Before embarking on buying and keeping Cattle and Sheep, you must ask yourself some important questions:
Which breed do I want to buy and how many animals do I want to keep?
How many animals will my land allow me to keep?
Will I be able to make and store sufficient forage for the winter?
Is all the land accessible by tractor for making sufficient forage?
How well is the land fenced?
Keeping animals within your boundary is an important aspect of keeping livestock. If an animal can escape, it will. An animal never escapes at a convenient time and when it does, it can cause serious disruption and damage.
Cattle and sheep are kept on smallholdings for many reasons; to supply meat, milk or wool, pedigree breeding, showing or simply for enjoyment and as ‘easi-keep’ lawnmowers. The choice of breed must reflect the purpose for what they are going to be kept. Always buy your stock from a reputable source as this will reduce the risk of potential health problems. Buying from a breeder or other reliable source also gives you access to free and expert advice – possibly for years to come. Contact the Breed Societies if you are unsure of breeders in your particular area. Don’t forget, having bought your stock, you will need to notify DEFRA - The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to obtain a holding number and a Herd or Flock Number.