Some people are getting started with preparing to live without the modern convenience of grocery stores and markets. They know that the world is an unstable place and things may soon come to a grinding halt. The food supply chain is going to be cut off.
It may be because of a major natural disaster, a complete and total failure of our current banking and financial systems or maybe some act of war that disrupts everything. A massive power grid failure is yet another scenario that could leave people scrambling to find food to feed their families.
One of the biggest fears many people have about an uncertain future is how they will take care of the basic necessities like food, water and shelter. Preppers are being proactive and stockpiling food and water and coming up with backup solutions for shelter should they have to leave their home.
It isn’t just about having a lot of non-perishable food in the basement. Because any one of the above mentioned scenarios could end up lasting years or more, a new source of food must be established. Hunting and foraging are options, but you will want something you have a bit more control over.
Raising animals and growing a garden is one way for you to control your food supply. You will be able to raise as much or as little as you need. You will decide what the animals eat. You won’t have to spend hours hunting and hoping you find an animal in the wild. They are right there for the taking and you know exactly how healthy the animal is.
There are a number of different animals you can raise in your own backyard that will provide you with a steady supply of food. You will want to learn a bit about animal husbandry in order to have a renewable food source. It isn’t too hard. Nature is a pretty strong motivating factor.
These are 5 animals you can raise in your backyard with very little expense or space.
- Rabbits are prolific breeders and you don’t have too worry about not having enough rabbits. They require very little space. Rabbit hutches should be off the ground a couple of feet to make it easier for you to feed and water as well as keep their cages clean. Rabbits can be used for meat and their fur is great for coats or hats. You will want to keep your rabbits separate to keep them happy until it is time to breed them. You may think a little rabbit wouldn’t do much for putting food on your table, but with 2 females and 1 male, you could have close to 200 pounds of meat every year.
- Chickens serve a dual purpose. Buying the right breed is important. Some breeds are best for meat while others are better for egg laying. There are some varieties that serve a dual purpose. You will want to either invest in an incubator or make sure you have a couple of hens sitting on eggs so you have new chickens each year. Chickens will generally only lay eggs for 2 to 3 years. Beyond that, they are not quite as productive. Meat birds are best if they are butchered around the time they are about 8 months old. Some breeds, like the Cornish game hens, are best butchered around two to three months. The old egg layers won’t be very good meat. You could probably use the meat in a stew or to make soup, but the meat will be a little tough.
- Pigs are a little more work, but the meat is worth it. A single pig can yield about 200 pounds of meat. Happy sows will produce very large litters of ten or more piglets. Do a little math and you will see you can easily get about 2000 pounds of meat from a single litter. Selling or bartering your piglets for other things you need will be a very valuable commodity. Pigs will require some very sturdy fencing and despite the friendly pigs you have seen in the movies, they are not always that jolly. You will want to make sure they are given their own space away from the rest of your livestock. A little mud and some scraps and your pigs will be relatively happy and healthy.
- Goats are another dual purpose animal if you choose the right breed. Dairy goats, like alpine and nubian, are great for milk production. You can breed them once a year to keep up a steady supply of milk. In the spring when the kids are born, you can choose to barter them or use them as dairy goats or meat goats. Some goats are best for meat. A word to the wise about breeding your own goats— males/bucks, are not easy to deal with when they are in rut. They can be very stinky and just nasty in general. Their mating rituals appeal to does, but humans find them to be repulsive. If you do plan on breeding your goats, you will want your goat pen far away from your house. Thankfully, the rut only lasts a couple of months.
- Fish are great for an outdoor pond. It doesn’t have to be all that big to raise fish. A small pond in the backyard will serve as a decorative purpose in today’s world and a food source after a collapse. It costs very little to stock your pond and the maintenance is fairly simple. You can build the pond pretty easily out of large basins you find or dig a hole and line it with something like Visqueen. You can make it big or small depending on the size of your backyard. The fish can actually be raised in an aquaponics system. These can be put in the basement of your home or an outdoor shop. You will get fish and a healthy garden without taking up any space outside. This gives you the option of growing a garden and fish all year round.