Keep Your Flock Healthy

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It is important to be sure your flock is well cared for, receive appropriate food and water and have ample space to remain healthy.  Clean the water and food containers daily to prevent disease.  If birds are housed in a building, it will be necessary to clean and disinfect the floors often or daily.  Housed animals of all kinds need adequate fresh air.  

Those who allow their animals in the barnyard to roam about and forage have healthier birds.  This is how most preppers raise their birds.  We know how important it is to treat the animals with regard to their health instead of only trying to get the biggest meat birds or most eggs.  There is a trade-off, but it is worth it to make sure the flock and humans are healthy.  The consequences of not providing proper care to the flock can be costly.

Which brings us to the concept of putting distance between the home and the flock.  It is important to keep the flock in a location as far away from the home as is possible.  If you have to take a little hike to look after them, good.  It is better for you and them.  If you want to see what they are doing and if they are safe, add one or two security cameras to the pen and barn.  Then you will know if there are foxes in the hen house day and night.  The distance from the coop and good hygiene and safety practices will help prevent the risk of salmonella or other livestock related diseases.

Let’s not let prepper flocks become a source of concern as the global poultry industry, including China’s recent H7N9 outbreak that caused many farmers to panic and destroy their flocks.

Last month’s news about H7N9 virus (avian flu) in Chinese flocks brings to light the differences between a family farm and a commercial operation, not only in China, but around the world.

Given that commercial farms often raise fowl in large buildings with little wiggle room, it is no surprise that diseases spread through a flock quickly.  The fear of H7N9 virus infecting humans who tend them and then spread through the human population caused Chinese farmers to decide to destroy their flocks of chickens, ducks, and all manner of fowl.

The possibility of finding H7N9 in the Chinese farmers’ flocks seem to bring panic to these farmers with good reason, as you will see in the following video.

  It seems they have good reason to act out of fear.  Make sure you read the subtitles clear to the end.  You may have to click pause to read all of them since they go by at the speed of the speaker.

Hurricane Season and Livestock

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Hurricane season and livestock are not a well matched pair.  One of the horrid things we see during hurricanes is the loss of livestock.  There are situations where evacuating livestock is not possible but, given the nature of hurricanes, the well prepared farmer will have a plan to evacuate all the livestock he can.

Others don’t even attempt to evacuate them.  Why?  Mostly because of poor planning. Often people purchase insurance to cover agricultural losses.  Animals are property to be insured.  Another reason is because hurricanes are unpredictable until two days out.  By then, most people have evacuated.  They don’t want to take their livestock because they think the chances of hurricane hitting some where else is greater than the chances of it hitting their home.  Lastly, they often think it won’t be as “bad” as that and the animals will be fine.

The prepper view of livestock should be not so willing to abandon animals when the threat of a storm looms in the future.  The purpose of prepping is to have the preps available when the disaster makes itself at home in your front yard.  Your animals should be enjoying the same level of safety as you.  If they are not, aside from being inhumane, you could lose all the time and money you put into raising them.

Deer are part of some preppers' livestock plan.Chickens for instance, take five or six months to start laying eggs.  If you let them die in a disaster, you will have to wait another six months to have fresh eggs while investing the time and money again.  The same goes for the rest of your livestock whether it be deer, hogs, goats or cattle.

What to do?  Plan well in advance. Get to know people in  areas of the state or country who will be willing to temporarily house your animals for you.  You might have to pay them something, but it should be worth it.  If you are friends with landowners a reciprocal agreement for helping each other out in case of such events would be beneficial to both.  Remember, whoever you have these agreements with, the person needs to be outside the potential disaster area.  If your livestock bug-out place is within the zone, you have gained nothing.  Make sure your animals have all their vaccines and other veterinary attention taken care of before hurricane season.  Healthy animals whether stressful situations better.

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Consider how you will transport your animals and when you will begin the process of evacuating your animals.  For hurricanes you can have as long as a week or more to decide what to do.  For instance, if you see there is a possibility of evacuating  your livestock you should take the extra bags of food you will need for at least a week to the livestock bug-out location. It would also be a good time to take your veterinary supplies to the bug-out location.

