The Bonshaw School chooks return

Bonshaw, NSW

The students at Bonshaw Public School have their permaculture program back on track, thanks to support from FRRR’s Repair-Restore-Renew program.

Bonshaw is a tiny village in rural NSW, almost 800 km north of Sydney, population 60. When the nearby Dumaresq River flooded in 2011, the Bonshaw Public School suffered extensive damage from the flow of water – fences and veggie gardens were destroyed. 

There was nothing but a concrete slab left where the students' chook shed once stood.

Treasurer of the P&C Committee, Cecilia Elysee took on the task of coordinating the area’s rebuilding. Her successful application to FRRR’s Natural Disaster Recovery program enabled the purchase of a chicken tractor, which is “essentially a mobile chook pen with an open floor allowing the chickens to scratch, dig up seeds, eat weeds and leave behind their natural fertiliser, whilst still being contained throughout the day.”

The chickens play an important role in the students' permaculture program. Students can learn about caring for animals, reducing food waste, and gardening techniques.

“Using chickens to scratch and dig garden beds prepares beds for crop rotation and their fresh eggs can be utilised in the school cooking program,” Mrs Elysee explained. And with a mobile chicken tractor, the chooks are likely to be in a much better position should floodwaters threaten the school once more.