It all comes back to the garden.
Every animal ultimately has to serve two roles to become a part of our working permaculture ecosystem—contribute to the garden, and contribute to the animal health system. The only creature that doesn’t do both is honeybees, but their pollination contribution is unmatched. For me, one type of animal to fulfill each role is enough. Too many small hoofstock, for example, throws off the whole system.
Here’s what I keep:
Bees: pollination, honey, wax
Ducks: eggs, down feathers, slugs, snails, insect garden control, larger animal parasite reduction via rotation grazing, winter garden clean up
Geese: ward off small predators like hawks for the ducks, graze pastures, reduce weed height, down feathers, eggs
Livestock Guardian Dogs: Protect all stock, keep gophers out of garden
Sheep: wool, wool seconds for biodegradable mulch for garden, compost, parasite control for horses
Horses: riding, manure for compost, break sheep parasite cycle, pulling/driving
Guinea Fowl: tick control, compost
Cats: Rodent control in barns and growing spaces, tick reduction
Everything is connected and nothing exists in isolation.
Angela is the farmer and content creator behind Axe & Root Homestead LLC. This historic six-acre permaculture farm is home to two Clydesdale horses, ten honeybee hives, five sheep, two guardian dogs, barn cats and a flock of 40 geese and ducks. The farm produces maple syrup, fruit from a small orchard and loads of garden produce for consumption, preservation and donation to the local food pantry.
The Sustainable Homestead, is out for pre-order NOW!