Smallholding Courses

Sheep Keeping for Beginners

Whether you already have a few sheep or are preparing to welcome your first arrivals - this course is for you! 

Our one day 'Sheep Keeping for Beginners' course will give you the confidence to handle and care for your sheep.  Suitable for anyone with sheep - whether you intend to build up a flock, rear a few for meat, or keep a few special pets.

This course is a mixture of theory and practical experience.  We will spend as much time hands-on with the sheep as needed, to allow you to leave confident in your ability to handle them.

A comprehensive handout will cover all information given on the course (so no need to spend the day scribbling notes!)

A delicious homecooked lunch, featuring produce from our smallholding, is included.

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Course Content:

Before you start:  Choosing the right breed for you.  How and where to buy sheep.  Legislation and paperwork required.

Handling: We will look at suitable facilities and handling equipment for small flocks.  Hands-on sheep handling - learn the essentials such as moving sheep, catching, turning, checking and trimming feet. We'll look at carrying out a general health check, condition scoring and how to give medications and injections.

Grazing and Feeding: A look at grassland and our rotational grazing system.  Nutritional requirements and feeding the pregnant ewe.

Routine Healthcare: We will look at vaccinations, worming, worm egg counts, footcare and other routine tasks.  How to create a health plan for your flock.

Health Problems:  A look at some of the common sheep ailments, how to treat and prevent problems.

Lambing:  Preparation for a successful lambing season.  Hygiene, essential supplies and equipment.  We will discuss how a normal delivery should proceed and how/when to assist.

Lunch is included - enjoy a delicious homecooked lunch, including produce from our smallholding.

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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