Permaculture III

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


  • Understand the relationship between animals and permaculture systems
  • Integrate domesticated and wild animals, in a permaculture system.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Integrating Animals into a Permaculture System
    • Introduction
    • Maintaining a balance in the system
    • Locating animals in the right zone
    • Animals for different sectors
    • Intensive animals for zone 1
    • Small livestock for zone 2
    • Extensive free range animals in zone 3
    • Functions of animals in a permaculture system
    • Fodder trees
    • Birds in permaculture –useful birds, pest birds
    • Bird attracting plants
    • Other bird attractants
    • Feeding birds
  2. Role of Insects and Other Small Animals
    • Introduction
    • The ecosystem
    • Ecological concepts
    • Biomes and common wildlife
    • Insects in permaculture
    • Edible insects
    • Insect structure
    • Insect life cycle
    • Insect taxonomy or classification
    • Insect feeding habits
    • Vermicomposting –Earthworms
    • Snail farming
    • Pest insect control
    • Mechanical control
    • Cultural control
    • Biological control
    • Pollutants in the ecosystem
  3. Poultry
    • Introduction
    • Chickens
    • Turkeys
    • Ducks
    • Geese
    • Avoid buying sick birds
    • Helping hatchling chicks
    • Poultry products and uses –meat, eggs, etc
    • Quail and Duck eggs
    • Poultry forage
    • Mobile tractor systems
  4. Grazing Animals (Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Rabbits)
    • Introduction
    • Advantages and disadvantages of working off grass
    • Paddock size
    • Type of fencing
    • Post and rails
    • Hedging
    • Wire, barbed wire or electric fencing
    • Brick or stone walls
    • Banks and rises
    • Gates
    • Supply of water to animals
    • Supplying shelter
    • Pig Husbandry
    • Pig production systems
    • Buildings for pigs
    • Environmental control for pig production
    • Pig pens
    • Watering, feeding, overcrowding
    • Sheep husbandry
    • Uses for sheep – wool, meat, dairy
    • Sheep rearing and management system
    • Keeping goats
    • Keeping rabbits
  5. Bees
    • Equipment
    • Bee Management
    • Hives
    • Swarms
    • Honey Production
  6. Larger Livestock and Pest Animal Management
    • Introduction to larger animals
    • What animals –benefits and management
    • Beef cattle introduction
    • Choosing a beef breed
    • Dairy cattle for self sufficiency
    • Appropriate breeds
    • Dairy cattle husbandry –health, housing, managing the milk
    • Deer
    • Alpaccas and Llamas
    • Horses at grass on smaller properties
    • Horse health and husbandry
    • Wild animals
    • Wildlife management
  7. Aquaculture Production Systems
    • Introduction to aquaculture in permaculture systems
    • Pond size
    • Polyculture in a pond
    • Manures and fertilising ponds
    • Feeding fish
    • Mariculture
    • Advantages and disadvantages of aquaculture
    • Extensive production systems
    • Intensive production systems
    • Species to grow –fish and crustaceans
    • Simple biological filter system
    • Filter efficiency
    • Cleaning turbid water in dams
    • Protecting fish
    • Water requirements
    • Extensive production in dams
    • Intensive productions in pools and raceways
    • Cages
    • Harvesting fish
    • Seine Nets
    • Gill nets
    • Traps –funnel, flyke
  8. Aquaculture Species to Grow
    • Bass
    • Cod
    • Perch
    • Catfish
    • Blackfish
    • Barramundi
    • Red Claw
    • Yabby
    • Spiny Freshwater Crayfish
    • Trout (dealt with in more detail)
    • Growing Marron (dealt with in greater detail)


  • 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.

What You Will Do

  • Outline how to plan and prepare garden 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. Find and list as many things as you can. Try to see what relationships they might have with other biotic and abiotic components of the environment.
  • Draw a 'Web' to illustrate the interrelationships you find in the ecosystems you observe.
  • Explain "companion planting" in relation to the insect-plant relationship.
  • Contact your state department of Agriculture and obtain leaflets relating to poultry which you are particularly interested in keeping.
  • Contact your state department of Agriculture and obtain leaflets (and any other publications) relating to bee keeping.
  • Explain the importance of bees to horticulture and the permaculture garden.
  • Enquire to the local agricultural agency on how to make dams and how to water proof them.
  • Write a report explaining the advantages and disadvantages of aquaculture and mariculture.
  • Develop a 5 year plan for developing a one hectare permaculture farm utilising plants, animals and fish (aquaculture). Use drawings and diagrams where needed to assist in this report.
  • Attempt to draw a life cycle diagram of a fish or freshwater crayfish. Include all stages and if possible give a size indication or age indication for each stage.
  • Select three different aquatic animals which would be appropriate to grow in a permaculture system. For each one in turn, explain how you would incorporate it into a permaculture system.

