The second is that every plant, animal or structure should have many functions . Most
plants and animals will yield us more than one useful output - if we have the imagination to
see things like pecking and scratching as a useful output. But we can get even more variety
of yields by choosing plants and animals wisely. For example, one of the shrubs we might
choose as part of a chicken forage system is gorse. Not only does it produce seed that the
chickens can eat, but it adds to the fertility of the soil by 'fixing' nitrogen from the air and
taking it into the soil. It can also provide fuel, winter feed for cattle and horses, and flowers
which bloom in every month of the year, giving food for bees and pleasure to the human
Another way of putting it is that we are looking for a multiple yield , not just a single
one as in a battery farm. In this way permaculture systems can outyield conventional ones.
Even if the yield of the main product is less, the total yield is more, because we are taking
many different yields at the same time.
The chicken house in a permaculture system will, as far as possible, be made out of locally
produced materials. There will be a water butt to collect rainwater from the roof. This may
not be enough to supply all the chickens' drinking water throughout the year, but it is a sup-
ply of water that can be had for very little outlay in energy - just a storage butt and a bit of