As it would happen, I have become somewhat chatty, email wise, with Ron Brown, the author of the Non-Electric Lighting Series of books and eBooks. When the subject turned to backyard farming and livestock in general, the conversation became interesting. But I digress. I need to explain that I have always had a romanticized vision of raising chickens and possibly some farm animals. Alas, I have almost no yard space and live in an area where such a thing would be impossible. Yes, I can grow veggies in my front landscaping. That is considered charming. But chickens, rabbits, and sheep? Not so much.
So I continue to think about it and hope that some local farmer will take pity on me and allow me to share their chickens. And actually, truth be told, I do have one that periodically shares eggs with me. But back to Ron. He knows a little about a lot of things, raising livestock and chickens included. Today I share his simple piece of advice for raising livestock.
Note: Just to be clear, this article is meant to make you chuckle and in no way intends to dismiss or disregard the mainstay of food production. After all, our lives depend on food, the farmers, and those that dedicate their lives to ensuring we have enough to eat.
Ron Brown’s Simple Advice for Raising Livestock
And so it was at a cocktail party that a man asked me, “How can I learn about agriculture?” It was a sincere question. He’s a business-manager type as well as a prepper. He’s concerned about the future. The next day I emailed him a list of books:
Backyard Livestock by Steven Thomas
The New Seed-Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel
Old Fashioned Recipe Book by Carla Emery
Small-Scale Grain Raising by Gene Logsdon
Garden Insects of North America by Whitney Cranshaw
And to the list I attached this note: These are the best books I own on small-scale farming. But I caution you that farming is like sex. Reading about it and doing it are two different things.
There’s a survivalists’ adage: If you haven’t done it yourself, it doesn’t work. That may apply more to raising livestock than any other endeavor I can think of.
Rabbits sounded like a good idea. After a week I gave them back to the man I bought them from because I couldn’t stand the smell. He then had both the money and the rabbits.
4H gave my son a sheep. Free. Pedigreed stock. The only stipulation was that the firstborn lambs had to be given back into the program. We gave the sheep back after a week. Couldn’t stand the smell. If you haven’t done it yourself, it doesn’t work.
The keeping of livestock is bloody business. Birthing, butchering, castration, dehorning . . . these are facts of life. And whether it’s a chicken or a cow, the first time you cut into that body cavity you’re gonna smell a smell you ain’t never gonna forget.
The best single piece of advice I can give you on livestock – any kind of livestock – is this: Never bring a critter home until you’re ready for it; until you have its home (a stall, stable, cage, coop, whatever it takes) prepared to receive it.
Never ever. And even as we speak, I know you will. And you will regret it. I know that, too.
The Final Word
Now it seems to me that Ron has a thing about smell. It also seems to me that after a time, you would get used to it. And further, that if your livestock was your only source of meat (for the meat-eaters out there), then perhaps the smell or the thought of smell would not be so bad.
Did you notice that there was no mention of chickens? I am wondering about that I think I will ask Ron about it in my next email.
Enjoy your day!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Below you will find links to the items related toRon’s article, The Easy Way to Start a Fire. Of course, in addition to these items, you will want to check out Ron’s Non-Electric Lighting Series of books and eBooks.
Diamond GreenLight Kitchen Matches – 3 Pack (Strike anywhere): Our local supermarket in Friday Harbor told us that they do not stock the strike-anywhere matches because they self-combust. Urban legend or CYA? Who knows.
BIC Disposable Classic Lighter With Child Guard: This six pack of Bic lighters is reasonably priced but check around since these often go on sale locally. BICs just work – every time.
Zippo Street Chrome Pocket Lighter: Zippo has been creating virtually indestructible, windproof refillable lighters for more than 75 years. The Zippo Street Chrome pocket lighter is no exception. This lighter features a classic textured chrome finish and carries the same lifetime guarantee–to either work or be fixed by Zippo free of charge–for life. This lighter uses butane fuel. All wearable parts including flints and wicks are replaceable. Every prepper should own at least one Zippo!
UCO Stormproof Matches, Waterproof and Windproof with 15 Second Burn Time – 25 Matches: A ZIPPO or BIC lighter are always good to have but it would not hurt to have some stormproof matches as well.
Fire Cord 550 Paracord, Black: This is really neat stuff that I am putting through its paces right now. Basically, it is 7 strand Paracord + 1 strand of Fire Cord added as fire tinder. Like I said, need stuff.
Live Fire Original Emergency Fire Starter: This emergency fire starter is compact and a cinch to use. Completely waterproof! I know because I tried to drown my tin in salt water. The Live Fire Sport is the same product, but in an even smaller, 1 inch by 2 inch tin.
Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel: This “Scout” is the one I own. Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions. This is a small, compact version and is my personal favorite.
The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight: The first edition of this book (“The AMAZING 2000-Hour Flashlight”) contained 54 illustrations. This edition (“The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight”) contains 128 illustrations. Using off-the shelf supplies costing less than $10, you can modify a lantern-style flashlight to run for 2,000 hours! Only 99 cents for the eBook version.
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