Thursday, April 19, 2018

Animal Husbandry

  Raising your own meat might seem like a good ideal. There are factors you should consider before you get too far into this. 
   Do you have enough room ? Do you have shelter for them in harsh weather ?  Can you separate them if need be ? Are you able to control and protect them SHTF ? Are you able to care for them in a way that will keep them healthy ? ( a sick animal is only a drain on your time and resources and produces nothing ). Are you knowledgeable of the particulars and requirements of this animal ? For instance, if you pen up your goats in a confined area... you are asking for health problems . A lot of what-ifs here. Factor in your hunker down location and what your possibilities are. Be real and honest doing this. 
   Then there are 2 BIG factors. Food and water. You will need these 2 things 24/7. 
   The numbers below reflect the rate of gain ratios. Pounds of feed to produce a pound of meat. These numbers are based on having feed available. SHTF the feed store will be closed. 

A good rule of thumb for cattle is 3 : 1.

Hogs 3.5 : 1

Chickens 2.5 : 1

The following table provides an estimate of peak rates of feed consumption and weight gain. The data were obtained from White Cornish Crosses under conventional management (without additional forage).
Age (weeks)
Type of feed
Feed consumption (weekly per bird)
Live body weight

Chicken starter
Chicken starter
 Chicken starter
Chicken grower
Chicken grower
Chicken grower
Chicken finisher
Chicken finisher
Chicken finisher


Based on data from Nutrient Requirements of Poultry. 9th Ed. USA National Academy of Sciences. 1994. Note that free-ranging organically fed birds will have both lower rates of feed consumption and slower rates of growth

Unless you have a lot of acres with a good fence, cattle are not a SHTF option. So I lean towards the foragers. Goats, chickens, rabbits , ( if you have land close for them to graze ( again, gathering every day, security, etc ).

And then... water.

A cow consumes between 5 to 7 gallons of water per day when the temperature is 50 degrees F and up to 24 gallons when the temperature is 95 degrees F. The amount of water a cow requires increases by one quart for every degree over 50 degrees F

Keeping livestock is site/situation specific. 

I just received 18 Silver Laced Wyandotte chickens. They are not the best layers but are a broody breed and the best mothers. The " chicken store " might not be open SHTF.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Another renewable resource is a garden. Of course these are seasonal. You might increase your bounty if you have any canning skills. 
   I buy only heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds will reproduce where hybrids not so much. Hybrid seeds might produce more and better veggies, but what about when you run out of seeds ? With heirloom seeds, collect some as you go thru the growing season, and then some at the end of the year. let the seeds dry in the air, then package to protect against the elements. I vacuum pack mine and then put them in the fridge. ( I have a small dorm room fridge where I keep meds and seeds , etc ). 
   Consider what you want to grow. I myself, don't mess with radishes, lettuce , corn, ( corn takes a lot of water for a small return ), and those sort of things. I raise, squash, peas, okra, beans, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers. Maybe some peppers for flavors. Everyone has their preferences, I try to balance what produces well, and what I like to eat. Room, and water are considerations. Maybe you live near a good water source, etc.  I suggest starting a garden now and figure out what/where works the best for you. You might want to test your soil and see if its lacking anything. 
   Critters. We had problems with rabbits and such helping themselves to our veggies. I put up a chicken wire fence to keep them out. It worked except the deer jumped the fence. They loved the peas. In a SHTF situation , after a couple of days.... we would have veggies and venison. Win, win.
   I would put up some Sevin dust or something like that for bug control. Chickens and guineas like bugs too. 
   Of course there is raised gardens, hydroponics, indoor growing, and many variables to gardening. Start now and find what suits your situation best. 

This is where I buy my seeds. Just sayin   .

