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Christmas Gift Boxes Available for Pre-Order!

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for…time to get your Christmas gift boxes ordered! Each box comes ready to gift, with each soap individually wrapped. Give the whole box as one beautiful present, or pick out your favorites and gift the rest to others. You’ll be giving the gift of handmade soap, with ingredients like moisturizing shea butter, goat milk, and essential oils.

Each box has six full-size bars of our limited edition Christmas scents:

Three Wise Men – The richness of frankincense and myrrh, taken to a whole other level with orange and lavender. Made with additional shea butter for moisturizing.

Julenissen – A clean, manly scent of fir, leather, and black pepper spice.

Christmas Coffee – An exfoliating and deep scrubbing bar with locally roasted Montana espresso, cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, ginger, and cocoa. Added jojoba oil moisturizes for super-soft skin. DO NOT USE if you are allergic to chocolate. Contains caffeine.

Joy to the World – Oranges and clove oil make for a spicy citrus scent. With added shea butter.

Spiced Cocoa – Warm, cozy hot chocolate with a touch of cinnamon and spices.

Christmas at Grandma’s – A bright Christmas scent of orange, apple, peppermint, and clove.

Christmas boxes are $50 with free shipping after November 15th to anywhere in the continental US, so feel free to contact us and set up shipping directly to your recipients! Limited quantities available, so get your boxes ordered now!

All of our Christmas soaps are also available for individual purchase, and will also ship on November 15th! In addition, we also offer seasonal and custom gift boxes. Get in touch and let us know what you’re looking for!


If you’re interested in getting a gift box but want to choose your own bars, let’s talk about a custom box!

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Can a Goat Save Your Life?

If you’ve never owned goats before, chances are you don’t think of them as survival assets. In fact, you might even consider them a liability in a disaster because they’ll still need to eat, drink water, and receive basic care — and they’ll be wholly dependent upon you for much of that. In a survival situation, you’ll be focused on yourself and your family and won’t have time or desire to mess with livestock.

But there’s just one problem with that avenue of thinking: you’re missing out on one of the best survival assets of which you can possibly think. Today, we’ll talk about five products that you won’t need to purchase if you have a goat and, while some of those might seem a bit frivolous, some can literally help you survive.

Cheese

Where there’s milk, there can be cheese, and while you might automatically be thinking of feta, the truth is that you can make all kinds of cheese with goat’s milk, including aged cheddar.

Cheese isn’t really a survival item in the classic sense, but it’s definitely one of those foods that can serve as a snack or help complement a simple meal. It’s a great source of calcium and protein as well, and it’s easy to make with simple or even primitive supplies.

One important note: Making butter with goat’s milk is pretty tedious. The natural homogenization means the cream doesn’t separate as easily as it does with cow’s milk. It will take you a long time to collect enough cream to make butter.

Milk

You might be storing canned milk in your preps. If you’ve ever tried it, you’re probably hoping you never have to taste it again. It’s not that good from a can; many folks just buy it anyway and stick it on a shelf, thinking that someday they may be hungry enough to drink it.

Fresh goat milk, however, is one of those foods that has far more benefits than you’re aware of. It’s easier for the human body to digest, and many who are lactose intolerant find that they can consume goat milk just fine (check with your doctor before doing so, just in case). It’s naturally homogenized, has more potassium than cow milk, and if it’s handled properly at milking time, it tastes pretty close to cow’s milk, too.

If you have a few dairy goats, not only will you have all the fresh, healthy milk you need for your family, but you’ll save storage room and money while providing them one of the healthiest and most popular drinks in the world. And don’t underestimate your goats’ ability to feed more than just you. All our animals love goat milk as an amazing, vitamin-stuffed treat.

Soap!

Cleanliness is one of the most important facets of survival, and goat milk soap is yet another way to use any extra milk that your goats are producing. In addition, it’s good for your skin. There are many recipes online for creating both simple and more complex soaps, and they’re worth checking out. Because some soaps need to cure for several weeks depending on the process you use, you’ll want to have a schedule for making it. One batch, however, can net as many as 12 bars, so you won’t have to make it often.

(Or, just check out our goat milk soaps!)

Kefir

This interesting creation is a fermented drink often made with goat’s milk. It tastes a bit like yogurt but is thinner in consistency. What makes kefir worth trying is that it’s packed full of healthy probiotics, proteins and bacteria that can help keep your gut health stable — something especially important during a survival scenario. All of that being said, I gotta tell you…I think it tastes like crap!

