Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: livestock

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.

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

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.

Skills Every Survivalist Should Know

Some kind of SHTF / TEOTWAWKI event happens, what are some basic skills every survivalist should know?

Trying to balance work, family life and prepping means there is not a lot of free time. Kids birthday parties, work a garden, go to the shooting range, tend to the fruit trees, go fishing, take the kids to the movies,,, you get the idea. It would be nice to have unlimited free time to learn survival skills, but free time is in high demand.

If you had to pick certain skills that every survivalist should know, what would those skills be? After putting a lot of thought into this topic, I come up with a basic list. This is in no way a definitive or complete list. Lets consider this list as food for thought.

  • Infection Control (Epidemiology)
  • First Aid
  • Raising Livestock
  • Gardening
  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Preserving food
  • How to use firearms

Infection Control (Epidemiology)

Chicken coop update May 14 2012

Chicken house with attached run

As part of our long term preps, my wife and I decided to get some chickens and build a chicken coop. We bought our first chicks on February 25. Over the next week and a half we ended up with 13 chicks.

Instead of trying to stockpile #10 cans of freeze dried eggs, why not have a supply of fresh eggs? Nutrition wise, fresh eggs are a lot better then freeze dried eggs loaded with sodium.

On the weekend of March 17 the first half of the chicken coop was built.

On the weekend of April 7 the second half of the chicken coop was built.

The chickens are starting to get cramped in their coop and area below the coop, so its time to build a run. The run will provide a the chickens with room to get our from under the coop.

Human innovation after a collapse

Kevin Felts, blogger and political commentator

If there is something about humans that has ensured the survival of the human race, it has to be our level of creativity and our level of innovation.

If a man (or woman) has an axe, they can cut trees to build a home. that axe allows them to clear land for crops or livestock which will help ensure a steady supply of food.

If a man has a pole line and hook, they will catch fish.

Give a man some seeds and he will grow a garden.

What makes today so much different then 1348

For those of you that do not know what happened in 1348, that is when the Black Death (bubonic plague) entered Europe. Possibly as many as 1/3 of the entire population of Europe died between 1348 – 1350.

Humans have harnessed science. Not that we fully understand science, but at least we have some kind of working grasp. We have vaccines, antibiotics, medical care, hospitals and trained medical professionals.

How to build a window for a chicken coop

Raising chickens for shtf / teotwawki

When I first started looking at building my chicken coop, the first thing I did was go out on the net and look for pictures. There are all kinds of examples out there, but I needed to go cheap. Cheap as in building the window out of scrap material. I see no reason to buy a window, when one can be made from left over scraps from building the coop.

Besides ventilation, the screened in vent windows allow the chickens to be viewed without opening the doors. At ni time, if you want to check on the chickens, walk up to the coop, look in through the screened in windows to check on the chickens.

In the following article I will try to describe how to install a screened in window for a chicken coop. If some steps are left out, I apologize. But hopefully this article can give you the general idea.

Chicken Project Two Month Update

Raising chickens for shtf / teotwawki

The first set of dear little chickens turned two months old on April 25th, and what a trip it has been. Part of my long term SHTF survival plans include getting chickens and building a chicken coop. the goal was to have a secure chicken coop and egg production up and running by the middle of 2012. So far things have been running according to plan.

Over the past two months there have been several changes to the plans.

The first plan was to only have 4 or 5 chickens, but those plans quickly changed. My wife and I bought 5 chicks, of those five, two died.

One week after buying the first set of chicks, my wife and I bought 6 more.

About 3 or 4 days after buying the 6 chicks, we bought 4 more.

This left us with a total of 13 chicks. 13 is about 2 – 3 times what my wife and I had originally planed on having. During the initial planning phases dimensions of the chicken coop had been calculated so that each chicken had plenty of room. Now that we had 13 chicks instead of just 3, things had to change. The first thing that had to change was the square footage per bird.

The first coop was a simple 4 foot by 6 foot box – with 3 feet of hardware cloth, and 1 foot of laying boxes.

The second coop is 8 feet long and 6 feet wide. This equals out to around 3.23 square feet per chicken in the coop and another 3.23 square feet under the coop.

More chicken coop ideas

Raising chickens for SHTFIn 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:

Security
Lights
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.

Trying to raise chickens Part 2

Chicks under a heatlamp

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.

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.

Thoughts on stockpiling food for SHTF

eversafe meal mre survivalist foodOne of the survivalist mindsets that has been around for a long time, is that you need 1 years worth of food stockpiled; that you should have 1 years worth of food for every member in the house. If someone has the time and money to manage such a project, then good for you. But personally, I do not have the room, money, or time to put towards maintaining a 1 year food stockpile. Its no easy project to maintain all of that food without letting it expire or spoil. Expiration dates need to be kept along with a running inventory. If you eat out of your food stocks to keep everything rotated, then list will need to be kept as to what was eaten and what needs to be replaced.

I never have been one that subscribed to the “massive stockpiling of food” mindset. Stockpile food – yes. But not to the point where rotating your food and keeping track of inventory consumes a lot of your time. Over the years I have seen people that have dedicated a massive amount of time to their food stockpile – everything from calorie counting, to spreadsheets that list every single little item.

My plans are more like stockpile what you eat, and have normal food rotation. Instead of having 1 or 2 jars of pickles, have 3 jars. Instead of having 2 or 3 cans of ravioli, have 4 or 5. Instead of having 10 pounds of rice, have 30 pounds, instead of having 1 jar of honey, keep 2 or 3 in stock.

On top of that, I keep a nice stockpile of seeds for gardening.

I look at survivalist food preps as layers:

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018