The Pros and Cons of Free Range and Mobile Chicken Pens
Well-managed chickens can provide eggs and meat as well as composting assistance, sanitation and pest reduction, soil amendment services, and entertainment.
But poorly managed chickens tend to focus all their talents and energy into very destructive pursuits, as you know if you’ve had your seedlings repeatedly dug up or your fruit trees efficiently de-mulched.
How can we harness all that chickens have to offer, in ways that keep everybody happy, healthy and productive?
Design and management for maximum integration
A major key—perhaps THE key—to making a Permaculture system work is the relationships between the parts (or elements) of the system.
A flock of chickens is an example of an element in a Permaculture system, and it can potentially have relationships with many other elements in the system that it supports/is supported by.
Anybody can stick a flock of chickens in the backyard.
But if you were approaching it from a Permaculture perspective (a holistic perspective) you’d carefully consider how to locate and manage the flock well so that ALL of the outputs it produces, or functions it can perform, are put to use in service of the surrounding ecosystem.
Healthy ecosystems teem with diversity, each life-form inter-connected with all the others in a complex web that would be weakened and compromised if just one strand were removed. This is what we are striving to emulate.
It’s the interactions, exchanges, and synergy between the components of the system that provide the stability, adaptability, flexibility, efficiency, productivity/abundance, and beauty that we find lacking in a monoculture or in a less integrated system.
With this concept in mind, this article Series will discuss:
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