

If you don’t know how to start, if you are unsure whether being around animals will suit you, or if you’ve already started but want to improve the way you look at, understand and care for your animals, this is the course for you.

We’ve been there ourselves. We’ve been through the good times and the bad times. Our knowledge and experiences are put into this course to help get the most from your life “Down on the farm”.


  • Legal Requirements
    Defra and its Agents, Official paperwork, Restriction zones and movement restrictions, Transport licences, Tagging & marking, Fallen stock, Environment & Waste.
  • Daily and Regular Routines
    Feed types and when to use them, watering, healthy supplements.
  • Housing and Environment
    Sheds and protection from weather, bedding, water, feeding equipment, fencing and gates.
  • Knowing your breed
    Breed Standards and what to watch out for.
  • Medical
    Assessing the health of your animals; Solutions to problems; The Medical box; Regular events, regimes, tests, and accreditation.
  • Pedigrees and Societies
    Herd books and registration.
  • Setup and on-going costs
    Buildings and infrastructure; Feeds; Medical supplies; General day to day and special equipment.

Notes for Smallholders courses:

  • Arrival and tea/coffee at 9:30am
  • Start promptly at 10:00am
  • Finish between 4:00pm and 6:00pm.
  • Morning and afternoon tea, coffee and biscuits and a buffet lunch are inclusive.
  • Disabled facilities – Unfortunately at this time we cannot cater for wheelchair access or toilet facilities.
  • There are no pre-conditions to attendance of most courses.
  • Due to the fact that we have many animals and birds, some of which are free range, please do not bring your dogs.
  • All events tend to be “hands-on” and time is spend outside, so don’t forget your boots, coats and scruffies.
  • A Smallholders Starter manual is provided which includes course material and extra research information.  It is designed for you to continue to build as you grow with your smallholding.

Julie Edwards

Julie is a girl from the north “an original towny who now loves the countryside and country life”.

After an early career working in business offices, Julie moved into computer sales support and training. She then made a brave move to change direction, she retrained, and started her own business as a professional beauty therapist, successfully looking after the ladies of the rich in Cheshire.

Whilst this was going on Julie was also raising a family. Due to work commitments the family moved south into the countryside in the Stroud area, and then back up to the Malverns, where the family has been settled for the past 20ish years.

After a number of years keeping ducks and chickens as pets, Julie’s menagerie started to grow with Goats, Pigs, Poultry and many more varieties of creature.

Julie now has a wealth of experience of “starting things from scratch”, having to research and then putting learning in to practice for all she needs for the daily life “Down of the farm” with the animals. These skills along with her background in training means that Julie is very well placed to offer practical learning courses to those wanting to start out on the same journey that Julie and her family have been through.

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