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Using your Chicken as workers 🙂

Photo by Christian West: https://www.pexels.com/photo/closeup-photo-of-herd-of-chickens-3399700/

Chickens are incredible workers on a homestead when we use permaculture principles. Permaculture is all about working with nature and creating a sustainable and harmonious system. Let me explain how chickens can play a valuable role as workers in a permaculture-inspired homestead:

  1. Weed and Pest Control: Chickens are fantastic at finding and eating insects, bugs, and pests in the garden. They scratch and peck around, helping to control unwanted pests naturally. This means we don’t have to use harmful chemicals, making the garden healthier for everyone!
  2. Composting: Chickens produce poop, or manure, which is like gold for a permaculture garden. Their manure is rich in nutrients, and when they roam around the garden, they help spread it. This natural fertilizer helps plants grow strong and healthy.
  3. Turning Soil: Chickens love to scratch and dig in the dirt, looking for tasty treats. As they do this, they help to aerate or loosen the soil, which is excellent for the plants’ roots. It’s like giving the soil a gentle massage!
  4. Clearing Garden Beds: When a garden bed is done producing crops, chickens can help clean it up. They happily eat any leftover plants and seeds, helping to prepare the bed for the next planting season.
  5. Egg Production: Chickens are egg-cellent egg layers! They can provide us with fresh and delicious eggs, which are a great source of nutrition for our family.
  6. Waste Reduction: Chickens are brilliant at reducing waste on the homestead. They can eat kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels, which means less food goes to waste.
  7. Natural Pest Detectors: Chickens can sense danger and react to it. If there are predators or intruders around, they’ll make noise and alert us, helping to keep our homestead safe.

By using chickens in a permaculture-inspired way, we create a system where everything works together. Chickens benefit from a healthy environment, and in return, they help us take care of the land. It’s like a beautiful dance between nature and us!

Remember, taking good care of our chickens is essential. We provide them with fresh water, proper food, and a safe place to roost at night. In return, they become our trusty garden helpers and companions on the homestead! 🐔🌱

Here are more notes on this topic:

Chicken for Compost

Permaculture in Jordan has found that a lot of good compost can be produced quickly if established together with chickens.

The chicken run is established ideally on a slope so that the compost can be moved downhill

Compost heaps of about 2m2 are added to the top of the chicken run and then rolled downward 5m every two weeks. This turns the compost, while allowing the chicken to feed off the bugs and larger plant clippings and in turn add their manure to the compost.

This chicken run should be established close to the gardens.

https://freerangereggs.blogspot.com/2013/01/1500-chickens-per-hectare-is-maximum.html

Between 1500 (keeping pastures alive in high rainfall) and 10 000 per ha (free running).

Chicken in mobile coops

Many villagers already produce chicken, some even market them very professionally on Facebook and some operate large chicken farms. Chicken is a very popular local dish. Moreover chicken also produce eggs which are an added bonus. In the ecovillage chicken will be partly free roaming, helping to keep pests in check while being the staple meat for the villagers.

Look at these next boxes – keeps the eggs clean and easy to harvest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOhQ1Gqck1s

Chicken domes (establish food forests)

Keep the chicken in one space for about three weeks – then move them on – have at least 7 or more spaces so you “cycle” the chicken every 21 weeks (twice a year per spot)

Perhaps start with a geodesic dome and make keyhole gardens beneath with a single sprinkler = will need to be shade though. In the net house for starters??? This dome can also be used to start your food forests. We can make these domes out of (old) irrigation pipe and chicken wire, about 4m diameter, with a hanging chicken roost and shade cloth above. About 10-12 chickens . Lightweight, high, big volume, stable. Keeps the birds out. We can even dump a meter high of cuttings and veggy scraps in here – then the chicken will prepare 1m deep soil for our food forests in about 4 weeks (Better and faster than compost)

Plant each round afterwards with:

  • 3 Fruit trees
  • 4 Legume trees
  • 50 Legume shrub seeds
  • 20 root crop divisions (plants)(cassava)
  • 100 sweet potato cuttings
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Even more (overstack if you can)

Chicken in the Food Forests

Here’s more from the https://thegrownetwork.com/grow-chicken-feed/ website.

“Homesteaders love to run their chickens through the orchard to collect insects and eat dropped fruit, but what if the orchard was planted with the chickens’ arrival in mind?

My orchard is kept heavily mulched and is regularly planted with seasonal crops. When winter greens are spent, the chickens are happy to help with the cleanup. During the hottest part of summer, the orchard becomes a shady place to hunt grasshoppers and gobble up tired bean plants.

If your orchard is covered with grass, consider planting chicken fodder instead. The diversity will improve the environment for the trees and keep the soil from compacting. Each plant adds a benefit to the soil and the overall ecosystem of the orchard.

I always plant winter squash in the orchard. The large roots of squash travel far and wide, so after the plants are harvested the roots break down and leave organic material available for the fruit trees’ roots. The soil’s water retention is improved as well. The nice big pumpkins store all winter, so the chickens have access to fresh, living food when there isn’t much growing in the pasture. You get all that, just for planting two or three seeds.”

To get the most value out of the chicken we should invest in interesting breeds, such as those that have colourful eggs.

Making it a business

Have a look at this website and online store. This is what can be built: https://freerangechicken.co.za

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