Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: fresh food after shtf

Chickens For Urban Survival

Example of a backyard chicken coop

Out of all of the problems facing urban survivalist, fresh food and fresh water are probably at the top of the list. Sure there are lots of other problems, such as looters and other pest. But without fresh food and safe drinking water, life is going to go downhill pretty quick.

Why would chickens be a good choice for urban survival? They are easy to raise, they lay eggs just about all year long, the eggs are a good source of fats and protein, and if you need to, you can eat the chicken. The protein and the fats address at least two nutritional requirements of your long term survival plans.

Here is an interesting youtube video that talks about some of the aspects in raising backyard chickens.

Chickens are flock animals. Meaning they will not do well by themselves. If you are planning on getting some backyard chickens, plan on getting at least 3 or 4 of them. If you get 2 chickens, and 1 dies, then that puts stress on the lone chicken.

Chickens are Ideal Fr Urban Survival

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

Trying to raise chickens part 3

Chicken feeder and waterer

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.

Waterers

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 probably 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.

My Chicken Coop Project Part 1

Building a chicken coop

A few weeks ago my wife and I picked up 5 chicks, a week later we got 6 more, a few days later we got 4 more. Two of the chicks died, which left us with a total of 13. Up until last weekend the chicks had been kept in a large plastic tub, which in turn was being kept in the bathtub. The chicks can not stay in my house forever, sooner or later they were going to have to go outside. On Sunday, March 18, 2012 the chicks moved into their new home.

It took about 2 1/2 days, but with the help of my wife and my son, we got the coop built.

Before construction of the coop started I probably spent 2 weeks thinking about the specs, how many laying boxes were needed, how large the coop needed to be, how it was going to be designed, square footage per chicken, types of lumber, how the chickens were going to access the coop, coop security,,, just lots of details were thought out.

One of the first things I did was get out on the internet and look at some chicken coop pictures. There are a lot of different designs out there, that is for sure. The plan I wanted was for the coop to be portable. The type of coop I was aiming for is called a “chicken tractor”. Its a type of coop that can be moved around the yard. Once I got some pictures, and got some ideas, it was time to start making sketches.

I took several pieces of paper and made rough sketches of how the lumber was going to fit together.

Access To Land and Water For Surviving SHTF

water well for SHTF survival

While watching Doomsday Preppers last week, I observed one major difference in the various plans, and that was if the plan included access to land and water.

Its one thing to stockpile 2 – 3 years of canned goods, food in mylar bags, freeze dried food, have a rainwater collection system, small backyard garden.

Its another thing to have access to several acres of land, able to have chickens, a nice sized garden for a variety of fresh veggies, various types of fruit trees, access to fresh running water and access to land to hunt on. Maybe even have access to water to fish in.

Two of the main differences I see between the various long term SHTF survival plans, is access to fresh food and access to fresh water. People may argue there are lots of other differences, but for this article I wanted to talk about two main topics – water and fresh food.
Water

Trying to raise chickens Part 1

Heat lamp and tub for chicks

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.

Squash and zucchini for your long term survival garden

Cooking squash zucchini and boudin

During a long term SHTF survival situation, its going to be important for people to grow their own food. One type of seed that survivalist should stockpile are seeds for squash and zucchini.

Ok, why you grow squash and zucchini? They are easy to grow, bug resistant, packed full of nutrients, can be jarred for long term storage, some types can be stored for a couple of months of kept in a cool dry place, summer squash and zucchini can be eaten raw.

Its estimated that various types of squash have been cultivated by mankind for 8,000 – 10,000 years. Think about that for a minute, squash has been with mankind for thousands of years, why change now? Follow in the foot steps of those that came before you. Use available resources to achieve a desired goal. Our desired goal is to survive a long term teotwawki situation.

Eaten Raw

One of the advantages of the squash family, most of them can be eaten raw. This saves you have having to fire up the stove, boil water, worry about the smoke from your fire.

In a time when the cost of fuel is at a premium, not having to build a fire to cook with, or use propane to cook with is going to save you a lot of time and energy in the long run.

Stockpiling seeds for SHTF

SHTF Survival GardenLets say that the world goes to crap tomorrow. Some kind of long term SHTF situation has happened – plague, meteor, massive climate change,,,,, what does your SHTF seed stockpile look like this very second? If you walked to where your seeds are stored, pulled out the container, would you be happy, or disappointed?

