Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Tb testing for very small herd  (Read 796 times)


  • Joined Jun 2024
Tb testing for very small herd
« on: June 06, 2024, 11:56:26 am »
Hi there,

I apologise  if this has been covered before but all seems quite confusing

We are looking at purchasing a few (less than 5) Dexter cattle (these will
Be the only cattle on the farm) directly from another farm and raising them for meat as a friends and family type set up

We are based in Shropshire which is apparently high risk from what I can see

My question is if the cattle we purchase are the only cattle we have (no herd mixing) and we are keeping them until slaughter which the time may vary must we have them TB tested? And if so is this something we have to pay for ourselves?

And following on from this

With the current state of everything is this kind of set up more hassle than itís worth?

Weíre not looking to make a huge profit with it more to have our own supply of meat and cover costs with the meat we can sell on

« Last Edit: June 06, 2024, 12:15:07 pm by Shropshiresmallholder »


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Tb testing for very small herd
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2024, 10:51:09 am »
You need to talk to your vet as they will know the exact rules for your area .  Are you fully equipped to handle cattle eg  transport to bring onto your holding and take to the abattoir , some method of restraining  for treatment and good fences


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Tb testing for very small herd
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2024, 11:27:07 am »
Yes you will need to tb test them unless they are gone to slaughter by the time your test is due. It doesnít matter how many cattle youíve got or what the end goal is with them. Your vet will know how often you need to tb test (we are in a high risk area and test every 6 months), and will explain what handling facilities youíll need (crush etc). The costs of tb testing are covered by the government apart from if you want to tb test outside of your window to facilitate selling live animals either privately or through a market, then you pay the vet for a private test. The best thing to do is speak to your vet as they will know how often youíll need to test, but it may turn out to be more hassle and expense (buying equipment, time taken etc) than itís actually worth.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Tb testing for very small herd
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2024, 09:51:35 pm »
We are in a high risk, 6-months testing area.  We have 2 cows and their followers, none of our immediate neighbours ever have cattle in any adjoining fields, we eat all our own beasts (don't sell anything), and our vet has enacted a derogation for us to be tested only annually.

We would still need to comply with the on- and off- pre-movement testing requirements, and if we started having such movements would probably lose our derogation and have to revert to testing every 6 months.

You don't have to do a Tb test before sending to the abattoir.  But in England you will now need a vet attestation, requiring a site visit to see the actual animals, and completing the documentation, within the previous 12 months, as you do for any species now.

Until recently, our butcher used to transport our cattle to the abattoir for us and charged a very reasonable amount for it.  But he can't do that any longer, they are too busy.  We have located a local hire firm who can hire us a trailer when we need one, but you still need quite a hefty vehicle to tow it safely.  Our member who has the one vehicle on site which can tow the weight is leaving, so we will probably have to find an animal transporter (driver and vehicle/trailer), which will cost rather more.

The vet initially insisted on us having a crush for Tb testing.  Thankfully a community-minded local beef farmer lends their portable crush out for small producers to use, and another community-minded local farmer totes it from farm to farm!  But now the vets know us and our animals, they are happy that we do it in the parlour with the cattle haltered in the milking stalls.

Is it worth it?  Not if there is any significant risk your cattle might actually get Tb, I'd say.  Way too much heartache and the potential to end up with just money (which won't buy the equivalent meat) after all your hard work.  So absolutely talk to your vet about your holding and ask them for their views, and their experience of Tb being diagnosed in your immediate area.  (You should also be able to find out about diagnoses, when and where, online.  Sorry, can't give you a link.) 
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


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