Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: livestock

Chicken Flock for SHTF TEOTWAWKI

Chickens eating table scrapsIn a previous article we discussed what would be the Best Chicken Breeds for SHTF. If you have not done so, I suggest you read that article as well as this one.

In this article we are going to be discussing how to design your chicken flock for a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation.

How many chickens would you need to produce enough eggs for you and your family? What about breeding, chicken coop and chicken yard size? Do you want focus on egg production, meat production, or somewhere between the two?

This chicken flock article is part of our Indefinite Sustainability project.

Egg Production

Why would eggs be important during a long term SHTF situation? Its because of their fat, amino acids and protein content.

A couple of weeks ago two of my grandsons spent the night at my house. For breakfast the 6 year old ate 4 eggs, the 3 year old ate 2 eggs. That is 6 eggs a day just for those two grandchildren, what about the rest of the family?

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.

Best Chicken Breeds For SHTF

Speckled Sussex, Australorp, Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red

What chicken breeds are best for a long term SHTF survival situation? Most breeds are good foragers, but we want something that would make a good meat chicken, good layer, good breeder, is friendly with other chickens and deals with confinement well.

Chickens are an excellent livestock choice for SHTF / TEOTWAWKI. Eggs are a good source of protein, fats and essential amino acids. Chicken meat is a good source of protein. Chickens can be let out out of the chicken coop during the day, and they will return to the coop at night. Which is unlike other livestock that will wonder off if let out of their pen.

There are more chicken breeds than someone can shake a stick at. For the sake of this discussion, let’s look at heritage chicken breeds that have been established for more than 100 years. This gives the breed a century to prove itself. If a chicken breed is going to work out, then this gives it a century to succeed or fail

My suggestions are the Barred Rock (which is part of the Plymouth Rock family), Rhode Island Red and the Australorp.

Barred Rock

Long Term Survival Project for 2013

Every year I try to focus on some kind of project that would improve my long term survival plans.

2008 – Hurricane Ike
2009 – random stuff, such as backpacking
2010 – gardening and camping
2011 – juglines and trotlines, storing food in mylar bags
2012 – chickens and chicken coop
2013 – I am thinking rabbits

The last time I had rabbits was in 1998, 1999. My wife and I built 4 or 5 cages in the backyard next to the house. Somehow something got into the cage and killed the rabbits. The next cage I build is going to be a lot more secure then the last one I built.

Before 1998, 1999 the previous time I had rabbits was in the late 1980s, 1988, 1989. The 1980s seem so long ago.

What are the rabbits going to be used for

Farming Gardening and Hunting After SHTF

Barred Rock chicken

Let’s 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.

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.

POULTRY STOCK, BREEDING, AND CROSSING

The following article was taken from:

Poultry: A Practical Guide to the Choice, Breeding, Rearing, and Management of all Descriptions of Fowls, Turkeys, Guinea-fowls, Ducks, and Geese, for Profit and Exhibition.

Author: Hugh Piper

Publication Date: 1872

Keep only good, healthy, vigorous, well-bred fowls, whether you keep them to produce eggs or chickens, or both. The ill-bred mongrel fowls which are so commonly kept, are the most voracious, and consume larger quantities of food, without turning it to any account; while well-bred fowls eat less, and quickly convert that into fat, flesh, and eggs.

“Large, well-bred fowls,” says Mr. Edwards, “do not consume more food than ravenous, mongrel breeds. It is the same with fowls as with other stock. I have at this moment two store pigs, one highly bred, the other a rough, ill-bred animal. They have, since they left their mothers, been fed together and upon the same food. The former, I am confident (from observation), ate considerably less than the latter, which was particularly ravenous. The former pig, however, is in excellent condition, kind, and in a measure fat; whereas the latter looks hard, starved, and thin, and I am sure she will require one-third more food to make bacon of.”

Poultry Nutrition

The following article was taken from:

Poultry: A Practical Guide to the Choice, Breeding, Rearing, and Management of all Descriptions of Fowls, Turkeys, Guinea-fowls, Ducks, and Geese, for Profit and Exhibition.

Author: Hugh Piper

Publication Date: 1871

With the introduction of commercial grade feed a lot of these lessons from the past are falling to the wayside. During a long term SHTF situation, this type of information will probably come in handy.

Protein, one great secret of profitable poultry-keeping is, that hens cannot thrive and lay without a considerable quantity of protein, and therefore if they cannot obtain a sufficient quantity in the form of insects, it must be supplied in meat, which, minced small, should be given daily and also to all fowls in winter, as insects are then not to be had.

Mr. Baily says: “Do not give fowls meat, but always have the bones thrown out to them after dinner; they enjoy picking them, and perform the operation perfectly. Do not feed on raw meat; it makes fowls quarrelsome, and gives them a propensity to peck each other, especially in moulting time if the accustomed meat be withheld.” Take care that long pieces of membrane, or thick skin, tough gristle or sinew, or pieces of bone, are not left sticking to the meat, or it may choke them, or form a lodgment in the crop.

