What is a good Prepper Livestock for small spaces? Well, there are actually quite a few that come to mind, but as always there are a few that also stand out as good choices for Preppers with only a small amount of room to work with. Once you factor in the cost of raising them and feeding them, the list gets even smaller. This is today’s topic for our post.
When SHTF hits and you can no longer run to the store to buy what you need, then having and raising your own meat sources can be the difference between life and death. Not everyone has a 100 acre spread to raise livestock on and in some cases may have as little as one acre including their home and garden area to try to survive on. In this situation where space is at a prime, one needs to be very careful about the choices they make. I think that most of us would agree that being able to eat a good beef steak would be at the top of our list when it comes to surviving after SHTF hits. Unfortunately however, cattle take a lot of room to raise and to house in the winter, if you live where winters are harsh and for that reason they are unfortunately out of the question if you have very little area to raise livestock.
OK, let’s say you have only 1 acre to live on and you have to grow your own food and raise your own livestock in that same area. What would be the best animal choices for living in a SHTF world? As usual, I am sure that others may have a difference of opinion on this matter, but here is my criteria: First you must need to be able to feed them with what is available and not have to keep special feed. Second they must be able to forage for themselves when temperatures allow and third, they must reproduce fairly quickly so you are constantly replenishing your stocks. Forth, they must not require a large area for grazing. Does that sound about right?
OK, so what animals fit into the category? Goats eat grass and just about anything else they can get in their mouths. They eat grass, weeds and hay. Just be sure to keep them out of your garden! Goats produce meat, milk and usable hides that can be tanned. They are pretty much self-sufficient and very easy to care for. If you were to need to stall them up for the winter, then they would not require a lot of room. A goat will come in heat for three days every 21 days until bred. Their gestation period is 150 days which means that a goat can reproduce twice a year and because they are known to sometimes have twins and triplets, then they actually could produce 2 to 6 young goats a year. That is pretty good for livestock that produces so many usable products and would definitely be on my must have list. While Sheep are also good options, shearing them can prove to be a very big challenge for the unskilled person and since I like many Preppers have never sheered a sheep, I have chosen to go with goats for low maintenance.
Another animal that I would recommend is raising Rabbits because they are easy to care for and reproduce very quickly. They can be fed grass and hay as well many grains and vegetable scraps and besides the meat that they produce, their furs will be in high demand for winter clothing as well. They require a very small area and can be kept in cages year round. I would really put rabbits at the top of my SHTF livestock list as well.
Another main stay for any Prepper farm is chickens! These little animals just keep on giving. They produce eggs for eating along with the meat as well. The feathers can be used for hundreds of things from the fletching on an arrow to using them to fill pads and make mattresses. You can also boil down the cooked bones and make a broth as well. Everyone has heard of chicken noodle soup for colds, and in fact science has proven that chicken noodle soup is good for you and contains many properties that do help you heal faster. While these can also be kept in a cage year round, it is much better to keep them in a coup area where they can get some sunshine and fresh air while supplementing their diets with bugs. They are pretty much maintenance free except for checking each day for fresh eggs. You can even throw them many of your food scraps and they will eat them as well. All you need is one good rooster and a hen that will sit on eggs until they hatch and you can reproduce them as often as you want. You could not ask for more from a farm animal.
Another great animal for your small farm are guinea birds. Much like the chicken, they will pretty much take care of themselves and taste great as well. These birds also make great intruder alarms as they will raise a ruckus anytime something unusual comes around whether it is a coyote or a bandit, they will sure let you know! That’s enough alone to keep a few around after SHTF. As long as you train them by throwing them a little food every afternoon, they will hang around your farm and take care of themselves. NO help needed.
Now this one is one I can’t imagine doing without simply because I love Bacon! What man doesn’t? Pigs produce a lot of meat and can be kept in a small area when need be. They will eat just about anything you give them including raw meat and bones. Yes, pigs are carnivores and will eat meat given the chance. They love to graze or lay around in the mud during the hot days of summer. They will sunburn and so need a covered place out of the sun for sunny days. They reproduce very quickly and their gestation period is 113 days. While pigs have litters of piglets, they also have a high mortality rate of about 30% to 40% and die shortly after birth. You will need to take this into consideration when managing and planning your breeding program. One male pig (Boar) can service about 12 female pigs. Plan accordingly. Pork meat is great as it can be easily be smoked into Hams and Bacon to increase their shelf life. You can bet the ham and bacon will be items that are going to be in high demand after SHTF hits. The fat can be cooked and rendered into lard for cooking, making soap and candles.
While I am sure that there are other good choices out there, these are the ones I would put at the head of my list for small farms after SHTF hits. If you have any other suggestions that you would like to offer our readers, please add your comments in the area below. Having fresh meat and eggs after SHTF hits, will be very important, as well as having items that you can trade or make other items out of, are going to be critical to anyone’s survival. Plan ahead and don’t think that just because you have limited room that you can’t have livestock. It is just a matter of planning ahead and making the most of the space you have. Until next time, just remember that prepping is a direction of travel and not a destination!