Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: chickens

Excess food supply

Home grown yard eggs

Over the past 2 days I have given away 2 dozen eggs. Some people might be saying “so what”? To give food away means that my wife and I have an excess food supply.

Think about that for a minute. My wife and I bought our first chicks February 25, 2012. In all we ended up with 13 chickens. The chickens started laying when they were around 5 months old. At close to 6 months old we are getting 6 – 7 eggs a day.

Home grown yard eggsWe are dealing with a couple of topics here, the time required to get your food production up and running, and being able to grow more food then you need.

I see a lot of survivalist saying that if SHTF they are going to get some chickens, goats, maybe a couple of cows,,, the usual stuff. I see those types of planes as being unrealistic. You think you are going to be the only person looking for farming supplies and livestock after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI?

Lets say you have a buddy that knows a friend whos second cousin has a few chickens they are willing to trade for 1,000 rounds of 223 Remington. After some bartering the two of you finally agree on 500 rounds of 223 Remington and 500 rounds of 7.62×39 for 2 laying hens.

You get your hens home, now what? Where are you going to keep them at? Do you have an enclosed yard to keep your chickens in, do you have a coop? Or do you plan on keeping the hens in your garage? Hopefully you will be lucky enough to find some hens that are already laying. If not, you are going to have to wait several months for the chicks to grow and start laying.

Its not just livestock, what does your seed stockpile look like? Do you have tools to work the field? Do you have access to a tractor, tiller, hoes, rakes and manpower needed to get a field ready to plant?

After you get your squash, cucumbers, zucchini, turnips, snap beans,,,,etc planted, you are looking at 60 – 90 days before you are going to harvest anything.

Our First Dozen Eggs

Dozen fresh yard eggsIts official, my wife and I got our first dozen eggs. The eggs are rather small, but they will get larger as the chicken matures. My aunt calls the first eggs a chicken lays “pullet eggs”.

The first egg was laid on July 14, 2012

The 12th eggs was laid on July 22, 2012.

The chickens went from laying one egg every other day, to laying 3 eggs in one day. For the past 3 days, the chickens have been laying 3 eggs a day.

It took around 4 months and 3 weeks before the first egg was laid. After the chickens starting laying, the rate of laying has picked up dramatically. Hopefully the rate of laying will continue to pick up over the next few weeks. As of right now, I think only 3 of my 13 hens are laying. When all of the hens start laying, I am hoping to get anywhere from 6 – 10 eggs a day.

My wife and I have 13 chickens:
2 Black Giants
1 Speckled Sussex
2 Barred Rocks (aka Plymouth Rocks)
2 Silver Laced Wyandotte
2 Australorps

From now on, my family and I do not have to buy our eggs from the grocery store. During a long term SHTF survival situation, my family will have a source of protein and a source of fresh food.

Chickens have been a vital food source to humans for thousands of years. There is no need to change now.

Chickens are starting to lay eggs

Dozen fresh yard eggs

All of our hard work is finally starting to pay off, one of the hens has started to lay eggs. This means my family and I will have a source of fresh food (especially protein) during a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation.

February 25, 2012 – got our first 5 chicks, 3 Black Jersey Giants and 2 Speckled Sussex. One of the Black Jersey Giants and 1 of the Speckled Sussex died.

March 3, 2012 – bought 2 Barred Rocks, 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Australorps.

Around March 7, 2012 – bought 4 Rhode Island Reds.

After it was all over with, my wife and I had 13 chickens.

Around March 21st or March 22nd the chicks were moved to their new coop. For the first few weeks the chicks were in a plastic box that was being kept in the bathtub. My wife and I take showers, so the bathtub is rarely used.

First chicken video posted on February 25, 2012

Six Month Window Post TEOTWAWKI

Pullet egg

Some kind SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation has happened, how long will take you to get your food production up and running? How long do you think it will take you to plant your garden, get some livestock, build a pen to keep your livestock secure from predators… etc?

I learned something today, or rather something happened today that helped me set a 6 month timeline as the post SHTF window – my wife and I got our first egg.

We got your first chicks on February 25, 2012. the first batch was 3 Black Jersey Giants, and 2 Speckled Sussex. Within a couple of days of obtaining the chicks, 1 of the Jersey Giants died, and 1 of the Speckled Sussexs died. This left 2 Black Giants and 1 Speckled Sussex.

1 week later (March 3) my wife and I obtained 6 more chicks – 2 Barred Rocks (aka Plymouth Rocks), 2 Silver Laced Wyandotte and 2 Australorps.

Around March 7 my wife and I obtained 4 Rhode Island Reds.

All 13 of the chicks were around 2 days old when they were bought.

Food Fatigue After SHTF / TEOTWAWKI

Stockpiling food for SHTF / teotwawki

Food fatigue = eating the same thing over, and over, and over, and over,,,. Eventually leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies; extreme cases of malnutrition can lead to death. Food fatigue, vitamin and mineral deficiencies go hand in hand.

