Sunday, March 27, 2011

Animals for Survival Retreat

There are many factors to consider when considering if raising animals for a survival situation would be worth it and which ones to raise. (This information will also be useful for homesteading.) One has to think about OPSEC, feed, nutrition, and availability. Following I will give my opinion and information I've acquired about animals in a survival situation.

When deciding on which animals you want to raise, think about OPSEC. Bigger animals will be noticed more easily due to size and space needed to feed them. In a grid down situation it would be best to feed most animals with pasture land to reduce energy needed to grow and harvest feed crops for them. Research is needed for the animal you are considering so that you can provide the nutritional needs for each one. Some animals can eat most anything without issue but others need certain types of food to sustain them properly so they are more resistant to sickness.

During the first month or so of a grid down situation, people will rely on stores and packaged food to survive but once this runs out they will resort to theft and hunting. People will search farms for any type of food. Within the first six months there will be few domesticated animals left. Farm animals and pets will be converted to food and those with weapons will hunt for all wild game they find. Instinct and fear will kick in preventing rational thinking from occurring. Those that resort to hunting will kill anything and everything to prevent others from killing it. The game will not have a chance to reproduce due to the high numbers of hunters and will move to areas where there are less people or the game will become extinct.

An additional consideration for God fearing individuals is whether or not the animal is clean according to the Bible. Leviticus Chapter 11 and Deuteronomy Chapter 14 give information as to which animals are sanctioned by the Bible. The following is from the King James version of the Holy Bible. Please don't read this and get offended. If you are one that does not believe then skip to further down for additional information.
  • Lev 11:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
  • Lev 11:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
  • Lev 11:3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
  • Lev 11:4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
  • Lev 11:5 And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
  • Lev 11:6 And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
  • Lev 11:7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
  • Lev 11:8 Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
  • Lev 11:9 These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
  • Lev 11:10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
  • Lev 11:11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
  • Lev 11:12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
  • Lev 11:13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
  • Lev 11:14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
  • Lev 11:15 Every raven after his kind;
  • Lev 11:16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
  • Lev 11:17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
  • Lev 11:18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
  • Lev 11:19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
  • Lev 11:20 All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.
  • Lev 11:21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;
  • Lev 11:22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
  • Lev 11:23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.
  • Lev 11:24 And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.
  • Lev 11:25 And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
  • Lev 11:26 The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.
  • Lev 11:27 And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even.
  • Lev 11:28 And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.
  • Lev 11:29 These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,
  • Lev 11:30 And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole.
  • Lev 11:31 These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.
  • Lev 11:32 And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed.
  • Lev 11:33 And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.
  • Lev 11:34 Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean.
  • Lev 11:35 And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you.
  • Lev 11:36 Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean.*n36.1
  • Lev 11:37 And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean.
  • Lev 11:38 But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you.
  • Lev 11:39 And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even.
  • Lev 11:40 And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
  • Lev 11:41 And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.
  • Lev 11:42 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.*n42.1
  • Lev 11:43 Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.*n43.1
  • Lev 11:44 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
  • Lev 11:45 For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
  • Lev 11:46 This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:
  • Lev 11:47 To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.
  • Deut 14:3 Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.
  • Deut 14:4 These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat,
  • Deut 14:5 The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois.*n5.1
  • Deut 14:6 And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.
  • Deut 14:7 Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you.
  • Deut 14:8 And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.
  • Deut 14:9 These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat:
  • Deut 14:10 And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.
  • Deut 14:11 Of all clean birds ye shall eat.
  • Deut 14:12 But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
  • Deut 14:13 And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,
  • Deut 14:14 And every raven after his kind,
  • Deut 14:15 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
  • Deut 14:16 The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
  • Deut 14:17 And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,
  • Deut 14:18 And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
  • Deut 14:19 And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten.
  • Deut 14:20 But of all clean fowls ye may eat.
  • Deut 14:21 Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

This list restricts the available animals down quite a bit. Rabbits and pigs are not allowed according to the Bible but they are great farm animals due to feed and reproduction statistics. Rabbits can be raised on many green leafy vegetables in a confined area and reproduce like crazy. The fur is also very useful to make clothing for cold weather.

