Many smallholders have plunged in at the deep end and learnt the hard way, through experience.
But Phyllida Barstow, author of the childhood autobiography My Animals and Other Family, was already involved in animal husbandry when, as a young woman, she embarked on her own smallholding enterprise.
Here is her lively, informative and witty account of her first-hand experience throughout her lifetime in Gloucestershire, with chickens, dogs, cats, horses, sheep, peacocks, alpacas and even honey bees.
As she points out, smallholding is not a summer idyll but, truly, a job for all seasons, all hours, all weathers. She also has to deal with fallen stock, pest control, disease outbreaks and slaughter.
Her tips include those on animal handling, training, breeding and delivery. Her wry and practical attitude towards her animals is imbued with respect and often affection for her charges.
This account of the realities of modern smallholding is both entertaining and informative.