Couple of examples:

Pellagra – vitamin deficiency caused by a lack of niacin. Seen in people who eat a diet of mostly corn based products.

Scurvy – caused by long term vitamin C deficiency.

Eat the same thing over and over and over,,, everyday, people develop food fatigue. When people get fatigued, they stop eating. When people stop eating, they starve and eventually die.

How do we prevent food fatigue? We stockpile a range of assorted foods, and we have a source of fresh food.

Lets say that some kind of long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation happens, what are your plans to ward off food fatigue? Are you stockpiling a wide range of foods? What are your sources of fresh food? What are your renewable food sources?

Stockpiling Food

Survival Gear Preps Second Quarter 2012

While stockpiling survival gear for a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, I think it is important to pause, review, and then move forward. It does no good to stockpile the same thing over and over, while overlooking other essential preps. The changing of the seasons, a new year, or every 3 – 4 months are good times to do reviews.

January, February and March of 2012 were dedicated to buying a Remington 1911 R1, stockpiling 45acp, collecting some some books on chickens, buying some chicks and building my chicken coop. The 1911 is for personal / property defense, and the chickens are for a sustainable food source.

April, May and June of 2012 were dedicated to expanding my ability to purify water, some new cooking gear, expanding my stockpile of brass cased 223, buying some 308 Winchester, diversifying my stockpile of 22 long rifle and expanding my first aid supplies.

Purifying Water

If water purification is not at the top of your long term survival plans, it should be. Without safe drinking water, life as we know it can not exist.

My recent additions were two Berkey black filters and a SteriPen Sidewinder.

The Royal Berkey I keep at the Bug Out Location has 2 black filters. Each filter has a life expectancy of around 3,000 gallons – depending on water quality. With the addition of 2 more filters, I can now filter an estimated 12,000 gallons of water.

Why Chickens Are The Perfect Pet

Looking for the perfect pet? Look no further then the chicken.

Why is the chicken the perfect pet? That is a good question, so lets talk about it.

House training

Chickens can not be house trained, so you know you have to keep them outside. Dogs on the other hand, they have “accidents” where they piss and crap on the floor. A cat has to have a litter box. But with a chicken, you keep it outside, so it never crap on the floor.

Chickens make eggs

What does your dog make, besides piles of crap?

What does your pet fish make, besides a dirty fish tank?

Fundamental Survivalist Food for SHTF

Bushel basket for laying box

When survivalist start stockpiling food, we buy #10 cans and usually store food in mylar bags. Lets say we had to focus on certain foods, what would those foods be? Lets look at food that packs a nutritional punch, renewable, easy to grow, easy to harvest and can be stored without modern technology.

How do we decide which foods we should focus on? Lets narrow our selections to how easy the food is to grow, how well it stores, and the nutrition content.

During a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation, we will being growing and storing our own food. One thing we do not want to do is dedicate a lot of time and effort into food that contains little nutrition.

In this article I hope to focus on renewable foods. Foods that we can grow in a home garden or at a Bug Out Location. During a long term survival situation, people that hope to make it through will need a renewable food source. It is not enough to stockpile food in mylar bags, or stockpile freeze dried food in #10 cans. Sooner or later those mylar bags and those cans will be empty.

Chicken coop update May 14 2012

Chicken house with attached run

As part of our long term preps, my wife and I decided to get some chickens and build a chicken coop. We bought our first chicks on February 25. Over the next week and a half we ended up with 13 chicks.

Instead of trying to stockpile #10 cans of freeze dried eggs, why not have a supply of fresh eggs? Nutrition wise, fresh eggs are a lot better then freeze dried eggs loaded with sodium.

On the weekend of March 17 the first half of the chicken coop was built.

On the weekend of April 7 the second half of the chicken coop was built.

The chickens are starting to get cramped in their coop and area below the coop, so its time to build a run. The run will provide a the chickens with room to get our from under the coop.

Human innovation after a collapse

Kevin Felts, blogger and political commentator

If there is something about humans that has ensured the survival of the human race, it has to be our level of creativity and our level of innovation.

If a man (or woman) has an axe, they can cut trees to build a home. that axe allows them to clear land for crops or livestock which will help ensure a steady supply of food.

If a man has a pole line and hook, they will catch fish.

Give a man some seeds and he will grow a garden.

What makes today so much different then 1348

For those of you that do not know what happened in 1348, that is when the Black Death (bubonic plague) entered Europe. Possibly as many as 1/3 of the entire population of Europe died between 1348 – 1350.

Humans have harnessed science. Not that we fully understand science, but at least we have some kind of working grasp. We have vaccines, antibiotics, medical care, hospitals and trained medical professionals.