Pigs are easy to raise since they eat almost anything. They will eat dead animals, rotten food, any left over you don't want. The pig itself can be used to make many different types of food since they fatten up well. Every part of the pig is used for some type of food whether its hog head cheese or pig feet.

From what I see the best all around animal would be chickens. Noise would be an issue because roosters are needed to for reproduction so that you can have chicken for years and years. They eat a variety of plants and insects and can be fed grain and left overs from your harvests. They will supply eggs and protein without having a huge need for supplemental foods. They will forage for most of it if allowed to.

Goats are another option but being that they are larger they require more area to forage and fencing needs to be stronger because they like to find ways to escape. They eat a huge variety of greens including ones that other herbivores won't. Goats provide protein, milk, and hides that can be turned into clothes. Their bones can be used as tools if needed. Since gas won't be available in a long term survival situation, goats can be fenced off in the yard to “mow” it for you. You just have to take them out before they get that second bite. Don't let them destroy the grass just trim it.

Just remember to practice crop rotation and follow the natural order of things. I mention crop rotation here because when you must garden to survive in a long term situation. Crop rotation reduces disease and pest your crops must deal with. Animals are a big part of gardening. Their manure will fertilize the soil so that crops grow strong and help them resist pest and disease because of the variety of minerals and nutrients in it.

I have found that the land should be dividing into maybe three areas; pasture with a pond (man-made or natural), farmland, and wood land. The pasture land should stay pasture so that the grass grows continuous and thick without issue. It will be used to feed your animals during late spring, summer, and fall. Some of the plants in it can be alfalfa which is a perennial. Alfalfa will grow back each year and is good for times of drought with a deep tap root.

Growing animals together takes experience. Learn to do it now. Consider animals that have multiple functions and keep track of each animal. Donkey's are stubborn but are a little better to have than horses. Horses eat more and require more effort to break in when new ones are needed. Donkey's are beasts of labor and used to haul things. They can be used to pull plows and stumps out of the ground. Horses are able to do the same things and can also carry people easily. Ultimately this is a personal choice for you. If you can, work with these animals on someone else's farm before you shell out money for them.

Final thoughts. Think about each animal you may want and do research. Keep a journal to keep track of each animal and feed. Know how many animals you can raise sustainably on your property and which ones are getting sick. It is better to start now and learn how to raise and reproduce them. In a survival situation and low budget farm, it is better to know how to reproduce them. Good luck to all and study hard but don't go crazy doing it. The worlds not over yet.

If you have anything to add or change just email me or leave a comment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Small Garden of Little

So the garden has been started with taters and garlic. Not much really but I found that the only way to have a good garden here is with a raised bed. Problem is I don't have the cash to build a raised bed right now. Need to try and quickly find scrap wood that will at least give me one season to test it out. Without further ado;

Whole tater just as a test. Most of it had sprouted and decided to just plant the whole thing this time and see what happened. Can't see it due to sunlight reflection.
Tater at 5 inches in tire. Three more inches to go.

 Garlic with cardboard weed blocker. Its like a hand reaching for the sky.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Continued Nuclear Fear

The news from Japan sounds like what many in the survivalist community are trying to plan for. Natural disaster combined with man made hazards. The earthquake shook the land which caused tsunamis in the area and practically destroyed the nuclear facilities there. The Japanese don't seem to be worried but they sure are risking alot trying to stop what could happen. They've decided to send men in to re-enact Chernobal. Men are trying to keep the nuclear rods wet and repair as much damage as they can to keep a meltdown from happening.

We can not prepare for everything but those outside the radius of initial blast and heaviest radiation concentration may survive with an underground bunker, food, and water stores. Most of us are not able to build an underground bunker so we need to make do. Such as thick plastic sheeting and duct tape. Find a place in your dwelling with as few openings as possible. Load all the water and food you can in there along with a way to hold waste and control the odor. Remember that for this to work you have to use the plastic sheeting to cover all openings in the room so oxygen will be limited. Use in emergency situation only. If time permits shut off electricity, water, and gas to the dwelling before entering into the emergency room. This will prevent the circulation of radioactive material in the home and reduce fires. One of the main reasons people get radiation poisoning is the radiactive dust they breath after the explosion.

