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We will begin by assuming that most people have started or have big plans for their gardening and will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables via their own labor after a collapse. If not, it is time to get on it. Our next step will be a source of protein, (plant proteins not included for this article).
What animals should you choose to raise after a collapse?
When we think of meats, we usually think beef, pork, and chicken. On a small homestead (unless you have access to acres of grazing land), raising cattle is out. There is also the problem of slaughtering and storing the amount of meat found on an average cow when there is the possibility of no electricity, a major concern in itself. Most homesteader/survivalists will go for the remaining two types of meat production: hogs and chickens. There is nothing wrong with this if you are preparing to do this now. If you are one of those that believe these animals will magically come available AFTER a collapse, the only meat in your diet may come from hunting.
In modern times, we have become spoiled. We want meat with almost every meal. This was simply not practical for our ancestors. There was a reason you had a chicken dinner on a Sunday and holidays and why it was a big deal! You might get one meat dish a week in a family if you were lucky. I think that after a collapse we will be back to this same deal. Now, just what do you raise to have a good meat dish every Sunday?
Chickens are a fine source of both meat and eggs. My wife and I raise a flock of about 20 chickens and are currently in the process of breeding for our next generations. We are learning a lot of what to do and what not to do practically. Makes me wish that I had paid more attention when my dad was trying to teach me these things when I was younger instead of being a typical rebellious teenager! For chickens, you should have a plan for slaughtering them. My wife has a chicken wringer and we will discuss what to do with one in a later article. The positives of chickens, being easy to raise, greatly outweigh the negatives, stopping predators and diseases. As far as predators go, I used to love foxes before I started farming and raising chickens. Now, the very word fox makes me reach for my .22.
Next on the list of meat animals for a small homesteader is a hog. There are tons of articles about how to raise these so I won’t go into details. My wife and I are currently preparing an area to raise hogs. We are going to try something that we’ve done a little research on since we do not want large hogs. We are going to raise pot-bellied pigs (which get to 100 lbs) for the meat. We’ll produce an article about our trials and experiments in the future.
The final animal on our list is the rabbit. Rabbits have a reputation for breeding fast. They eat greens, which can be gathered from the property around your farm easily (maybe a job for the kids?). A typical rabbit will be ready for processing 8 weeks after birth. That can lead to an abundance of meat pretty quickly, depending on the space you have to raise the rabbits. Another attractive feature of these is that rabbits are typically quiet animals so will work well on homesteads trying to keep a low profile.
An added bonus of all of the above animals is their manure! The solid wastes of the above animals are all excellent fertilizers. These can be used to return minerals and nutrients to the soils in your gardens to deliver a much needed boost to your soil.
That is all for now, hopefully everyone is having a wonderful summer and our fellow Americans enjoy their many Independence Day activities tomorrow. Blessings to all from Alicia and Mike at PamelaFarms.com!