While my own goats are dairy producers, loved and spoiled in their own way, there is a truth on our farm that any one of them would be used for meat if things got to that point. Goat meat is enjoyed the world over, and a goat’s milk and meat can be used to not only feed my family, but my other animals as well.

There are many more products that goats provide:

  • Fiber – Cashmere and mohair are highly popular goat-derived fibers
  • Compost
  • Hides/leather

Should You Get Goats?

Beginning with any animal requires research, understanding and a willingness to learn (and fail). The question of whether you should get a few goats is a personal one, but if you’re looking to be able to keep producing food, soap and even textile goods no matter what’s going on around you, goats are one of the best ways to go.

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Lexi the Mighty and Leroy the Drama Dog

Tales from Liberty Farm

Lexi, our Sarplaninac pup, is growing fast. She is already 2/3 the size of Lobo, and is still only 7 months old. Part of her job right now is learning when to alert, when to stand down, and when to escalate. Watching her slowly start to assert herself in various situations is a lot of fun, and every so often we get a glimpse of the dog she will be when she is full grown. So far she is incredibly stable in her emotions, very judicious with her applications of force. If she flips the switch, it’s usually because she had to — and if she overreacted, Lobo is there to correct her.

Yesterday Leroy the mini Aussie was being, well, Leroy. Since his nut-loss appointment, he’s been a bit less randy but still very hyper and very dramatic. Lexi might try to chase the goats herself from time to time, but she is well aware that Leroy shouldn’t be doing it. Eric caught her watching him intently as he zoomed around the yard at top speed, cutting in and out and getting the goats all wound up.

Lexi and Lobo don’t like it when their goats are wound up, and Lexi stepped up to handle it, snapping and snarling at Leroy as he sprinted up to her. Not like I AM GOING TO KILL YOU NOW, but more like THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING TO KNOCK IT OFF.

Having always seen Lexi as the smaller, weaker pup that he could boss around and play with, Leroy was stunned. WHY IS SHE YELLING AT ME LIKE SHE IS THE BOSS? Suddenly realizing that he had just dropped a rung on the food chain, he decided to revert to false accusations. Screaming and yelping like she had just gutted him, he announced to all and sundry that he, the sweet and always innocent Leroy Jenkins, had been victimized by the mean and evil harpy, Lexi, who had apparently forgotten her place. Scuttling off to the gate, he howled his emotional pain, trying to garner sympathy from someone…anyone…tattling in dog yelps about the wench who attacked him without provocation.

Leroy is a chauvinist…and a drama dog.

Raising his head to see if it was worth getting up from a nap, Lobo decided it was just Leroy and his crying wolf again. Lexi appeared wholly unconcerned with Leroy’s histrionics, and even the goats stared at him, calmly chewing their hay as they surveyed him with judging eyes. Leroy found himself at the gate without a single soul to give a flying rip about him getting his butt handed to him by a girl.

Lexi is awesome.

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Liberty Farm Christmas Gift Boxes – Coming Soon!

Three Wise Men

Give the gift of handmade soap this year. Our Christmas gift boxes feature one full-sized 4-oz bar of each of our limited edition Christmas scents, for a total of SIX amazing bars–individually wrapped and ready to gift. You can give the whole box as a gift, keep one for yourself, or give six friends a beautiful present. Quantities are limited; we will start taking orders on October 15, and all boxes will ship after November 15th.

This year’s scents are:

  • Three Wise Men: frankincense, myrrh, orange, and lavender
  • Julenissen: leather and fir for men
  • Christmas at Grandma’s: orange, green apple, peppermint, and clove
  • Joy to the World: orange and clove shave soap
  • Christmas Coffee: cinnamon, thyme, cocoa, nutmeg, ginger, and espresso exfoliating soap
  • Cashmere Sweater: cedarwood, vanilla tonka, coconut, jasmine, olive wood, sandalwood, amber, musk, and cocoa butter.

Our Christmas Gift Boxes are $50, with FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the Continental US. That means you can order and have them shipped directly to your loved ones. Boxes will NOT ship with a receipt or packing slip.

You won’t want to miss this box! When they’re gone, they’re gone!

