As both predators and prey, frogs are an important link in the food chain. Encouraging them to take up residency in your garden is beneficial and easy to do. Of nearly 8000 species of frogs worldwide, Australia is home…
Dogs are a very popular pet, being the most common pet in Australia. They can provide various services in a permaculture system, however they need good training, space to run and a sustainable source of food, so serious planning is required before deciding to add a dog to your system.
Mention bees and people invariably think of the European honey bee, Apis mellifera. However, this species is only one of 20 000 species of bees worldwide. Australia is home to about 2000 species of native bees and most of them are very important plant pollinators.
Guinea pigs are voracious eating machines! They eat grass, weeds, vegetables and also mixed grains. Avoiding grains is completely possible and doesn’t seem to have any negative consequences. Food waste in the form of vegetable and fruit scraps mean another fertility cycling opportunity (that waste could be from a local cafe or restaurant). 15 guinea pigs will convert 20 kgs a week into hundreds of fertiliser pellets—a lovely landfill reduction for your local community, and fertility for your landscape!
Composting worms can be considered the ultimate suburban animal. They’re quiet, cheap, loyal and useful. They don’t need walking, grooming or vets. As a permaculture animal, they excel. They survive entirely on leftovers and waste, and their voracious appetites can reduce landfill contributions by up to half while giving you rich castings and liquid fertiliser.
Cattle (cows, bulls, oxen, heifers, steers, bullocks or calves) are valued for their ability to provide large amounts of milk or meat. They can also be used for labour and when well-managed, in maintaining grasslands. Yet cattle are very large animals, expensive to purchase and they eat a lot of feed. Cattle bring many benefits, but be sure they’re right for you and your system before you commit.
Silver perch are useful, hardy native fish suitable for farm dams, aquaponics and other aquaculture systems. They are easy to feed and as they’re native to a wide swath of the Murray-Darling river system, they’re adaptable to a range of conditions.
Muscovy ducks are a popular animal in many permaculture systems as they perform multiple functions, especially in the orchard or food forest. They are also a pleasure to watch waddling around the garden.
Japanese quails Coturnix japonica are an alternative in urban areas, where space and noise constraints may rule out backyard chickens. Quails will provide you with fresh, golden- yoked eggs from even a tiny space. You’ll also get pest control, fertiliser and compost making services.
If you want very hardy, impressive chickens for your system or backyard, then the Australian Game or Australian Pit Game breeds are definitely worth considering.