One Simple Piece of Advice for Raising Livestock

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. 

One Simple Piece of Advice for Raising Livestock | Backdoor Survival

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

Farming

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.

Livestock

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!
Gaye


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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 Fire Starter | Backdoor Survival

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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Shop Emergency Essentials Sales for Fantastic Deals!

Emergency Essentials | Backdoor Survival

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What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival

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  1. Everything smells,lol, including us. I have often wondered what we smell like through the nose of a dog. And like you said, noses adjust.Especially when they have to!
    Laying hens, just three or four in the beginning, and without a rooster until you get used to caring for them and/or decide you really do want them,, is a good start-up in livestock. Some urban areas allow up to three hens only, no roosters, in a small backyard coop. Their manure does have a strong ammonia smell if you leave it accumulate, so like one does with everything, keep them clean. Compost the manure for the garden, keep their feedbags in lidded containers. Regularily wash out their water and feed dishes. Rabbits are a more efficient animal to keep specifically for meat though, and more versatile in what you can feed them, not so grain reliant. Other livestock requires pasture/fencing/feed relative to their size, so the above two would be the best to get a start with. A milk goat can be tethered to graze during the day if you are around to keep an eye on her, and penned at night, but you would still need access to a billy once a year so she can bear young and freshen: resume miking to capacity. You also cannot continuously milk an animal, they need a period of rest in later pregnancy. All livestock need better than decent shelter and good sufficient feed if you expect them to stay healthy, grow and thrive, especially in areas with weather extremes. Keeping livestock is like all renewable and sustainable systems, if you intend to take out you need to put something in: your work, which can be considerable, and your care, kindness, and respect for their life. However, if self-sufficiency is a goal, some livestock are integral to achieving it, I would think. Not every year is a good gardening year, and bumper crop years generally have some distance and time between them.

  2. I would like to recommend quail as starter livestock. They require less space and work than chickens or rabbits. They are quiet and easy to raise at home. The only “extra” item with them is you will need an incubator if you want to hatch more as most varieties no longer will sit on their own eggs. But for a “city farmer” with restrictions on chickens and a small yard they are a great alternative to nothing.

  3. Survival Woman, there is one truth about raising livestock that is a sad but true truth: where there is livestock, there will be dead stock. We all gotta go. But livestock seems to go on its own schedule. When you undertake to raise livestock, of any sort, you need to be prepared to be an undertaker. The bigger the crittur, the bigger the hole that is required. Might as well buy a bag of quicklime at the very start, ’cause sooner or later, you’ll be wanting it. Raising chickens? They die too. One or two, you can throw over the back fence, provided you don’t have a neighbor. Or leave in the back 10 acres for the buzzards, if you have a back ten acres. But whatcha’ gonna do when the bug has hit you hard, and you are raising a couple of hundred for meat (on pasture, naturally), and a cold rainstorm kills ’em all with hypothermia. You are going to be digging a damn big hole, is what you are going to be doing. (I recommend a back hoe or a bucket loader.) All those cute lambs? Some of them die. And although it is possible to eat the meat of an animal that just up and died, provided you butcher it immediately after it passes away, and you don’t find it, oh, say, next day…do you really, really want to? Any idea what killed it? Hmmmnnn??? Yep, you are gonna bury it, is what. And while it may be a good way to introduce you and your spouse and children into the realities of life and death, it is a wee bit traumatizing. Do it enough and you don’t have “experience” so much as you have PTSD. And maybe your kids do, too. And it can be tough on a marriage, unless your spouse grew up raising livestock, too. (In which case, your spouse already understood the “where there is livestock, there will be dead stock” rule.)

    Not saying it can’t be very rewarding to raise livestock, and eat your own meat. Got a couple of freezers full right now. But, your readers have been warned… “Where there is livestock, there WILL be dead stock.” And that, as they say, is that.

  4. I’m a chronic migraine sufferer, and I’ve worked on a farm. Currently I work in an office and take public transit for my commute. I’d much rather be smelling poo and ammonia and innards — which don’t trigger my migraines — than the perfumes and colognes and cleaning products I encounter daily which DO trigger my migraines! Haven’t been able to convince my coworkers that their bodies and clothes do NOT need all those added perfumes to keep them smelling pleasant. Guess I should’ve been born a century ago.

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