Chicken House Lessons From The Past

The following article was taken from:

Poultry: A Practical Guide to the Choice, Breeding, Rearing, and Management of all Descriptions of Fowls, Turkeys, Guinea-fowls, Ducks, and Geese, for Profit and Exhibition.

Author: Hugh Piper

Publication Date: 1871

In this work we shall consider the accommodation and requisites for keeping fowls successfully on a moderate scale, and the reader must adapt them to his own premises, circumstances, and requirements. Everywhere there must be some alterations, omissions, or compromises.

We shall state the essentials for their proper accommodation, and describe the mode of constructing houses, sheds, and arranging runs, and the reader must then form his plan according to his own wishes, resources, and the capabilities of the place. The climate of Great Britain being so very variable in itself, and differing in its temperature so much in different parts, no one manner or material for building the fowl-house can be recommended for all cases.

Plans for poultry establishments on large scales for the hatching, rearing, and fattening of fowls, turkeys, ducks, and geese, are given in our smaller work on Poultry.

If You Had Seven Days Notice Before SHTF

Ruger 10/22 and Marlin model 60 side by side

Lets say the public was given a 1 week notice before the start of a major global conflict. Rarely does that kind of advance knowledge leak out to the public. For the sake of discussion lets say for once the public knows what is going to happen a week ahead of time.

One of the incidents I am referring to is the leak that Israel may attack Iran during Yum Kippor.

I have been hearing various rumors for over 2 decades, so I take them with a grain of salt and keep living life.

The word has leaked out, you do a review of your survival gear stockpile, now what?

What does your water stockpile look like?
What does your ammunition stockpile look like?
What does your fuel stockpile look like?
What about seeds for your long term survival garden, communications, livestock, livestock feed, firearms, propane,,, and other preps.

Firearms For SHTF

Homestead as a Bug Out Location

Australorp, Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock

Homestead VS Bug Out Location, which on is better and why? Instead of trying to discuss the merits of each, why not combine the two?

Instead of trying to maintain a home in an urban area, and a remote camp, why not build a homestead and make it your Bug Out Location? This way your time and money are not divided between two separate places.

For a lot of people, living in a rural area is not an option. Their job is in the city, and that is where they need to live. There are a number of people that live in rural areas, or in small towns. Lets talk about the people who are thinking about relocating to a rural area away from town.

For this article lets focus on 5 things – food, water, shelter, security, and some other small topics that we can group together.

Food

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 Kind of Disaster Are You Prepping For

Shooting AK-47 with ERGO Grip SUREGRIP

There is an interesting thread in the forum that got me to thinking; that thread is what are you truly prepping for? What kind of disaster are you preparing for? Are you prepping for an outbreak of a new disease, long term civil unrest, nuclear war,,, or something else?

My personal opinion, as long as you and your family are prepping, at least you are going in the right direction. The difference is the degree of readiness.

I can not tell you what to prep for. All I can do is tell you how my family and I are prepping.

My long term survival plans include food production, safe drinking water and property protection.

Food Production

During the Black Death of 1348 – 1350 starvation probably killed as many people as the bubonic plague. Modern society is based on farms and modern transportation. Where would our grocery stores be without trucks, fuel and highways?

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?

Indefinite Sustainability

My wife and I are working towards being self-sufficient. The problem is, the word “self-sufficient” has been used over and over so many times that it starts to lose its effect. I think another good term would be “indefinite sustainability”. Meaning a lifestyle that can be maintained for a long time.

Within the next year my wife and I are looking at moving to a rural area. We already live about 4 miles outside of Jasper Texas. But we want to move a little further from town.

When I was a child, my great-grand parents on my mom and dads side of the family lived in rural areas.

On my moms side of the family, my great-grand parents lived in a small house on the banks of the Neches river just south of Dam B. My great-grand father ran trotlines all the time and caught some huge catfish. They made their weekly or monthly trips to town for beans, bacon, medicine, and other basic supplies. The house they lived in was a very basic 4 room house – bed room, kitchen with a tv, fridge, stove and oven, bathroom, and enclosed wrap around porch.

On my dads side of the family, my great-grand parents lived on a homestead with around 30 acres in a rural area. They had cows, a horse, garden, barn, chickens. And one thing they seemed to have a lot of was peace and quiet.

Both places had several things in common. They caught or raised some of their own food, and they lived off the beaten path. I want to achieve both in the near future.

Over the past year or so I have been putting a lot of thought in my homesteading project. The goal is to have a garden and livestock that complement each other.

Garden and chicken yard one in the same

Chicken yard and garden

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018