Registering Sheep in Portugal

We have been through the process to get a licence for sheep and register sheep in our area of Fundao in Portugal and should apply to any area in Portugal I thought I would type up the information to share as it was quite confusing for us and would like to make it easier for you.

This information may or may not be correct but the steps we took as we understood them.

Why register your sheep in Portugal

  1. It is the law to register your sheep and have annual checks from the vet. This is to control the spread of diseases specific to areas of Portugal.
  2. Subsidies. Due to the low price of milk and meat, it costs traditional farmers more to raise sheep than the income, to compensate for this the EU Pay subsidies to you for having sheep and maintaining the land to grow food for them. You get more or less 19 EUR per sheep plus up to 150 EUR per hectare of land that is used to grow grass to feed them. See more info below
  3. It easy to get a licence for your land and register your sheep but will cost you 11 EUR

Guys don’t be over =whelmed about the whole thing, just do step 1 below. once that is done the guys there will probably help you do step 2, but you can always refer back here if you need. Once your registered you can then manage everything online.

1. Register your land for Sheep

  1. Get a ‘Titulo Registo de Exploração’ (basically a licence for your land to have sheep) from your local Agriculture office attached to the camera. Known as Associação Florestal do Interior (AFIN). in Fundao this is on the 1st floor in the building behind the tribunal. tel. 275 753467 p.s. it is upstairs.
    1. You have to go AFIN with all your documents: residence certificate, ID, NIF and proof you own land and apply. They will give you your application document for ‘Titulo Registo de Exploração‘.
    2. You wait a couple of weeks for this to go through and they will call you then you go back to AFIN with your document and they will give you a new stamped document in exchange for a fee (It was 11 EUR for me), then you have a licence for your land.

2. Register with the Vets

  1. To be clear there is the vet office for admin for all vets and there is the vet that looks after animal heath. you need to register with both.
  2. You then need to register with the vet office so that you get set up with a Sanitary classification in PISA NET which is the online portal for selling/buying sheep. The guys at AFIN will guide you through this. In Fundao the administration department for the vets is in the same building.
  3. You then need to register with a vet, again your local AFIN can let you know the local one. It is an agriculture vet admin office, not a pet vet agriculture vet that treats animals.

3. Buying the sheep

  1. First, you must be registered and have your Marca de Exploracao, you get this by registering your land for sheep
  2. I don’t think you can buy unregistered sheep, you must buy sheep that already are registered with a chip
  3. The seller will transfer the sheep to you via the PISA NET online portal and then you will receive a paper document (and sheep) from the seller
  4. You then need to confirm the purchase by taking this document to the vet administration office in the agriculture part of the camera. (same place you got your  Sanitary classification from)
  5. You will then be able to see your sheep in the IFAP portal under area reservada > o meu processor > animals > consults > then select todos do animals in the drop-down menu.
  6. I don’t think you can buy unregistered sheep, you must buy sheep that already are registered with a chip

4. Receiving Subsidies

  1. You need 10 ewes that are at least 1 year of age by 31st January of the year you are claiming subsidies to claim subsidies for sheep or pasture
  2. You will need to register the number of sheep you have by the 31st January in the IFAP portal
  3. You get around EUR 17-19 per sheep
  4. You get around EUR 50-150 per hectare of land for pasture (i guess this really depends)
  5. You have to apply for subsidies in Spring at AFIN, this used to be in person but they do it remotely during covid times.
  6. You receive some money in July, November and in December
  7. You only receive money if your land is used for pasture and not full of brush and they check this via google maps
  8. If you have cleared land since the last google maps image then you will need to have them visit to take photos or upload photo via the IFAP mobile app

5. Vet visits

  1. Your vet will visit twice per year and he:
  2. Registers new lambs that you want to raise and provides them with an electronic tag and ear tag
  3. Replaces any missing ear tags
  4. Gives the required vaccinations for any diseases that are in your area
  5. Takes annual blood samples for various deseases

6. Selling lambs

  1. You need a licence to slaughter/butcher lambs to sell meat so there are agents that buy and collect lambs from you alive
  2. You can register yourself as a live lamb seller at the finances office. Just ask for an activity to be a farmer (actividad agricultura) and register to sell lambs, there is no cost here
  3. You can sell lambs to lamb agents for various prices depending on the year or season. Could be EUR 35 to €70
  4. You will always get more for a lamb at Easter or Christmas
  5. You will need to provide an invoice (factura) when you sell a lamb to the dealer and also put an ear tag on the lamb

7. Sheep first aid kit

Some of the things we have needed so far as a vet does not just come out when you need them. Of course, our list is growing over time as different issues come up. Note this is based on info from our sheep vet and not online from problems people have in USA or UK !

