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Over the past 2 days I have given away 2 dozen eggs. Some people might be saying “so what”? To give food away means that my wife and I have an excess food supply.

Think about that for a minute. My wife and I bought our first chicks February 25, 2012. In all we ended up with 13 chickens. The chickens started laying when they were around 5 months old. At close to 6 months old we are getting 6 – 7 eggs a day.



We are dealing with a couple of topics here, the time required to get your food production up and running, and being able to grow more food then you need.

I see a lot of survivalist saying that if SHTF they are going to get some chickens, goats, maybe a couple of cows,,, the usual stuff. I see those types of planes as being unrealistic. You think you are going to be the only person looking for farming supplies and livestock after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI?

Lets say you have a buddy that knows a friend whos second cousin has a few chickens they are willing to trade for 1,000 rounds of 223 Remington. After some bartering the two of you finally agree on 500 rounds of 223 Remington and 500 rounds of 7.62×39 for 2 laying hens.

You get your hens home, now what? Where are you going to keep them at? Do you have an enclosed yard to keep your chickens in, do you have a coop? Or do you plan on keeping the hens in your garage? Hopefully you will be lucky enough to find some hens that are already laying. If not, you are going to have to wait several months for the chicks to grow and start laying.

Its not just livestock, what does your seed stockpile look like? Do you have tools to work the field? Do you have access to a tractor, tiller, hoes, rakes and manpower needed to get a field ready to plant?

After you get your squash, cucumbers, zucchini, turnips, snap beans,,,,etc planted, you are looking at 60 – 90 days before you are going to harvest anything.


Excess after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI

Once you have your food supply up and running, will you be able to produce more food then you need? Why is it important to grow more food then you need? Do you want to eat hand to mouth? keep in mind food makes an excellent barter item.

Remember that 500 rounds of 223 Remington and 500 rounds of 7.62×39 you traded for those chickens? Would you rather be the person with the chickens, or the person wanting the chickens?

The person that has more then they need has something to barter with.

At the start of this article I said in the past 2 days I have given away 2 dozen eggs. That 2 dozen eggs is more then my family can eat. Instead of opening a can of Mountain House freeze dried eggs, we go out to the chicken coop and get some fresh eggs.

6 month window

Lets say SHTF / TEOTWAWKI happens tonight, do you have at the very least 6 months of food stockpiled? Because that is what you are going to need before you can get your livestock and garden up and running.

Think about the window between your short term plans and your long term plans. You do have long term survival plans dont you?

A lot of people say that 2 weeks will be the true test of your survival plans. Grocery stores run out of food, power goes off, natural gas stops flowing, water stops flowing, people run out of food,,,.

I think that the test will be at the 4 and 6 month mark. Most people have a couple of weeks worth of food in their home.

Two weeks is when people will be driven from their homes in the search for food.

Fresh food after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI

One of the main issues with a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation will be access to fresh food.

4 – 6 months will probably be the dangerous times. This is when people will start taking measures they normally would not have.

Why is fresh food important? Because of the sodium content in freeze dried foods.

Sodium content:

Mountain House #10 can – Scrambled eggs with bacon, 180 calories and 600mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House #10 can – Chili mac with beef, 240 calories and 660mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House #10 can – Spaghetti with meat and sauce, 230 calories and 920mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House #10 can – Noodles and chicken, 230 calories and 1000mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House #10 can – Beef stew, 210 calories and 850mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House #10 can – Chicken teriyaki with rice, 250 calories and 690mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House #10 can – Chicken a la king and noodles, 290 calories and 810mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House 7 year pouch – Pasta primavera, 440 calories and 1200mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House 7 year pouch – Chicken stew, 310 calories and 940mg of sodium per serving
Mountain House 7 year pouch – Scrambled eggs with bacon, 320 calories and 1060mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House 7 year pouch – Noodles and chicken, 270 calories and 1200mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House 7 year pouch – Mac & cheese, 470 calories and 1260mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House 7 year pouch – Turkey tetrazzini, 320 calories and 780mg of sodium per serving.
Mountain House 7 year pouch – – Rice & chicken, 560 calories and 2120mg of sodium per serving.

* All of the above listed nutrition information came from my personal stockpile of #10 cans and 7 year pouches. None of the above information was copied / pasted from other sites.
 

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Thank you very, very much for your post. It seems people get too caught up in gear and ammo to realize that it will only get them so far. You need to have a long term plan, skills, and resources to really keep going. It makes me shake my head at them and say, "If you've never even grown a garden, how do you expect to run a farm?"

Radishes can give you fresh food within a month. The seeds are cheap to buy and store well. At the end of the season, they are usually the only things left on the shelf and usually clearance items.

