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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn about animals in Permaculture systems

A detailed distance learning course looking at the interaction between animals and the Permaculture system.

  • The course focuses on self sufficiency, management of animals, bee-keeping, keeping rabbits and much more.
  • Learn about animals in a Permaculture system.
  • Understand how animals in a permaculture system relate to each other, how they relate to surrounding environments.
  • Learn about the selection and management of different types of animals in a Permaculture design.
  • This course can be studied as part of the Permaculture Design Certificate or as a course in its own right.

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Develop your knowledge of animals in Permaculture systems

Animals are an important component of any Permaculture system. They impact upon the stability of the landscape just as much as the plants; and can provide things to harvest and use; just as much as the plants.  Study this course to understand the roles of different types of animal within a Permaculture system.

  • Understand the impact and maintenance of animals within a Permaculture system.
  • A follow-on course to complement your studies in Permaculture.
  • Professional Development for the Professional Permaculturist.
  • Specialised training for landscapers, horticulturists, farmers or property managers.


  • 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 in the permaculture system.
  • Understand the role of bees in the permaculture system. 
  • Develop knowledge of the role of grazing animals in permaculture systems.
  • Develop knowledge of the role of larger grazing animals and wildlife in permaculture systems.
  • Understand the role of aquaculture production systems in permaculture
  • Develop knowledge of the range of aquaculture species available for permaculture systems.


There are 8 lessons in this course:

Lesson 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
  • The Functions of Animals in The System
  • Fodder Trees
  • Birds in Permaculture – Useful Birds, Pest Birds
  • How Plants May Benefit Birds
  • Bird Attracting Plants
  • Other Things That Attract Birds
  • Feeding Birds
Lesson 2. Roles of Insects and Other Small Animals
  • Introduction
  • What Is an Ecosystem
  • Components of The Ecosystem
  • Ecological Concepts
  • The Web of Life
  • Biomes and Common Wildlife
  • Insects
  • Insect Lifecycle
  • Insect Classification
  • Insect Feeding Habits
  • Insect Control
  • Earthworms and Red Worms (Vermicomposting)
  • Snail Farming
  • Controlling Pests
  • Forms of Applied Insect Control (Mechanical, Cultural, Biological, Legislation)
  • Pollutants in The Ecosystem
Lesson 3. Poultry
  • Introduction
  • Chickens
  • Turkeys
  • Ducks
  • Geese
  • Don't Buy Sick Birds
  • How to Help Hatchling Chicks
  • Poultry Products and Uses – Meat, Eggs, etc.
  • Ducks
  • Poultry Forage
  • Useful Plant Species for Chicken Forage
  • Mobile Tractor Systems
Lesson 4.  Bee Keeping
  • Introduction
  • The Hive
  • Lids
  • Top Bar Hives
  • Supers
  • Bases
  • Excluder
  • Frames and Foundations
  • Spur Wheel Embedder
  • Emlocks
  • Bee Smoker
  • Hive Tool
  • Bee Brush
  • Locating the Hive
  • Comfort of The Bees
  • Safety of Yourself and Neighbours
  • Water
  • Buying an Established Hive
  • Nucleus Hives
  • Swarms
Lesson 5. Grazing Animals (Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Rabbits)
  • Introduction
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Working Off Grass
  • Paddock Size
  • Type of Fencing
  • Post and Rails
  • Hedges
  • Wire
  • Post and Wire
  • Barbed Wire
  • Electric Fencing
  • Brick or Stone Walls
  • Banks/Rises
  • Gates
  • The Supply of Water
  • Shelter
  • Pigs
  • Feeder Pig Production Systems
  • Finishing Systems
  • Building Systems
  • Building Control
  • Environmental Controls
  • Pig Pens
  • Automatic Watering and Feeding
  • Overcrowding
  • Sheep
  • Rearing and Management System
  • Goats
  • Rabbits
  • Breeds
  • Housing and Containment
  • Feeding
Lesson 6. Managing Larger Livestock and Wildlife
  • Introduction
  • What Animals
  • Managing Animals
  • Benefits
  • Beef Cattle
  • Choosing Your Cattle
  • Dairy Cattle
  • Choosing Your Dairy Breed
  • Health and Disease - Feeding, Housing, Managing the Milk
  • Deer
  • Alpacas
  • Llamas
  • Horses at Grass in Small Areas
  • The Pasture
  • Feed Requirements of The Horse
  • The Control of Worms
  • Exercise
  • Layout of Paddocks
  • Field Shelter and Other Buildings
  • Wild Animals
  • Wildlife Management
Lesson 7. Aquaculture Production Systems
  • Introduction
  • Pond Size
  • Polyculture
  • Manures and Fertilising Ponds
  • Feeding Fish
  • Mariculture
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Aquaculture
  • Two Basic Production Systems (Extensive Production, Intensive Production)
  • Species to Grow (Trout, Bass, Tilapia, Catfish, Carp, Mullet, Sunfish, Murray River Cod, Pet and Fancy Fish, Marron)
  • Simple Biological Filtration Systems
  • Simple Filter
  • Filter Efficiency
  • Maintenance
  • Cleaning Turbid Water in Dams (Alum, Gypsum)
  • Protecting Fish
  • Water Requirements
  • Extensive Production Dams
  • Intensive Production Fishery, Pools and Raceways
  • Cages
  • Harvesting Fish
  • Seine Nets
  • Gill Nets
  • Traps
  • The Funnel Trap
  • The Fyke Trap
  • Long Lines
  • Fish Poisons, Toxins, And Electrical Shocking Techniques
Lesson 8. Aquaculture Species to Grow
  • Bass
  • Cod
  • Perch
  • Catfish
  • River Blackfish
  • Two-Spined Blackfish
  • Red Claw
  • Yabbie
  • Spiny Freshwater Crayfish
  • Trout (A Case Study for A Temperate Climate Freshwater Fish)
  • Barramundi (A Case Study for A Warm Climate Freshwater Fish)
  • Growing Marron (A Case Study for A Freshwater Crustacean)

