Category: Livestock

Goats and Permaculture

Bill Mollison once wrote that goats in any large number are incompatible with permaculture. Goats when overstocked can quickly turn a forest into a desert. Dairy goats in small numbers, however, can be an appropriate choice for many situations, including the backyard, and this is what I will write about. Producing food in towns and suburbs Suburbs and towns yield a wide variety of trees that can be discreetly harvested […]

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7 Ways to Use the Humble Choko Vine

Its spring time in Australia, and our area in Far North Queensland has gratefully received a decent fall of rain. I’m gleefully anticipating the springing to life of our un-irrigated areas that had gone dull and dormant during the dry weather. Among other things, I’m looking forward again to abundant chokos. I used to think of choko as a bland, boring vegetable. I didn’t like skinning it, and I didn’t […]

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Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of all things. Part 2

This article is Part 2 of a series that is mostly about chickens – not how to care for them, but how to appreciate them as being more complex and interesting than most of us give them credit for. If you are interested only in chickens, and especially mother hens and chicks, this article will be fine to read by itself. But if you’re just tuning in and you want […]

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Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things

This 3-Part Series articles starts off with our cultural lack of understanding about our place in the web of life, which is at the root of why our efforts to address ecological destruction aren’t working yet. If you were mainly interested in chickens, stay with me – I’ll get onto backyard chickens in the second part of Part 1, and then I’ll stick almost entirely to chickens for the rest […]

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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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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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Silvopasture: A Sustainable Way to Raise Large Livestock

Every year millions of acres of forest are cut down to make room for ever-growing herds of livestock. Our industrial diet is centered on the consumption of meat. The combination of these two issues brings us face to face with a serious problem. We are destroying our forests and some of the most pristine ecosystems on earth just so that we can enjoy a nightly steak. What if we could […]

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How Sustainable Are Chickens?

Chickens are amazing animals: laying an egg almost every day just so I can dip my toast in that deep orange yolk. Chickens are a gateway animal that most people start with on the journey to becoming more sustainable. Chickens are so flexible in the way they are raised and fed. This makes them the perfect starter livestock. There’s a chicken for every person. With so many breeds to choose […]

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Raising Rabbits: My Source of Manure

I love raising rabbits, mainly because of rabbit pellets also known as rabbit manure. When people ask me why I raise rabbits they expect me to say meat, pets or fur. When I say manure I really surprise them. I do love my rabbits and I love their meat, but rabbit pellets are invaluable. If you work on a small homestead rabbits might be a great livestock option. I first […]

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