Chickens and Permaculture Garden Design

Raise chickens in a sustainable way with your permaculture garden.


| March 2016



Chickens

We raise these two heritage breeds primarily for egg production—Brown Leghorns and Barred Plymouth Rocks(the latter being more of an all-purpose breed).


Photo by Jenni Blackmore

Jenni Blackmore presents a highly entertaining, personal account of how permaculture can be practiced in adverse conditions, allowing anyone to learn to live more sustainably in a less-than-perfect world.

The perfect antidote to dense, high-level technical manuals, Permaculture for the Rest of Us presents the fundamental principles of this sometimes confusing concept in a humorous, reader-friendly way.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Permaculture for the Rest of Us.

In praise of chickens, I will say this: even on a cold, stormy day (and believe me we do have our share of storms here along the coast) after gearing up and fighting a path out to the animal sheds, there is something innately satisfying about chickens, tucked safely in their straw, bumbling a muted “thank you” for the feed and hopefully providing a few eggs. It’s difficult to explain this logically but I believe that by reaching under a chicken for a warm egg we also reach deeper within ourselves, satisfying a primal need to be more intimately connected with our food, honoring its provenance, rather than simply taking it as something sterile, from a cooler, in an over-lit food mart.

This need for closer connection and deeper understanding goes beyond food and in a way represents the heart of permaculture, as the need to integrate with natural systems rather than to remain distanced from them, as modern society would have us do.

Chickens (and this could be extended to poultry in general) are often used as examples of a perfect closed cycle, from a permaculture point of view. They consume kitchen scraps and garden waste and supply eggs and meat. They provide manure which in turn will be used to create more kitchen scraps and garden waste. The eggs they produce feed us but also create more chickens. There is no waste and the process is cyclical and ongoing.





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