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Managing the Working Chicken (video)

Almost everyone who is exposed to permaculture concepts has seen the above graphic (from Bill Mollison’s Introduction to Permaculture). It’s a great way to get people thinking about how to create whole, functional systems that use different elements (like a chicken) in combination with other elements (like those found in your garden), to save labour and increase productivity. It is for many an eye-opening concept, but one that is quickly grasped, and one that encourages observation on the products and behaviours of many other elements — be they ‘animal, vegetable or mineral’.

It’s a great lead-in to permaculture thinking.

The gentleman in the video below well exemplifies this thinking. He clearly knows how to ‘manage’ his little chicken workforce. He knows what they love to do, and he knows they’ll charge him little to nothing for it. He recognises that to get the most out of the chicken, can also mean giving most to the chicken. This is a typical permaculture win-win.

For those of you who have chickens, or wish to, this is a system worth implementing. Rather than have your chickens penned in one area, giving some, but limited benefits, and rather than letting them roam free over your garden, where they’ll bring as much or more damage than they will advantage, this system of moveable laneways gives the best of both worlds. You can even let your team run freely between vegetable rows, without fear, while the little guys take care of insects, weed seeds, and fertilise as they go.

I’d definitely like to try this myself, and will be pleased to hear from others who may have already done so.


  1. What a wonderful system. Easy to move. Not everyone can shift a chicken tractor! Looks like the gentleman in the video has come up with a very workable compromise between free-ranging and chicken tractors.

  2. Love it. Thank you for posting. Will show it to owner of house I’m renting…sooo much easier than her hiring someone to whipper-snip an acre of land at least 4 times a season! (Or, rent a goat with moveable fence!)

  3. I am interested in developing a chicken assisted rotary composting drum (not chicken turned but chicken scratched and human turned – taking care not to turn the chicken!!)

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