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Old 06-26-2017, 01:28 AM
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That sounds like a book I need too. Someone might be able to post a link.

I'd not seen oxen work when I was young but I did see some oxen demonstations at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in recent years. I was impressed and fascinated by them and have not ruled them out as a choice in draft animals. That's why I said draft animals instead of horses. From what I've read, the covered wagons using oxen during our westward migration and settlement were more reliable and hardy than horses on the long trek. Horses were faster but required more care and better feed.

I've often wondered why oxen use yokes instead of a collar. Their physical makeup is not greatly different than a horse. I do have a couple of ox yokes that I've collected over the years. I also have a set of horse harness that a friend gave me. It doesn't look extremely large but I'm certainly no expert on harness. It looks like it would fit a smaller draft horse. I might be in the ironic situation of trying to find a horse to fit my harness istead of finding a harness to fit my horse.
If you have draft horses very long you'll end up with lots of different collars. Los of horses that look close is size are very different in collar size. Also invest in collar pads.

I've seen pictures from Europe where they had oxen in collars. And I remember reading somewhere that if you harness an ox you need to turn the collar upside down. Why I don't recall guess it's the difference in build

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Old 06-26-2017, 01:31 AM
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In my experience horses are usually easier to train then oxen.


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Old 06-26-2017, 01:39 AM
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Preparing to farm with draft animals...That kind of prepping has my respect. Basically grid down prep. That's my gardening approach. You have done the easy part....buying stuff. Now get a horse and put it into practice. Would love to see some posts about it.


I second that! I think getting back to the basics will be the only hope fore survival in an EOTWAWKI situation. I am not saying I don't appreciate a tractor. I am saying I don't think that it will be possible to keep a tractor going in a long term global shtf fan situation.

Keep us posted as to your progress. In my experience using a plowshare behind a horse was harder then I expected, but not impossible. That said a quarter horse that hasn't been properly trained to pull and an inexperienced operator didn't make the experiment an easy one.

I would suggest a draft Mule. That's what I'm hoping to acquire. Something that can be ridden should you need to, can pull a Plow in the field or a cart/buggy to town.


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Old 06-26-2017, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Backpack-shooter View Post
I second that! I think getting back to the basics will be the only hope fore survival in an EOTWAWKI situation. I am not saying I don't appreciate a tractor. I am saying I don't think that it will be possible to keep a tractor going in a long term global shtf fan situation.

Keep us posted as to your progress. In my experience using a plowshare behind a horse was harder then I expected, but not impossible. That said a quarter horse that hasn't been properly trained to pull and an inexperienced operator didn't make the experiment an easy one.

I would suggest a draft Mule. That's what I'm hoping to acquire. Something that can be ridden should you need to, can pull a Plow in the field or a cart/buggy to town.


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Some folks like fjord horses for light draft and saddle horses.
Me I like warm bloods (draft and 1/4 horse crosses)
For the all purpose horse. Strong enough to put in harness but narrow enough to ride.
I've got some Clydesdale crosses that will pack a big man all day every day in very tough and rough country. ( By big I mean me and my light weight of 290).


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Old 06-26-2017, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Velvet Elvis View Post
Preparing to farm with draft animals...That kind of prepping has my respect. Basically grid down prep. That's my gardening approach. You have done the easy part....buying stuff. Now get a horse and put it into practice. Would love to see some posts about it.


Hey, it took me a lot of years just to do the 'easy' part. It'll take me a while to get to where I'll be farming with draft animals.

I do firmly believe that our present methods of farming are long term non-sustainable. Either fuel sources or methods will have to change, maybe technology will change enough. The draft animal idea on my part is still in the infancy stage. Make it easier to make the transition if things fall apart quickly. The world still might be standing when I am dead and gone.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:23 AM
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In my experience horses are usually easier to train then oxen.


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From my observation of both and talking to experienced people I would agree.

I have no real experience training either as draft animals.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Backpack-shooter View Post
I second that! I think getting back to the basics will be the only hope fore survival in an EOTWAWKI situation. I am not saying I don't appreciate a tractor. I am saying I don't think that it will be possible to keep a tractor going in a long term global shtf fan situation.

