Category: Bird Life

Why Silkies Are the Perfect Hens for Small Gardens

I started my journey with chickens with two lovely ex-battery hens who were so friendly and were real pets. However, they made short shrift of my garden and tended to wander everywhere into other people’s lawns. No matter how often I clipped their wings, they kept getting out. Although I really loved those two characters, they were causing problems for me and my neighbours. Sadly, they were subsequently stolen and […]

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Ducks in a Permaculture System (Scotland)

by James Reid, PRI Tap o’ Noth You don’t have a slug problem, you have a duck deficiency. — Bill Mollison It was reading the above quote that made us want to acquire some ducks here at PRI Tap o’ Noth in North East Scotland. The idea of using the natural foraging instinct of the duck to rid our kitchen garden of slugs and snails, by encouraging them to browse […]

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Where Have All the Barnyard Breeds Gone? (And a Sustainable Poultry Workshop with Jim Adkins, August 5-7, 2014, NSW, Australia)

Instructor Jim Adkins teaching the Hogan Principles of Production at Heritage Creek Farm With the industrialization of agriculture, dual purpose heritage breed poultry have been all but eliminated from Australia with a small number of exhibition fanciers being their sole keepers. These historical normal birds with their amazing hardiness, foraging abilities, delectable flavor, and production qualities not to mention visual appeal have been replaced by a hybrid bird not capable […]

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Building the Chicken Tractor on Steroids

Building the Chicken Tractor on Steroids

"Who can weld?" Geoff asks. Keen to impress, my hand goes up. “I will see you at the shed after dinner tonight then”, a twinkle of excitement in his eye. This is the story of the chicken tractor on steroids from concept to birth. The story goes that after Geoff’s visit to go see Karl Hammer at Vermont Compost, he couldn’t stop thinking about the outstanding quality of the compost, […]

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Keeping Chickens

The scientific name for chickens is Gallus domesticus for domesticated chickens. Domesticated chickens have been bred by humans from Asian jungle fowls. The chicken is the closest living relative to the great Tyrannosaurus rex. In a Permaculture environment all animals are important, but by breeding smaller animals you will receive more benefits than breeding larger animals, because:

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Keeping Chickens on Contaminated Soil

by Good Life Permaculture Despite having lead contaminated soils, Margaret has been able to apply good design to integrate chickens into her garden. You’re ready to get chickens, you’re totally pumped. And then you do some soil tests (just to be safe) and discover you have high levels of lead in your soil. Bugger. So what do you do — turn around, relinquish your hopes of having a feathered flock […]

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How to Grow Chickens Without Buying Grain – by Only Feeding Them Compost

Whilst on a tour of the US, Permaculture teacher Geoff Lawton was giving a talk at Montpelier, Vermont, when a young man suggested we film his boss, compost maestro Karl Hammer and his amazing system of feeding compost to his flock of 100-plus chickens, and without feeding them any grain. Chickens live off the compost eating worms and biota and help in the composting process. Nobody thought it was possible, […]

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A Worm Farm in Your Duck Coop! (Alaska)

In my last article I discussed the challenges of keeping ducks in backyard permaculture. There are two primary problems, at their worst in the coop itself; first is the soggy, mucky mess — from both wet poop and spillage from the waterer. The second problem is that ducks’ webbed feet pack the poop down, and they don’t ‘turn the compost’ of a deep litter system with their scratching like chickens […]

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Ducks in Backyard Permaculture (Alaska)

Here in the northernmost tip of North America’s temperate rainforest, Alaska’s infamous cold meets some of the wettest weather in the world. Our hometown of Cordova, Alaska, receives an average of 160 inches of precipitation per year — more than 13 feet of water. In addition to the intense rainfall, we also see some very cool summer temperatures, with an average high of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13°C). As you might […]

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Geoff Lawton’s Zaytuna Farm Video Tour – Part II

Last year I took some time out to make a Zaytuna Farm Video Tour for you all (embedded here, with lots of photos and text). The positive comments, both on our site and on YouTube, along with additional questions (see comments below this post), encouraged us to make another! This new video, above, shot 11-12 months after the original video, is twice as long and covers several aspects of the […]

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Poo-Free Self-Filling Duck Waterer

The mob If any of you have had any experience with ducks, you’ll know that they produce and deposit enormous amounts of nutrient — aka duck poo. It usually ends up over everything they come in contact with. A general good practice is to keep them on water and then either fertigate (fertilize while irrigating) with that water and/or use them in connection with an aquaculture system (a fish pond […]

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Managing the Working Chicken (video)

Almost everyone who is exposed to permaculture concepts has seen the above graphic (from Bill Mollison’s Introduction to Permaculture). It’s a great way to get people thinking about how to create whole, functional systems that use different elements (like a chicken) in combination with other elements (like those found in your garden), to save labour and increase productivity. It is for many an eye-opening concept, but one that is quickly […]

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