Whenever you have the opportunity to harvest seed from a plant you may find useful, do it. Even if you don't like it or want it, someone else may. Trade it now for something you do want. Grow it and trade it later to avoid monoculture in your garden.

Don't just be a survivor, be self-sustaining.
 

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Grevcon 10
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Indeed. You should be going into your stored food planning thinking about what you need to get you through until your sustainable food supply is fully operational. Better yet, do the gardening and farming now and preserve that food for your stockpile and have things already established. Then all you have to do is upscale a bit and in the meantime you've already got a consistent source of food as the stores ran out a week ago but your next harvest is tomorrow.

Also practice processing these things. Grow some grain, learn how and prepare for harvesting, threshing, cleaning it, etc. Figure out how to make vinegar, master the art of culturing yeast, etc. Learn how to make all those things like sauces you get from the store. Actually, my store-bought hot sauce ran out and so I just made my own hot sauce tonight and filled the bottle back up. Made sweet and sour while I was at it.

Growing food and especially making something you'd want to eat out of it is not as easy as you think and you really do need to at least experiment with it a few times before you stand a chance of doing it. Every idiot's going to grab a bunch of seeds and throw them at the ground 3 weeks before they starve to death. Few will be sitting there at TEOTWAWKI after all the cupboards are cleaned out eating their own pasta primavera.
 

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McMurray hatchery has a minimum order of 25 birds. We have been getting about 100 eggs a week since October of last year. We started out selling them, but seem to have saturated our market of friends and family. I am actually going to use some of them as dog food.

I've got a chicken tractor about half built; I can put 8 birds in it comfortably and let them mow the field next year.
 

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Has anyone considered making egg noodles with all these surplus eggs?

Fresh Egg Pasta
2 1/2 cups flour plus extra to dust
3 extra large eggs

Optional ingredients
~1/8 teaspoon salt
~2 tsp vegetable oil

Additionally, you may add a bit from your garden for flavor and color. Don't put much more than 1/4 cup of anything extra and make sure to add the oil and salt if you do use additives.

The actual process is nothing more than making bread, except that the noodles don't rise. Mix the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle. Pour in the wet ingredients. Slowly mix the two together working from the inside out. When you have dough, knead in flour until the ball becomes soft but no longer sticky. Knead all the air bubbles out or until it is nice and pliable. Cover it and let it rest for 15 minutes to three hours, depending on the humidity. Then just flatten it and fold it on top of itself multiple times until it is flat enough to see your hand through, but still flexible. Dust it with flour between folding if it starts getting sticky again. Lay it out on dry dish towels and let it rest for a few minutes while you wash your hands and get a knife. Cut it however you want your noodles to end up as and let it dry. Sitting out on the counter in a dry container, it will last about a month. Stored more securely, it will last much longer.

Nothing feels better than eating Spaghetti made all from scratch with a simple tomato sauce, all from your own garden. The taste is hard to beat too.
 

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Grevcon 10
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Kev,

Great post, another thing people need to consider when planning their SHTF supplies is crop failure. People say "well I will just go and pant food" but they will not only need the experience they will need seeds, tools, fertilizer. It can 3 to 5 years before your Berrie bushes or fruit trees produce any fruit. Depending on where a person lives they may never be able to grow rice.

In closing my opinion a family needs to stockpile a minimum of 1 year and should strive for 2 years of food storage.
 

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This is a good article - but doesn't quite go far enough.

You say you have 13 chickens. That's good.

Let me toss a little advice from someone who has had a dozen or so chickens for several years now:

Chickens only produce eggs for ~2-3 years. After that, their production slows WAY down. And this doesn't even get into the fact that chickens often don't live for that entire 2-3 years (they seem to be a very popular target of predators).

What's more - egg production is highly variable. Some times of the year tend to get lots of eggs. In the spring & fall, hens tend to lay 4-5 times/week. Other times of the year egg production will drop off (winter & summer) - often to no more than a single egg/week.



My point being - if your goal is SUSTAINABILITY, you need to look at 2 things not mentioned in the article above:

(1) you have to create a way to replace your supply of chickens on an on-going basis. If your 13 adult chickens are 2 years old today, you're a little late in having 13 chicks to replace them.


(2) Due to the variability of production, don't measure your sustainability level during the peek production periods - measure it during the LOW production periods.
 

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McMurray hatchery has a minimum order of 25 birds. We have been getting about 100 eggs a week since October of last year. We started out selling them, but seem to have saturated our market of friends and family. I am actually going to use some of them as dog food.

