I'm new to permaculture, and I don't own any land or garden. I would like to get my feet wet with permaculture to see if it's truly something I'm passionate about, without making any big investments. In this case I would like to do something with raising chickens.
So I came up with plan A and plan B:
Plan A: ask someone who owns a bit of land to grant me permission to raise a small amount (1-10) chickens on their land. Benefits for landowner:
-fertilizing their land
-reducing the insect hindrance for the owner's animals
Downsides for landowner:
-random person visiting their land every once in a while
Benefits for me:
-experience in raising chickens
Downsides for me:
-costs of buying the chickens
-costs of feeding the chickens in the winter
-chicken-life long commitment to take care of them
If they also allow me to use some portable fence, I was thinking of raising egg chicken breeds with a paddock shift system. If they don't allow me to use some portable fence, I would resort to the truly free range method and have meat chickens since the area is too big to find eggs.
I did some scouting for suitable places within 5km of where I live:
Area 1: Next to houses unfortunately, noise may be an issue.
Area 2: Right next to area 1, separated by a little canal on one side and fencing on the other. Seems to have been in use earlier in the year considering the patches with less vegetation.
Area 3: Mostly empty stretch of land, 3 sheep
A dyke with sheep, not very wide but goes on for like a kilometer or 2, separated by water from both sides. This might be publicly owned as it borders a recreational park/forest. Can chickens swim?
Plan B: worst case scenario, if I can't find any landowners who allow me, do some guerrilla chicken raising, 1-5 chickens Benefits of this over plan A:
-I get to keep all the products
Disadvantages over plan A:
-I could get fined maybe?
-It's more stressful
-I have to find a place that's in the middle of nowhere, yet close enough to the suburb in which I live, and isn't all covered by weeds that are too tall, or I have to put in work to cut down all the weeds
-People could come in and steal the chickens/eggs
-I can't keep watch over it
-Bigger predator threat
Area 5: in a recreational area, only reachable by a small footpath through the vegetation
Whether it's plan A or B, I intend to do it next spring, and in the meantime learn as much about permaculture and chicken raising as I can.
-Is plan A reasonable or am I in need of a reality check?
-Which area is most suitable?
-How much noise do 1-10 hens make?
-What happens if you don't have a rooster? Does it mean you get less eggs/chicks?
-What to do in the winter, I take it they can't stay on the field in this temperate climate? How much will it cost me to keep them fed for a full winter?
-Can chickens swim?
-Are these fences too low?
-Is plan A reasonable or am I in need of a reality check? Reality check needed. Plans for predator control? Water source on some of these locations will be from where? What structure will be housing your chickens? You need to visit the land/chicken site daily, not "every once in awhile", so this might be something to factor in..how close are these properties to you on a daily basis? -Which area is most suitable? A moot point if you have not done the reality check...find someone first, then decide if the property is suitable. -How much noise do 1-10 hens make? Lots. -What happens if you don't have a rooster? Does it mean you get less eggs/chicks? Definitely less chicks...as in NONE. Won't effect the number of eggs produced. -What to do in the winter, I take it they can't stay on the field in this temperate climate? Need shelter. How much will it cost me to keep them fed for a full winter? It varies with number of chickens, available feed prices, flock needs. -Can chickens swim? Not really...and they fall in and drown easily because they aren't real smart around deep water...even as deep as a bucket or stock tank full. -Are these fences too low? A chicken can definitely go over those fences.
Plan B, of course, is just trespassing and also requires a reality check.
Plan C: Find someone who would also like to get into chickens and has some land. Work out a fair deal to split the startup costs and benefits.
Plan D: Find public garden, school, etc. that would like a demonstration chicken house for educational purposes.
Plan E: Find a community garden that will allow you to put chickens on your allotment
Plan F: Find someone who already has chickens that would teach you in exchange for your time and labor
You say you want to try permaculture to see if you like it, but permaculture <> keeping chickens. There are projects with much lower barriers to entry to try it out, like vegetables or herbs, or volunteering your time at a community garden or a small farm.
Mark van der Schip
posted 7 years ago
Thanks for the responses, thanks for the reality check. I got carried away.
If you have some small amount of space you might still be able to do poultry in the form of pigeons or doves.
According to the tales told (at least those I heard in Germany), the nobility had dovecotes around so their birds could go out and scrounge off the fields of the peasants, then come home to be eaten by the lord o' the manor. Ta da! Free food!
Maybe something like that would work. It wouldn't be really guerrilla of course, but it wouldn't need to be, either (probably).