Use precaution and prepare. Its the safest way to survive another day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nuclear Fallout

The nuclear fallout from a possible Japanese Nuclear facility explosion has many people scared. Here in Texas, people are buying up all the potassium iodide because of possible meltdowns in Japan. Japan is over 5000 miles away from the coast of California. Any radiation that gets into the atmosphere will be dissipated to very low levels by the time it reaches the U.S. Some will get here just because the prevailing winds will push things around in the upper atmosphere but I don't see any worry yet.
Potasium Iodide is used when thyroid radioiodine particles are expected. The iodide floods the thyroid to prevent radiation from penetrating and causing cancer and sickness. Its very effective but not meant to be taken on a regular basis. Prolonged use can lead to organ damage (MSDS). Its meant as a short term survival tool and could cause more harm than good for people to take it if they think radiation poisoning is an issue from Japan. Potassium Iodide will not protect against other cancer causing radioactive particles. The best know method to prevent from getting radiation poisoning of any kind is time, distance, and shielding. The more distance and shielding the less exposure you receive. Time dissipates the radioactive molecules as they decay.

MSDS-Potassium Iodide.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just Another Reason

The recent events in Japan have sparked more interest in the idea of survivalism. Although earthquakes are not as frequent or sever here in the States, they are a possibility. We all should have have some food reserves on hand along with knowledge of the area so that when disaster strikes we can be ready. The east coast has huricanes to deal with and the west coast has earthquakes and tsunamis. However for the most part, many of the tsunamis have not been too bad. Most of the damage in California was a result of people who left their boats at the dock instead of taking them out to sea.
Tsunamis out at sea away from the continental shelf are nothing but another wave for a boat on the surface. The real power is underwater where the force "rolls" along the bottom rising with the slope of land. Tsunami power and destruction happens when the water lifts up following the land until it runs out of ocean area and hammers what is normally dry land.
The reality check here is that no one can be prepared for any and all situations but at least we can prepare for the most common possible ones. If you live within a 100mile distance from a nuclear facility you should prepare for worst case scenario that could happen with the facility. Japan has had some scares with low levels of radiation and partial meltdowns. Those people living near nuclear facilities should consider escape routes if time permits and facility integrity is compromised.
If you live near a large body of water such as an ocean then hurricanes and tsunamis are a concern. Think about geologic activity, California has to deal with that. The USGS has information you can look at to determine if earthquakes are happening in your area. Some have low intensity so they may not be felt by the humans living in the area in which they occur.
The knowledge to gain from current news events is simple. We all must understand our limitations, improve our weak areas, and smartly store water and food for times when they will be hard to aquire. Most events will be short term that we live through, maybe lasting only a few months at the most. Any longer than that means the area or house you were living in was destroyed along with your thousands of dollars of gear and food. Don't go crazy trying to store tons of goods. If the time comes, you may have to ration what you have but at least you'll have some food to eat when many others are starving and dieing. Remember the rule, its good to give but you will be compromised and your stores taken when civility are replaced with hunger and greed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Garden Prep

Here in south Texas its time to prepare and plant. Most of the cold weather is gone and the ground didn't get cold enough to prevent plants from growing. I've got weeds in my yard that grew all winter even. Blasted things made it to where I had to mow during the winter. Now that spring is here, unofficially, its time to break out the shovel, turn over the soil, and drop some seeds. This year I've decided to reduce my ambitions and make an attempt at growing just a few items. Previous years have resulted in good plant growth but poor harvests where little to nothing was picked due to drought or rodent infestation. A few years ago the rats were so bad they would move in and eat everything out of the garden including chewing on the stems of plants. The rats were up to 7 in long not including tail. Nasty things that were very problematic. This year there has been an increase in wild cats in the neighborhood so rats shouldn't be a problem. Gonna just take it easy and see how things go. The soil has been checked and its good but almost totally clay. Not the kind of ground I'm used to. For three years I've tried to grow a garden here with no success. This season its gonna be different.