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Renewable Sources

  I think it is not possible to store enough supplies for a long term SHTF. Unless you have a lot of money, even then... 
   Renewable assets are a major consideration. Starting with hunting. You should know up front that you are not the only one that will be thinking about this source. In this area, we have deer, wild hogs, turkey, and a few scattered antelope. Probably game will get thinned out early on. Also, once you pull the trigger, you have alerted anyone within a mile or so, that you have something to eat. When you do make that known, keep your eyes open. I think the local Game Warden will be trying to provide for his family, so I`m not sure how proactive he will be. Or maybe he will come  " confiscate " your kill. Personally, I would load my kill and vacate the area. Don`t over look the small game. Rabbits, squirrels, birds, and the like. 
   Trapping is another option. Knowledge and skills will enter in here and hunting too. If you opt to do some trapping, now is the time to plan and purchase the traps you deem suitable for your game/area. Become aware of the habits of game in your area. Feeding, watering, and travel habits. I am well aware that trapping quail is against the law. But, the game laws may or may not be enforceable in times like these. 
   Don`t be single minded about what you would or would not eat. For instance, I know from personal experience that rattlesnake meat is delicious. Good, very white meat. So be open minded, especially when you get really hungry. Would you eat a red-tailed hawk ? Or a roadrunner ? Or a bobcat ? 
   A few words of caution here. Look at your trap ( metal wire box trap ) closely before you run up to it. Verify what`s inside. In the case of catching a skunk. Gently lay something over the trap. A sheet or tarp. An old trapper told me one time, if he can`t see you, he`s a lot less likely to spray. After catching many skunks ( 30-40 ), I have had only one spray. I keep my trap wrapped in a dark colored material. I usually relocate the skunks way out in the country. I don`t like to shoot anything in the trap unless I have too. I have had people tell me that they dropped the trap in a horse tank and drown the skunk. Kinda cruel if you ask me.  Be ready for the ever present house cat or opossum. I`m not that hungry... yet.
   Another word of caution. Be aware of the landowners on whose land you are hunting. Do you have permission ? Is your being there going to cause a problem ? Maybe you could work a deal and split the game with him. Around here we have a lot of absentee land owners. Who knows if they will be here SHTF. Also, this is ranching country. I would advise against thinking about shooting an occasional cow. These animals are someones property.
   More to come on renewable food sources.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

More Food

  Flour, sugar, salt, and spices. Flour is harder to store. I did package some in 5 gallon buckets with trash bag and oxygen absorbers. I have a good amount of pancake mixes and Bis-quick. I shrink wrapped these and put them in the freezer. One advantage to these is they are pre-mixed. All you do is add water. In the same manner, I packaged some powered milk. Sugar and salt packaged in 5 gallon buckets . I believe you need a good amount of both. I probably have 250 # of sugar. And 150 # of salt. I may buy some more . I bought these bulk, in 50 # sacks. A lot cheaper.  Remember to package these to protect from moisture.  
    Pasta stores fairly well. It does have some oils in it so if possible , shrink wrap and keep in a cool dry place. Spaghetti is one that stacks well in the freezer. Romain noodles are cheap. 
   Remember breakfast foods. Oats, grits, Cream of Wheat, or Malt-o-Meal. We used to eat mush which is boiled cornmeal. You should try to store some cornmeal any way.
     Instant potatoes. Freeze dried foods ( expensive). MREs ( also expensive but store long term very well ). MREs are available online from 4-5 companies. They give you a breakdown on calories and price per meal. These are great and well balanced to keep you alive. If you can afford them. Also , you don`t have to worry so much about rotation. So, probably cost effective. If I was starting over, I would probably invest more on these and less on canned and packaged foods. 
    Spices, I bought at Sams. They have larger containers available. I shrink wrapped these just to add protection from the elements. Give good consideration to these additives. When you are eating a steady diet of something, a little change in taste can make a big difference. Maybe some Rotel in the beans. Or some chili powder. Mrs. Dash, Cajun season, powered garlic, and you use regularly. I have some powered Nestles Quick to add to powered milk, another way to make powered milk more palatable. Don`t overlook these "feel good foods".
   Honey stores pretty well. If it is kept long term, it might turn back into sugar. You can look at it and see that it has. Not a big problem. Put container in a pan of warm water , it will return to it`s natural state. Do not overheat. Overheating will destroy the enzymes in it. 
   Jelly last for a while, but not what I would consider long-term. It will last beyond the expiration date. Depending on the environment you keep the in ( temperature ? ).  Expiration dates are put on by manufacturers to protect them from liability. 
   Look around your pantry and see what you use now, and how you might embellish it . 
   Staples are very important, but you are going to get tired of rice and beans / beans and rice.
   Again, this is getting long.