I've got a chicken tractor about half built; I can put 8 birds in it comfortably and let them mow the field next year.
Please post some photos of your tractor when you get a chance. I'm going to try and make one, too.
 

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Seeds are important. What sort of crops might you grow for your livestock?

What sort of crops can you grow wherever you'll be?

The answer to that dictates on the types of livestock that you can feed and take care of. The scale of your gardening/ranching ability indicates how long you might successfully do it. My thought is to never get in a situation where you have to eat your animals simply because you have nothing to feed them.


If you have pastures large and small ruminants are possible. Growing grass is probably the easiest crop to grow. Horses, cattle, sheep, goats, etc. Each has advantages, uses and disadvantages depending on your personal setup and situation.

In my mind you do not want to get a cow to eat. If you have the pasture and water you would want to get a young cow and a bull and breed them. You'd want to maximize the production of whatever animals you have to hopefully offset the new pressures and dangers associated, such as poachers.

If you had a single cow and bull it would be a long time before you could eat beef at the expense of production. So, aim for several cows and a bull. Then work the lands the best you can to grow grass and not weeds and brush.

Chickens? What can you grow to supplement meat and egg production? Try it now, rather than after the fact to see if it works. Try different grasses for different times of the year. Fertilized rye grows like crazy during moderately cool weather and grows right on top of old scratch areas.

Pigs? You'd need to turn out lots of daily scraps to feed them, but the litters are large and they produce lots of meat and animal fats.

Quail? Chukars? Home raised? With a johnny box you turn them out and they come back to roost and feed at night. Or, just stock the surrounding area and let them live off the land.

Rabbits? I have no clue on these, as I've never had any. What can you folks that do have them grow to feed them year around?

Wild deer? If you can grow field corn you can beef them up and shoot them easily if the situation was dire. The same with wild pigs. Let them live off the land and bring them in with soured corn. Most places have both I think. The others hunting mean that giving back in stocking game is a good idea and being able to bring them to you gives you the edge.

In the end it is the folks who are successful at producing not just food, but an abundance of food who will reap the rewards in a supply and demand circumstance.
 

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I definitely appreciate this thread. Lots of people do seem to have the idea that they'll do something different when the SHTF without a lot of thought to whether or not they have the skills or resources to do so when no S has hit TF.

You mention chickens. I've had numerous flocks, all the way from maybe a half dozen to about 5 dozen laying hens. (And always at least one rooster. Always seemed like the way they should live.) I particularly enjoy having chickens around but I'd be a fool to think that I could raise up a flock that would feed me eggs in just a few weeks not to mention having food for them, especially in cold weather. Now if I had already been raising a flock of chickens and the SHTF, shy of a big "earth tilting on it's axis" or "nuclear fallout everywhere" or and "asteroid has landed", the sun would rise in the morning and the hens would be out looking for food as they did every other day previous. And I'd be out there with them to give them some grain (hopefully grain that I'd grown for them) and make sure they're happy, have all the water they need, and the fences are in good condition to keep them in and (hopefully) the bad guys out.

That doesn't all happen in a few weeks when someone wakes up and realizes that a major world event has changed their life in a big and radical way.

Same thing with a garden. People say when the SHTF, they'll grow a garden. They even buy little tin cans full of seeds to stick away in some hidey hole somewhere so that they'll "be prepared". Yeah, right. Just how long does it take for those little seeds to grow a plant that'll give you food to eat? The quickest of what you'll get to eat will probably take a month or longer. Some food crops can take a whole season for that one crop. And if you want fruit like apples, pears, peaches or plums, we're talking a 5 to 7 year wait.

A person can get real hungry waiting for a garden to grow.

It's great to have fresh stuff to eat out of a garden. And that's an ideal way to eat it. But unless something is in season, it's probably something you'd have planted a year or even longer previous so that you'd have it to eat now. And that which you don't consume out of this year's crops will be what you're eating next year while you're growing that year's crops.

That is the basis of what I have been wanting to do. I don't want to "prep" for the big event separate and apart from the way I live in a radical way. That's not to say I don't want to prep at all. But the majority of my "prepping" is intended to be just the way I choose to live every day. Chickens? I'll have hopefully had a flock of those for quite some time. Garden? I'll hopefully have had one (or more) of those going anyway, eating out of it all along.

To some extent, people 100 years ago were much more in tune with what I am striving for. They needed to take care of themselves. They needed to plan and plant and harvest and preserve and save seed and do all of the things that would provide for their needs as best they could. Electricity went out? What's electricity? No money? They never had much anyway.

Granted, we have some things they didn't have. We have a lot of advantages they never dreamed of. They had no solar panels or inverters. They had no computers or information superhighway. But those who worked smart and worked hard were able to live a pretty good life. And somehow, they survived to pump out a whole new generation of people. Imagine that.

