fifesmallholder

musings of a scottish smallholder

Smallholding – getting started in Scotland February 13, 2012


You’ve got the land and now want some animals – Who do I need to contact? What are the rules? Where do I get the paperwork? What if something goes wrong?

Why do I need to register?

Keeping Livestock

If you are planning to keep animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, hens, and cattle then read on.

Things to do before you buy animals for your smallholding

  • Read and understand the welfare guides/codes of recommendation relating to the animals you intend to keep.
  • Register your land or ‘holding’ and get a CPH number (a unique code allocated to the land where animals are kept). You need this number before you purchase/acquire/move any animal onto your smallholding.
  • Get a flock or herdmark number for your livestock (e.g. sheep and pigs)
  • Get the relevant movement documentation for your animal (from the previous owner) and be aware of the regulations around transporting animals. You may need a licence for moving certain agricultural animals (e.g. pigs ).

Once you have your animals – other things you need to do

  • Your animals must be properly identifiable, with the correct flock or herdmark numbers. Different animals have different tagging rules and some even require electronic identification (e.g. sheep).
  • Poultry and other fowl may require to be registered .
  • You need to keep a register and medications book. Return an annual inventory where requested, and notify a range of agencies depending on the animal and it’s movements.

For a fuller explanation and read more click here

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Heir and a Spare November 17, 2011


Its tupping time at Fifesmallholder

tup and ram at fifesmallholder

We have been a bit later putting our boys in with our girls this year.  We have had two bad winters in a row and an April lambing will hopefully mean that the lambs get a better start in life.

It is a good idea to make sure that both boys (known as a tup or ram) and girls (known as a ewe) are in peak condition.

Flush The Ewes

To improve the chances of twins, you can help the ewe produce more eggs at ovulation. To do this you can put the ewes on fresh grazing for a few days/weeks along with a mineral lick, this will give the ewe a boost in condition. Usually resulting in an increase in eggs ovulated…

A ewe will come in season every 21 days until she has conceived. I advise that you put a raddle/harness on your Ram. Every 21 days you should change the colour of the crayon. Doing this will allow you take note of what period the ewe will lamb in.

The ewes gestation period is typically 147 days. Allow 145-149 days and you will be safe.

* Tip – make sure this years ewe lambs are well away from all this mullarkey – otherwise you might end up with a teenage mother*

This Is What They Have Been Waiting All Year For

Your tups need to be firing on all cylinders! Peak fitness is essential, the most common reason for a lazy tup will be poor feet. Keep them trimmed and tidy. We have two unproven tups this year so I have hedged my bets with an heir and a spare.  They keep each other company throughout the summer, and mean that I have a mix of genes in my lambs, a backup in case one of them gets sick, and a guarantee that at least one of them will perform.