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Design Your Own First Aid Kit

Many homes have a first aid kit, and if yours was like the one in my family growing up, it was a big mess stuffed into a small container. Some families have smaller kits for their cars, garages, or even their everyday carry gear, and if you’re someone who likes to be prepared for anything, chances are good that at least one of your first aid kits is fairly extensive.

It’s easy to find first aid kits that are already put together, and some of them are fairly affordable. There are all levels of kits as well; you can get a 100-piece FAK on Amazon for under ten bucks, and you can go up to a full paramedic-level kit or higher depending on where you shop and how much you are willing to spend. With all of these options available, why would we be advising you to design your own? 

Every Family is Different

The first reason you should design your own FAKs is that your needs will not be exactly the same as the family down the street or in the next town. There are several different factors you’ll need to think about when putting together a first aid kit, including:

  • What regional or local threats do I need to worry about (spiders, scorpions, snakes, etc.)?
  • What types of injuries or issues could arise from the specific activities my family is involved in?
  • Typically, where would we be if these injuries occurred—halfway up a mountain or at the local ball diamond?
  • What specific medical issues do my family members already have?

The above list isn’t all-inclusive, but it’ll get you started. Does your son have an allergy to bees? You’ll need an EpiPen in your kit. Maybe you or your spouse are diabetic and will need to have some oral glucose or other supplies. Are you all big hiking fans? Moleskin might be a must-have. A family with kids in sports might want to carry a SAM splint or other materials for the breaks and sprains that can happen. 

Sure, you can buy one huge kit that may or may not cover all of it—but you’ll be far better prepared if you have exactly what you and your family need and can pack specific supplies for the activity or location that you’ll be in. 

You Need to Be Intimately Familiar with Your Kit

This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people buy an extensive medical kit only to pronounce themselves prepared after putting it away, only to be frantically digging in it later when they need something and can’t find it. What’s more, your kit might be missing the one thing you need in the moment—even if it has 350 band-aids in sixteen sizes.

If you design your own kit, maintain it, and are doing regular checks on it, you know what’s in there and you know where to find what you need in a few seconds. Sometimes that’s all the time you have.

You Need to Have the Training to Use Your Kit

It’s easy to buy a kit so extensive that you could almost perform an appendectomy on your kitchen floor, but do you have the training to use everything in your kit effectively? Supplies mean nothing if no one in your family is trained on them. If your level of training is somewhere around the level of little to non-existent, then look around in your area for some first aid instruction and get it done. There is no downside to medical training when it comes to protecting your family.

We aren’t saying don’t ever buy a pre-packaged FAK. For the optimum level of preparedness, however, you’ll need to:

  • Understand your family’s needs
  • Understand your level of training
  • Understand your kit itself

Those three things will get you on the path to be a lot better prepared to care for your family in the case of a medical need.

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Muscovy Ducks Inbound

It’s a running joke among our friends that we’re trying to recreate Noah’s Ark up here on the mountain with all the animals we have. While we certainly aren’t trying to get two of every kind, we are working toward self-sufficiency, and that means having a variety of plants and animals in our little farm ecosystem. To that end, we are introducing a group of Muscovy ducks next week, and we’re excited about what that means for our farm!

roast duck

Muscovies are native to Mexico, Central and South America, and are domesticated in farms across the United States. The males are the largest ducks in North America, but that’s about where the similarity to traditional ducks ends.

The have long claws, and like to roost in the trees. They don’t need as much water as a true duck, and are quite content with either a small kiddie pool or even just a big bucket to wash their heads in.

The females can hatch up to four clutches of 11-14 eggs per year, which means lots of ducklings. They are excellent mothers, which means they can raise their own babies with no interference from us.

They’re also very quiet; they don’t quack at all. They have a low cooing sound and a soft hiss.

So Why Muscovy Ducks?

Every animal on our farm has at least one purpose, and some of them have more. Our chickens provide eggs and meat, our cats keep the rodent population down, the goats provide milk for dairy products and our amazing premium soaps, and our dogs guard the farm.

The ducks will have dual purpose: they’ll provide pest control services (grasshoppers and other garden ruiners are thick here) and rich, dark meat. In return, they’ll be spoiled rotten, fed fresh greens and grains, and given the absolute best life possible. We’ll keep some for breeding and continue the genetics using a clan-based system, which means a self-perpetuating source of meat — and eggs for baking, too.

