Chairman’s Christmas Message

As you may know our chairman, Jim has endured 2 hospital stays and extensive heart surgery recently but is now finally on the mend.  Jim would like to thank the club members for their continued support of the club and wish them all a happy Christmas and peaceful new year.  He also wanted to express his thanks for all the messages of support and well wishes he has received.

Merry Christmas and happy new year!


See below for information on African Swine Fever, issued by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Current situation
It is extremely concerning that African swine fever (ASF), a virus that affects pigs and wild boar, has been identified in Belgium.

Focus must be on ensuring ASF does not spread further. We urge all pig producers to ensure their biosecurity is tight, particularly vehicles, animals and people coming onto their units.

We need all pig producers, farmers and the public to pull together to keep this disease out.

What is African swine fever?
African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease of pigs, warthogs, European wild boar and American wild pigs. It does not affect humans.

The main clinical signs are:

loss of appetite
lack of energy
sudden death with few signs beforehand

Other signs can include:

red or dark skin, particularly on the ears and snout
discharges from the eyes and nose
laboured breathing and coughing
unsteady gait

All age groups are equally susceptible. Mortality rates may be as high as 100%.

African swine fever is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it, you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

How is African swine fever spread?
The disease is highly contagious. It can spread by:

Pigs eating contaminated meat or meat products
Contact with infected pigs or their faeces or body fluids
Contact with anything contaminated with the virus including:
people and their clothing
vehicles and other equipment

Getting the message out not to discard any human food where pigs or wild boar could get access is key.

We have wild boar and feral pigs throughout the UK and we know they are frequently seen on arable or horticultural farms. Please encourage all farm workers not to discard human food waste into fields or areas where pigs or wild boar could get access.

What can you do today?
Make sure you and your staff are aware of, and adhere to, your farm biosecurity protocol. For guidance on biosecurity visit AHDB Pork’s website.

Ensuring good biosecurity throughout the entire supply chain is the first line of defence against exotic and emerging diseases, including ASF and PEDv.

Ensure all staff have your veterinary surgeon’s telephone number to hand, as well as the Defra Rural Services Helpline: 03000 200 301 should you suspect a case of ASF.

Contingency planning
It is important to have a contingency plan in place in case movements become restricted.

Practical guidance and additional resources on the actions to be taken in the event of interruption to pig movements off farm can be found here.


Defra guidance
European Food Safety Authority guidance
The Pirbright Institute
AHDB Pork biosecurity hub

Remember, ASF is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

AHDB Pork, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2TL, T 02476692051, E, W

© Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 2018. All rights reserved.
While the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board seeks to ensure that the information contained within this document is accurate at the time of broadcast, no warranty is given in respect thereof and, to the maximum extent permitted by law the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused (including that caused by negligence) or suffered directly or indirectly in relation to information and opinions contained in or omitted from this document.

Bird Flu Advise – APHA

From: Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA 

Bird flu detected in wild birds in Dorset

Highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu has been detected in wild birds in Dorset.

It is the first confirmed finding of the virus in the UK this winter, and tests have shown it is closely related to the H5N6 strain that has been circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months. This is different to the H5N6 strain which affected people in China last year and Public Health England have advised the risk to public health is very low. The Food Standards Agency have also offered reassurance that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

A local ‘avian influenza prevention zone’ has been declared in the area of south Dorset where the diseased birds were found. This means it will be mandatory for all captive bird keepers in this Zone to put enhanced biosecurity measures in place. Further information can be found on GOV.UK. This Zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.

It is vital that anyone who keeps birds, whether a few in a back garden or thousands on a commercial unit is vigilant. All poultry keepers should:

•minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures

•clean footwear before and after visiting birds, using a Defra approved disinfectant at entrances and exits

•clean and disinfect vehicles and equipment that have come into contact with poultry

•keep areas where birds live clean and tidy, and regularly disinfect hard surfaces such as paths and walkways

•humanely control rats and mice

•place birds’ food and water in fully enclosed areas protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly

•keep birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around outdoor areas they access

•keep a close watch on birds for any signs of disease and report any very sick birds or unexplained deaths to your vet

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and bird keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301.

