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Author Topic: Newbie,3.5acres so much to think about  (Read 413 times)


  • Joined Nov 2019
Newbie,3.5acres so much to think about
« on: December 10, 2019, 12:09:49 pm »
Hello, What a wonderful source of information this is! My friend and I have just gained the lease for a 3.5acre piece of land and are very excited about what to do with it in the New Year.The idea is to have some chickens and rare breed sheep to begin with.Other than that it's all very uncertain what we might do but thats what makes it exciting, we realize it's not the biggest piece of land.
Any invaluable tips and words of advice would be most welcome!
We are in the heart of Northamptonshire in a little village.

We love the idea of sheep ut not sure we could breed for meat, perhaps to sell lambs to other enthusiasts , trouble is the market looks quite packed with stock for sale.
Anyway looking forward to reading through all the posts to  try and educate myself of the  pitfalls and potential issue before jumping head first into things!

Thank you


  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. Some say it's in England !
Re: Newbie,3.5acres so much to think about
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2020, 12:21:42 am »
Hi Oakleyfarm.  Not sure why sheep minding members have not picked up on your post:  it happens sometimes though.  Good luck.


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Newbie,3.5acres so much to think about
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2020, 09:08:13 am »
Hello - congratulations on getting your own patch of land! I'm sure it will be well worth it!


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • High Peak
Re: Newbie,3.5acres so much to think about
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2020, 10:23:02 am »
Hi and welcome. I’m not one of the most experienced people on this forum (only been small holding for 3 years) but just from my experience re sheep think about what breed you choose. We started with coloured Ryelands which are lovely friendly tame sheep but they didn’t do well foot wise for us. We are not sure if that’s due to the breeding stock we started with or our steep land. So despite liking them very much we eventually sold up and we now have a combination of our local breed Derbyshire Gritstones and Shetlands. They’re thriving and also very tame. Along the way we tried with a few very rare breed Borerays. They spent their whole time leaping over our fences into our neighbours land so they had to go! Also, if you’re going to try to sell breeding stock rather than meat then it’s a good idea to try to show your best sheep, win some prizes and get your name out there. With the chickens just be aware that they have to be let out of their coop in the morning when it’s light and put away again before it’s dark to avoid Mr Fox taking them. I don’t know how conveniently placed your land is but think about whether you can do that. You’ve got a very exciting time ahead of you and you’ll learn something new everyday.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Newbie,3.5acres so much to think about
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2020, 12:36:57 pm »
Hello @Oakleyfarm .  I'm really sorry but I definitely didn't see this post when you first joined.  Congrats on getting your land - that's the first step done! So now how best to use it?

Are you into growing your own veggies and fruit? Are you interested in climate change and the environment?  Do you expect any return from your outlay, or are you just wanting to have some land and the freedom it gives you?  Will you both be working during the day or will one/both of you be there all the time?  It's worth spending a lot of time thinking hard about what you want to do with your land - some trials can be very temporary so you can easily decide it's not for you, but some things might take more of an initial commitment which could be more difficult to dump.

First of all sheep. Sheep are relatively easy to keep and easy to either sell on or send to the abattoir, but you say you might not be OK with that.  So do you just want to have sheep around as pets, or would you like to use or sell their fleece for craft work?  If you are breeding to sell as breeding stock to others you really have to know your animals and have made a name for yourself before you plunge in - sheep owners tend to buy their new stock from known breeders, rather than from someone who hasn't a clue.  We are in the business of breeding for breeding stock but we bred our sheep for at least 10 years before we sold any on to other breeders. We sell a really unusual type of Hebridean sheep, one you won't see in the show ring, or in your area.  We sell 'Ancient Type Hebrideans', which are the remnant of what the breed was like before it was improved and turned into a show sheep breed of lookalikes. Our market is small and mostly confined to the North, although there is a large flock of the Ancient Type in Devon.  This is not a venture we will ever make money at but we like what we do and we have the luxury of being able to cover our costs.  However, a point which you might not have thought of is that not every lamb born makes the grade to a sheep which can be sold on for breeding, especially the males.  So, those sheep for which we don't have a use go for slaughter to feed us and our family.  If you would be unable to do that, then breeding for breeding stock is not something you could do - you have to be very selective or you downgrade your stock.  I think we have found an unusual niche which suits us, but most breeds of sheep are not suitable for a beginner to get into the breeding-stock market.
So, if you don't breed breeding stock then you need pets - wethers ie castrated males are best.  You could choose a breed with excellent fleece quality, but you would need to know a whole lot about that before you even choose your stock.
Have you thought about goats?  There are several very knowledgeable goat breeders here who can advise.  A big advantage from your point of view is that you might not have to kill or eat any (but you don't get milk without kids so you would have to find homes for them if they didn't go in the pot) and you could have a supply of milk and some wonderful, interesting pets

My suggestion is that you launch in with growing some food crops and keeping laying hens, maybe some ducks or geese while you go to agricultural shows, livestock auctions, speak to other breeders, read books, look online, talk to folk here on TAS and take your time to decide just what you would like to achieve and make a gentle start. I think you already know that to jump in with all guns blazing and to fill up with all sorts of ventures tends to lead to disaster and burnout or disillusion.

Good luck  :thumbsup:

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie


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