Lets say some kind of SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation happens tomorrow, what would your long term farming, gardening and hunting plans be?
Do you plan on hunting for most of your food from livestock, gardening, hunting or a combination of food sources?
Long term survival plans after SHTF
One of the common theories in the various survivalist communities is that a family will grab their bug out bags, head to the hills where they will live off the land.
In theory this may sound fine and dandy.
In reality, chances are the family is going to starve to death.
If various humanoids have gone extinct over the past 100,000 years, what makes a family think they can survive with very few primitive survival skills?
The long term survivability of humans is directly related to much much food we can produce, and not how much food we can hunt or gather. There is a physical limitation to how many miles a person can walk in a day. There is a physical limitation to how much weight a person can carry.
Primitive tribes were able to overcome some of those obstacles by being in great physical shape and living a hunter-gather lifestyle their entire lives. How can some couch potato expect to kill a 300 pound hog, then pack that hog 3 or 4 miles back to the camp.
Our sedentary lifestyle in no way compares to the lifestyle of a hunter-gatherer.
In the previous article we built the first 1/2 – 1/3 of the chicken coop. Now its time to look at building the rest of the coop.
During the final stages of the coop construction, there are 3 things I want to focus on:
Exhaust fan for the coop – this is a “maybe”
Lets see if we can break this down:
1 solar panel for the hotwire
1 solar panel for the 12 volt battery for lights and exhaust fan
My orginal plans were to run the light, fan and hotwire off one solar unit and a single 12 volt battery. But since the hotwire system has a 6 volt battery,I am going to have to go with 2 solar units. 1 solar for the 6 volt battery and hot wire, 1 solar unit with 12 volt battery for lights and fan.
After I build the rest of the chicken coop and enclose the run, I am thinking about putting a solar power / battery powered hotwire around the edge of the run. Tractor supply has some hotwire systems for various lengths of wire and various sizes of livestock. From what I understand this is supposed to be all-in-one units with solar cell and voltage regulator.
The problem I am running into is the hotwire tractor supply carries is Zareba, and it looks like their systems are 6 volt, and not 12 volt.
My first batch of chicks turned one month old on March 25th. All of the chicks were bought within a week and a half of of each other, so lets say all of the chicks are within 10 days of each other.
When my wife and I bought the chickens we bought two water dispensers. One of the dispensers was used for food and one was used for food. The one used for food did not work very well. But then again, when the chicks were a couple of days old they did not eat very much either.
The first two waterers bought were red and screwed onto a pint or quart sized jar. The chicks quickly outgrew the pint sized jar and had to be upgraded to a quart sized jar.
The quart jar lasted only a few weeks before a 1 gallon sized container had to be bought. Currently 13 chicks that are about 1 month old take about 2 – 3 days to drink 1 gallon of water. I keep the quart jar in the coop with the 1 gallon jar just as a backup. Within the next week or so the quart sized waterer will probbly be removed from the coop.
I imagine that the chicks will have to upgraded to a 3 or 5 gallon waterer before too much longer.
After the coop is finished, I am hoping to have a waterer in the coop and a waterer in the run. During the summer heat I want to make sure the chickens have access to water 24/7.
Somewhere in buying the second of third batch of chicks my wife and I bought a “real” chicken feeder. The first feeder we bought is made of plastic, and either a quart of pint jar can screw onto it. At first my wife and I were using glass pint jars, but the chicks quickly outgrew the pint size jars. It was not long before the feeder was upgraded to a quart sized jar. Fast forward a couple of weeks and the chicks have outgrown the quart sized jar.
My wife wanted one of those galvanized chicken feeders that are about 18 inches long, and have a series of holes for the chicks to stick their heads through to get the feed. It looks like a hog trough, but for chickens.
I do not know what it is, but I can put the feeder that is round and has the jar on top of it right next to the trough feeder and the chicks will barely eat out of the trough. The round feeder can run out, and the chicks will knock it over before they eat out of the trough feeder.
Maybe the chicks are used to a round feeder since they used it first? Maybe the trough feeder is too deep and the chicks do not like to stick their head into it?
After watching the chicks ignore the feed in the trough, I had gave up and removed it from the coop.
Now that the chicks are emptying a quart sized jar almost daily, my wife and I decided it was time to upgrade. We went to the local Tractor Supply and bought a feeder that is supposed to hold 7 pounds of feed and has an attachment for hanging it from a string, rope, chain or cable.
