Learn to use animals for better effect in a permaculture system.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT YOU WILL DO IN THIS COURSE
- Outline how to plan and prepare zones in relation to animals. Provide step-by-step instructions and accompanying photographs or drawings.
- Visit some outside environment close to your home such as a garden, a park, a piece of bushland or a water course
- Arrange to visit someone who keeps a type of poultry which you are interested in. Ask them how they feed their birds and also ask what are the most common problems they encounter and how they deal with them.
- Water is the basis for aquaculture. What features of water are desirable for fish culture and what are not
There are 8 lessons in this course:
Integrating Animals into a Permaculture System or Garden
Role of Insects and Other Small Animals
Grazing Animals: Sheep, Goats, Pigs, Rabbits
Managing Larger Animals and Wildlife
Aquaculture Production Systems
Aquaculture Species to Grow
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Develop your ability to integrate animals and insect into a complete permaculture design in ways that best utilise animal resources.
Understand the principles behind integration of animals in permaculture systems
Understand the role of insects and other small animals in permaculture systems
Understand the role of poultry and bees in the permaculture system
Develop knowledge of the role of grazing animals in permaculture systems
Understand the role of aquaculture production systems in permaculture
Develop knowledge of the range of aquaculture species available for permaculture systems
Animals will be part of any permaculture system, whether intentionally introduced; or occurring unintentionally .
A well designed permaculture system should always foresee all of the likely animals that might visit or dwell in the system; both unwelcome and welcome, both.
Bees occur all over the world. They are a critical part of the permaculture garden, both because they can provide honey, beeswax and other products; but also because they are critical to pollinating plants. Without bees, more than half of our fruits, vegetables and other food crops would not be productive.
To most people, a bee is thought of as something that lives in a hive, produces honey and can sting you. In reality this only describes some bees.
There are many thousands of different species, and most can be important to pollination. Most of the honey used by man though comes from only two species:
- The Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) and
- The Asian Honey Bee Apis cerana (also called the Oriental Honeybee)
There may be legal restrictions in some places that control the keeping of bees. Hives need to be registered in some jurisdictions. For example, all beehives in Australia need to be registered. Contact your local Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, or Primary Industries for details. In the UK you do not need a license to keep bees but other restrictions do apply such as where you may keep bees, how close to your neighbours and mandatory notification of some pests and disease problems.
Where to Locate Hives
There are several factors to be considered:
- Comfort of the bees: The hive should be sheltered from strong winds, face the morning sun, and preferably be in shade at midday. Hives should be as widely spaced as possible. They should be raised off the ground by at least 45cm to avoid dampness. This also stops toads from jumping up and eating your bees - and these are one of their worst enemies, along with ants.
- Safety of yourself and neighbours: Most people will suffer some localized swelling and itching if stung by a bee, but around 0.5% of people may be much more sensitive to bee venom. In extreme cases the reaction can involve faintness, difficulty breathing and at the extreme, a sting can be life threatening. Sometimes people who have not been previously over sensitive, can develop a significantly heightened allergenic response. If for any reason you or anyone around you may be particularly sensitive (e.g. if you are giving a demonstration of bee keeping to the general public), carry anti-histamine and /or an EpiPen (adrenaline injection) with you for use in any emergency.
- There are some things that upset bees: Rough handling of hives, poor location, storms, end of honey flow, and excessive noise (e.g. lawnmowers). Care should be taken when working your hives not to upset them if possible. Avoid working with them when your neighbours are around. Remember that bees near roads and footpaths can sting passers-by. They will sometimes even fly in the evening towards street lights and houses.
- Water: At different times, bees need water. Although they use very little water during a good honey flow, this need increases in hot weather. If there is no water within half a mile of the site, it needs to be supplied otherwise bees may seek water from neighbouring properties e.g. swimming pools or leaking taps. Place corks, wood, bark or straw on the water's surface so the bees do not drown. Do not site hives around dams or where mustering takes place - cattle can be flighty during mustering.
An ideal site has a hedge or fence at least 2m high between the hives and your neighbour or footpath.