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self-sustaining chickens: how much space?

 
Emily Jacques
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I read/heard this online and wrote it down somewhere, but have no idea, now, where!

And that is: [fill in the number here] of chickens can be self-sustaining (that is, can forage with no additional feed) on an acre.

What is that number, please? (Gosh, come to think of it, it may be something Paul mentioned on one of his interviews on TSP).

TIA. 
 
Emily Jacques
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Found it! It's ten chickens. The exact quote I have down is, "Ten chickens can get all they need from one acre of land."
 
Marissa Little
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Which acre of land?  An acre of lush woodland?  An acre of rocky hillside?  That's a huge generalization.

Holistic Management International did a study on the lands in Texas alone.  They found that one animal unit (a cow for example) could live on 3 acre in some areas and needs up to 125 acres in others.  That's over a 40 fold difference just depending on the range land.

 
Emily Jacques
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I think the context of the quote was that if most of the acre was planted with forage that chickens like. And of course, they'll eat a lot of the bugs, too.
 
Emil Spoerri
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emjo wrote:
I think the context of the quote was that if most of the acre was planted with forage that chickens like. And of course, they'll eat a lot of the bugs, too.


I think a well designed acre could support a lot more than ten chickens.

Depends on the breed too.

If you have wet land, I would go with ducks, especially since they are more conducive to setting up a permaculture spread.
 
Emily Jacques
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We're going to build a pond for ducks/tilapia, set it up the permaculture way. That way we'll have extra eggs and meat. And I understand if you do it right, ducks can pretty much take care of themselves.

Which is why I almost want to forget about chickens, except I like the fact they 'll eat up parasites and the like.
 
Emil Spoerri
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Muscovies are perhaps better for eating up parasites than chickens and regular ducks, plus they stay out of the pond more often then regular ducks so I believe though am not sure that you can have more muscovies per pond than regular ducks because they won't trash the pond quite as much.
 
John Polk
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Migratory waterfowl will have less impact than permanent waterfowl, as the migratory birds give the pond an off season to recover.  If you have year round waterfowl, you cannot stock at the same rate.  Also, consider that if/when the migratory fowl discover your pond, they may also populate it while they are "in town", thus overstocking it for half of the year.  If you have a fully stocked pond that gets seasonally overstocked, it may be difficult/impossible to keep it balanced.

The 2-4 ducks that camped out at my mother's swimming pool each spring/summer made it difficult to keep it from turning green.  Extra chemical use, plus keeping the filter system running extra hours per day made for some expensive swimming.

 
Jordan Lowery
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im with marissa little, what type of land? desert land will support far less chickens than jungle will. \

imo a permaculture farm can support way more than 10 chickens per acre.
 
                        
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When I was free ranging mixed chickens and guineas I let the chickens tell me. If the ones you kill for meat are healthey and have a decent layer of fat they are doing fine. If they start to show up thin you have to supplement their feed or cut down the number.
 
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