Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: eggs

Raising Backyard Chickens

Interested in raising backyard chickens? Cookingupastory posted an great video that covers some of the basics.

I like how Naomi Montacre, co-founder of Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply gives a clear description on each of the topics.

Some of the topics includes:

Eggs and egg production
Chicken lifespan
Pullets
brooder box

How Many Chickens Would You Need For SHTF TEOTWAWKI

Chickens are one of the best livestock a family can have for a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation. Chickens (depending on their breed) are excellent foragers, they can eat just about anything, do not need a lot of care, and produce food in the form of eggs almost daily.

If you and your family are prepping for a collapse of society event, how many chickens would you need?2 Rhode Island Reds with 2 Barred Rocks in the background

Before we can get close to answering that question, I feel there are some questions that first have to be answered.

Land – Do you have a backyard of nothing but grass, do you have wooded property, open fields that cattle, goats or horses roam in?

During a long term SHTF event, chances are the feed stores are going to be closed, that means you will not have access to commercial grade feed. It achieve their maximum egg production, chickens need a balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals. The calcium the eggs are made out of does not appear out of thin air.

This is where the quality, and variety of the land comes into play. Chickens need seeds, bugs, green leaves,,, just a wide variety of food sources.

My chickens laid their best when they were able to free range and had access to commercial grade laying pellets. During this time, they were laying around 8 – 10 eggs a day in August and September 2012.

What Is The Best Livestock For SHTF

Pigs raised for slaughter

Prepping for SHTF is a never ending process. Unless money is not an issue, chances are people have to divide their efforts between various projects.

Over the past few weeks I have been posting about what my project for 2013 should be. Should it be rabbits, honey bees, both, or maybe even something else?

The question from there needs to be, what project is going to provide my family with the greatest return on our investment?

Which farm animals are the best able to live off the land, have the best food to output ratio, produce the most food for the amount of room they take up.

Cattle: Lets start with the one farm animal that everyone knows in one way or another. Most people eat cheese, butter, steaks, brisket, hamburger,,,, and so on.
The cow is a universally recognized farm animal, but what is it really good for during a long term SHTF situation?

If you butcher a 1,000 pound cow, then you have to have a way to preserve the meat. Do you have a smoker, and a pressure cooker large enough to process a whole cow?

During the middle ages, cows were not a preferred livestock. Which was mainly because they are so large it takes great effort to preserve the meat.

Observations on types of chicken feed and egg production

Over the past couple of months my chickens were fed different types of feed along with their laying mash. During this observation the hens were between 7 – 8 months old.

Chickens eating table scrapsBreeds include Barred rock, Rhode island red, Jersey giant, Silver laced wyandotte, Australorp and Speckled sussex.

Time of year during this observation was August – early October. Daytime temps ranged between the mid 80s – mid to upper 90s.

Oats, hen scratch and laying crumbles

For close to a month the chickens were given a 4 – 5 ounce scoop of feed oats, 4 – 5 ounces of hen scratch, a 3 – 4 ounce scoop of crushed oyster shell for calcium. Free access to Arrow Feeds poultry laying crumbles was provided at all times.

The Hens were let out of the coop early in the morning right around sunrise. The mixture of feed oats, hen scratch and ground oyster shell were spread over the ground for the chickens to pick up.

Egg production slowly dropped until the hens were laying around 5 – 6 eggs a day.

Egg Recipes

Dozen fresh yard eggs

Chickens are probably the perfect livestock for a long term SHTF survival situation. Unlike a lot of farm animals, chickens will produce food every couple of days in the form of an egg. Once the chicken has matured and stopped laying, the chicken can be butchered and eaten.

One of the problems that people will experience after SHTF will be food fatigue. Even though the chickens may be laying eggs everyday, once food fatigue kicks in people will be sick of eggs.

To help ward off food fatigue, here is a list of various egg recipes.

OMELETTE

3 fresh eggs.
1 cup sweet milk.
3 level tablespoonfuls of flour.

