Smallholding Courses

Pigs to Pork

Come and spend a day learning all about pigs!

Whether you are getting ready to welcome your first weaners, or already have a little pig experience and want to learn more - this course is for you!

Your day will involve a mixture of teaching sessions and time out with the pigs.

A comprehensive handout to take home will ensure that you don't have to spend all day scribbling notes.

Our aim is for you to leave feeling confident and ready to enjoy keeping these wonderful animals yourself.

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Course Content:

Getting Started:

Everything you need to know about the legal stuff - registering to keep pigs, tags and movement licenses.

Choosing a breed, buying pigs.

Housing and Fencing:

How to provide your pigs with comfortable accommodation, and keep them where you want them to be!

Feeding:

Selecting the right diet, avoiding over-fat pigs, and the law on feeding pigs.

Pig Health:

How to recognise a healthy pig, and identify common problems.

Worms, vaccine and common health issues.  Creating a simple Health Plan.

Breeding and Farrowing:

AI for pigs - you can do this!  We will teach you how, and crucially, how to get the timing right.

Farrowing sties, care of mum and newborn piglets.

Pork:

Finishing pigs for pork.  Preparing for the abbatoir.

How much meat from a pig, what cuts to ask for, sausages and curing for ham & bacon.  Selling your produce - regulations.

Lunch:

A delicious homecooked lunch is included, featuring fresh produce form our smallholding.  Plenty of tea, coffee and cake throughout.

We want this course to be as useful to you as possible - so if there are specific topics you would like to see covered, please feel free to mention these when booking.  There will be time during the course for discussion and questions.

Your Instructors:

Catriona and Jonathan Benson run Argae Cottage, alongside their roles as veterinary surgeons.

We moved here in 2011, starting out with just 4 acres, 4 sheep and a few chickens.  We've come a long way since then - expanding both the farm and livestock numbers significantly.  We now run a thriving meat box and Christmas turkey business, sell pedigree livestock for breeding, and hold three Great Taste awards for our produce  We can still remember what it's like to be starting out, though, and would love to pass on some of our experience to you.

We have a strong focus on animal welfare and aim for our animals to have as healthy and happy a life as possible.  

Following the course, we are very happy to offer ongoing support for your smallholding adventure - and will be available to answer questions and give you further advice via email.

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