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Domestic Animals in Vegan Systems

 
gardener
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I've been wracking my brain all week trying to think of something I am curious to know about vegan permaculture that I can't readily find by two minutes on Google. I am not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I do have a strong urge to try understanding all sides of any debate. I'd honestly love to have a copy of the book being given away this week so I can read in depth about another perspective I think I can find useful information in. All of this having been said, I think I have a question that the author can offer insightful answers on and that isn't something completely newbie either (because let's be honest, I really am limited on my veganism experiences).

I am curious about vegan systems, especially permaculture ones, where domesticated animals are actively employed. Bees seem the most obvious, but I could also see ducks and other animals. The question is, in such systems, how does one keep the population of domestic animals in check without the ability to cull numbers that have grown out of hand? Losses to wild animals seem to be all I can think of, but those could cost your entire flock/herd/etc rather quickly and the act of just leaving them on their own seems disrespectful to the symbiotic relationship we have with domestic animals. Really it also flies in the face of many vegan ethics I have come across. Offhand, my assumption is that vegans just don't use domestic animals for the most part and just let wild animals fill the niches. Still, I have a feeling that there are at least a few people who have integrated domestic animals into their vegan systems. Do you have any experiences or insights into this?
 
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I have vegan friends who keep chickens- they keep only hens, so no population problems (though they will have to buy in chicks/hatching eggs or whatever eventually if they want to keep the flock going, they're on an urban plot), and the eggs are mostly fed back to the chickens (or their other animals- they have dogs as well).
 
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D. Logan wrote:I've been wracking my brain all week trying to think of something I am curious to know about vegan permaculture that I can't readily find by two minutes on Google.
I am curious about vegan systems, especially permaculture ones, where domesticated animals are actively employed.



This is a year late, but this is what we've done. We love animals and wanted a petting zoo. So when undertook our retirement homesteading adventure we collected rescued animals: two donkeys, a pony, a bummer lamb, a kid also rejected by her mother, and three llamas. We purchased chicks (no rooster) and goldfish (mosquito control agents and things of beauty). We set up a Warré hive in a sheltered corner of a near pasture and eventually a swarm took up residence in it. Various rescued dogs/puppies and kittens/cats have joined slong the way.

We never have thought of the animals as belonging to us, but rather as adopted wards whose care and safety are our responsibility. They have shared our lives and brought us invaluable cross-species lessons in establishing trust and communication; the furry ones have given us warm friendships. The hens, free to run in a large 'yard,' safe from predators, have laid hundreds of organic eggs over the years. These we take to the nearest food bank, rationalizing that if hungry people would like to eat eggs then fresh organic ones from happy hens are better for them than eggs from enslaved and miserable hens.

The bees look after themselves, keeping their stores of honey for their over-winter food supply. They swarm from time to time, but that's strictly thrir own bee business. We've planted plenty of herbs and flowers to add to their wild foraging (we live in the woods) and rejoice when we see them around us in the garden.

The manure from the large animals, composted, feeds the plants in the garden and produces large, healthy 'weeds' which get handed back over the fence to the critters.

So all this means we're not purists of any sort, just doing our part in a peaceful cooperative cycle in the woods.
 
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