Courses

At Ffos Yr Ewig we offer a variety of courses for people that are looking to set up a smallholding of their own one day or already own a smallholding but want to learn more:

Smallholding Courses

This smallholding course is aimed at providing an introduction to life on a smallholding. This course is ideally suited for people that are considering buying a smallholding but haven’t made the ‘leap’ yet. Come and talk to us & see the reality of looking after the land & livestock before you make that important decision.

If you already own a smallholding but want to improve your animal husbandry skills, learn more about land & grass management there is a wealth of information you can gain from either the smallholding courses or individual courses.

Course Details will cover:

  • Selection of an appropriate smallholding, size, location and land type.
  • Learn animal handling, healthcare, correct feeding & breeding techniques.
  • Get practical ‘hands on’ experience with livestock e.g. loading a pig into a trailer, taking its temperature, sheep foot trimming, administering medication with a drench or injection.
  • Legal Requirements, Insurance & DEFRA regulations.
  • Self sufficiency, growing all you need and livestock from field to plate.
  • Renewable energy supply.
  • Organic status/worming/rotation.
  • Machinery.

This course aims to cover a huge topic in one day, so most areas will be looked at only briefly. The idea is to give a general overview of all aspects of the self sufficiency lifestyle. If greater detail is required it is best to book on the combined weekend course, with a pig/poultry day on the Sunday

Pig & Poultry Courses

This course is aimed at giving an overview of keeping pigs & poultry, as both are large topics to cover the content will at times be brief. If you wish to gain a deeper understanding of care for these animals it may be worth booking on the ‘single’ Pig or Poultry days.

This course combines two of the most popular animals kept on smallholdings.

A pig is a great addition to your farm. They are loving and loyal, and are actually very hygienic creatures. As with all animals, pigs require a lot of work, time and commitment. Poultry are often the first choice of livestock whether you have a smallholding, orchard or garden. As well as providing a regular supply of eggs & meat (if you require) you will be surprised how entertaining they can be. However don’t underestimate the commitment & time taken to keep them healthy & safe from predators.

Course Details will cover – Pigs 

  • Selection of breeds.
  • Feeding, housing and fencing.
  • General healthcare, worming, ‘weighing’ a pig, taking a pigs temperature & injections.
  • Pig handling & loading.
  • Breeding – A.I versus Boars.
  • Farrowing.
  • Organic Status/Worming/Land Rotation.
  • Slaughter/Butchery/Meat Sales.

Course Details will cover – Poultry.

  • Selection of breeds suitable of garden/paddock/free range
  • Secure Housing & Runs
  • Predator Control (foxes & rats), use of electric fences
  • Feeding & special requirements (oyster shell supplements, dust baths)
  • Mites/Lice/Worms/Avian Bird Flu
  • Breeding/Incubators/Broody Hens
  • Layers versus Meat Birds
  • Ways to control your dog around poultry

Pig Courses

Pigs are wonderful animals to keep, they are intelligent, inquisitive and affectionate, they will eat all your vegetable scraps, rotavate & manure the land and if so desired produce succulent pork and bacon.

This course differs from the combined pig & poultry day in that it allows more time with the pigs, improving your confidence feeding & handling them. You will learn how to pick up a piglet and move older pigs from one area to another and importantly how to loading a pigs into a trailer without fuss.

The financial side of pig keeping is covered looking at ways you can keep your freezer full of meat and turn a small profit. Large scale pig production will be covered and the challenges this presents. Finally the implications of keeping pigs outdoor will be examined and the problems caused by this especially with our ‘wet’ summers!

Course Details will cover:

  • Selection of breeds
  • Feeding, housing and fencing
  • General healthcare, worming, ‘weighing’ a pig, taking a pigs temperature & injections
  • Pig handling & loading
  • Breeding – A.I versus Boars
  • Farrowing
  • Organic Status/Worming/Land Rotation
  • Slaughter/Butchery/Meat Sales
  • Bacon & Ham Curing and Smoking
  • Marketing your pigs as weaners or meat sales
  • Financial aspects of pig keeping on a small or large scale

Permaculture Courses

At our farm in Llanfynydd we practise what I have termed ‘Practical Permaculture’ taking inspiration from Sepp Holzer and Ben Falk. There are many definitions and ideas about what constitutes permaculture, these can extend to deep philosophical ideas concerning the world population, the destiny of mankind and the future of the earth!

At Ffos Yr Ewig we are a little more dogmatic – my idea of ‘Practical Permaculture’ is working alongside nature to improve the efficiency of food production whilst minimaling the input, ie Keep it Simple!!! The permaculture course we run shows you detailed and practical ways to achieve this.

