Managing animals

Animals have a key role to play in truly sustainable food systems.

They can provide pest and weed control, motive power, manure, soil cultivation and companionship. They produce eggs, milk, honey and wool and, depending on your ethical position, they can also provide meat. However, bad  animal care can lead to over-grazing, ill health, aggression, soil erosion, pollution, even death, and breaches the 'earth care' ethic. Adopting the right management programme and knowing how to care for animals properly are both crucially important.  

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Keeping bees has numerous benefits; they are vital pollinators for food crops and flowers, they provide honey, bee products have significant health benefits to humans and can be used in soap, cosmetics and candles, and they are a source of joy and


In modern times horses are mainly used for leisure riding. However, before the dominance of the internal combustion engine they were the main source of power for transport and agriculture.


Unlike sheep and cattle, pigs lend themselves easily to inclusion in large forest garden systems.

Sheep and cattle

Over-grazing is a key cause of soil degradation and the decline of grassland ecology, while the introduction of intensive stock razing often leads to deforestation, so managing livestock in a way that protects local ecology is very important.

Small livestock

Small livestock such as chickens, ducks, and rabbits can play an important role in permaculture design, providing free-range food, controlling pests, and creating manure.