How to build a window for a chicken coop

Raising chickens for shtf / teotwawki

When I first started looking at building my chicken coop, the first thing I did was go out on the net and look for pictures. There are all kinds of examples out there, but I needed to go cheap. Cheap as in building the window out of scrap material. I see no reason to buy a window, when one can be made from left over scraps from building the coop.

Besides ventilation, the screened in vent windows allow the chickens to be viewed without opening the doors. At ni time, if you want to check on the chickens, walk up to the coop, look in through the screened in windows to check on the chickens.

In the following article I will try to describe how to install a screened in window for a chicken coop. If some steps are left out, I apologize. But hopefully this article can give you the general idea.

Chickens Fishing and Cooking After SHTF

Cooking at the Bug Out Location

As a survivalist, prepping / survivalism should NOT be a hobby, it is a way of life. What good does it do if you stockpile food, stockpile survival gear, but never practice or test your preps. If you incorporate survivalism into your lifestyle, you will always be testing, planning and looking for ways to improve.

While looking across my backyard this weekend, I realized that part of my preps were not only in the backyard, but how they were part of my life. The three preps I saw were the chicken coop, boat and bar-b-que pit.

Think about that for a minute, the chicken coop and the boat are a source of food. The pit provides a way to cook and smoke meat.

Some people raise chickens for fun, some raise them to know where their eggs and meat came from. Survivalist keep chickens so our families can have a source of food and protein during a long term SHTF survival situation. That is how we look at things. Survivalism is not a hobby, its not something we do on the weekends, its a way of life.

Video about cooking some mac and cheese that had been stored in a mylar bag for 1 year.

Chicken Project Two Month Update

Raising chickens for shtf / teotwawki

The first set of dear little chickens turned two months old on April 25th, and what a trip it has been. Part of my long term SHTF survival plans include getting chickens and building a chicken coop. the goal was to have a secure chicken coop and egg production up and running by the middle of 2012. So far things have been running according to plan.

Over the past two months there have been several changes to the plans.

The first plan was to only have 4 or 5 chickens, but those plans quickly changed. My wife and I bought 5 chicks, of those five, two died.

One week after buying the first set of chicks, my wife and I bought 6 more.

About 3 or 4 days after buying the 6 chicks, we bought 4 more.

This left us with a total of 13 chicks. 13 is about 2 – 3 times what my wife and I had originally planed on having. During the initial planning phases dimensions of the chicken coop had been calculated so that each chicken had plenty of room. Now that we had 13 chicks instead of just 3, things had to change. The first thing that had to change was the square footage per bird.

The first coop was a simple 4 foot by 6 foot box – with 3 feet of hardware cloth, and 1 foot of laying boxes.

The second coop is 8 feet long and 6 feet wide. This equals out to around 3.23 square feet per chicken in the coop and another 3.23 square feet under the coop.

Chicken Coop Project Part 4

Chicken Coop Perch

A few weeks ago someone posted a comment on one of my chicken coop videos saying the chickens may fight to get to the highest perch. After thinking about it for a little while I decided to redo the sloped chicken perch and make all of the perches the same height.

With making the perches flat, instead of slopped, this would also provide more room for the chickens.

Friday April 13 braces were installed around the bottom of the coop. After the braces were in place, 36 inch tall by 1/2 inch square hardware cloth was secured around the bottom of the coop. 3/4 inch hot dipped galvanized staples were used to secure the hardware cloth. The staples were spaced about every 6- 10 inches, and on alternating rows on the hardware cloth. If all of the staples are on the same row of wire, there seems to be a lot of slack in the hardware cloth. Alternating the staples seems to help with the slack.

Saturday April 14 my wife and I went a birthday party / crawfish boil for a buddy of mine. At the party, my buddy boiled 250 pounds of crawfish. On the side he had sliced brisket, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, sausage, potatoes, corn,,, it was just an amazing feast.

Sunday April 15 is when my wife and I reworked the perch of the chicken coop. We caught the chickens and tossed them down the ladder and into the bottom section of the coop. The ladder was pulled up and secured so the chickens could not come back up the ladder.

Chicken Coop Project Part 3

Chicken coop

Unlike a lot of people that spent Easter weekend going to church and hunting easter eggs, I spent my weekend working on a chicken coop.

Friday morning my wife and I loaded up in the truck, grabbed some lunch at McDonalds, then we went to Parkers lumber in Jasper Texas to get supplies for the chicken coop.

Materials:

  • 36 inch x 1/2 inch squares hardware cloth, 10 foot roll
  • Paint tray
  • 1 box 1 1/2 inch roofing screws with rubber washer
  • Extra bits for the drill
  • Skil saw blade
  • Exterior latex redwood stain paint
  • 14 – treated 2x4s 8 feet long

For 2 of the walls:

2 boards 8 feet long were laid in parallel on level ground

3 boards were cut 6 feet long

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018