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Best Livestock Options for Survival

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posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 11:20 AM
Chickens, goats, sheep? What are the advantages of each? If you were going to hole up on a small piece of property when the time comes and had the opportunity to start a livestock operation to support your family, which do you think would be the most reasonable to have?

Chickens offer themselves and their eggs and reproduce fairly quickly. Goats offer milk and cheese and can eat almost anything. Sheep would offer milk, meat and wool, but may be more difficult to feed...

What are your thoughts on having small livestock for survival?

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 11:25 AM
How about rats? They're 'snack-sized' and would just need skinning, gutting, and stuffing on a skewer for a handy meal-for-one

you could use the pelt as a beer-mat and the tails as toothpicks or inner-ear-scratchers too

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 11:55 AM
Personally, chicken and goats. They would be the easiest for me to come by and I already know I can care for them.

If I could get a hold of some sheep that would rock.

If I had a little more land I'd get myself a small dairy cow but that would clearly be a luxury.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 12:14 PM
Fencing in or free range?

What kind of predators in the area?


posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 12:29 PM
We have 2 horse pastures (no horses) with field fencing. With chickens, we'd have to convert part of an existing barn into a coop, but that could be easily done.

Predators? Coyotes, foxes, day- and night-hunting predatory birds (hawks, owls). Oh, and a bobcat... We also have 4 dogs that would alert to any intruders.

I'm going to look into caring for chickens. What do they eat? How hard are they to care for? And so on. I'll post links to what I find.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 12:37 PM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

Chickens are easy.They are essentially canibals.They will eat thier own dead.So thier feeding is no problem.Feed them corn,table scraps,or let them run free in the daytime so they can forage on insects and the like.
Goats are good also as they will survive on weeds and briars.They will also defend themselves against predators whereas sheep won't.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 12:39 PM
Years ago, I had chickens and rabbits.

Chickens for reason already stated. Rabbits can be in cages inside a structure, not readily visible from outside.

Get large metal trash cans, not plastic, and keep feed in them. Mice and other rodents can't chew through metal like they will on plastic.

Chicken feed mentioned right before this post. They eat corn, not too much at one time, and then other grains, bugs (they love grasshoppers and June bugs), and grass.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 12:40 PM
This is a very informative site.

Raising Chickens

Over the winter, 20 birds will go through a $6.85 bag of layer pellets in about 10 days, about $2.00 worth of cracked corn, and another $2.50 in straw.
Over 10 days, the hens produce about 12 dozen sellable eggs.
It literally takes me less than 15 min a day to care for my flock, even when we're raising chicks.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 12:42 PM
I've been thinking about this a lot. The only draw back is that many cities, towns and counties have ordinances that prohibit these types of animals on lots under a certain size or not zoned rural, etc. Anyone know a way aound that?

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 12:45 PM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

What about disease? Any standards of care recommendations there? No sense surviving the the apocalypse only to die of bird flu.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 12:53 PM
A trained animal is the best type of livestock you can get - after all it'll be attracting other animals towards your position, so you won't have to go very far when you're hunting.

At best i would hope for a cow, but i'd happily put up with a horse thanks to the fact that they can be used for transport.

At which point, all i'd need to do would be to tie the horse to a peice of iron like a gate or something, and go hide somewhere with my crossbow until the feral animals start popping out of nowhere - might be able to get some dogmeat if i'm lucky.

A good horse is worth any number of herds.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 01:02 PM
I would have chickens, sheep and 2 dogs. The 2 dogs would be there for protection. You would have to find a good food source for the dogs. If the dogs are trained to eat meat, and for some reason you run out of meat, well it will not be pretty. I have seen a pack of dogs hunt and they are very efficient. None-the-less they are a very efficient protectors of the environment around them.

For the sheep I would recommend getting Romanovs.

The Romanov sheep are from the Voga Valley, northwest of Moscow. Genetically unique to British and North American breeds of sheep, the Romanov is a "pure gene," not a "cross" of anything. They are HIGH PERFORMANCE sheep producing quads, quintuplets and even sextuplets; this is normal performance for a ROMANOV EWE. The North American record is seven live healthy lambs, the breed record is nine! Romanovs reach sexual maturity by the time they are 3 - 4 months old, they will breed any month of the year and combined with the aggressiveness of the newborns allow for a very high production ewe.

I have even heard donkeys making great guards. They eat the same things as a sheep would eat.

Sheep producers in Australia, United States and western Canada have successfully used donkeys as guard animals, protecting sheep from predation by wolves, coyotes and dogs. The Ontario Predator Study reported that about 70% of the donkeys being used, were rated as either excellent or good in terms of providing flock protection.


In order for donkeys to provide the best predator protection possible it is important to first understand how they protect the flock. The livestock guard animal, regardless of species, is really no different than a security guard, in that in order to provide protection they must both be in the right place at the right time. The more time the guard animals spends with the flock the more likely it will be present when needed. The donkey's natural herding instinct means if properly bonded to the sheep, it will stay with the sheep most of the time. The donkey's herding instinct combined with its inherent dislike and aggressiveness towards coyotes and dogs, can make it an effective livestock guard animal ... if managed properly.

Donkeys rely predominantly on sight and sound to detect intruders. When approached, sheep will tend to move so the guard animal is between the intruder and themselves. The donkeys' loud brays and quick pursuit will scare away predators and may also alert the shepherd. In most instances donkeys will confront and chase dogs or coyotes out of the pasture. If the canines do not retreat quickly the donkeys will attack them by rising up on their hind legs and striking with both front feet. A solid blow can injure, kill or at the very least discourage the predator.

If you do get a donkey and have a dog then make sure interaction is very limited.

