Animals are often a component of a permaculture garden and backyard chickens are one of the best examples. Thinking about chickens is also an opportunity to think about some very important core permaculture ideas … let’s do some chicken analysis! [image courtesy of Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison]
As with any element in permaculture, we must think not just about the element itself, but its relationship to and connection with other elements! Think of it as the Theory of Relative Location: place every element in relationship to others so that they assist and support each other. In other words, each element supports the entire system so the value of the whole is greatly enhanced. As Bill Mollison says, “The core of permaculture is design. Design is a connection between things. It’s not the human, or the chicken or the garden. It is how the human, the chicken and the garden are connected.”
Chickens require inputs:
- Other Chickens
- General husbandry
Chickens have the following products and/or behaviors:
- Scratching & Tillage
We also consider the intrinsic characteristics:
- Climate tolerance
- Breed-specific behaviors
With all of this taken into account, we can consider the optimal location for chickens in our permaculture garden so that we create the most beneficial relationships possible with the other elements. Tune in next time to learn about one of the best ways to do this: Chicken Tractors. "
"Permaculture is a good idea."