While the chicks are getting used to the new feeder I am going to continue to use the small feeder. The two chicken feeders are going to be put next to each other so that the chicks will have the option as to which one they want to use.
The chicks spill a lot of food while they are eating. In an attempt to keep as much food as possible where its accessible by the chicks, the feeders were put on a 1×12 that is about 18 inches long. I was hoping that the feed would spill out on the board, where the chicks can continue to eat. But even with the board in place, the chicks still spill a lot of feed that falls through the hardware cloth and onto the ground.
The new 7 pound chicken feeder might last a couple of months before its time to upgrade again. Instead of retiring the 7 pound feeder, it might get moved to one side of the coop and the new feeder on the other side. That way the chickens will not be bunched up when they go to eat.
For the past month the chicks have been fed chick starter food. With the handy chart on the back of the bag, we will probably continue to feed the chicks chick starter through the end of April.
If you have not read part 1 of this raising chickens series, please do so. Its been over 20 years since I have owned chickens, so this is kind of a new venture as I have fourteen a lot over the past 20+ years.
Week 1 – my wife and I bought 5 chicks. Within the first few days 2 of the chicks died. One of the chicks looked small and weak from the first day. One chick died on day one, second chick died on day 3.
Week 2 – on March 3, 2012 my wife and I went to a local feed store to buy some Production reds. When my wife and i arrived at the store, we were told they had sold the last of the Production Reds just a few minutes before we arrived.
After talking about what we should do, my wife and I decided to go to Farmers Feed on HWY 96 north of Jasper, Texas.
Farmers Feed did not have any Production Reds, but they did have several different types of chickens. My wife and I decided to buy 2 of each type of chicken, of a total of 6 chicks. Two of the chicks are Barred Rocks. the other 4 chicks, I can not remember the type. I will call the feed store Monday morning and ask what kind they are selling.
If you are planning on surviving some kind of long term SHTF survival situation, then your plans should include food production. Stockpiling rice, beans, oats, corn, freeze dried foods,,, is fine and dandy. The problem with having a static food supply, it “is” going to run out sooner or later. To expand my families food supply, my wife and I decided to get some chickens.
With the chickens we will have a steady supply of eggs for protein, and if bad turns to worse, we can eat the chickens. Eating the chickens would be a last ditch effort, as I would rather use the chickens for breeding purposes to make more chickens.
This is my first attempt at raising chickens in over 20 years. The last time I had chickens was back around 1989, 1990 and 1991. Over the past 20+ years I have forgotten a lot about raising chickens, but I am sure things will come back.
On the morning of Saturday February 25, 2012 a friend of the family called my wife and told her that Circle Three Feed in Jasper Texas has chicks. My wife and I grabbed a laundry basket to put the chicks in, then we headed to the feed store.
Upon arriving at the feed store, the lady that was helping us said the chicks were Black Giants, but the proper name was probably Black Jersey Giant.
The plan is to have at least 2 different types of chickens.
On the weekend of September 17th and 18th family and I rented beach house and spent a couple of days at the beach relaxing. This was our last summer bash before old man winter arrives.
Something that was observed during breakfast reaffirms my belief that children will waste the most food then any other group during a long term shtf survival situation.
During breakfast my granddaughter looked at her eggs, saw some pepper and thought the pepper was dirt. To make matters worse, she said the black specks of pepper were “po-po”.
Usually, when a child says something like “po-po” in their food, and adult puts the thought in the childs head. As innocent as it sounds, asking a child if the food taste like po-po puts the thought in the childs head that feces is in their food.
To help the granddaughter know that there was no dirt or po-po in her food, I took a pepper shaker, put some pepper in my hand and showed the pepper flakes to her. After she saw the pepper in my hand, she seemed to be more open to eating eggs with pepper in them.
Several months ago my family and I had a cookout. When we have a cookout, we have a “COOKOUT” – ribs, brisket, beans,,,, the works. After everyone had packed up and went home, my wife and I started cleaning up the yard. It was during the clean up that I found something that irritated me – one of the children and taken a single bite out of a babyback rib, and then threw the rib on the ground. The size of the bite mark indicated a childs mouth.
With the rib being thrown on the ground, we were dealing with 2 different things – 1, a parent that is not watching their children; 2, a child that was just outright wasting food.