Cows and Bulls are good to have too. Keep in mind that cattle do require more greens to eat then goats and sheep.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 01:07 PM
Disease will always be a problem in a situation X survival scenario - the best i can think of (coming from the eyes of an untrained amatuer vet) would be to crack open a couple of library books and look for information on things like bird flu, mad cow disease, etc - of course, there are numerous diseases an animal can garner, much like a human being.

Merely a cursory glance at the wikipedia article on animal diseases showed a list of about 76 different types of disease.

This might be one of those situations whereby you would never be 100% sure about what you're doing when you first start off (like many things that will be critical to survival during a sit X) - maybe after time passes and you gain experience you might be able to explain to others how it's done, but otherwise this is the kind of thing you need a trained vet for.

The best that you or me could do would be to keep a guide to animal diseases or something on us, and pluck it out whenever needed - if you have the time then it would be a good idea to break into a Veterinarian just to see what the local vet had stashed on the bookshelves in his office, as this will a least give you a heads up if there are any transmittible diseases in the area - thereby giving you a clue as to what to look for.

Breaking into his computer probably won't help much.

*throws hands in the air*

Sod it, ask a vet.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 01:50 PM
I think it depends on the area you are "holding out". Goats by far are able to adapt to nearly any environment reproduce the quickest and herd increases quickly, chickens/ducks etc.,=BAD due to Avian Flu; in a emergency situation it is unlikely testing for this will be avaliable. Cattle are a no; due to the acreage per lb. needed for viable return. Sheep are okay as well, although I believe sheep are prone to foot and mouth whereas goats are not as prone to infection. Once again an outbreak of foot and mouth would go undetected. (Although Sheep wool is invaluable).

Goats are the way to go. Castrate all the males minus one or two per hundred female would be my guess. A good shepard dog or two is invaluable to help move and protect the herd. A good sized area fenced in is also preferable near a homestead for protection at night in particular. Study how to produce rennet/cheese and how to pastuerize and store milk. Study how to slaughter goats, and how to harvest biproducts. Goat herding is most effective when you use natural barriers to move sheep. For example along the bank of a river, or steep bluffs.

Accroding to what I have read, wild game will no longer be a viable food source within 18 mo. of a catastrophic social breakdown. Fishing however, is a source that will quickly restore its stocks, as such study how to fish and clean your catch, how to fillet, etc. Certain fish are better than others and there is a correlation between the taste of fish and the clarity of the water in which they are caught as far as I'm concerned. Believe it or not Turkey hunting is not as easy as one might think, nor is deer hunting for that matter. Ground birds are pretty easy, but offer little in return. I personally would spend more time trying to domesticate a herd rather than hunt.

My selected "hold out" area is actually an obscure piece of public land. Without a functioning government; I doubt it will matter and I will simply proclaim it "mine" The area is wedged between to branches of a fairly good sized river, and can only be approached by land in one direction. Moreover there is an island in the river close by for a secondary fall back point. It is high with good ground cover so I can see people approach. There is a lot of fishing and game avaliable as well as ariable land and fresh water. Upstream there is an abandoned limestone quarry that would provide for good building material (studied making mortor from scratch as well), as well as plenty of wooded areas for fuel and building supplies. I have studied a variety of earthen houses based on pre-industrial methods, as well as proper root cellar, outhouse and well construction.

I have a semi-automatic carbine with fairly common caliber bullets, although I would not use bullets to hunt, only self-defense. Essentially the only things I would stockpile are seeds and medicine. Although my hold out area has the following growing wild that I have found:
1. Wild Grapes
2. Plum Thickets
3. Mint
4. Wild Strawberries
5. Wild Potatoes
6. Some squash but not much
7. Other ediable things but not as desirable (cattails etc.)

And last, I will add some preprinted/laminated signs on bardbed wire barricades labeling the area "CDC Avian Flu Culling Area" with some biohazard symbols and an explanation that the area is contaminated with Avian FLu due to chicken culling. After all, with no modern communication people would have to take it serious.

My hold out area is about 2 hours away from my home in a sparesly populated area. I suspect that there will be some issues with people, but alll and all I think that I could hold out indefinately. My only concern is making it there, because peak oil will most likely be the cuase of social breakdown and gas may be either not avaliable or $23.00 a gallon in which case it would cost $1100.00 to fill up both my vehicles to get there.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 02:45 PM
Bird Flu may be an issue... If it's real...

But aren't goats harder to care for? I guess I'll be researching them next.
I'd love to have some and we have the space. They'd get on better with the dogs.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 03:41 PM
Aracauna chickens (free range, sitters, green eggs), wild turkeys and caged rabbits.

Billy goats are nasty, evil, and stink. Sheep stink.

[edit on 21-4-2008 by Chakotay]

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 04:19 PM
I haven't given up on chickens yet. And I love the idea of some rabbits! Great idea! Good for compost, too!

Yeah, I've been reading about goats. I don't think so. Not for us.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 04:27 PM
Pigs and rabbits both breed like crazy. Pigs are hardy animals and you can eat the whole animal, if you prepare it right, and they taste damn good.

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 05:27 PM
Chickens to me is the healthiest and between that and eggs would be great...that is if I had to choose one out of them all. Second would probably be cow but you have to think of costs and It costs a lot more to raise a cow than a chicken doesnt it?

posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 06:09 PM

And last, I will add some preprinted/laminated signs on bardbed wire barricades labeling the area "CDC Avian Flu Culling Area" with some biohazard symbols and an explanation that the area is contaminated with Avian FLu due to chicken culling. After all, with no modern communication people would have to take it serious.

Lol, I have to get me a few of those signs!

That was the greatest idea posted on this thread!

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