Sometimes it just isn’t possible to evacuate all your livestock, no matter how much you want to.  If this is the case, there are things you should do long before a hurricane is on the way.  Check the barn and other buildings for loose boards, fence or other things that could become flying debris.  Check the buildings routinely to reduce the amount of effort required later. Have a stockpile of fresh water and food for your animals.  Much livestock is lost because they swallowed saltwater.  Animals inside a barn can be seriously injured or killed if a tornado hits the barn.  Animals should not be locked in the barn during a hurricane and will instinctively look for higher ground.  But if your animals are within range of the storm surge, they may experience a higher death rate.

Caged animals and birds can be moved to the safest location in the garage if they can’t go with you.  Remember to take the same precautions in the garage as for the barn.  Once all animals are tended, be sure to turn off electricity and water before you leave.  For the farmer who names his animals before they go to market or become dinner, leaving them behind in such a situation is heartbreaking.

When returning to your home after the disaster, your livestock will need immediate attention.  Take your veterinary first aid kit, and maybe the vet you partnered with for the zombie apocalypse to assess the welfare of each animal.  Getting animals to safety as quickly as possible will be the first priority.

We all hope we don’t have to endure such an event, but if we do, being prepared for our livestock as well as ourselves will save heartache for all.

 

Preppers and Veterinarians

Preppers and Veterinarians Make a Good Team.While prepping, most of us make sure we have enough supplies for our family, including furry friends.  That supply of pet meds and animal food is important to the well being of the whole family.  Dog and cats will bring in fleas and ticks, among other parasites if left untreated.  So, what about the relationship between a preppers and veterinarians?

Some animal parasites can be transferred to people, a lesson very well learned from watching Animal Planet’s “Monster Inside Me”.  Perhaps someone to have on your prepper team is the local veterinarian.  Even the American Veterinary Medical Association agrees having a veterinarian during an apocalypse is a good idea.  While veterinarians are best trained for the zombie apocalypse, they can transfer those skills over to any other doomsday event.

From their website:

Now, under normal circumstances, of course, we would never recommend that a veterinarian treat a human, but in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, well … physicians might be hard to come by, governing boards and malpractice laws are out the window, and if one of your party is bleeding to death, a veterinarian just might give that person the best chance of survival.
It makes sense.  The article is entertaining, but still practical in a quirky way.  Finish reading it here.
photo by: Army Medicine

How Preppers Prepare for Hurricane Season

Jasmine blossoms signal the start of hurricane season is near.There is a beautiful jasmine bush on the east side of the garage.  It’s the only place it will grow.  The jasmine scent is amazing!  The blooms bring with it the knowledge that hurricane season is just a short six weeks away.  Each year we look around and see what we can do to prepare just a little bit better should the unthinkable happen to our home.

The key to effective evacuation is prior planning.  Unfortunately, to the majority of residents that means boarding up the house and taking off to some hotel for three or more days.  When they come home, if it was a serious hurricane, there is damage and loss of property.  Along with property losses are the pain and tears that come with not finding special items from the home.

Here are some ways to make preparing for hurricane season easy and less stressful:

  • Make a written inventory of non-replaceable items you can’t imagine living without, check them off when packed.
  • Purchase plastic tubs with lids to store items during evacuation.  Practice putting the items in the tubs to be sure you have enough tubs.
  • Make sure your wind storm and flood insurance is paid more than 30 days before storm season
  • Make an evacuation plan.  No, not just jumping in the car and leaving.  A serious plan.  Consider it a bug-out plan.
  • Consider home security while you are away.  There are always looters.
  • If you have livestock or pets, plan and practice how to evacuate them.
  • Plan to make more than one trip to the bug-out location if you have livestock to evacuate.
  • Plan how to evacuate or protect your preps.
  • Time yourself with each evacuation activity practice so you know how much time it will take you to evacuate.
  • Remember to prepare your windmills and solar power equipment for the high winds.
  • If your greenhouses are of the kind that can be disassembled quickly, staking the parts flat on the ground should help them remain still during high winds.
  • Remember, your plants will not whine, cry, complain or ask “are we there yet” when you move them.  But they may cringe when you eat them.
  • Evacuate early.  Don’t wait until the mandatory evacuation date.
  • Don’t be complacent.  Just because your coastal region has not experienced a hurricane in recent history doesn’t mean it’s immune to one.

