When keeping chickens, a permaculture gardener needs to achieve a balance. In order to benefit from the variety of ‘products’ that chickens bring to a site – from eggs and manure to pest control and pleasure – the gardener must ensure that the chickens’ needs are met. These are the things that the permaculturist must provide so that the chickens can survive and thrive. They relate to the fundamental elements that an organism needs to live, but also to things the birds need to live a life in tune with their instincts and that allow them to exhibit natural behaviors.
Obviously chickens need food. Fortunately, in a permaculture system, many of their nutritional needs can be met without too many external inputs. Chickens will eat most of the food scraps from your kitchen. They are omnivorous, so will eat fruits, vegetables and some meat. (You should avoid giving your chickens citrus peel and onions, as this can taint the taste of the eggs, and also do not feed chickens the remains of their own kind.) This is supplemented by food the chickens will find for themselves foraging on your plot.