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • 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 bush land 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.
  • In no less than 500 words 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 to 1000 words 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.

Animals are an Integral Part of any Permaculture System 

Some animals are introduced to a Permaculture system; and nurtured - others enter the system naturally. Some will damage the system; but even those can contribute at the same time as causing damage (e.g. snails may eat foliage, but snails can also become food for poultry, or even humans).


There are over 80,000 species of snail but only some are edible.

The common garden snail that occurs in most parts of the world is the species Helix aspersa. This species is edible, and considered by many to be delicious. It is also often considered to be a garden pest. There are many different types (including sub species), which can vary in appearance, size, and taste.

Helix aspersa are bred and farmed in France and some other countries, then eaten. Snails are also used (commercially) in some skin creams.

Farmed snails are preferred to wild snails, because the quality is better controlled, and any contamination (e.g. from artificial or natural toxins) can be also controlled. In a Permaculture situation, with the farming of “free range snails” some thought might be given to what plants the snails graze upon. Different plants may affect the palatability of different snails, and the nutrient value as a food.

Farming Snails

Farmed snails will be productive if fed a diet of fresh vegetables and grain (which is high in calcium and protein). One animal can eat as much as it’s own body weight every 3 days.


Snails will often appear after wet weather. To harvest them you might wait for rain; or wash down an area with water and wait for them to emerge.

To prepare snails for eating:

  1. Rinse live snails in water to remove any contaminants on the surface of the animals, or their shells.
  2. Put the live snails in a jar (with tiny holes for breathing), and leave them for a couple of days to detox. This helps reduce any toxins that may have built up in their tissues. Place a couple of carrot sticks with them – feeding on those will not significantly diminish the value of the detox.
  3. After at least 2 days, and when their excretion is orange, you will know the carrot has worked through their digestive tract; and they are “cleaned” out.
  4. Wash them again, then place them in an air tight jar in the fridge to kill them.
  5. You can now cook them. Snails are commonly cooked in a cream or butter sauce with garlic. Snail meat is low in cholesterol, fat and carbohydrate; and high in protein. It also contains many of the minerals and nutrients that humans require in their diet.

This course goes well beyond snails though. There are more animals than you might ever notice that can become part of a Permaculture system. If you ever want a full understanding of how the system functions, and the best way to manage animal populations ... you need to study a course like this!


If you are interested in obtaining a Permaculture Design Certificate, then Permaculture I can form part of your studies towards this. For further details on how to achieve a PDC, and the different study options which we have available to you, please read the Permaculture Design Certificate article.

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


  • Study Animals in Permaculture Systems learn more about how the components of an ecosystem work together.
  • Be able to make appropriate choices about the different elements that make up a Permaculture system and how these should be managed.
  • Gain the knowledge you need to understand the decisions required to determine which animals should be part of a Permaculture system and how your decisions will affect the ecology of the overall system.
  • This course will provide valuable knowledge for farmers, horticulturalists, garden designers and landscapers, ecologists, Permaculture professionals, and more.
  • You can enrol today or if you have any questions, please get in touch with our specialist Permaculture tutors. They will be pleased to answer your questions and discuss the different areas covered by our permaculture courses.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.

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Fruit, Vegetables and HerbsThe Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs ebook is ideal for students, professionals and home gardening enthusiasts alike. Fruit, Vegetable and Herbs provides an overview in techniques to produce food in the garden. Topics covered within this course include 1/ Food from the garden, 2/ Deciding what to grow, 3/ Successful growing, 4/ Fruits, 4-1/ Deciduous fruit trees, 4-2/ Citrus fruits, 4-3/ Tropical fruits, 4-4/ Berries, 4-5/ Nuts, 4-6/ Vine crops, 4-7/ Using produce, 5/ Vegetables, 6/ Mushrooms, 7/ Special growing techniques