Most people spend their time during evacuation in a hotel or at family and friends homes. Finding a hotel room during an evacuation can mean driving at least eight hours to find a room. The purchase of an acre of land outside the hurricane zone provides a guaranteed location for evacuation that can also be used to store preps year around.  For the average prepper family with a small operation, these plans are necessary.

Prepare Your Heart – Part 2

Writing about preparing your heart for hard times ahead can bring disagreement between Christian groups as well as unbelievers. Some of us think self-defense and preparation will be necessary. Others trust God will provide all our needs. The first group believes we must defend ourselves and many in the latter group promote peace at all cost even unto death.

I have confidence Jesus expects us to prepare for these dark days. The following are examples of God warning his people and telling them to get ready.

  1. God had Noah build the ark in preparation of the flood.
  2. He sent Joseph to Egypt. When the forewarning of a famine came, Joseph stored food for seven years so there would be enough.  When the drought came upon the land Joseph’s family was saved as well as all of Egypt.
  3. Revelation was written to warn of evil times ahead and the call to return to God. I do not know if we are actually getting close to the end. But evil is growing.

I am in ‘the prepare your heart’ group. I believe Jesus gives us the right and obligation to defend ourselves and our families because the time will come we will be persecuted.

Luke 22:35-38 (NKJV)
35 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” 36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” 38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” John 15:20 (NKJV) 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

 Jesus makes it clear…people persecuted Him and considered him an outlaw. He implies the same will happen to his followers. So, He tells his disciples, if you don’t own a sword, go buy one. I interpret this to mean we have the right and obligation to defend ourselves and above all our children.

In our society, negative feelings about faith and Christianity in particular are common. There is a deliberate effort to remove any mention of God, Jesus or faith from our government, schools and workplaces. In our universities, people of faith are ridiculed and belittled by zealous professors and students. Young children cannot wear any clothing to school that speaks of Christian faith without being asked to remove it. Any time we disagree with the prevailing opinion of the media or politically correct, we are mocked.

My heart aches even considering what is ahead, what could happen. I’m certain many struggle with this. However, it’s important to settle what you’ll do and how you’ll react now. Here are some questions to consider.

  1.  What do you believe and going to do when faced with situations out of your control?  Food and fuel shortages, possible bank closures…you get the picture.
  2. Would you pull the trigger and shoot someone who tries to steal from you or kill you for your supplies. (If any of this happens, people will become distressed. Desperate people will steal, hurt or killing others to provide for themselves and their families.)
  3. Do you have like-minded friends or family you can band together with in hard times? People who are willing to defend you if need be?
  4. Have you resolved your potential actions with your faith?

When asked ‘What would Jesus do?’ by a sister in the Lord, I had to search my own heart. I accept: Jesus loves us and died for us (for everyone). He wants us to live long and happy lives free from worry. He taught we should be giving and share with others. We are the light of the world. Yet, He also warned us the days would become evil and dark. He warned us we would be persecuted. He told us parents would turn against children and children against parents. Nothing could be more heart breaking. And He told us to buy protection.

This brings us back to the beginning. Is your heart prepared to protect and defend your family? Do you have the food and shelter needed to survive if chaos reigns? Jesus died for me…protecting me from eternal death. Should I do any less to protect and defend my family? Should you?

None of this is easy to contemplate. No one wants to consider how far our nation will have to fall to bring us to this kind of chaos. The fact is I’m not sure I could pull the trigger and shoot someone. This is why I’m writing about this now. I’m preparing my own heart.

Donna Benson

Recycle and Reuse Series: Cloth

Recycle and reuse fabric.When we were kids, my mother used to recycle fabric by taking apart hers, or other people’s, old clothes and make new clothes for us.  One pair of men’s denim overalls would make a couple of pairs of pants and some shorts for the both of us.

