Previous talks

Jul 18: Lameness with Endell Vets


May 23: Mastering Medicines. with Lissie Gerke from Endell Vets. We had a hands on session trying to find the best medicines and treatment to deal with a variety of scenarios.

Apr: Lambing with Luke Gates from Merrist Wood College.

Mar 28: Ask a Vet! Lissie Gerke from Endell Farm Vets . Lissie works with many smallholders and small farms in the area, and is happy to take your questions whether your an experienced smallholder or just starting to think about what’s involved in keeping livestock.

Feb 21 2018: Mark Elliott BVSc VetMFHom MRCVS MIPsiMed PCH DSH RSHom

Mark qualified from Bristol University in 1989, and went on to work in a number of practices covering many different species, founding his own primary care practice in 1994. He subsequently specialised and now, in addition to a busy Small Animal practice based on an integrated medical approach to care, also has a separate Gamebird and Poultry practice covering much of the South East region

Mark has a keen interest in Complementary therapies, has been a leader in that field for many years, has published 6 small books including the Shepherds Guide to Homeopathy, and Essential Care in the Field – a Fitness manual for Working Dogs.

Mark will be talking about exactly what homeopathy is and discussing how and when homeopathy and herbs can be used to best effect in farm animals by the smallholder. As usual this will be an interactive talk, so come prepared with your questions 🙂

Jan 21 2018: Sean Grufferty is the Grazing Officer for the Surrey Downlands Partnership which was established in 1988 with a focus to restore and maintain chalk grassland along the North Downs. Sean together with a team of 90 voluntary stock checkers manage a working flock of 180 sheep, 11 goats and 11 cattle. As well as carrying out conservation grazing over several sites in Surrey, the Downlands Partnership runs a 90 acre farm where their sheep breeding programme is run both to replace their ‘conservation’ grazers and selling Suffolk crossed lamb meat to the local community. Sean talked about the role of livestock in the work Downlands do, how they benefit the wildflowers and, looking at the difficulties of the sites they manage, and what he looks for in the breeds they use.

Jul 19 2017: Keeping Chickens. Suzie Baldwin from Hollywater Hens covered everything you need to know about keeping chickens. Suzie is a regular contributor to Country Living Magazine and the author of Chickens and the Smallholder Handbook.

Jun 21 2017: Sheep Shearing

May 2017: Lameness in Sheep and Goats, Lissie Gerke, Green Counties Vets

Apr 19 2017: Hands on lambing

Feb 15 2017: Lambing (Luke Gates)

Jan 18 2017:  Luke Gates (Merrist Wood) gave a talk on incubation. Successful incubation means that we need to understand the process involved in breeding stock, incubation and reacting.

19 October 2016: Commuter Pig Keeping – we were joined by Michaela Giles,  a well-known pig breeder and national exhibitor of Middle White and British Saddleback pigs based in West Sussex. She is a regular writer for Practical Pigs magazine, Southern Regional Sector representative for the British Pig Association, genetic consultant to the British Kune Kune Pig Society, a member of the APHA Pig Expert Group, runs pig keeping courses from her farm and has just published her first book “The Commuter Pig Keeper”

21 September 2016: Smallholder Legislation – Luke Gates

17 August 2016: Keeping Cattle – Luke Gates

27 July 2016: Antibiotics – which one and when?

15 June 2016: Keeping Bees – Alistair Welch

The talk centred on how to approach Beekeeping, where and how to resource equipment, the practicalities of Beekeeping and potential commercial opportunities.

Our guest speaker this month was Alastair Welch whose credentials in this field are extensive to say the least. He’s currently on The British Beekeepers Association exam board and is assistant moderator for practical assessments. He is a Master Beekeeper with the BBKA having passed their ten examinations and holder of The National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB). An assessor for all BBKA practical examinations as well as a correspondence course tutor.

He was also, at one stage, a member of The Bee Farmers Association running with an associate over 300 production colonies of bees.


18 May 2016: Woodland Trees & Crafts in Lynchmere – Then & Now – Mark Allery

Mark is a Bodger, Woodsman and Scythesman who can be found working the Lynchmere Commons, a heathland and woodland site between Haslemere and Liphook which he helps to manage. Mark also teaches and demonstrates traditional crafts and skills at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum nr Chichester including Polelath turning, Besom Broom making, Hay Rake making and Mowing with a scythe/wildflower meadow management with hand tools. We learnt about the woodland trees prevalent on the Lynchmere commons, the crafts they supported and how these crafts are still practiced today.

20 April 2016: Paddock Management – Neil Aust

Neil guided us through all aspects of paddock management from soil structure and how to improve it, looking at grass characteristics how to feed and strengthen it; how best to use patterns and planning rotation and finally what equipment to use to best effect.

16 March 2016: Lambing Theory – Luke Gates

Luke gave an overview of the challenges and surprises faced when dealing with a small flock. Lamb care starts with good ewe management. Using his rare breed ewes as an example Luke explored some of the considerations for success.

17 February 2016: Parasites – what’s threatening your stock? – Dr Peter Bates

This was an overview of the parasites a smallholder could encounter in their stock in the UK. Pete has years of experience working in this field and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject.

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