Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Newbie with a dream  (Read 1077 times)


  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Durham/South Wales
    • Facebook
Newbie with a dream
« on: January 23, 2022, 12:55:15 pm »
Hello everyone
My name is Fahran I'm 23 and i'm super new to the forum, we are due to move to our new small farm of 30 acres in south wales soon and need some help figuring out what would be best to do with the land, my ideas are sheep, chickens, pigs, potentially small herd of cows.

For context i live with my non farmy parents (mum does have horses and donkeys and wants the farm lifestyle), my grandma, my boyfriend who was raised in farming but hasn't done so in about 10 years, and my brother who's 21 (non farmy and not interested unless its got a wifi connection lol )
Experience wise I've had chickens for the last 2 1/2 years , been around horses since i was about 4 and that's about it!

 We've had sheep before but only 10 grey faced dart moors and only held them for a friend so they could eat the grass, is there any way you can viably make money through sheep? 
we still need land for the horses, goats , donkeys , chickens and our 5 dogs.  how many sheep would you need, costs, breed type??? Is there any money to be made through showing any animals?
I'm totally clueless on which sheep is most likely the best for what we want but we've got to make money somehow and this is one of the ideas that sounds good to me and i love sheep.
We have had laying chickens before but never meat birds although this is something id like to go into, what sort of hoops do you need to go through when raising, selling etc?
Cows would be a potential option but mum isn't too keen and they'd have to pretty hardy. and pigs are also another potential option but what type I'm completely lost on as I've never had pigs before.
I'd be totally up for growing our own veg and being self sustainable in terms of meat and being able to raise our own food so greenhouses or veg plots would be fab!

id welcome any other suggestions on what to do with the land , only thing we couldn't do would be having crops. any advice very very welcome and please feel free to email me!


  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Re: Newbie with a dream
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2022, 08:59:01 am »
Hello Fahrans Feathers,
I just wanted to wish you well with your dream. After something like 25 years of holding a similar dream and living a suburban life tied to a city of London job which decided to spit me out at an unfortunate age, I was on the verge of my 60th birthday, I now find myself living in a VERY rural environment, mountains on my doorstep and at the threshold of a completely new existence. I can't tell you how satisfying it feels, scary but exciting. I hope you and your family enjoy your journey into your new lives.
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Newbie with a dream
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2022, 09:22:35 am »
Hello and welcome to TAS :wave: You'll get lots of good advice -Imight even offer some later  :innocent:


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Newbie with a dream
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2022, 12:30:30 pm »
Welcome and congratulations.

If it's possible, you would get fantastic experience and insight WWOOFing on a mixed farm such as you envisage yours becoming.  Preferably in Wales, on similar ground.  There are loads of WWOOF hosts in Wales so it should be possible.  You might even find one near to your new place, which would also mean you had someone to help you make local connections essential to any smallholder (feed suppliers, agricultural contractors, which marts serve your area, and so on and so on.)

Making money out of sheep is a tall order, you need to add value and be prepared to work hard on marketing.  Sheep that have nice fleeces and sheepskins might be one way to go, but many on here will tell you how much work it is and how tiny the margins are to produce your own yarn or other woolly products, meat boxes, and/or anything else you may think of!  And I know 30 acres sounds a lot when you haven't anything like that at the moment, but depending on where in Wales and the type of ground, it may not sustain as much livestock as your imagination currently has running around on it!   :)

To give you an indication, I am on a 32 acre site in North Cornwall, on clay ground in an area of relatively high rainfall.  We use about half our ground for other things, and on the 15 acres (ish) available for grazing animals, we can keep my 2 Fell ponies, 2 small house cows and their this year's calves (but not any followers growing on), a flock of 14 small sheep, of whom we breed approx 6 each year, producing 9-12 lambs a year.  We buy in 3 or 4 weaners each spring, which go off in October before the ground gets too wet for them.  We have to send the calves off in November when the cows necessarily come in for winter, and in very wet times, the ponies have to be stabled too.  (The bringing the animals in is not because they aren't hardy enough, they are all very hardy.  It's to stop them wrecking the ground when it's very wet, as it usually is pretty much from mid Nov to early March.  To leave them out you would need another acre or two per large animal, to allow for the delayed growth on the ground they hammer over winter.)   At that level of stocking and with that management, we usually have enough grass to make our own winter forage (hay and haylage) and occasionally a small surplus.

(We do also have chickens and ducks, they are in the "non-grazing" acreage. As are our veggie plots, forest garden, polytunnel, greeenhouses etc).

We are in a very popular area for tourism, and income for us is easiest come by through holidaymakers; we have 3 (will be 4) holiday cabins and a small (12 pitch or so) campsite.  Because we are a hilltop site 2 miles from the Atlantic coast, camping is only realistic here June through the first half of September, so that limits the campsite season.  We occupy all our buildings, but if we have spaces vacant, holiday lettings are always a source of good money in the summer months. 
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


  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Durham/South Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Newbie with a dream
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2022, 05:25:03 pm »
Hi everyone thankyou for your replies!