Since they’re hardy in cold, like rain and snow, and raise their own young that means we can focus on the goats and chickens, who require a lot more attention. All in all, getting this particular breed of duck means we will have meat for a long time to come.

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Replanting: Free Survival Food

If you’re like me, you’ve started poring over the spring seed catalogs long before spring is officially here, choosing new varieties of garden produce to plant. Maybe you’ll be adding a fruit tree or two, or even just sticking to tried-and-true winners for this year’s garden. What if I told you that you could have part of your garden inside all the year through … without buying seeds? It’s called replanting, and it is way easier than you ever thought.

What is Replanting?

With replanting, you’re literally regrowing what’s left of produce you’ve purchased or already harvested. You’d be surprised at how little work it requires to get started or keep going. What’s more, it’s good for the environment as well since you can use compostable items like eggshells as starters.

Not everything can be grown this way, but a lot of things can. I’m currently growing quite the garden in my kitchen bay window, and have already harvested several things, only to have them keep right on growing. The best part is it’s all growing from scraps of fruits and vegetables I either bought at the store or got from neighbors. Let’s take a closer look at how to do it. Chances are you can start today with things already in your fridge.

Green Onions

This might be the easiest of all, and it’s the one I started with. Simply take the white bulb part, going up about 2″, and snip it off. Use the green part as usual, and then take the bulb end and place it in about an inch of water. The onions will start growing right out of the cut off stem, and you’ll see visible growth in only three days or so. It takes about two weeks to be able to harvest them again, and after that time you put them in a container to keep growing.

Celery

The same principle applies to getting fresh celery. Just take the bunch you bought at the store, cut off the bottom three inches (the “butt”) and put it in water about 1.5″ deep. You’ll see growth in only a few days. After two weeks, I planted mine in an empty coffee container with some holes in the bottom to let excess water drain out.

Potatoes

I cannot count the number of times I’ve snagged those old, forgotten potatoes from the back of the pantry, cut them into pieces that have an eye or two each, and planted them in a container only to get a nice little trove of fresh new potatoes. These go right into a large container filled about only 4″ deep. Once the plants are about 8″ high, I add six more inches of soil, and when they reach 8″ again, I add six more inches of soil. Then I let them grow until they’re done. Instead of only a few potatoes at the end, I have layers and layers of them. This is best done in a 5-gallon bucket but can be done in anything really, as long as it’s deep enough.

Peppers

Peppers are full of seeds, and you can simply use half of the pepper as a kind of built-in planter. Fill it with soil, spray with water, and put the pepper half in a sunny windowsill. After about two weeks, just put the pepper and all in a pot and cover with soil.

The Downsides

There are a few things to know when replanting. If you’re set on having heirloom varieties, this probably isn’t the right way to go for you.  You’re essentially just regrowing whatever you bought at the grocery store.

It also won’t be a good replacement for a full garden during your zone’s growing season. Unless you have a lot of sunny windows, you may be limited in how much you can grow.

The good news is that both of these downsides can be mitigated. If you’re already growing a garden outside every year, you can use replanting to extend the growing season and keep some fresh veggies and herbs long after your outdoor garden is covered in snow. If your garden is made up of heirloom plants, then that’s what you’ll get back in replanting.

If you have room in your home to hang or stand a few grow lights, then sunlit windows become much less of an issue as well. You can expand to however many lights you have.

Instead of throwing your vegetable scraps away, composting them all, or even throwing them to your chickens, try replanting. You might be surprised at how easy — and effective — it is.

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Seeds for Your Homestead

One of the biggest parts — if not the most important part — of survival is food. After all, if you can’t eat good, healthy food, you won’t be able to do much else. While having a deep pantry and well-stored goods is an excellent start, to really round out your diet you’ll need to grow your own food as well. If you don’t have the greenest thumb, then now is a good time to start learning. That means you’ll need some seeds.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with seed buying. There are thousands of different varieties, and just as many questions. What’s the difference between heirloom and hybrid? How do you know what grows well in your area? And what if you’re not the world’s most accomplished gardener? How do you know how much to grow for your family?

Thankfully, the internet is a great place to find answers to all of these questions and many more you haven’t even thought to ask yet. The time to get started on a sustainability and homesteading path is now — long before you need to start planting.

