Using your Chicken as workers :)
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.
Between 1500 (keeping pastures alive in high rainfall) and 10 000 per ha (free running).
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
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)
If we want quiet chickens we can get Buff Orpingtons – just Google this to find suppliers in Windhoek.
“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