Backyard Livestock

Posted: December 6, 2014 in All Others, SHTF Preparedness, Sustainment and Gardening
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If you have been to the grocery store lately you will have noticed that prices for everything are still rising will no end in sight. According to the latest numbers released by the feds, last month’s payroll numbers did rise but I can tell you it didn’t around my place. The prices we all pay for the necessities are continuing to rise and there is no hope in sight. The recession is still continuing for most of us, but the recovery is progressing at a snail’s pace. There are still segments of the US population at are still maintaining a 20% or higher unemployment rate. The job creation rate is rising for some specialized skills and for lower paying jobs.

Does this information concern you? It should. There should be many questions going through your head right now. One of the many questions you should be asking yourself is how are you going to continue to put quality food on your table and ensure that your family is fed. There are several different things you can do to help your situation and in the long run possibly bring in some extra cash in the long run. There are also some other benefits, but we’ll go into those later.

Backyard livestock is one answer is one answer to this dilemma. There are several animals that can provide your family with the needed nutrition and give your wallet a much needed break. Now a word of caution before you embark on this endeavor. If you are a city dweller, be sure and check your local zoning ordinances before you put any money towards building your backyard herd. Also, remember animals always come with responsibilities, don’t start down this road unless you are prepared to dedicate the number of hours and resources to care of these animals.

There are several different animals you can choose from to supplement your store bought meat sources. Let look at a few.

Rabbits. Rabbits are an excellent source of protein and can be prepared in many of the same ways as chicken. Rabbit meat is leaner than most meats that you can obtain in the supermarket. These animals are quite, relatively clean and productive little creatures. As long as you keep their hutches cleaned regular they are basically odor free. Besides the meat, they can also provide fur.

Meat Rabbits

Some down sides to raising rabbits are the predators love them. Make sure that you have a strong hutch and fences for your rabbits. Both the hutch and fences will have to be able to keep the predators out. You may want to keep your hutches in a garage or shed. Rabbits can also be affected by diseases. If the rabbits appear sick, seek veterinarian assistance as soon as possible.

Rabbits in a summer cage.

Rabbits in a summer cage.

If you are going to spend any time away from your rabbits, you should have a trusted friend or family member look after your hutch. Your rabbits will have to have water and food while you are gone. Whoever gets the job of looking after your rabbits during your absence, make sure they can be trusted to carry out all the duties that the rabbit care will require.

Chickens. Undoubtedly the most popular backyard livestock is chickens. There are a lot of advantages to raising chickens. They are a great source of protein, extra cash and can believe it or not can also be a great source entertainment on those long summer evenings.   Chickens can provide you and your family with fresh eggs, meat and even manure for your garden. Several chickens can be kept in a small area and will eat about anything.

ChickensChickens have the same draw backs as rabbits, but these can easily be overcome. Again, remember to check local zone regulations and if needed homeowner association rules to be sure that you can keep chickens in your area. Some areas will allow you to keep chickens but not roosters.

Chickens 3

Your chickens will have to be kept in a secure coop. They will also need a fenced area where they can safely scratch, peck and get some bugs. You may even want to fence or net the top of the fenced area. This will help keep the chickens in and predators out. There are several good sites out there that can tell you how to build your coop and nesting boxes.

Eggs

Miniature Goats. If you’re lucky enough to have a large enough area, miniature goats can be another great alternative to having to buy meat and milk from the store. Unlike rabbits or chickens, goats, even miniature goats will require a large enough fenced area to move and exercise in. A pair of miniature goats require about 50 square feet of area. The more goats you have the more area you will need. The fence should be a woven metal fence if possible. Most goats can be destructive and will chew a wooden fence. Goats should be given plenty of items to play with or keep them occupied and even items for them to stand on top of to satisfy their urge to climb.

Goats

Miniature goats can provide a source of both meat and milk. Milking goats can provide you with about a half of gallon or more milk a day. Milking goats are required to be milked twice a day for a 10 month period. Goat’s milk can be used for a lot of things, including drinking milk, soap, candles and other items used daily around the house.

Goats 3Goats, require a shelter that will keep them dry. In the winter, the shelter should allow the goats to move in and out, but also keep the wind out. They will need plenty of straw for bedding and this bedding will need to be changed often. By changing the straw and cleaning the goat’s area they will produce little odor and may provide you with extra income.

Goats 4

Other Backyard Critters

Bees. Every gardener, whether they are hardcore or a hobbyist should strongly consider hosting a bee hive. No matter if you have fruit trees or a vegetable garden a bee hive will not only keep your fruits and vegetables pollinated but also the entire neighborhoods.

BeesA lot of times you can strike up a deal with a bee keeper to share some of the honey with you. If you find you like having the bees around, you can study up and become a bee keeper too!

Fish. Aquaponics has become very popular in recent times. Fish can provide you with a meat source and an alternate source of fertilizer for your garden. They can be fed worms from your compost pile and even certain vegetable scraps. Again, the fish will provide you with a source of fertilizer that can be used in your garden. The water from your aquaponic system can be directed to your garden to provide an alternate water source.

Fish 2You and your neighbors grass clippings can be used as a food source for rabbits, chickens and the goats. If you look around your neighborhood long enough, you should be able to find other food sources for your livestock. Remember, you are raising these animals as livestock. They can also be traded and sold to provide funding for other food and needed services for the other animals.

As with any other project, you must educate yourself before trying to raise livestock, big or small. It’s not easy raising any animal, but it can be rewarding both spiritually and financially. These animals can provide you and your family with another way to prepare you and your love ones for the hard times to come.

BYP US

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Comments
  1. Prepper Farm says:

    Great post! Our local zoning allows for chickens and bees. Goats and roosters aren’t allowed. I think rabbits are allowed, but don’t know about for food. As with most things, keep it low key, and I bet rabbits for food could be done.

    By the way, one of my favorite terms is “urban chickens.” I always picture chickens in leather jackets and cool shades.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Backyard Livestock | Backyard Prepper US – If you have been to the grocery store lately you will have noticed that prices for everything are still rising will no end in sight. According to the latest numbers …… […]

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