Best Live Stock Animals: A Prepper’s Guide to Self Sufficiency 1

Best Live Stock Animals: A Prepper's Guide to Self Sufficiency

Best Live Stock Animals: A Prepper's Guide to Self Sufficiency

Best Live Stock Animals: A Prepper’s Guide to Self Sufficiency

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Typically a large question in many prepper’s minds is about which is the best live stock animals to have on the prepstead, or homestead.  A Prepper’s guide to self sufficiency should always cover the animals as well.

When you start a prepstead or homestead, you can always start small and build up, and that is why I typically go for the smaller animals first.  Small animals can also be gotten away with in less rural areas.  My list of favorites in order of what I would choose as my first animals would be Chickens, Bees, Rabbits, Catfish, and Ducks.  I would consider quail as a small space alternative to chickens, but the personality of the chickens make them my favorite.

Now that I have told you my preferences of what to have, Why don’t we visit some advantages and disadvantages of each animal.

Chickens

  1. Advantages: Enjoyable to watch.  Lots of eggs and meat for very little work.
  2. Disadvantages: Don’t keep them in one spot for too long or go without cleaning out their coop or they can get a smelly
  3. Needs: Coop, place to roost in coop to keep them away from weather and predators.
  4. Labor: Find and collect eggs, closing coop at night, cleaning coop about once every 2-3 weeks, if you use thick bedding only.
  5. Food: Feed, or you can free range them instead and give them a supplemental that they will snack on just when they need it.  Along with freeranging chickens, you can place them in a chicken paddock shifting system for their food.
  6. Disease Concerns: Worms, Lice, and Mites.  They can get sick.  They wheeze when breathing and get discolored combs.
  7. More: Free-ranging, organic chicken eggs are in high demand, and sell for a premium.  Use chickens for your own needs, and sell the extra.  This is what we did.

Bees

  1. Advantages: Enjoyable to watch.  Great pollinators and generate honey, wax, and propolis.  Less maintenance than chickens.
  2. Disadvantages: not many.  They can sting, which is a problem when you are allergic.  Some upfront cost.
  3. Needs: Hive, sugary food during winter, minimal human interaction in the hive, and never during winter.  Water nearby, and lots of flowers.
  4. Labor: Harvest honey and/or wax twice a year.  Split them if population is too high.
  5. Food: They generate their own, but you will want to supplement in winter… and let them keep some of their own.
  6. Disease Concerns: Varroa Mites, Wax Moths, Tracheal Mites, Nosema, American Foulbrood (AFB), European Foulbrood (EFB), Chalkbrood, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
  7. More: Honey, wax, and propolis are great ways of making money for very little work.  Check out my beekeeping book for lots more information.

Goats

  1. Advantages: Well adapted.  Provide meat, milk, and fleece.
  2. Disadvantages: Graze too much and will destroy things if left in the open.  Escape artists.
  3. Needs:
  4. Labor: Milk twice a day.  Like keeping sheep, with less watching.
  5. Food: Weeds more important than good grass.  House, hutch, or barn for weather.
  6. Disease Concerns: Mineral deficiencies, internal parasites
  7. More: Known for milk, cheese, soaps, and yogurts

Guineas

  1. Advantages: Self sufficient, alarm system, pest control
  2. Disadvantages: Loud
  3. Needs: Room to move around, not worth keeping if you confine them
  4. Labor: Very little
  5. Food: None needed
  6. More: I would only keep guineas for eggs and as an alarm system and tick control.  Otherwise, wouldn’t really be worth it over a different poultry member.

Ducks

  1. Advantages: Larger, richer eggs than chicken.  Less chance of infection than chicken.
  2. Disadvantages: Females can be noisy.  Must have a pond or duck pool.
  3. Needs: Duck House, similar to a dog house, for weather and predators
  4. Labor: Confine them at night, find and collect eggs, clean shelter.  If using a small duck pool, replacing water every 3 days to 1 week.
  5. Food: Similar to Chickens
  6. Disease Concerns: Very minimal.
  7. More: Duck eggs pull a little more per dozen, and are a niche buy for bakers.

Geese

  1. Advantages: Great for weed removal.  Hardy like ducks, so less infection.  Provide with lots of meat.
  2. Disadvantages: Can be very noisy and territorial to visitors
  3. Needs: Shelter at night
  4. Labor: Similar to ducks.
  5. Food: Similar to Chickens, just more grass and weeds.
  6. Disease Concerns: Similar to Ducks
  7. More: Great for meat sales

Quail

  1. Advantages: Small enough to be kept in cages and breed readily.  Take up very little space.
  2. Disadvantages: similar to chickens if on land.
  3. Needs: same as chickens.  If kept in cage, they will need to be fed chicken feed.
  4. Labor: feeding daily or paddock shifting
  5. Food: same as chicken
  6. Disease Concerns:
  7. More: Very lean and delightful flavor meat when roasted.  Probably not going to sell very well.

Hogs

  1. Advantages: Eats almost anything and gets fat easily.
  2. Disadvantages: wrecks good grass if not ranged or paddocked well.
  3. Needs: Shelter at farrowing, but not much else.  Mud Baths for skin.
  4. Labor: feed daily, cleaning sty if not ranged.
  5. Food: Items that other animals will waste.  Almost anything.
  6. Disease Concerns: Mastisis after farrowing.
  7. More: Ham and Bacon is great tasting, and easy to sell

Sheep

  1. Advantages: Grazes well, Provides lambs, milk, wool, and meat.
  2. Disadvantages: Escape artists, disease ridden, require more attention
  3. Needs: Shepherd and fencing
  4. Labor: continually watch, trim
  5. Food: grazing
  6. Disease Concerns: Blowfly strike, foot rot, and lots of other deadly diseases
  7. More: lamb is a pricy meat, and cheese is also good for selling

Catfish

  1. Advantages: Inexpensive and grows rapidly.  Can keep in a barrel if you want to feed them daily.
  2. Disadvantages: Fins hurt!
  3. Needs: not much.  If you are in a hurry to get your numbers up, you will have to add feed or earthworms daily.
  4. Labor: Almost none.  Keep some grass carp to keep algae at bay.
  5. Food: None, unless like I said before, you want them to grow faster.
  6. More: Fried catfish is great and could be sold for a decent price.

Rabbits

  1. Advantages: Cheap, Quiet, Handles well, lots of meat production, and propagates well
  2. Disadvantages: Meat is cheap for selling, so don’t plan to make anything
  3. Needs: Dry, draft-free, keep out of extreme heat; protect form extreme cold, rain, and predators.
  4. Labor: feeding, must check up on regularly
  5. Food: hay, grasses, veggies, and feed
  6. Disease Concerns: Ear Mites, they get colds.  Keep them somewhat separated from chickens, since a lot of the same diseases can hurt them.
  7. More: Don’t try to sell, just eat.

Cattle

  1. Advantages: Gentle, Grazes well
  2. Disadvantages: Large and tough to handle
  3. Needs: Shelter during cold weather months
  4. Labor: Milking twice daily, rotate cattle, or paddock shift
  5. Food: Good grass, and feed (or hay) during winters, salt
  6. Disease Concerns: Mastitis when milking, mineral deficiencies when calving,  some foot problems
  7. More: great and easy to sell milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, cream, calves, beef

With all of the choices of animals, good luck on your decisions.

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