Stealth Livestock

Discussion in 'Blogs' started by Falcon15, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Stealth livestock. When you say those words it elicits images of cows wearing black SWAT uniforms or ninja goats. However, it is a lot simpler than that.

    Livestock, no matter their size or type, produce 2 things in excess - noise and waste. The average suburbanite has noise restrictions and nuisance laws to deal with. Additionally, a suburban prepper needs to be mindful that his or her neighbors may become the marauding horde looking for food in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. So how does a suburban prepper go about finding and implementing a livestock base that is both productive and easy to keep quietly?

    First start with some research. Here are some things to look at:

    Try and ascertain how much yard square footage you have, and how much your potential livestock will need. For example, large breed rabbits need about 3 square feet per animal. The up side is you can stack the cages one atop another (about as high as you can comfortably see in), as long as you have the right trays to catch waste between them. So that means approximately 3 large breed rabbits would only take up three (3) square feet of yard, but use approximately 9 vertical feet of space.

    Check the noise level generated by the potential livestock. Let us take a look at Muscovy ducks. They are one of the heaviest of the duck breeds. They produce meat, feathers, and eggs. They are also quiet. The females (called ducks) never get louder than a quiet churl, and the males (called drakes) make a soft hissing. So they do not quack, cluck, moo, bray, bleat, or crow. Winning!

    Feeding. This one is mostly overlooked by the novice livestock keeper. We will not be able to buy feed from the feed store after a TEOTWAWKI scenario. We need to know what the anmal can eat from forage, what we can grow to feed them, and what we need to know about their ideal diets.

    Waste produced. This one is relative. You could have the quietest, most space efficient livestock, but their waste matter reeks to high heaven! In the above examples, rabbits and Muscovy ducks produce waste products that have little to no offensive odor as long as you clean up after them regularly. I must reiterate - the most important thing is cleaning up the waste products efficiently and quickly. If you garden, I would strongly suggest making a compost pile and putting the waste materiel on it. This literally turns crap into food.

    Once you have decided on the animal or animals, do not rush out and buy a whole load of them. You will need to buy good reference manuals on the animals. Preferably you will be able to find one that covers all aspects of the animal from selecting, housing, feeding, caring for (diseases and common ailments and their cures), and if it is a really good book - how to process the animal and recipes using what the animal produces. Read this book. Build your animal housing. Acquire the basic equipment, then buy the animals you are set up for.

    So far we have talked about Muscovy ducks and rabbits. Other quite productive yet quiet animals are: fresh water fish (Google "backyard aqua culture") and bees (fresh honey, yum!). if you have the space and less restrictive laws around you you may even consider miniature goat breeds.

    On a related note: If you have children, be sure that you have had the "these are not pets" discussion. Nothing will hurt your pocket book for preps more than a gaggle of animals that your kids will not eat! You waste money on feed and time on caring for them. One way you can avoid any problems is name your breeding animals, but not the offspring. For example, we named all of our breeding does and bucks in our rabbitry. Any kits (baby rabbits) born are not named at all. In fact we process all of our own animals at our home, and my children have been exposed to this fact of life since a young age. Another method of keeping the "pet" mentality out of the picture is minimal handling and petting of the animals, as well as minimal exposure to them. Being around the animals at feeding and watering time, handling them to check their general health (wing clipping, or checking to see if the animal is in season for example), handling them if you have to clean their enclosures, and handling them on the way to be processed. No petting, no "just holding". This is business. These animals are a survival food source. Treat them like the investment they are. Care for them, but do not get too attached. You cash in on all of your investments, eventually.

    If we have to replace a breeding animal, we select the best of the best kit or kits, with qualities we are looking for in further offspring, and separate them from the rest after they are fully weaned. They are named and entered into our breeding records. Breeding animals that can longer produce are relegated to the stew pot. Waste not want not.
    chelloveck likes this.
  2. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    ducks are very good producers of fat too
    a fat that makes a decent soap
    also their eggs are stronger but quite tasty
    and you get down for jackets, beds, blankets and pillows
    and the bones of every animal can be ground and used as lime for your garden, this is pure calcium carbonate
    if you dont need it for that, you can slake it over a fire and use it as portland cement
  3. Desert Marine

    Desert Marine Certified Master Herbalist

    We raise both Muscovy and Mallard ducks on our homestead. Actually our local breed of Muscovy are smaller than our Mallards. Our Mallards for meat purposes within 3-4 months reach well over 12lbs each minimum. Ducks in general are excellent foragers. Our terrain and climates both in West Texas and our International BOL is strictly desert. We successfully grow white Clover which we feed our ducks. We house them in pens so we have an excellent source of fertilizer when diluted i.e. watered down. We been experimenting with their manure on our gardens and preliminary results are promising. I a looking at adding a new flock of Mallards within the next few months.
  4. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    Well, I am located near the Piney Woods, and let me assure you, the Muscovy drakes weigh in at nearly 15 pounds. I use a heavy walled small poly tank as their water reservoir. I pour the dropping filled dregs out at the base of my fruit trees. My Meyer lemon tree produced over 70 pounds of lemons the size of oranges this past season and my grapefruit tree produced the largest, sweetest, juiciest grapefruits ever.
  5. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    I think what you are calling Mallards, are actually Rouen Ducks. They look like Mallards in coloration but are much larger at 9 - 12 lb. Mallards ain't gonna make 5 lb. Muscovy ducks will go 7 - 11 lb for females and 15 - 18 lb for males. True Wild Muscovy ducks are smaller than the domestic or feral domestic Muscovys.
    chelloveck likes this.
  1. Alanaana
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    A total game changer!
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    Welcome to the world, Little One!
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    These quail egg clippers are a game changer!
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  17. Alanaana


    I was so thrilled to find that first set of eggs!
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  18. Alanaana


    It was a dream come true to have a free-range flock!
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