RSPCA hobby farmer short course

RSPCA Victoria will run a short course for hobby farmers in October on the back of the success of a session it ran in July.

The We bought a Farmlet half-day course is for anyone who owns a farmlet or is interested in hobby farming as more people opt for a tree change post pandemic.

It will provide an introduction to owning and caring for livestock on small acreages to optimise animal health and wellbeing.

The short course will focus on sheep, goats, cattle, alpacas and pigs, with an opportunity for practical hands-on learning thanks to RSPCA education animals and experts in the field.

The course will also cover management and husbandry practices in a safe manner for both animals and people, promoting responsible livestock ownership and stewardship.

RSPCA Victoria education and training manager Belinda Marchbank said while caring for livestock could be incredibly rewarding, there was plenty to learn for those doing it for the first time.

“As with caring for our companion animals like cats and dogs, animal welfare and health should be top of mind for any budding hobby farmer,” Ms Marchbank said.

Ms Marchbank said it would guide participants on how to cater for livestock needs, including handling, common husbandry, housing and nutrition, as well as preventative health care.

It will include a practical paddock walk to view housing and fencing options, space allocations as well as supplementary feeding methods

Participants will learn goat handling and how to inspect a hoof, and how to conduct a body condition score of sheep, as well as visual health inspections.

They will also learn about handling animals using field of vision and point of balance.

Ms Marchbank said this course would not cover caring for horses and ponies, but there would be a course focusing specifically on equines coming up.

“Horse ownership can be a big commitment and there’s plenty to learn about caring for them,” she said.

The course will be held at RSPCA Burwood East on Saturday October 15 from 9am to midday. Register at rspcavic.org/we-bought-a-farmlet.