Category: Animals

Unwanted Chemical Pool Gets Permaculture Makeover

Six months into our pool to pond conversion and the problem really has become the solution. For some time, we had been flirting with the idea of doing something productive with our unwanted 12,000 gallon in-ground swimming pool. It was during my Permaculture design course with Geoff Lawton last year that I decided to commit to a full conversion to an aquaculture wetland. What seemed like my most daunting project […]

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Permaculture chickens – 6 practical lessons from the evolution of chickens

One of the fundamentals of permaculture design is to observe, understand and work with natural ecosystems.  It sounds simple enough to apply permaculture principles to chicken keeping. Can’t we just observe wild chickens in their natural environment? The problem is, modern domesticated chickens don’t exist in the wild. Junglefowl are the immediate ancestor of chickens, however it’s not that simple. Modern chickens were domesticated more than 8,000 years ago and […]

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8 Abundant “Fodder Forest” plants, and how to use them

This morning when I went to feed the animals I thought I’d start with collecting some pigeon pea for our horse, Trippy, and see what I could find for the pigs in the fodder forest while I was there.   Our fodder forest is a small beginning in my long-term goal to reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependence on fossil fuel-based agriculture. It’s an area roughly an eighth of an acre, […]

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Flexitarianism

DISCLAIMER: These are my thoughts and experiences on what can be a deeply cultural, charged and personal topic: diet. There is a lot we don’t know, especially when it comes to what a sustainable diet is. For one, most studies have been centred in high-income Western countries (Jones et al., 2016); it’s also still largely unclear exactly what a “healthy diet” should consist of, nevertheless what a truly sustainable society […]

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Texas Food Forest and the Results of Good Design.

Five years ago we moved to our current property in North Texas.  While the general area is not particularly challenging, the property itself was.  The three acre property has anywhere from 11 inches (28cm) to as little as 3 inches (7.6cm) of soil, sitting atop a limestone slab.  Note: not rocks but solid slab. An insane place to build a permaculture property but we set to making it happen. In our […]

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5 Key Stages of Designing a Chicken Tractor

If you’ve kept chickens for any length of time I’m sure you’ll be familiar with chicken tractors; also known as chicken arcs. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are portable chicken coops/runs that are typically built on wheels. Building your own can be an affordable and safe way for your chickens to free-range safely. In this article we will cover 5 of the most important stages during the design […]

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Is Aquaponics the Right Choice?

Aquaponics has become a quick celebrity in sustainable food production, and many beginners are interested in creating these systems. In terms of permaculture design, there is some potential in using them, but equally so, it’s important not to lose sight of matching the design to the landscape and resources available. In other words, there are occasions when aquaponics is a sensible option, but not every occasion.   The Basic Premise […]

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A Beginners Guide to Egg Laying Chickens

Egg laying chicken sitting in nest box

With spring upon us in the northern hemisphere, lots of people are adding baby chicks to their homestead. Keeping your own chickens is a fantastic way to produce healthy, home-grown eggs and is easier than you think. In this guide I will outline everything you need to know to get your chickens laying eggs! Picking the Right Breed First of all, you need to make sure you choose a breed […]

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A Primer on Raising Goats

Goats have gotten a reputation as one of the peskiest, most irritating, and bothersome farm animals. Images of “Billy” goats eating tin cans or tearing clothing off the line as it dries have been commonplace for several generations. While raising goats certainly does come with its own set of challenges, many of the supposed challenges to raising goats can be adequately dealt with through proper design that best utilizes the […]

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What Animals and a Barn Offer to Permaculture Design

The Importance of Animals in Permaculture Landscapes Our agrarian past reminds us that farming without animals is like trying to drive a car without gasoline. While crop rotations, cover crops and periodically maintaining the land fallow were some strategies our grandparents used for keeping the farm productive, the dairy cow, the flock of chickens, and the few hogs were the guarantee of the continued fertility of the fields. When done […]

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The Importance of Pasture: How to take Advantage of What Animals Bring to the Farm

While barns are important on any farm, keeping animals on pasture is almost always the better option. Pasture raised animals are usually much healthier and the meat and other animal based food products they offer come with much more nutrients when those animals are raised in a natural setting. From a humanist and ethical standpoint, animals that are allowed to live outside for the majority of their lives are much […]

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The Perks of Raising Chickens

For many people who have grown interested in gaining a certain sense of autonomy through taking responsibility for growing a part of their own food, a simple backyard garden or even a container garden on your window will is considered a good place to start. Making the leap from growing tomatoes and peppers to raising a small flock of chickens, however, is a step that not everyone is ready to […]

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