Keeping livestock is what distinguishes the smallholder from the gardener – although not all smallholders are gardeners! We’ve written a series of guides aimed at the beginner – which is where we all start. We hope you’ll find them useful – and we’re happy to get feedback on any bits we’ve missed.
Technically, poultry doesn’t count as livestock in farming terms – but anyone who’s kept hens will tell you they can sure be lively! Whether you’re planning to keep a few hens for eggs or raise some birds for the table (or both), check out our guides to get you started. You won’t regret it (unless you like a very tidy garden).
There’s no doubt that keeping pigs is becoming more popular – especially raising a couple of weaners for the freezer. Raising a couple of weaners isn’t hugely difficult but you must do your research and go into it with your eyes open. Our guide will help you to do that.
There are lots of reasons to keep sheep, so if you are thinking about starting with sheep, our guides will help you. The diary contains a record of our experiences with our flock of Ryelands, or if you're looking for the answer to a specific question try the busy sheep forum.
Our cattle keeping enterprise began in Autumn 2010 with the purchase of two Shetland heifers. While a cow does need more grass than a sheep, the native breeds are thrifty and can outwinter in most years; with training and handling, they are much easier to handle than you might expect. And a house cow will give you access to your own fresh milk and beef – so don’t rule out cattle keeping. Our guide will help you make up your mind.
Bees have been much in the news – the decline in the number of bees has, perhaps paradoxically, given rise to an increase in the number of folk who want to become beekeepers. We’re newbie’s to beekeeping, but we’re happy to share with you our research and our experiences.
Cows for the Smallholder Val Porter
Keeping Bees (Green Guides Series) Pam Gregory
Starting with Chickens Katie Thear
The Illustrated Guide to Cows Celia Lewis
Practical Pig Keeping Paul Smith