In Scotland, you should contact your local APHA office

Further avian influenza advice, including how to spot the disease, is available on the Defra website at, in Scotland at; and in Wales at
Kind regards,


Level H1 County Hall

Spetchley Road



Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)


Members Benefits

We are delighted to announce that members will now be entitled to a 20% discount on the new Sheep Keeping book, see below for details:

A new book by qualified veterinary surgeons and sheep smallholders Phillipa Page and Kim Hamer will be published by 5m Publishing next month.  Sheep Keeping is a practical guide to common problems seen in small sheep flocks, suitable for experienced smallholder sheep farmers, but also relevant to new and prospective ones.  5m are offering a 20% discount on Sheep Keeping to members of the West Sussex Smallholders Club.   For further information please visit:


June Meeting – AGM & Membership Subscription

This months meeting is on Wednesday 28th June at 7.30pm, in our usual room at Brinsbury Campus. The meeting will be the clubs Annual General Meeting (AGM) and membership renewals.

This is your opportunity to share your suggestions for the club and to vote for committee members. Please find the agenda for the AGM below:


  • Re-appointment of committee roles (Proposal for committee roles, 2nd’s and vote if more than one candidate)
  • Life Member
  • Accounts (Brief rundown)
  • Subscription Renewal (£17.50, end of June)
  • Any other business

If you wish to nominate yourself or someone else for a committee role, or you would like to add any items to the agenda please contact Tracey, at least a week before the meeting.

As with last year the club’s annual membership fee is just £17.50. See the membership page for all the benefits. Please bring along your subscription money to the meeting, to receive your new membership cards.  If you are unable to make the meeting, or wish to pay online please contact us.

Shows 2017

This year the club will be attending 4 shows, Brinsbury, Ardingly, Findon Sheep Fair and the Ploughing Match.  The shows are a great way to sell your homemade produce, crafts and livestock, as well as a great opportunity to network and meet fellow smallholders.  Only 10% of your sales goes to the club, to help with our running costs and to cover the costs of attending the shows.  Please find details of the shows below:

Brinsbury Show and Country Fayre – Sunday 21st May; 11:00—4:00pm

We are able to sell our homemade produce and crafty bits but no livestock. We normally arrive around 9am to set up and any help with this would be greatly appreciated. The show is held at the Brinsbury Campus and our pitch is usually on the grass area adjacent to our meeting room.  If you wish to attend and have produce to sell, please let myself or Andrea know.  (Just so we have a rough idea of numbers)

The Smallholders and Country Show – Ardingly, showground, Saturday and Sunday 1st – 2nd July

The show is open to the public between 9am and 5pm.  We set up on the Friday before and would be grateful for assistance.  Our stall is located in the Young Farmers Barn opposite the Robins building.

This is the clubs main show and we are able to sell our homemade produce and livestock.  Mark Cottington is kindly organising this show so please contact him ASAP if you wish to attend on the clubs behalf.  For members attending show is is free entry, all that is required is that you help out on the stand for a couple of hours. (

Molly will have her famous Tombola stall and is still looking for donations, please bring items along to our May meeting.

Findon Sheep Fair – Saturday the 9th of September, 10:30—5:00 

We set up on Saturday morning and are able to sell our homemade produce and poultry if the rules permit, confirmation to follow.

West Grinstead and District Ploughing Match – Westons Farm, Itchingfield Saturday the 16th September

The show starts at 9:30am, but we need to set up earlier.  We are able to sell homemade produce and Poultry if rules permit, confirmation to follow.

It would be great to see lots of you at these shows so please save the dates!


February Meeting – Film Night!

The meeting this month will feature the film ‘The Mooman’, and will start promptly at 7.30pm

The film is a remarkable story of a maverick farmer and his unruly cows, filmed over four years on the marshes of the Pevensey Levels.

In an attempt to save his family farm, Stephen Hook decides to turn his back on the cost cutting dairies and supermarkets, and instead stay small and keep his close relationship with the herd.

However farmer Hook’s plans to save the farm do not always go down well with his 55 spirited cows. The result is a laugh-out-loud, emotional roller-coaster of a journey.

“Heart warming, a tearjerker of a movie about the incredible bonds between man, animal and countryside.”

I have it on good authority, that’s it a good watch, so I look forward to seeing you.