A food forest is agriculture and nature. And in nature you have animals. Mice, worms, snails, birds, snakes, frogs, beavers, foxes etc. etc. These wild animals are not fed by us and they all have territorial behaviour in their own way. In fact, these animals are needed to achieve the ecological balance that prevents pests from getting out of hand. So they are very welcome in a food forest.

How do you deal with animals in food forests: livestock and/or wildlife?

wild animals in your food forest

Sometimes animals are a pest. Usually the plague is the beginning of a new balance. First you have the snails, then the birds. First the mice, then the weasel. But, sometimes the plague cannot be tamed because there are no predators. Think, for example, of wild boar. In such cases, an expensive fence is necessary.

Young plants can often be protected from hares, deer or squirrels by putting netting or a tree protector around them.

Livestock is another story. Chickens, ducks, pigs and cows do not fit into a system based on no external input (as they are almost always fed extra). Moreover, territorial behaviour does not play any role and therefore, even in small numbers, they are very quickly disruptive to the soil and herb layer of a food forest.

Keeping cattle with trees is another form of agroforestry, not a food forest. If you have enough space, you can of course keep cattle next to your food forest, but not in it."

Want to go more in depth with your food forest knowledge?

Check out our course offerings.

annual training 2024

Modular Year Training 2: May-December 2024

Start: Fri May 17, 2024

End: Fri Dec 13, 2024

View course
annual training 2024

Modular Year Training 1: March-October 2024

Start: Wed Mar 20, 2024

End: Wed Oct 16, 2024

View course

Course Propagation 2024

Start: Fri Mar 01, 2024

End: Fri Oct 18, 2024

View course
group in a food forest

Modular annual training May-December 2023

Start: do May 11, 2023

End: Fri Dec 15, 2023

View course

Soil and (plant) health

Start: Wed May 01, 2024

End: Wed Oct 09, 2024

View course