Keep us posted as to your progress. In my experience using a plowshare behind a horse was harder then I expected, but not impossible. That said a quarter horse that hasn't been properly trained to pull and an inexperienced operator didn't make the experiment an easy one.

I would suggest a draft Mule. That's what I'm hoping to acquire. Something that can be ridden should you need to, can pull a Plow in the field or a cart/buggy to town.


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I think draft animals are one way to seriously consider for a Teowawki situation. That's why I'm heading in that direction. My progress will be very gradual (unless the world changes drastically tomorrow).

A mule is under serious consideration (as well as a smaller draft horse). I've not even eliminated oxen as a possibility. Much of the time circumstances dictate our choices rather than pre-planning.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jvtater View Post
Some folks like fjord horses for light draft and saddle horses.
Me I like warm bloods (draft and 1/4 horse crosses)
For the all purpose horse. Strong enough to put in harness but narrow enough to ride.
I've got some Clydesdale crosses that will pack a big man all day every day in very tough and rough country. ( By big I mean me and my light weight of 290).


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I've done a little research on Fjord and similar sized horses. I think I might be better served with one of the smaller breeds of work horses rather than the giants. I'm not planning to farm vast acreage, planning to farm some very large gardens and make enough hay to feed livestock.

The original Morgans were considered an all purpose horse. I'm still in the research/learning stage. I don't know what the sequence of events was, either large draft horses or large war horses that could carry a knight with heavy armor but these large breeds were bred with both purposes in mind.

You sound big enough to put you in harness. Might be tough to train though.
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Backpack-shooter View Post
Keep us posted as to your progress. In my experience using a plowshare behind a horse was harder then I expected, but not impossible. That said a quarter horse that hasn't been properly trained to pull and an inexperienced operator didn't make the experiment an easy one.
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My experience behind a plow was similar although the horse was properly trained, I wasn't.

The owner/observer said my row was as "crooked as a jackass's hind leg" (the hind part was pronounced more like hiant, I can still hear his words) but then he added with a grin, "you can get more potatoes in a crooked row than you can in a straight one".
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Old 06-26-2017, 08:48 AM
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I've done a little research on Fjord and similar sized horses. I think I might be better served with one of the smaller breeds of work horses rather than the giants. I'm not planning to farm vast acreage, planning to farm some very large gardens and make enough hay to feed livestock.

The original Morgans were considered an all purpose horse. I'm still in the research/learning stage.

You sound big enough to put you in harness. Might be tough to train though.
Lol I might be but a got horse does better then I do lol.
The Welsh draft horse might be good to if your looking at the fjord/haflinger size horse.
Most of the Morgan horses I've been around the last twenty years have made a change in size. They are more showy now or do they seem. Or maybe that's just the ones I've been around.
Suffolk or Suffolk punch may be a good size for you too

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Old 06-26-2017, 08:49 AM
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Also the old school Minature Belgium horses they weighs about 1200-1500 lbs

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Old 06-26-2017, 09:34 AM
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I think draft animals are one way to seriously consider for a Teowawki situation. That's why I'm heading in that direction. My progress will be very gradual (unless the world changes drastically tomorrow).

A mule is under serious consideration (as well as a smaller draft horse). I've not even eliminated oxen as a possibility. Much of the time circumstances dictate our choices rather than pre-planning.
Draft animals are very capable. And they're still used commonly among the Amish and Old Order Mennonites, plus maybe a few others of similar faiths. You might enjoy a magazine called "Small Farmers Journal" and some of the books of Lynn R. Miller. (I think he either is or was the editor. He live(s,d?) in Oregon and uses horses for his farming operations.) And even though I have never been comfortable being around draft animals personally, I do enjoy some of Miller's writing.

Slow and gradual are fine, I suppose, but bear in mind that if you're not ready and able to use your draft animals when the shtf, you probably won't get there after the shtf. It's kinda like gardening, if you're not doing it now, you probably won't be able to make it work nearly as well as you think then. A few might be able to pull it off but I suspect most would starve to death by the time all of it were to come into production.

