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

Learn to Use Animals for better effect in a Permaculture System.

  • Domesticated animals
  • Wildlife
  • Bees
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Aquaculture
  • 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

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Integrating Animals into a Permaculture System or Garden
  2. Role of Insects and Other Small Animals
  3. Poultry
  4. Bees
  5. Grazing Animals: Sheep, Goats, Pigs, Rabbits
  6. Managing Larger Animals and Wildlife
  7. Aquaculture Production Systems
  8. 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 neighbours or footpath.


How Will You Benefit?

  • Follow your passion
  • Fast track business or employment opportunities in permaculture
  • Save money and time -no traveling to classes
  • Determine for yourself when, where and how long your study sessions are
  • Develop a deeper understanding of animals in a permaculture system
  • Make better decisions about management and care of land, water and air environments
  • Build networking connections in industry
  • Heighten your awareness and understanding of permaculture issues.
  • As a graduate, receive free career and business advice from our staff -yours for the asking.

Employment Opportunities

  • Permaculture Equipment Development, Supply or Marketing
  • Permaculture Consulting and Design
  • Environmental Management
  • Conservation and Recycling
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Conservation and environmental protection
  • Land Management -parks, residential, commercial
  • Permaculture Education -teaching, training
    Permaculture Research

Meet some of our academics

Bob James Bob has over 50 years of experience in horticulture across both production sectors (Crops and nursery) and amenity sectors of the industry. He holds a Diploma in Agriculture and Degree in Horticulture from the University of Queensland; as well as a Masters Degree in Environmental Science. He has worked a Grounds Manager at a major university; and a manager in a municipal parks department. Over recent years he has been helping younger horticulturists as a writer, teacher and consultant; and in that capacity, brings a diverse and unique set of experiences to benefit our students.
Diana Cole Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Permaculture Design Certificate, B.A. (Hons)-Geography, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development Diana has been an enthusiastic volunteer with community garden and land conservation projects since the 1980's. She has worked full time in horticulture since 2001, as a nursery manager, landscape and garden consultant, and a horticultural teacher (both with ACS and in the classroom with a local college where she lives in England).
Maggi BrownMaggi is the classic UK "plantswoman". She can identify thousands of plants, and maintains her own homes and gardens in the Cotswolds (England), and near Beziers (in Southern France). Maggi is regarded as a leading organics expert across the UK, having worked for 20 years as Education Officer at the "Garden Organic" (formerly HDRA). Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS, Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .

Check out our eBooks

Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsHome grown produce somehow has a special quality. Some say it tastes better, others believe it is just healthier. And there is no doubt it is cheaper! Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just gathered for the evening meal will be on the table within an hour or two of harvest, can be an exciting and satisfying experience.
HerbsHerbs are fascinating plants, mystical and romantic. They have a rich history dating back centuries. Used by monks, apothecaries and ‘witches’ in the past, herbs are undergoing a revival in interest. They are easy to grow, scented, culinary and medicinal plants. In a formal herb garden or peppered throughout the garden, herbs rarely fail! Find out how they are used as medicines, for cooking, perfumes and more.
Organic GardeningFor decades farmers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce saleable crops. In the ornamental, vegetable and fruit gardens reliance on chemical controls has also been the mainstay for many gardeners.
PoultryPoultry are entertaining as pets and life sustaining as a commercial product! Whether you are seeking a book as a beginner poultry keeper or if you are embarking on a new career in poultry production or management, this book is for you. Easy to read, easy to understand and packed with easy to implement practical advice. Know how to care for the health and wellbeing of poultry and make production a commercially viable enterprise.



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