Why Birds are Important

Birds in the landscape can be a real joy to watch, but they also contribute in many very practical ways to the overall environment.

  • They eat insects and other pests, helping to control problems that might occur for both plants and other animals.
  • Their droppings help replenish nutrients in the soil.
  • They clean up unwanted weed seeds
  • They help the germination of some plant seeds through the actions of chemicals on the seed as it passes through their digestive system.

The things we put into a garden and where they are put will affect the number, type and location of birds we find entering the garden.

Useful Birds

Obviously fowl such as chickens and ducks can be kept for their eggs, meat, and contribution to pest control and soil fertility.

Wild birds can also be valuable though, and are an integral part of any ecosystem, whether natural or contrived.

Predatory birds keep vermin populations under control, among other things. Others help control pest populations and pollinate plants.
Indigenous birds are more likely to be living in balance with the local environment, feeding on seeds, insects and other small animals. They are may include song birds, birds of prey (predators), scavengers insect eaters, nectar eaters, etc. All play an important part in the environment and their presence should generally be viewed as mostly positive. In general, they complement the natural environment. They are rarely destructive of the garden. They often have beneficial effects such as keeping a control on insect populations.

Pest Birds

There are some bird species that have spread widely around the world; and are often (though not always) an undesirable component of an ecosystem. These include such things as starlings and sparrows all being hardy species that can often compete strongly with indigenous birds, causing a decline in indigenous populations and a reduction in biodiversity.

Many of these are aggressive, have bred in large numbers and can have a negative effect on the environment. These “bad” birds have been responsible for spreading weeds and in some cases turning native species into weeds by carrying their seeds into areas where they were originally not from.  

How Plants May Benefit Birds

  • By providing protection from predators such as cats. Example: Dense scrub such as a clump of paperbark or tea tree will provide cover for birds.  
  • Trees provide places where birds can perch out of reach of predators. Rotten cavities in trees can provide nesting places and should not be removed if possible.
  • By providing an environment where food sources can grow. Example: Insects, slugs, and other animals grow on plants. Some types of insects thrive in flowers. Dead foliage dropped from plants provides mulch on the ground where earthworms and other small animals grow.
  • By providing nesting materials. Example: Twigs, leaves etc. collected by birds are used for nests.
  • By providing protection from extremes of the weather (e.g. on hot days).
  • By providing seeds, fruits, pollen and nectar for birds for birds to eat.












ACS Distance Education is a member of the Permaculture Association (UK) and The Alternative Technology Association (Australia)


Why Study the Course?

This is a great course to choose, if you want to not only learn about the subject now;
but keep learning after you finish studying. We believe a good course should not only
develop intelligence and knowledge; but also:

  • Improve your ability to communicate with others within the discipline
  • Develop problem solving skills relevant to this discipline 
  • Expand awareness and develop creativity
  • Facilitate networking (develop contacts within an industry)
  • Develop attributes that set you apart from others in your industry
  • Motivate you, build confidence, and more

According to some authorities, success is actually only affected about 20% by your knowledge and intelligence.

Our school works at helping you in a holistic way, to develop all of the things
mentioned above, in a way that relates to the discipline you are studying; and
in this way, giving you the capacity to apply yourself to unanticipated problems,
to understand new information as it emerges, to see and seize on new opportunities
as they reveal themselves, and to continue to grow your abilities within your discipline
as you progress through life after study.

In a world that is changing faster all the time; it is difficult to even be certain how this industry
might change between the start of your course, and the time you finish studying.
With this in mind; any course that is to have long term value in today's world, must develop
broad generic skills (as above). This approach to education is not unique to ACS, but it is
an approach tested, proven and adopted in our courses; and an approach that is also used
by some of the most successful, cutting edge universities and colleges around the world.


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