When it comes to homesteading, the importance of self-sustainability cannot be overstated. In a doomsday disaster scenario, relying solely on what you can grow and raise becomes crucial.
Having the ability to keep livestock, even smaller animals like chickens, should be an essential part of any prepper’s survival plan. While hunting, fishing, and foraging may seem like viable options, they can ultimately lead to starvation due to the limited supply of natural resources.
No matter how skilled you are at hunting, fishing, or foraging, the long-term strain on natural resources during a disaster will be overwhelming. Venturing out in search of food could even put your life at risk. Spending an entire day trying to hunt down a squirrel for dinner, only to have it stolen from you, is not a sustainable strategy.
While possessing outdoor survival skills is beneficial, relying solely on finding enough food to avoid starvation is not a reliable survival plan.
The challenges faced by urban preppers in keeping survival livestock are significant, making it yet another reason to consider relocating from such resource-depleted areas before disaster strikes.
Now, let’s explore some of the top survival livestock choices:
If you live in a “right to farm” state, there’s a good chance you can keep chickens even in small towns, suburbs, or some urban areas.
Chickens provide both eggs and meat, which are vital sources of protein for your strength, health, and overall survival during a long-term disaster. Keeping a rooster is essential for maintaining a sustainable flock, although this may pose challenges outside of rural areas. Investing in common yet quieter chicken breeds can help maintain operational security (OPSEC) and minimize complaints from neighbors. Bantam chickens are relatively quiet, excellent egg sitters, and small enough to be raised in most backyard coops in small towns and suburban areas. Additionally, roosters of this breed are known for their docility.
Remember, when it comes to survival livestock, careful planning and consideration are key.
If you don’t have enough land for large livestock, rabbits can be a sustainable and affordable source of protein. They reproduce quickly, have low feeding costs, mature rapidly, and are easy to butcher. Placing the rabbit hutch over a compost pile also helps improve soil quality for future growing seasons.
Contrary to popular belief, raising ducks doesn’t require a pond. They can be content with a plastic baby pool in a spacious run. Like chickens and rabbits, ducks are affordable and low space-consuming. Using a “chicken tractor,” these small livestock can graze on grass and bugs, reducing feed costs.
Guineas are not mainly for eating, but they can help protect other flocks and eat pests like snakes, bugs, and ticks. They also serve as a low-tech alarm system, alerting to any disturbances in their territory.
Goats offer meat, milk, and weed-eating benefits. Goat’s milk is sweeter and can be used in cooking, baking, or drinking. If space or butchering skills prevent purchasing cattle, goats are a great alternative. Compact breeds like Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf goats are quiet and suitable for backyard keeping with appropriate fencing and housing.
Rural preppers can benefit by investing in hogs (also known as pigs) for a dependable source of protein. Hog pens are designed to occupy minimal space, making them an ideal choice for those with limited acreage. Many small acreage farmers train their hogs like children in 4-H, enabling daily exercise by simply walking them around the yard. This approach reduces both space requirements and the expense associated with constructing a larger run area. Butchering a hog is not particularly difficult, with the main challenge being the lifting of the animal. This can be accomplished using a tractor with a winch or with the help of strong individuals utilizing a chain and a sturdy tree branch, especially in a power outage scenario.
Learning how to train and handle hogs early on in the 4-H program equips young hog keepers with valuable skills. In the photo, they are seen standing outside a sturdy hog pen constructed from scrap materials through diligent hammering.
Including cattle in your survival plan proves valuable for future provisions. Owning a 56-acre survival retreat with sufficient pasture and hay fields allows for the care of three beef cattle and a dairy cow during long-term disasters when purchasing grain may not be feasible.
For rural preppers with smaller acreage survival homesteads, Dexter cattle, a miniature breed, may be a suitable option. Although they offer less beef and milk production, they require less space to roam and consume less feed.
While horse meat is not commonly consumed in America, it is essential for rural preppers to include horses in long-range survival plans. During the rebuilding phase after a major disaster, horses are likely to regain importance as a primary mode of transportation and for agricultural activities.
The earlier you start acquiring survival livestock, the sooner you can begin harvesting and preserving your own meat, eggs, milk, and even breeding the animals to expand your flocks and herds or to trade for other valuable supplies.