  1. Phone number of someone who knows more than you nearby that can help
  2. Vet’s number
  3. B vitamin complex from agriculture shop. Nearly every time I have had a sick sheep it has been because of B1 deficiency so I now just keep B complex in stock and give it a preventative now and again.
  4. Flea/tick/mite treatments. this can come up so always good to have it to hand
  5. Antibiotics and injection syringes in case of an infection or big problem. Get this from an agriculture vet
  6. Eye cream in the case or hay in the eye. Get this from an agriculture vet or use a human one from the pharmacy
  7. Neem oil to get rid of flies around a cut
  8. Spray for maggots in case they get maggots living in a cut. Buy from, any agricultural store
  9. Oxygenated water for a cut. Pharmacy
  10. Spray for cuts if it isn’t healing. Buy from, any agricultural store
  11. Collustrum in case lamb is born and has no mother for milk. You need to get this from another sheep and freexe it. You can also make it with eggs etc but the real thing is better.
  12. Milk bottle & Powdered milk in case lamb is born and has no mother for milk. Buy from, any agricultural store
  13. Vecoxan for young lambs prevents a common disease in lambs. (our vet advised us for this but we don’t have it and never had a problem)
  14. Dewormers just in case (different brand to the one the vet uses as maybe his one isn’t working on this sheep)
  15. Probiotics for sheep. any agriculture shop
  16. Spray paint or a unique collar to mark a sheep in the flock that needs treatment so you can quickly identify him/her
  17. Nail cutters. currently, we are using gardening shears and rarely have to do this

Sustainable sheep keeping at Keela Yoga Farm

  1. Quantity of sheep
    1. Most farmers have more sheep on their land than food available on the land, so they need to buy in extra feed or grow it on other farms and bring it in
    2. We keep no more sheep than the land can feed them so we do not need to buy food. This means we are in complete control of what they eat
  2. Natural dewormers occasional
    1. B Complex
    2. Crushed garlic added to their water
    3. Apple cider vinegar added to water
    4. Various herbs such as wormwood (anti parasites) and oregano added to feeders
    5. Pumpkin seeds
    6. Diatomaceous earth in their feeders once per month
    7. Probiotics are also available for sheep
  3. Provide mineral blocks for them to lick, I always have one in the field and one in the barn.
  4. Probiotic mineral block in the barn
  5. Additional Feed
    1. Most farmers buy GMO corn, grains and straw to feed their animals and they get some from pasture.
    2. We will only feed them on pasture from the land and a small number of grains that we grow on-site for the training of the animals. i.e. they will come into the barn when we say as they think there will be food there
  6. Managing pasture
    1. Most farmers will plough their land once or twice per year so they can plant corn in the spring and grain in the autumn. They will add chemical fertiliser or sometimes lots of manure from their stables but ploughing degrades land.
    2. We never plough the land (except fire breaks), we put in swales to capture water and sometimes leave the field to rest and cut the grass. All building soil, offsetting carbon and improving the grass
  7. Rotating sheep
    1. Most farmers have large fields which their sheep will roam, they usually go around and around and overgraze
    2. We are continually adding more fencing to reduce the sizes of fields so that we can rotate sheep around smaller fields so that most of the land is resting at any one time. this means that their favourite foods don’t get killed off from overgrazing
    3. Rotating also gives time for parasites to die off in fields
  8. Trees and other forage
    1. Some farmers are lucky to have some big trees in their fields but generally, they do not add more trees, instead of in other fields there are monocultures of new frees
    2. We are planting fruit trees for us and also fodder trees that provide food for the sheep in the sheep fields. These trees each get their circular fence to protect them but over time the food intake will increase from things other than grasses, this is especially good in the summer when there is a lot of fruit and leaves but not much green grass.
  9. A variety of animals
    1. Most farmers that keep sheep just keep sheep that prefer some types of grasses over others and provide one type of manure
    2. What we would love to do in the future is rotate various animals through the fields to completely eat everything and leave different manures with chickens breaking it all down at the end, no need for ploughing. We plan to have donkeys, sheep, pigs and chickens work through the fields. But let us first get used to sheep.

Photos from the 2020 Natural Building Internship

During the summer of 2020, we ran a 10-week Natural Building internship where guests joined for 1 week, 1 month or the whole 10 weeks to help build a barn from start to (almost) finish using sustainable building techniques.

There are terms such as ‘natural building’ and ‘low impact building’ but this time around we went for a ‘sustainable build’ that offsets carbon and has a positive impact. We used recycled materials, materials from our land and used a variety of natural building techniques including cordwood, wattle and daub, stone walling and straw bale. more “Photos from the 2020 Natural Building Internship”

Silvopasture for Chickens & Sheep

Over the past year, we have planted one field using silvopasture principles. Silvopasture is where you grow trees and shrubs with animals integrated into the system that benefit each other. The idea is to reduce carbon based inputs into the system such as tractors to cut grass and fertiliser for trees whilst getting extra forrage for the animals. more “Silvopasture for Chickens & Sheep”

7th & 8th September – WWOOF’s 10th Birthday at Keela Yoga Farm

We are proud to be hosting WWOOF Portugal’s 10th birthday at Keela Yoga Farm. A weekend event that also celebrates the opening of our new community building. The weekend will feature permaculture, natural building, dance and fermenting workshops. As well as DJ Kiko in the evening. Lunch, dinner, breakfast lunch and all the workshops for just 20EUR! more “7th & 8th September – WWOOF’s 10th Birthday at Keela Yoga Farm”