Permaculture III (Animals in Permaculture)

Course CodeVSS106
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Animals include not only the obvious domesticated animals (eg. Poultry, or a pet dog); but also wild animals, including birds, reptiles and mice; and smaller animals including snails, earthworms and insects.

  • Learn How to Incorporate Animals into  a Permaculture System
  • Understand how all of the components of that ecosystem work together
  • Learn way you can introduce and manage them.



Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Integrating Animals into a Permaculture System
    • Introduction
    • Maintaining a balance in the system
    • Locating animals in the right zone
    • Animals for different sectors
    • Intensive animals for zone 1
    • Small livestock for zone 2
    • Extensive free range animals in zone 3
    • Functions of animals in a permaculture system
    • Fodder trees
    • Birds in permaculture –useful birds, pest birds
    • Bird attracting plants
    • Other bird attractants
    • Feeding birds
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  2. Role of Insects and Other Small Animals
    • Introduction
    • The ecosystem
    • Ecological concepts
    • Biomes and common wildlife
    • Insects in permaculture
    • Edible insects
    • Insect structure
    • Insect life cycle
    • Insect taxonomy or classification
    • Insect feeding habits
    • Vermicomposting –Earthworms
    • Snail farming
    • Pest insect control
    • Mechanical control
    • Cultural control
    • Biological control
    • Pollutants in the ecosystem
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  3. Poultry
    • Introduction
    • Chickens
    • Turkeys
    • Ducks
    • Geese
    • Avoid buying sick birds
    • Helping hatchling chicks
    • Poultry products and uses –meat, eggs, etc
    • Quail and Duck eggs
    • Poultry forage
    • Mobile tractor systems
    • Set tasks
    • Assignment
  4. Grazing Animals (Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Rabbits)
    • Introduction
    • Advantages and disadvantages of working off grass
    • Paddock size
    • Type of fencing
    • Post and rails
    • Hedging
    • Wire, barbed wire or electric fencing
    • Brick or stone walls
    • Banks and rises
    • Gates
    • Supply of water to animals
    • Supplying shelter
    • Pig Husbandry
    • Pig production systems
    • Buildings for pigs
    • Environmental control for pig production
    • Pig pens
    • Watering, feeding, overcrowding
    • Sheep husbandry
    • Uses for sheep – wool, meat, dairy
    • Sheep rearing and management system
    • Keeping goats
    • Keeping rabbits
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  5. Bees
    • Equipment
    • Bee Management
    • Hives
    • Swarms
    • Honey Production
  6. Larger Livestock and Pest Animal Management
    • Introduction to larger animals
    • What animals –benefits and management
    • Beef cattle introduction
    • Choosing a beef breed
    • Dairy cattle for self sufficiency
    • Appropriate breeds
    • Dairy cattle husbandry –health, housing, managing the milk
    • Deer
    • Alpaccas and Llamas
    • Horses at grass on smaller properties
    • Horse health and husbandry
    • Wild animals
    • Wildlife management
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  7. Aquaculture Production Systems
    • Introduction to aquaculture in permaculture systems
    • Pond size
    • Polyculture in a pond
    • Manures and fertilising ponds
    • Feeding fish
    • Mariculture
    • Advantages and disadvantages of aquaculture
    • Extensive production systems
    • Intensive production systems
    • Species to grow –fish and crustaceans
    • Simple biological filter system
    • Filter efficiency
    • Cleaning turbid water in dams
    • Protecting fish
    • Water requirements
    • Extensive production in dams
    • Intensive productions in pools and raceways
    • Cages
    • Harvesting fish
    • Seine Nets
    • Gill nets
    • Traps –funnel, flyke
    • Set task
    • Assignment
  8. Aquaculture Species to Grow
    • Bass
    • Cod
    • Perch
    • Catfish
    • Blackfish
    • Barramundi
    • Red Claw
    • Yabby
    • Spiny Freshwater Crayfish
    • Trout (dealt with in more detail)
    • Growing Marron (dealt with in greater detail)
    • Set task
    • Assignment


They have an impact on the land, plants, other animals and even the climate!

All animals eat, excrete and physically move. They use water. They process nutrients, helping break down complex materials into simpler chemicals. 

  • Animals contribute to improving soil fertility, thus helping plants to grow.
  • Dead animal tissue is eaten by other animals or rots into the soil, either way, eventually contributing to soil fertility.
  • Animals eat pest organisms, keeping pest populations from reaching plague proportions
  • Microorganisms decompose pollutants
  • Animals can damage soil (Large animals can cause compaction if not given enough space; even small animals can disturb soil through, digging or too much foraging)
  • Animals are harvested from a system periodically. Eggs are taken from poultry, milk is taken from cows and goats, fur and feathers, leather, honey and meat are all taken from animals as well.
  • Things that you do in a permaculture design will often attract, repel, divert or in some other way control the animals in that system (eg. If you plant bird attracting plants, you may end up having more birds in the system; which can in turn improve control of some types of pests; but also can lead to birds eating fruit more than what they otherwise might)

How are Animals Used in a Permaculture System

Permaculture systems should be designed to have five standard zones (ie. zones 1 to 5). The first zone is closest to the house; gets seen most and possibly attended to most; while zone 5 is furthermost away and attended to least. Some permaculture gardens are small, on urban house blocks, while others may be many acres on rural properties. The sizes of zones and the animals you might keep in each zone, may be determined largely by the sizes of each zone, as much as anything else.
Any system will contain animals, even if they are not introduced intentionally. Birds, reptiles, insects and other animals will find their way into any garden that is productive. If the plants are producing things for you to use; they will also be producing thing that attract and are useful to animals.
You may be better introducing animals that can benefit you, rather than leave it to chance for animals to fill ecological niches left vacant. eg. If you introduce poultry, they will eat a lot of things that might otherwise attract wild birds or even vermin like rats.



  • Anyone who has completed Permaculture Systems or a PDC
  • Permaculturists who recognise that their knowledge of animals in permaculture is weak
  • People attempting to become more self sufficient at home
  • Farmers or hobby farmers who are searching to diversify or explore new ways of utilizing their land
  • Students with a passion for self sufficiency or sustainability.

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