A great introduction to Sheep Keeping on a smaller scale arrived in the post today from ‘The Smallholder Series’ who produce a number of DVDs about smallholding subjects and have a very useful, informative website.
The DVD ‘Sheep on your Smallholding-Establishing your flock’ is 1 of 4 DVDs in the series about sheep and caring for them. Its a great introduction to Sheep farming on the smaller scale and a guide to buying and managing a small flock. Additionally, it is narrated by the well known farming voice Adam Henson from Countryfile. Its aim is to give clear guidance and helpful practical tips to someone wanting to set up their own flock on their smallholding and highlights some important issues that need to be considered from the beginning. The DVD discusses topics by chapter-breaking it down into small easy chunks.
Firstly, it talks you through what circumstances are on your smallholding-such as space, quality of land, soil type and cost.Then it goes on to discuss what use you can have of a sheep-do you want it for meat? wool? breeding? for showing? pet? dairy? or a mixture of the above? It was interesting to listen to other smallholders as examples and to hear how they made it work, had to diversify or made it into a successful business. Moreover, the further information on The Natural Fibre Company and how they can assist smallholders make the most of the fleeces was very interesting and gave me potential ideas for when we decide to get sheep later on.
The DVD highlights a number of more popular and commonly known breeds to think of when getting a flock and the advantages and disadvantages of each breed. It discusses most breeds from primitive breeds like Soay right through to the Cotswold breed.
Another chapter guides us through the rules, regulations and record-keeping aspects of keeping a flock. This guidance on paper work and the law is invaluable to the first time smallholder! I particularly found it useful when it talked about the Red Tractor symbol, RSPCA Freedom Food site, Defra guidelines, County Parish Holding Numbers (CPHs) and Trading standards information. The DVD goes on to cover the topics of setting up your first flock, what equipment you will need and most useful of all a guide through the typical year of the shepherd in the form of jobs and seasons.
My father who has worked with Sheep both in the UK and New Zealand and kept sheep as part of a smallholding in Suffolk liked this DVD as a solid introduction to sheep keeping but wished the Suffolk breed was included in the selection being a Suffolk dweller! : )
Overall I thought this DVD was a great informative introduction to sheep keeping and kept my attention. Plus it has got me researching exactly which breed we want to go for in the future!
If you would like to see their collection of DVDs available on Amazon click on this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/thesmallholderseries
And for further details on their DVDs or need information on a smallholding issue see their website at: http://www.smallholderseries.co.uk/