Ryan Hobbs wrote:Animal Guilds are not a new Idea. The Mongols have grazed 6 animals together for centuries if not millenia: horses, sheep, goats, cattle, camels, and oxen. Each has a different diet and performs a different ecological function. They rarely do this now as sheep and goats for export now bring in more money and thus the steppe pastures have degraded. They used to move their herds more often, but land ownership has reduced the movement of herds. Bringing back this biodiversity and rotational grazing would likely restore the land.
But what about other animals? I propose a temperate food forest guild of my own. Regularly harvested to reduce population and keep the FF healthy, it would be a sustainable farming practice. Animals with natural coloration should be chosen so that they have resistance to predation.
The backbone of this guild is Mallard Ducks. They can fly, but once a population has spent the winter at your farm in safety, they regard your property as home and will always return. Ducks and geese promote healthy water features and a reduction in insect pests. Geese and turkeys provide predator protection. Get turkeys that can't fly but still have natural color such as Broad-Breasted Bronze. They will hop and flutter but not roost in trees like Wild Turkeys. The next animals eat grass and clear fallen fruit. Miniature cattle are applicable if you have a relatively open and mature FF of at least 2 acres. But if not, get rabbits. I recommend French Lops, they are quite big, and their meat and pelt quality is high (which is what they were bred for). Next are the small poultry. These eat things that others can't even get at like termites and soil grubs. They are the ringneck pheasant, quail, and chukar. These are gamebirds all. The addition of minnows, crawdads, and turtles to your waterways is ideal as well.
I recommend harvesting your game animals by bow and arrow so as not to stress the remainder of them. Follow the local hunting seasons for best results.
This is my own model and my own plan for my own farm. If you cannot tolerate a species or the species your climate, then omit it. Do not add sheep, goats, or chickens to the mix. They will damage your system without control and supervision.
Tyler Ludens wrote: protective devices for the Miniherds to keep them from the Chickens part of the time.