Calling tree changers: RSPCA launches short course for hobby farmers

Published on 4 July 2022

RSPCA Victoria will run its first-ever short course for hobby farmers this month (Saturday 16th July), with the session already receiving such overwhelming interest that it has booked out and another has been planned to meet demand. Anyone who currently owns a farmlet or is interested in hobby farming is encouraged to sign up to improve their knowledge. With many people opting for a tree change post-pandemic, this fun and engaging course comes at the perfect time.

The new course, to be held from 9am-12pm on Saturday 15th October at RSPCA Burwood East, will provide an introduction to owning and caring for livestock in small acreage systems to optimise animal health and wellbeing. The course will also cover how to conduct 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 the course is a new offering for RSPCA, explaining that while caring for livestock can be an incredibly rewarding experience, there’s plenty to learn for those who find themselves doing it for the first time.

“The ‘We bought a farmlet’ short course will focus on sheep, goats, cattle, alpacas and pigs, with participants provided opportunity for practical hands-on learning thanks to RSPCA’s education animals and experts in the field.

“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 this short course will guide participants in how to cater for the different needs of livestock species, including handling methods, common husbandry practices, housing and nutrition, as well as preventative health considerations.

Some practical activities that will be included in the course include:

·       Conducting a paddock walk to view housing and fencing options, space allocations as well as supplementary feeding methods

·       Goat handling – how to inspect a hoof

·       Handling animals using field of vision and point of balance

·       Conducting a health check – how to conduct a body condition score of sheep, as well as conduct a visual health inspection.

Ms Marchbank said that while this course will not cover caring for horses and ponies, there will be a course focusing specifically on these animals coming up shortly.

“Horse ownership can be a big commitment and there’s plenty to learn about caring for them. I encourage anyone interested in learning about horses to keep an eye on our website for an upcoming course.”


We bought a farmlet! A short course for hobby farm enthusiasts – session 1 BOOKED OUT

When: 9am – 12noon, Saturday 16th July

Where: RSPCA Burwood East, 3 Burwood Hwy, Burwood East


We bought a farmlet! A short course for hobby farm enthusiasts – session 2

When: 9am – 12noon, Saturday 15th October

Where: RSPCA Burwood East, 3 Burwood Hwy, Burwood East

Find out more or register at:

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