Also, mules can be great draft animals. They have a sense of self-preservation that a lot of horses don't seem to have. I've known of several Amish farmers that preferred mules. But, one thing you have to remember about mules is that they do not reproduce. There isn't anything necessarily wrong with that, just something that has to be considered as mules can't make more mules where horses can.

Healthy horses and mules can live a good long life. It's not all that uncommon for them to go past the 25 year mark, some well past. But animals will eat and drink each and every day that they are alive whether you work them or not. And they're not immune to disease, sickness and even death. They're not immune to bullets when they start flying. And they're not immune to raiders who are hungry and see your horse or mule as steak. They're also not immune to falling radiation or other types of poisoning. So while they might appear ideal in a shtf situation, there are risks with depending upon them, too, some you can protect against, some not so much.

Just sharing the thoughts that came to mind. Wishing you all the best with your endeavors!
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:43 PM
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One of our BOL neighbors (15 miles distant) has a team of 4 well trained mules & a couple draft/pack horses. He often very profitably contacts with the USFS to do trail, foot-bridge, etc., construction/reconstruction and windfall timber removal (blocking trails) in roadless wilderness areas using his mules & horses.

He also uses them to pack in fancy camps in very inaccessible places for well to-do (read RICH) hunters.

Amazing animals, but the animals themselves were not cheap, nor was all the tack & all eqt involved to use them. Plus, it took a few years of training to get them good at it. Not to mention just keeping them requires a pasture, barn, sheds, feed & health care.

All in all, if you don't have that in advance, your have a long expensive learning & training curve in front of you. Some or all of which may not turn out as well as expected.

We have a bulldozer, excavator, backhoe, dump truck, farm tractor & a couple big gas powered rototillers to use. As well as large buried gravity flow gas & diesel storage tanks.

But, the day "fuel" is no longer available, they all become rusting steel just setting there.

Since we have our own off-grid 25KW hydroelectric power generation.



I am looking to probably purchase a couple electric rototillers. Example link below.

http://outdoorpowerbuddy.com/garden-...ller/#comments

Which would be handy for "light-duty" cultivation. But not for heavy duty relatively continuous all spring/summer/fall gardening season cultivation. For that, I "hope" to DIY build a heavy duty electric rototiller. Just another thing on my "to-do" list.
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:48 PM
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For your harness I would suggest nylon. It lasts a long long time and doesn't require oil

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Old 06-26-2017, 10:24 PM
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Lol I might be but a got horse does better then I do lol.
The Welsh draft horse might be good to if your looking at the fjord/haflinger size horse.
Most of the Morgan horses I've been around the last twenty years have made a change in size. They are more showy now or do they seem. Or maybe that's just the ones I've been around.
Suffolk or Suffolk punch may be a good size for you too

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Suffolk is actually the one I think would fit my needs best. Big enough to do serious work and not the giant size of the clydesdale, percheron class.
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:26 PM
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Also the old school Minature Belgium horses they weighs about 1200-1500 lbs

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I don't know about them. I'll look it up.
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:27 PM
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I think if I were gonna try oxen I would go with Dexter's or a Dexter cross. At least for the first team or two. They are smaller and easier to handle

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Old 06-26-2017, 10:32 PM
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I think if I were gonna try oxen I would go with Dexter's or a Dexter cross. At least for the first team or two. They are smaller and easier to handle

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And many folks say Dexter's learn faster

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Old 06-26-2017, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bellyman View Post
Draft animals are very capable. And they're still used commonly among the Amish and Old Order Mennonites, plus maybe a few others of similar faiths. You might enjoy a magazine called "Small Farmers Journal" and some of the books of Lynn R. Miller. (I think he either is or was the editor. He live(s,d?) in Oregon and uses horses for his farming operations.) And even though I have never been comfortable being around draft animals personally, I do enjoy some of Miller's writing.