Her dresses could make dresses and shirts for us.  She was quite skilled with a sewing machine and a pair of scissors.  She didn’t need a pattern.  She could see what she wanted to make.

Today, people buy more clothes than they can reasonably wear, then toss it out because they get tired of it before it wears out.  Too bad for them.  As a prepper, its your gain.

Those clothes end up in a variety of charity and other resale shops.  Take advantage of it!  Next time you shop in the local Goodwill, don’t go planning to buy a certain item for a certain person.  Although, that is useful too!

If you are a quilter, check out shirts, dresses and skirts for any suitable fabric for quilting.  Look in all departments.  Even children’s clothes can make a good number of quilt blocks.

Denim will come in handy for all sorts of things from making hammocks to bags of all sorts for a variety of purposes.

Lastly, save the scraps of fabric after sewing a project.  The pieces can be used as patches for other garments or items.  Quilters already know they can be used to make quilts.

By this time you should have quite a few quilt tops made.  Have you priced quilt batting yet?  The good stuff is unreasonably high dollar.  The cheap stuff is, well, cheap.

An alternative is to do like our grandmothers and great grandmothers did for generations past.  Use an old worn out blanket or quilt as batting for the new quilt.  Sometimes they would put new quilt tops on for the third time.  The quilt blocks were made of scraps of fabric left over from clothing past.

Another use for old cloth is to shred it into fine or very small fibers to be included in  your mix for hand made paper.

Lastly, fabric you don’t want to reuse but is still “good” goes into the rag bag.  Use it to clean messes and do dishes.  They go to the shop or garage to clean up paint and oil, then to the trash they go.

The secret to reusing fabric is knowing what is worth the effort and what is not.  If the fabric tears too easily, it’s probably not any good.  If it is thread bare, toss it out!

 

photo by: *Muhammad*

Preppers: Prepared for Drought, Again?

Preppers, are you ready for another year of drought?

During the drought, that still continues in many states, farmers across America filed claims for disaster relief and to their crop insurers.

Crops were not harvested because farmers said they couldn’t get enough money at market for their crop to pay for the fuel to harvest.  Crop insurance adjusters worked to visit every farm to assess damages.   Those who do not buy crop insurance could lose a lot more than crops.

What about the prepper, who often is a back yard farmer?  Will your water well go dry?  Many did.  Should you use city water, if available, for irrigation?  What if the city enters stage three or four water conservation?  That will mean little to no watering of any garden or yard.

While the drought has lessened for a few states, the rest of the country is still struggling with water issues.   Even Alaska and Hawaii are drought stricken. Large portions of Texas has already entered stage three water restrictions.   The glistening ocean provides little, if any rain.  It’s frustrating to see the ocean and not have rain.  City water is expensive. Those of you without a water well, in these parts, it will cost in the neighborhood of $5,000 to get a water well 120 feet deep.  

If you don’t have a water well, this might be the time to get one if you can find the money.   Some years ago, in Hays, Kansas, the drought lasted several years.  Water was not just restricted, it was rationed.  The saying was, “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”.   Toilet paper went in the trash, not the pot.  No outdoor watering, no washing cars, and absolutely no swimming pools.  

If you exceeded your monthly allotment, or got water on the sidewalk or street, you got a warning for the first offence, a ticket for the second, and a trip to see the judge for the third offence.  During this time, if you did not already have a water well, you were not allowed to drill a new one.  People who had water wells were told not to use them.  It was the city’s statement that those who used from their own water wells were taking water from the aquifer from which the city water wells were also drawing water. 

As a prepper, having a water well is an integral part of the survival plan.  However, in the case of drought, don’t be surprised if cities and states restrict the use of your privately owned water wells.  Have another plan.

 

 

Texas Prepper Greenhouse can be Multi-Purpose Buildings

The following video is about prepper greenhouses, but as you will see, TexasPrepper2 has created something much more.  Some climates require something more durable than PVC pipes.  This one is not only easy to build, but sturdy as well.  It’s the design we’ve been looking for.  Hats off to TexasPrepper2!  Grab your notebook and enjoy the video.

