Lets say SHTF tomorrow, what would be your top priorities? Besides safe drinking water, food production and property protection is at the top of my list.
One of the questions I ask myself, how do you develop a sustainable food supply, and at the same time protect your property? Well, its not really “how”, but where do you divide your resources to best serve you and your family.
Lets say you have $20. Would that $20 serve you better as ammunition, or through livestock such as chickens? What about tools and fencing supplies? Would that $20 serve you well as a hammer, wire cutters, staples for fencing wire, or as barbed wire?
If you have a few million dollars to spend, we would not have to be asking these questions. We would just buy the land, and buy all of the supplies that we need.
Unfortunately, most of us have limited resources. Due to these limited resources we need to spend wisely. And thus we ask questions to find answers.
Then comes up the classic debate, would that money be better invested in food, livestock or ammunition?
Stockpiling ammunition was not supposed to be one of the main topics of this article, but I thought it was important to include it. Once you have more ammo then you shoot in 5, 6, or even 7 years, does it becomes a little redundant? How much 22 long rifle, 223 Remington, 7.62×39, 308 Winchester, 30-30 Winchester,,,, do you really need?
How much ammunition do you “really” need for a long term SHTF situation. The obvious answer would be as much as possible. But when you have limited resources, how are you and your family best served by those resources?
Related Article – Stockpiling too many types of ammunition
Instead of focusing on a wide range of firearms, why not stick with just a couple? Which is the reason why I have not adopted the 300 Blackout. Do I “really” want to add yet another caliber to the list? Nope, I certainly do not.
One of the mistakes a lot of people make is that they own a wide variety of firearms. They may have 1 Ruger 10/22, 1 AR-15, 1 AK-47 and one shotgun. When a part breaks on the firearm, the ammunition you have stockpiled for that rifle is now useless. Maybe you could use the ammunition to barter with?
The debate I have with myself is should I go with a lesser expensive AK, or a little more expensive AR-15? The AR is easier to train family members, and the reduced recoil of the 223 Remington is a benefit.
The front of the AK magazine has to catch, and then be pulled into place.
With the AR-15 magazine, its insert, slap, and your are ready to go.
In comparison of the recoil between the AR and the AK, I turned to my daughter, and she preferred the recoil of the AR over the AK.
Even though the AK cost less the then AR, if the shooter does not like how the weapon handles, is cost savings a major factor?
Livestock After SHTF
You have your Homestead / Bug Out Location up and running, now how do you protect your assets? You have your goats, chickens, livestock, garden all producing food, your family is well fed, things are going well, but what are your plans for protecting those resources?
Do you have the land to have a garden or livestock?
Do you have fence wire, fence post and tools?
My ideal livestock setup would be goats, chickens, rabbits and maybe some pigs.
Goats – ideal for large family meals. Butcher a goat, put it on the pit, and there is enough meat to serve a large family. Goat milk can be made into cheese, butter or drank.
Chickens After SHTF
Chickens are ideal for small family meals and eggs. My 13 hens are laying between 5 – 10 eggs a day. After a cold front pushes through, the laying slows down a little bit.
My ideal flock size would be around 20 hens with at least 1 rooster. 4 or 5 hens would be kept in a separate pen from the main flock, along with the rooster. These 4 or 5 hens and the rooster would be the breeding flock while the rest of the hens would be for egg laying. Every 6 months or so the hens would be rotated out with the rooster.
Related Article – Best chicken breed for SHTF
Instead of hunting for rabbit, lets just keep some in pens. the rabbit manure makes ideal fertilizer for the garden. A rabbit with some carrots and potatoes, and we have a stew.
The goats, chickens and rabbits are all good foragers, as in they can find their own food. For the rabbits, the food would have to be delivered to them. But none of the three need several acres of land, and all three are easy to handle.
Depending on the quality of the foliage, and how much is available, the goats, chickens and rabbits should be self-sufficient.
Due to their size, cattle are not included in my long term SHTF survival plans. If you butcher a cow, then you have to process several hundred pounds of meat. Then there is the space requirement for cattle, with each cow needing 2 acres of land – depending on the quality of the land.
Cows are good for cheese and butter. For the space requirement, why not get a couple of goats?
In the middle ages cattle did not carry a high value. This was mainly due to the cow being too large to process, and the space requirements.
Pigs – besides butchering a piglet from time to time, what else are pigs good for? Pork is easier to store then beef. for this reason pigs were valued higher then cattle in the middle ages.
One of benefits to pigs is they have a high reproduction rate. A single sow may give birth to as many as 8 – 12 piglets at a time, and usually two litters a year. Best case situation, you have 2 or 3 sows, this means once they start breeding you could butcher a piglet ever couple of weeks.
When farmers get in a financial bind, they are more likely to sell off their pigs then their cows. Why? Because pigs reproduce faster then cattle, so the herd recovers faster.
One of the other benefits to a pig, they will eat almost anything.
Wild Pigs After SHTF
Here in southeast Texas we have a wild pig problem. Why keep pigs in a pen, when there are so many of them in the woods? Just a few days ago my son-in-law brought home a boar hog he caught. On opening day of deer season my dad shot a boar hog that weighed close to 200 pounds.
With trained dogs, its very possible to hunt pigs instead of having to keep them in a pen and have to feed them.
Catching a wild hog during a long term SHTF situation might be a little dangerous, but at least you dont have to worry about feeding the pig while its in a pen.