I have about 4 months of work and then my next "job" is looking for that little place for my next project, a small farm. Lots of people think I'm nuts for wanting to waste my time on such trivial things. I happen to believe that growing good food is one of the more valuable things I can do. (And they might come around to thinking so when the shelves at Walmart just don't have much to eat on them. Been there, done that with Hurricane Katrina...)

Thanks again to the OP for this topic. I've appreciated it.


Brian
 

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Also, lemme be the one to clue you in about planting seeds.

lots of them don't make it.

Some things won't come up at all.

Somethings will come up and die without producing what you want

because - maybe your soil wasn't right, or there was a sudden cold snap, or there was a drought, or there was a sudden influx of a certain bug, or you got the flu and were sick for a week and the weeds took over, or the deer came and ate them, or the chikkins got out, or the dog pooped on them.

just saying - even people who have grown/farmed their stuff here all their lives, still have losses on stuff.

Make sure to have a large variety, and also stuff that will make it in droughts, stuff that deer don't like, stuff that grows in cold weather.

Also get books on growing stuff, so that you know when to plant which seeds, and you know if they need a lot or a little sun, or a lot or a little water, and what to grow them near.

's all part of a very steep learning curve but oh so definitely worthit!
 

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Yes. Doing battle with mother nature can be confounding. Having lots and lots of seed that proven in your area is ideal.
 

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This is turning out to be a spectacular thread. Another excellent recommendation is to get a hold of "The Complete Guide to Self-Sufficiency" by John Seymour. Just about anything you need to know is in there, from pasture production to cheese making.
 

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That's not to say I don't want to prep at all. But the majority of my "prepping" is intended to be just the way I choose to live every day.


Brian hit the nail on the head with this.

This concept is so important, that is should be FAQ #1 for new preppers.
With this single concept alone, a person could be prepared for the vast majority of SHTF situations that are likely (or unlikely) to arise.
 

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Also, I don't know how much the weather down in Texas effects the laying, but here in the midwest, during the winter when there is less daylight and the weather is colder, egg production drops WAY down unless you provide extra lighting and heat in the chicken house.
 

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The only way to truly have a sustainable food supply is to learn wildcrafting and have a large area in which to do it, or to learn how to grow a food forest/permaculture farm. I'm working hard to develop the latter, and it takes time. There is no good way to rush things. I suppose if you could truck in dump trucks full of organic matter and mulch, you could speed up the process by a couple of years, but I'm still not sure that would get you where you want to be.

The process of growing the forest and integrating the various species to provide mutual support and benefit to each other is still largely a matter of trial and error, and learning as you go. None of the books out there fully satisfy my need for knowledge, and I continually learn about something new to try. It takes time just to learn which edible plants will work in your climate. It takes time to learn how to modify the landscape to create microclimates that will allow you to grow a larger variety of plants. Everything takes time to learn and then build/implement.
 

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To feed chickens, you will need at least an acre of corn, wheat, millet, etc. That will also be used to feed yourself with. Scratch is corn, wheat, millet. Its only a suppliment when food is good- greens, bugs, etc. In winter, they will need more to be productive.

Also take into account predators, two and four legged. Four legged are easy, chickenwire and chain link will pretty much take care of that. Owls, coyotes, hawks, skunks, they all like chicken. Men know how to use wire cutters...

So having that chicken coop far from the house, because it 'stinks' or a dog only inside the house might be considerations. I could see building a dog run around the chicken coop... Especially if its your main source of protein.

Also having a breeding population is good. Need a rooster for chicks... And without tetrycycline or medicated foods, losses will be higher.
 

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I've never had a disease (that I know of). Raising poultry free range is just healthier I think. The natural diet might stimulate the immune systems.. I dunno. Mine have died of predators or old age.

The dog pen surround is a great idea. They don't smell that bad to me, or I'm just used to it. Again, free ranging spreads the odor causing materials pretty well.

So, if you can keep Snuffy Smith at bay and mother nature cooperates you'll have a fine year, eat very well and have lots of bartering power. That mother nature part can be pretty finicky, too.

It all starts with seed. I'm making a list for seed for livestock. :thumb:
 

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You cannot just grow your food and not know how to can it. You may turn out a wonderful supply of food which us very hard to consume while fresh. You will need the knowledge and supplies to process your harvest. We grow a garden and can mostly all of it. And know how to cook with it. How many know how to actually prepare a meal from fresh or home canned items. This is something that comes with practice. You need to put this into everyday practice to know how to when shtf...
 
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