Sunday, February 18, 2018


  You will probably have to supplement your prepped / stored food with renewable sources. Hunting, gardening, and livestock kept on premises. 
   Stored food is rice and beans, canned food, and staples like flour, salt, sugar, and spices. 
   I have stockpiled a good amount of rice and beans. Simply because they last pretty good if stored right. I purchased 50# sacks of rice and beans at Sams, ( Costco, etc. ). Bought new 5 gallon plastic with lids at Lowes. I put a plastic trash bag in the bucket and filled with commodities . Added a few oxygen absorber as I filled. Twisted off the sack and put the lid on. You might need a hammer to whack the lids and insure a good seal. Mark the bucket to identify what and how much is inside. Also date the bucket. After beans age, they harden and are a little harder to cook. Adding a little baking soda during the soaking process will help soften them up. A good soaking will help here and shorten cooking time. Rice, I have some Minute Rice, but it is a little pricey . Although it does save fuel in the cooking process. I opened some Minute Rice that had been in the freezer since 3-2011, it was perfectly fine. Had some for supper last night. If you have renewable fuel available, ( wood , etc ), regular rice is a cheaper option and is easier to store. 

   Storing ANYTHING remember, sunlight, temperature, and moisture are your worst enemies.

   Canned foods. We used to own a restaurant so we had an account with nearby wholesalers. Sysco, Food Service, and the like. We bought a good amount of # 10 cans of , vegetables, fruits, cheese, spaghetti sauces, puddings, and so on . Canned meat ( beef )is harder to come by and expensive. Canned fish, ham, or chicken  is a good option. Some stores have a limited selection of these larger cans at a reasonable price. Smaller cans are fine, depends on how many you are prepping for and price per serving is cheaper in the larger cans. I have had some of these cans for 7+ years and cant tell they are compromised. Shelf life depends on your 3 enemies. especially temperature. If and when you do use them, just use a little common sense. Notice if can is swelled up or rusted. When you open it, look for any visible signs of something wrong. Smell . Taste a little bit to check for any kind of off flavor. 

   One mistake we did make. We bought a new upright freezer. Stocked it with cheese, hams, hens, turkey, peanut butter, wieners, and cooking oil. Over $800 worth of food. Completely packed. Guess what ? About 6-8 months latter I noticed something running out the bottom. Everything ruined. Maggots everywhere. What didn't spoil, was ruined buy the odor. For instance, the peanut butter. Normally it would have been alright but the smell permeated the plastic container. Same with the Crisco containers. Its almost impossible to buy anything packaged in glass anymore. Notice the next time you are in the store. All plastic or paper. The cause ? This was a frost free freezer. Something happen to the defrost switch and it stuck on defrost mode. The power light on the outside was still on. It was getting power...just warming mode to defrost. I have a friend that this happened to. I still have a larger chest type freezer. I do open it up to check it. Lesson learned. 
   This is getting kinda long, so, more on food later.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Water ... P S.

Just a postscript to yesterdays post. You think your water is always going to be there ? A lot of things can happen.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


WATER.....   You should start thinking about this right now. Storing some is an option. But know this, 6 months to a year is probably a maximum shelf life for stored water. Containers, temperature, and original source will affect this. I think it is a good idea to have at least some stored. You are going to need water the first day and everyday thereafter. Dehydration sets in faster than you think, and can cause a lot of problems.
   I live in a semi-arid region of West Texas. Ranching country. So there are some windmills with large water tubs for livestock. Windmills are being phased out and replaced with solar pumps. These tubs are an option. ( land owners approve ? ). There is a creek about 6 miles north of me with a gravel road going to it ( public access ). I have prepped 12 volt transfer pumps, hand pumps, and several 250 gallon containers on a trailer to transport. One family member lives about 1 block from me. They have a electric water well. In this area, underground water is safe to drink. I have EMP hardened the well house the best I can and leave the pump disconnected from public commercial source. I have 3 generators for power outages, ( we will talk more about power sources later). 
   There are a lot of ways to sanitize your water. I caution you, be VERY careful with your water. Contaminated water can make you very, very sick. Remember health care might be almost non-existent . Waterborne diseases are caused by drinking contaminated or dirty water. Contaminated water can cause many types of  diseases, including Cholera, Guinea worm disease, Typhoid, and Dysentery. Water related diseases cause 3.4 million deaths each year ( imagine a SHTF scenario ). Also Cryptosporidium infection (cryptosporidiosis) is an illness caused by tiny, one-celled cryptosporidium parasites. When cryptosporidia (krip-toe-spoe-RID-e-uh) enter your body, they travel to your small intestine and then burrow into the walls of your intestines. Later, cryptosporidia are shed in your feces. Crypto can come from runoff water. Dirt tanks and streams ( like the one near me ), and rivers. I have a Berkey filter but there are a lot of filters out there. Do your homework. Still the safest way to be sure you have safe water to drink is to boil it. I know this uses your fuel, but better to be safe. Luckily I have an endless supply of mesquite wood available. 
   Take a good look at your situation and options. Form a plan and implement it now. 

God Bless.