The main aims of Practical Permaculture are :

  1. Build Top Soil and the Soil Micro Organisms
  2. Minimise the mechanical work need to raise livestock and grow crops
  3. Produce sufficient food and energy to be self-sufficient
  4. Raise livestock allowing them to forfill their natural instincts
  5. Provide a diverse bio-environment eliminating the need for chemical sprays & fertilizers
  6. Obtain a yield but also an excess to ‘re-invest’ back into the soil
  7. Produce and use Biochar

How this is achieved is by using the following principles :

  1. No Dig or Cultivation Policy
  2. Compost, Compost and Compost!!!!
  3. Make a compost tea, and apply to plants & soil
  4. Never leave the soil bare, apply mulch or use green manure crops
  5. Have a rotational strip grazing system for the livestock
  6. Mix different plant crops to increase bio-diversity (eliminate monoculture)
  7. Seed into compost to build top soil from the top down
  8. Vermiculture – how to breed worms and produce worm compost
  9. The use of technology to set up aquaponics systems and look at insect farming! – The Black Solider Fly in particular.
  10. Utilise the land optimally by the use of terraces, swales & raised beds.
  11. Sepp-Raised-Bed2To utilise all of these ideas takes years – the farm at Ffos Yr Ewig is just starting along this journey of a sustainable, productive system with no chemical input and low reliance on ‘inputs’  ie reducing the need to buy in animal feed, straw and hay.If you want to become ecologically sustainable whether you have land, a large garden or even a balcony you can learn important facts on the Permaculture Course.

Advanced Pig Course

The advanced pig course is designed for those who have a little more experience with pigs, who may have kept pigs in the past or currently have pigs. If you have been on the pig course this is an ideal course to follow on and increase your knowledge.

The advanced pig course looks at four areas :

1. Pig Nutrition & Feed – with the recent rise in wheat cost due to the Russian ‘failed’ wheat harvest animal feed is due to rise. This course will help you to look at alternative feeds that are considerably cheaper (eg sprouting barley, fodder beet, apple pulp, brewers grains, silage, whey) and blend this into a balanced diet for your pigs. It is important to be able to body score your pigs, particularly just before service & farrowing to optimise litter sizes and reduce problems during farrowing.

2. Service & Farrowing – the course will run through detailed account of how to recognising ‘brimming’ or ‘hogging’ in gilts & sows to enable A.I. to be carried out (timing is everything).  Selection of  the appropriate boar, how to introduce them to your sow and how to maximise litter size, safe guard your pig during the stages of pregnancy through correct diet & environment. You will be  taught to recognise problems in farrowing and how to correct them (by physical ‘intervention’ if necessary) to ensure the well being of piglets & sow.

3. Injecting your pig & how to restrain a pig if necessary – in theory quite easy to do, in practise a little harder, learn useful techiques and build confidence injecting a pig. From time to time it is necessary to restrain a pig to carry out a medical procedure (ie de-tusking in boars) often this will be carried out by the vet but your knowledge as to the best way to restrain your pig will help considerably.

4. How to make the most from your pig and make money! – we’ve looked at reducing those feed bills now time to ‘process’ your pig to make maximium profit. You will be shown how produce top quality bacon, air dried hams, gammon joints & steaks, panchetta & chirozo & salami and the best places to sell your meat. Current legislation of food processing /selling will be covered plus the fundamentals of setting up your own ‘butchery’

 

Cow & Sheep Course

The aim of this course is to give all the necessary information you will need before making a decision whether you do want to purchase either sheep or cattle. Both of these livestock (cows particularly) represent a significant increase in both time & money in comparison to chickens or even pigs.

Think carefully & plan ahead before making this commitment.

Course Details will cover   –   Cattle

  • The difference between keeping Dairy, Beef or Store Cattle
  • The time commitment & facilities needed for each of these types of cattle
  • Breed selection for Dairy & Beef
  • Practical Cattle handling and set up of an effective system
  • Winter accommodation,  barns & yards
  • Feeding – Summer/Winter : Hay, Silage & Feed Concerntrates
  • Poisonous trees & plants
  • Healthcare & specific worming programs
  • Breeding, use of a bull versus A.I
  • Signs of bullying, prids & induced injections explained
  • Calving, how to prepare & what to do
  • Suitable machinery to produce hay/silage, storing & moving straw for bedding
  • Control of waste, deep litter & manure spreading
  • Cow body language & psychology (herd instinct)
  • Halter training & discipline
  • Fencing & Gates
  • Stock Density & land suitability

The idea of having a milking house cow , seems to be at the core of the smallholders dream. Typically the Jersey cow forfills that role perfectly, producing a high buttermilk content and is docile in nature. However it will have to be milked every day on a rigid schedule.

Course Details will cover  –  Sheep

  • Appropriate breed selection for your land
  • Commercial or rare breeds, maybe even milking sheep
  • Where to buy your sheep and how many
  • A sheep dog or ‘bucket’ friendly sheep to round them up!
  • Sheep handling facilities
  • Sheep shearing – machine or hand, rolling fleece, felt making
  • Disease control – worms, flystrike, footrot, scab orf & scours
  • Feeding – Summer/Winter & housing
  • Sheep terminology – wether, hogget, ewe lamb etc
  • Practical experience  –  Turning a sheep, foot trimming, dagging, injections & drenches
  • Body condition scoring & teeth growth
  • Poisonous plants
  • Stock density, worming & grassland management
  • Halter training
  • Ewes, rams, tupping & lambing and lamb aftercare

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