At the moment we have 8 acres with our (3 horses, 2 donkeys, 3 goats and of course our chickens ) when we had the 10 sheep this was enough land to keep them happy and not trash the land .

The 33 acres we are about to move to does feel like a big step yes! It also has some woods and a river ontop of the grazing land.
We are definitely going to do some form of glamping situation and our land is relatively level so good for grazing animals. It has plenty of outbuildings.
Apparently a few years ago the last owners had about 100 sheep, and a small herd of dexter cows about 15 or so. Plus her 2 eventing horses.
I wasn't sure on if this was something that made the land particularly cramped but they suggested nothing that made me think so. Mums very keen on having sheep again, some form of orchard and a veg patch/polytunnel area.   However she doesn't want to get into the farming thing as much as me (23) and my partner ( 26 ) as she'd preferably like to retire soon and just enjoy it all, by moving there it gives my dad the option to retire as well but knowing him he'll want to be up and about doing something so has suggested a tea room or bikers cafe situation as he's a biker himself.
Id definitely like to get my chickens again and some ducks both meat or for laying eggs on a more large scale.   What are WWOOF hosts?? Sounds interesting and would definitely be very helpful!
We are very excited to be starting our new journey in a totally different part of the country . We'll be moving 7 hours away from where we currently live but do have family in North Wales.

I really appreciate all the advice and support ! Its going to be a wild ride for sure but we are looking forward to getting stuck in!


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Newbie with a dream
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2022, 05:51:33 pm »
WWOOF stands for "worldwide opportunities on Organic Farmsl (originally "working weekends on...").  Host farms and smallholdings register with WWOOF, and WWOOFers contact them and arrange to visit (usually for a week or a few, though some hosts do still offer WWOOFing Weekends from time to time) to help and to learn. 

Have a look at the WWOOF UK website if you are interested to know more.   You sound as though you would already know quite a bit about looking after livestock, so it maybe would be more learning about the type of ground and the locale that would be useful to you, and how income is generated from the holding, if the idea appeals at all.

Whereabouts are you moving from?  7 hours gets you a long way, even from deepest SW Wales! 
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


  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Newbie with a dream
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2022, 07:59:46 am »
Where in South wales are you moving to?    We have just under 30 acreas here .....  10 cows and 35 sheep is our max here (and to do that we buy in all hay for winter).  Your location will make a huge difference as to what you could potentially do. 

I will apologise straight away for my pragmatic response (it is supposed to be a though provoker not a dream bubble flattener)

Who is going to be working? As you are not going to be making enough money to keep 5 adults.  Glamping is an expensive thing to set up ...... check how many are already in your area ....  do your sums honestly (nobody wants to glamp in a wet wales winter! )  and if everyone only books for a night or two that is an awful lot of cleaning and washing.    A tea room could work ... but again unless you are in an area where there are lots of tourists and no tea rooms already ?   (we have had FOUR new ones set up in Llandeilo in the last year! ... on top of the 4 or 5 there was already!   they will NOT all survive).

Sheep are expensive to keep, quite a lot of work and make little money (farmers with 100's can barely live of the income)  You can go into specialist breeding or wool production but expect it to take years before you gain a reputation which makes you money.  Our Llanwenog ewes are great, easy to keep and produce lovely meat .... we sell direct to customers (mostly people we know in the SE Eng) ..... but this does not pay for their keep. (in probably would if we could make own hay but paying for someone else to make it is useless ). 

I love my cows. I have kept both Shetlands and Dexters ..... easy to keep.... can be out wintered if you have dry fields.  They are little work and beef boxes are easy to sell.  However you need handling equipment and if in a Tb area forget it!   

If you want to 'wooF' here for a few days/week you are very welcome you can see what we do and learn a few things (I was an agricultural lecturer before moving here so have vast info on livestock keeping  and am not nearly as negative as this post might imply. :innocent: :innocent:  (I love my animals and just wish they had been able to make us a living)


Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.
Nantygroes  facebook page


  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Durham/South Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Newbie with a dream
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2022, 05:32:41 pm »
We are moving just outside of Five Roads . My mum has a really good job and works away in Essex and Norwich so would be travelling a lot but she earns the bulk of our money.  My partner will be working as well with me and part time as an engineer and my brother. My dad is retiring and ill hopefully be working part time and then running the land side of it .  We have enough finances to make glamping work and start up etc so thats not an issue. My mum would eventually like to retire from her corporate job and do something a bit more relaxed hence a tea room or baking/stall at markets.  The Woof situation sounds really interesting id love to do something like that especially if it helps me gain experience I wouldn't have otherwise had!  And We are moving from Darlington :)


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