Place a small pan on the range, containing one tablespoonful of butter.

Place 3 tablespoonfuls of flour in a bowl, mixed smoothly with a portion of the cup of milk, then added the three yolks of eggs which had been lightly beaten and the balance of the milk and a pinch of salt.

Stir in lightly the stiffly-beaten whites of eggs.

Pour all into the warmed fry-pan and placed it in a moderately hot oven until lightly browned on top.

The omelette when cooked should be light and puffy, and remain so while being served.

Double the omelette together on a hot platter and sprinkle finely chopped parsley over the top.

Serve immediately.

BREAD GRIDDLE CAKES

2 cups sour milk

2 cups bread

Let stand until soft

Put through colander. For each one pint use:

1 egg

1 teaspoon soda

2 teaspoons sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup flour

1 egg beaten

Mix well; bake at once on hot greased griddle.

Four chicken breeds survivalist should consider

Are you thinking about getting chickens for urban survival, or as part of your long term survival plans?

Lets say SHTF, what are the breeds of chickens you should focus on? In my opinion, some of the better chicken breeds for survivalist are the Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, Speckled Sussex and Australorp.

Rhode Island Red inside chicken coopRhode Island Red

Cock / Roster average weight: 8.5 lbs
Hen average weight: 6.5 lbs
Good foragers
Dual purpose for egg production and butchering
Egg production: around 200 eggs a year

My grandparents kept Rhode Island Reds back in the 1960s and early 1970s. Dad told me Rhode Island Reds are good at foraging and finding their own food.

Early 2012 my wife and I bought 4 Rhode Island Reds for our flock. Out of all the chickens we have, the RIR are the most friendly and affectionate. When I open the door to the coop, the RIRs walk up the ladder to greet me. I can pick up my RIRs as easily as I can pick up the family cat.

From time to time my wife and I will let a couple of the chickens out of the coop. The Rhode Island Reds go to work scratching through the leaves looking for something to eat.

What survivalist can learn from the chicken of tomorrow project

From wikipedia – The Chicken of Tomorrow is a 1948 documentary short film about advances in chicken and egg farming. This mini-documentary was narrated by Lowell Thomas and is in the public domain.

The film was mocked in a seventh-season episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The Chicken of Tomorrow deals with poultry farming and egg farming in the mid 1940s. Filmed to educate the public about how poultry and eggs are farmed, it also deals with how advances in genetic engineering and technology produces a larger chicken. Eggs are farmed and kept in industrial incubators, and an equal number of chickens are used for meat and other products. Altogether, this produces more food for less money, and allows people to support local poultry farms without breaking the bank. This is relatively similar to today’s poultry farming despite there now being technological differences.

The chicken of tomorrow should provide some food for thought for survivalist who are raising chickens. Do you want a flock of skinny chicken for your family? Or do you want types of chickens that have plump full breast and will lay plenty of eggs?

Do you want chickens that are slow growers and susceptible to disease? Or do you want chickens that mature quickly, lay good quality eggs, have a nice thick breast and resistant to disease?

Chicken project 6 month update

When the SHTF do you have a sustainable food source already setup? Or do you plan on bugging out to the wilderness with your family and foraging for food? Given the options, I would rather stay at home and have fresh eggs and oatmeal – eggs from my chickens and oatmeal from my food stockpile.

In mid-late 2011 my wife and I talked about getting chickens. I started looking at coop design, types and breeds, drawing designs for my own coop, working up a bill of material, cost,,, just general plans.

February 25 2012, our first chicks.

August 23 2012, got 10 eggs.

First 5 chicks were 3 Black Jersey Giants and 2 brown Speckled Sussex. 1 black Jersey giant and 1 Speckled Sussex died.

Next set of chicks were 2 Barred Rocks (aka Plymouth rock), 2 silver laced wyandottes and 2 australorps.

Next set were 4 Rhode Island Reds.

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.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018