South Yeo Farm West's logo of a barn owl surrounded by the farm name

SMALLHOLDER TRAINING & BOOKS

“Best weekend ever. Thank you so much for being so helpful, flexible and friendly. We absolutely loved it.”

Badger face lamb being bottle fed

Smallholder Training

We’ve delivered a range of popular smallholder training courses to over 1600 participants over the last decade, that give a real flavour of the life, and an understanding of what’s involved day to day. We have a dedicated website for our training courses:

Introduction to Smallholding: two day course
Pigs for Beginners: one day course
Sheep for Beginners: two day course
Cattle for Beginners: one day course
Apple & Cider day: making the most of your orchard with juice, cider, vinegars, chutneys & jams: one day course
Build your own cob pizza/bread oven: one day course
Bespoke Training: We’ve delivered many bespoke training courses for individuals, couples, families, groups of friends, and teams of co-workers working at city farms, animal shelters, independent hotel companies and more.  We also offer corporate and team building days with a difference. If you want something particular that you can’t find elsewhere we are always happy to tailormake a course for you, so do contact us to discuss, and if we can help, we will.

Books

Debbie’s books Keeping Ducks and Geese – A Practical Guide (2021), Keeping Goats – A Practical Guide (2022), and The Complete Guide to Smallholding (2023) are all published by The Crowood Press. You can buy the books direct from us at a discount, or from The Crowood Press, bookshops and the usual online retailers.

The Complete Guide to Smallholding is the book I’ve wanted to write for decades, building on the comprehensive information packs we provide on our courses and so much more.  Growing your own food and living off the land is an aspiration for many, but where do you start, how do you develop your skills and knowledge and make it all work?  Providing a truly comprehensive insight and packed with practical guidance for the 21st-century smallholder, this chunky book is for anyone considering, starting out, or in the throes of smallholding and addresses the challenges and pitfalls as well as the joys. The book covers in detail: checking out if it’s the life for you; choosing your patch of land; the legal stuff; buildings, equipment and machinery; growing fruit and vegetables; keeping and caring for all manner of livestock including poultry and waterfowl, cows, goats, pigs, sheep, llamas and alpacas and more; rearing for meat; grassland management and fencing; controlling pests and predation; smallholder worries; making the most of your produce; determinining whether it’s a productive hobby or a business; managing finances; marketing and selling your produce and more.  208 page paperback with over 400 illustrations. 

Keeping Ducks and Geese – A Practical Guide is stuffed with all the things we’ve learned about how to keep and look after these great birds (good and bad) in our thirty plus years of having them.  It covers the legal stuff, choosing breeds and bringing them home, housing and fencing, nutrition, breeding and hatching, health and welfare, security and pest control, dispatching, raising for meat, using for craft and even some favourite and unusual recipes.  Rammed with our own colour photos (those of you who have been to the farm will recognise all kinds of things) and by other brilliant keepers from all over the place, it also includes information on 80 breeds of ducks and geese to be found in the UK.  I’ve been lucky enough to be able to include wonderful historic black and white photographs by James Ravilious too, my favourite photographer, thanks to Beaford Archive.  192 page hardback with 290 photos.

Keeping Goats – A Practical Guide is full of information and practical advice, invaluable for anyone thinking about keeping goats, for those who have recently acquired goats, and the more experienced keeper. It provides everything you need to know including: legal requirements; land, fencing, housing and equipment; the breeds that will suit you best and acquiring your goats. There is information on year-round husbandry tasks; feeding and nutrition; health and welfare and breeding and kidding and detailed guidance is given on dairying, raising for meat and other ways to make the most of your goats. The book includes a comprehensive guide to over 80 goat breeds.  In addition to the many colour photographs there are captivating historic black and white images by James Ravilious, thanks to Beaford Archive. 224 page hardback with 400 photographs and diagrams.

Two Berkshire pigs with front legs resting on the top of a gate
Aylesbury duckling being held in hands
Piglet being cradled in arms

South Yeo Farm West's logo of a barn owl surrounded by the farm name