I have decided to divide my SHTF seed stockpile between my home and my bug out location. the mindset being, lets say that my family and I have to Bug Out and we do not have time to grab the primary seed stockpile, we have a backup. With a variety of seeds stored in each location, if we forget the main seeds, we have the backups.

Some considerations – seeds that grow quick like Radishes, plants that have protein like pinto beans, plants that do not need to be cooked like Squash and Zucchini, cold weather crops like turnip greens, plants that can be dried and stored easily like peas, beans and corn.

Examples of my SHTF survival seed stocks:

Corn:
G-90 – Hybrid sweet corn
Truckers Favorite – Open pollinated field corn
Yellow Dent – Open pollinated field corn

Peas and Beans:
Roma II – snap bean
Texas purple hull pink eye
Mississippi purple hull pink eye
Purple hull pink eye BVR – the BVR stands for virus resistant. If you see some BVR peas, pick them up.
Contender bush bean
Blue lake bush bean
Pinto beans – One thing to take into consideration is pinto beans, which are high in protein. So if there is no meat, pinto beans can be eaten.

I prefer bush beans over climbing beans – its just personal preference.

Growing Cucumbers

cucumber survivalist garden

Cucumbers – contain very little nutritional content, require lots of nitrogen and are not very drought tolerant. But on the plus side, certain types are high producers. There are a lot of hybrid cucumber seeds on the market. So when buying your seed be sure to be aware of what your buying hybrid or heirloom.

Not drought tolerant – cucumber roots run just under the ground. When the top of the soil dries out, the cucumber leaves may start to wilt. Allowing the leaves to wilt may stunt the growth of the plant.

Nitrogen – cucumbers LOVE nitrogen. Without it, the cucumber does not form properly and will be pointed on the end.

My personal cucumber seed stockpile includes 2 types – the pickling cucumber and the straight 8.

Pickling cucumber – is a high producing plant and makes a cucumber maybe 3 – 4 inches long. Despite its name, the Pickling cucumber does not have to be “pickled”, it can be eaten just like it is. But its small size makes it an ideal cucumber for Pickling. Pickling cucumber are an heirloom types, meaning the seeds can be saved and used in next years garden. Just 1 or 2 of these cucumbers makes a good side dish for a meal.

Straight 8 – makes a larger cucumber then the Pickling cucumber, and grows to about 8 inches long. Thus the name, Straight 8. The Straight 8 is an heirloom type cucumber so that the seeds can be saved from year to year.

Peas and Snap Beans For SHTF

snap beans

Since peas and beans are so much alike, lets just group them together. In fact, there are debates saying that peas and beans are the same thing. I personally divide peas and beans into 2 groups – one you eat whole (snap beans) and one you shell to get the bean/pea out of the inside and eat it instead of eating the husk.

Peas and beans return nitrogen into the soil, so that makes them good for crop rotation. Before you plant a high nitrogen requirement crop, such as corn, plant some beans or peas at the same time, or the season before the you plant the corn.

One of the problems with peas and beans – wildlife love it. Deer and rabbits will eat the bean / pea plants down to nothing but a stub sticking out of the ground. To protect the bean and pea plants, plant some squash or zucchini with them.

The pea / bean plants will provide the squash plants with nitrogen, and the squash plants will help protect the pea plants from deer. The squash and zucchini plants have little “hairs” on the stalks that the deer do not like.

Peas and beans are a good long term storage food crop. The old timers used to run a needle and thread through the pod, and hang it up to dry. Thus the name “string beans”. When it comes time to eat the beans, pull them off the string and boil until ready to eat.

Planting a Community Garden After SHTF

Working field with tractor and tiller

In these tough economic times, its important for people to come together. ne way that families can work together to save money, is to plant a community garden.

In this example, 3 families, it breaks down to 11 people, 6 adults and 5 children are working together to plant a garden. This garden will be shared equally between everyone involved.

The land we are planting on belongs to my step son and step daughter. Its some family land their grandfather left them after he passed away a few years ago. I’am guessing the plot we are using in the video is about 1/4 acre. There is another plot we are going to plant water melons on. And a smaller spot we are going to plant okra on.

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018