How Preppers are Affected by Stalling Strategies

Interacting with people who use stalling strategies and how stalling can effect preppers is not an easy topic to discuss because it will call into question some issues previously unrecognized.  At the very least, you begin to recognize when someone is using stalling strategies to get what they want without giving you what you want.

Often, as preppers, we are encouraged and also encourage preppers to form groups to share information and for mutual support and protection.  Most of us would agree this is necessary.  No one can truly make it on his own, unless he knows all the plants to eat and has found a location that no other person in the country will also forage or hunt.  There in lies the entire purpose for communities from the beginning of recorded history.

Let’s talk about the act of stalling.  “Stall: a ruse or tactic used to mislead or delay”, therefore, by definition, it is intended to deceive others for some unknown purpose.   Procrastination on the other hand, is simply being lazy or fearful.  The trick is to tell the two apart.

The person who stalls is acting deliberately, so you will not likely see the personality traits of fear or laziness in their everyday habit.  Here are some tips on how to tell if someone is stalling you:

  • They start asking questions about other topics.  Since you are likely to know the answer, they know you will likely answer them and give them time to think about their plan of action.
  • Requests for restrooms, drinks of water or any other request that seems ill timed
  • Sudden emotional outburst designed to get you to feel sorry for them for an unrelated issue
  • story or joke telling designed to engage you in conversation about a different subject
  • Promises are made but rarely or never kept.

All of these methods stop what ever is happening at that moment while giving the person time to think about what to do or say next before the last stall strategy wore off.

All of this is important if you have allowed someone into your community who behaves in this manner.  This person will not contribute well during good times, but will come to you in an emergency and expect you to take him in.  He will even try to get you to remember how much he did for you.

So, before you trust someone enough to let him into your prepper stores, make certain he is truly committed and that he is not going to engage in stalling.  Making sure tasks are within his physical and financial abilities, ask him to do a variety of easy, moderate, and difficult things to further the community.  The person who stalls will not be someone you want inside later.

At the very least, you will know where he draws the line.  Will it be at easy, moderate, or difficult?  Where ever that line is, that is how it will always be.

 

References:

Free Dictionary

Recycle and Reuse Series: Metal

Scrap Metal RecyclingNot everyone has a junk heap in the back yard or a pile of metal scraps out behind the barn.  But if you do, you know the value of metals.  That’s why you put each piece of metal in the pile.  You know it’s good for something, but you didn’t quite know what for, yet.  And so the pile grows.

If, on the other hand, you are the person who cleans out the shed or garage every now and then and hauls stuff off to the dump, stop and take a second look.  What in that pile is made of metal?  If you find you have thrown out metal objects take it back off the truck!

Ok, got that straightened out.  Now, what to do with that pile of junk?  First, sort it according to type of metal (iron, lead, steel, nickel, aluminum, other particular alloys).  Be sure to wash after handling lead and batteries.  Sorting metal is important because it is easier to find what you need when you need it; and if you sell it you will get more for it if it is already sorted.  Metal recycling companies pay less per pound if they have to sort it.

If you want to get fancy you can build bins to store it.  The bin would keep sharp edges inside, protecting people who pass by from potentially harmful cuts and scrapes.

Now for the tough decisions.  Almost every city with a population of 250,000 or more has a recycle company that buys all kinds of metal.  Some will even come get it without charging you for it.  But, as a prepper, do you want to sell it?  Selling the metal will give you extra money for purchasing preps or just paying the bills.  Keeping the metal should mean you have the equipment and skills to refashion the metal into something you need, or you know someone who will.

Once you have decided to keep the metal, it is important to make sure it won’t rust or corrode in it’s storage container.  Some climates, especially coastal regions, are hard on metal.  The salt air is continually at work to destroy some metals.  Paint and varnish fumes would be a problem if you need to apply heat to the metals.  Grease and oil  each provide a suitable barrier to protect your metals from corrosion and rust but will need to be washed off prior to use or applying heat.

Happy Prepping!