Slow and gradual are fine, I suppose, but bear in mind that if you're not ready and able to use your draft animals when the shtf, you probably won't get there after the shtf. It's kinda like gardening, if you're not doing it now, you probably won't be able to make it work nearly as well as you think then. A few might be able to pull it off but I suspect most would starve to death by the time all of it were to come into production.

Also, mules can be great draft animals. They have a sense of self-preservation that a lot of horses don't seem to have. I've known of several Amish farmers that preferred mules. But, one thing you have to remember about mules is that they do not reproduce. There isn't anything necessarily wrong with that, just something that has to be considered as mules can't make more mules where horses can.

Healthy horses and mules can live a good long life. It's not all that uncommon for them to go past the 25 year mark, some well past. But animals will eat and drink each and every day that they are alive whether you work them or not. And they're not immune to disease, sickness and even death. They're not immune to bullets when they start flying. And they're not immune to raiders who are hungry and see your horse or mule as steak. They're also not immune to falling radiation or other types of poisoning. So while they might appear ideal in a shtf situation, there are risks with depending upon them, too, some you can protect against, some not so much.

Just sharing the thoughts that came to mind. Wishing you all the best with your endeavors!


I'm familiar with 'Small farm Journal' and I used to subscribe to 'Draft Horse Journal' but I haven't seen it lately.

I am familiar with the pros and cons and possibilities of draft animals vs engine power. I mentioned previously I had about a 5 year supply of fuel. That could also end with a bullet from a vandal or commandeered by an overwhelming force (even a government edict).

My venture into animal power will not be quick unless forced to. It's kinda like having beans and grain stored. Just in case. Covering as many bases as I can.

I believe food production is one of the most important assets one can have in a SHTF situation. Any food storage is by definition time limited to one degree or another. I can and do have the capability to produce a lot of food now. At this time I use petroleum fueled machinery. I have the hand tools to do a lot of it by manual labor if it comes to that but the burden of hand labor would be a situation where 90% of one's time (and the time of any associates) would be spent producing and preserving food. With an avenue to progress to draft animals, the ability to produce food in quantity would be increased by a great magnitude.

I've been involved in this self sufficiancy thing for a long time. I am not a beginner and working into an alternate low tech power source that is sustainable and renewable is a long term goal of mine.
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Old 06-26-2017, 10:59 PM
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One of our BOL neighbors (15 miles distant) has a team of 4 well trained mules & a couple draft/pack horses. He often very profitably contacts with the USFS to do trail, foot-bridge, etc., construction/reconstruction and windfall timber removal (blocking trails) in roadless wilderness areas using his mules & horses.

He also uses them to pack in fancy camps in very inaccessible places for well to-do (read RICH) hunters.

Amazing animals, but the animals themselves were not cheap, nor was all the tack & all eqt involved to use them. Plus, it took a few years of training to get them good at it. Not to mention just keeping them requires a pasture, barn, sheds, feed & health care.

All in all, if you don't have that in advance, your have a long expensive learning & training curve in front of you. Some or all of which may not turn out as well as expected.

We have a bulldozer, excavator, backhoe, dump truck, farm tractor & a couple big gas powered rototillers to use. As well as large buried gravity flow gas & diesel storage tanks.

But, the day "fuel" is no longer available, they all become rusting steel just setting there.

Since we have our own off-grid 25KW hydroelectric power generation.



I am looking to probably purchase a couple electric rototillers. Example link below.

http://outdoorpowerbuddy.com/garden-...ller/#comments

Which would be handy for "light-duty" cultivation. But not for heavy duty relatively continuous all spring/summer/fall gardening season cultivation. For that, I "hope" to DIY build a heavy duty electric rototiller. Just another thing on my "to-do" list.


I do have similar engine powered equipment. I do envy your water powered turbine. I do have an adequate supply of spring water for domestic purposes but alas, not in the volume needed to turn a turbine.

The electric rototiller for your situation sounds like a very good idea. It shouldn't be too difficult to convert just about any size tiller you choose to electric power. In fact a step further, it wouldn't take too much engineering to build an electric powered tractor to operate in the confined area of a large garden.
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