Types of Seeds

There are three main types of seeds: open-pollinated, heirloom, and hybrid. Understanding the differences can set you up for success.

Open-Pollinated Seeds

If you have open-pollinated seeds, it means that insects, birds and even wind did the work to create those seeds by spreading their pollen. All heirlooms are also open-pollinated, and they’re also called “true to type.” In other words, they’re the original real deal. Heirlooms are all open-pollinated, but not all open-pollinated are heirlooms.

Heirloom Seeds

Heirloom seeds are often more expensive than their hybrid cousins, but they also have a nifty little benefit. You can collect the seeds from your own plants, use them the next year, and get exactly the same plant and produce from them. To maximize this benefit, always take the seeds from the strongest, highest producing plants.

Hybrid Seeds

Many of the seeds you’ll see in big box stores are hybrids (also called F1), which means they’re man-made varieties resulting from intentional cross-breeding of plants. This is done to increase yield, size, flavor, or even to make the plants more resistant to frost or disease. While all that can be very beneficial, especially to new gardeners, if you save the seeds from these plants you might not get the same results next year due to the genetics in play.

When deciding which seeds to start with, keep in mind your climate, gardening skills and goal. If you’re looking to maximize your yield and don’t mind buying seeds again next year, a hybrid might be perfect. If you’d rather jump into the survival aspect and want to get used to saving seeds and working toward sustainability, heirlooms are a better bet.

Choose Your Seed Varieties

When you think of garden veggies, the standard colors and types probably jump into your mind. Red tomatoes, green lettuce, orange carrots.

There are actually hundreds of varieties of every kind of vegetable, and some of those varieties come with amazing colors, textures and flavors. You can have purple carrots, black tomatoes and even Swiss chard that comes in bright rainbow colors, or corn with kernels that resemble stained glass. Your lettuce can be leafy, sweet, or spicy — or even all of the above. Half the fun of planning your garden is deciding what kinds of vegetables you want. Your garden can focus on basic things like yield and hardiness, but you can also put in some color, making it both beautiful and fun to take care of.

Choose a Seed Company

Before you run to your big box store and grab a handful of the basic varieties, consider ordering online. There are a number of reputable seed companies who not only sell online but offer extensive education and tips on how to best maximize your purchase. You can sit in your recliner, perusing a catalog or website with all the information you need — including how much you’ll need to feed your family.

Some companies cater specifically to those looking to get into survival gardening. Their seeds are packaged for long-term storage, so you can buy more than one year at a time if you like and stash them for future gardening ventures.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is my favorite site. They specialize in rare and exciting varieties at reasonable prices. Johnny’s Selected Seeds is another great site for survival gardeners. Another option is Legacy Food Storage, which offers bulk kits of survival seeds meant to be stored long-term.

Check out those companies first, and then get to buying! Don’t forget to check out ways to put up all that garden goodness!

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Survival Food: Buy or DIY?

Storing food is the cornerstone of prepping for all sorts of disasters or emergencies. Out here in Montana, it’s right up there with firewood for winter importance. Survival food can also keep your family secure during times of financial hardship as well.

Food storage comes in all flavors, too; you can buy meal kits, bulk freeze-dried, or even pack and can your own after hunting, gardening, or even raising some meat. If you’re just starting out with prepping or looking to make it through a bad winter, you might be wondering what direction is best for you and your family. If you’ve already started storing up food, you might be looking for a good way to diversify your stock. Let’s talk options.

Pre-Made Meal Kits

Pros: Convenience, ease of storage
Cons: Price, possible quality concerns

Several vendors sell prepared survival food kits that only require heat and water to use. They come packaged for long-term storage with a variety of foods. It’s by far the most convenient option; you simply buy and store.

Prices vary widely depending on the quantity, quality and type of food. Mountain House (non-sponsored link), for instance, produces meals that are widely regarded as some of the highest quality you can buy with incredibly long shelf lives; their prices, however, are often reflective of that quality.

On the other hand, highly affordable long-term food storage can also come with some negatives. Make sure that what might seem like a great deal actually provides you with enough caloric intake to survive for the amount of time the manufacturer claims.

Before choosing to purchase any ready-made meal kits, make sure to research more than just the price; look at ingredients, length of storability, quantity and calorie load in each meal.

DIY Long-Term Storage

Pros: Knowing what you’re getting, lower cost
Cons: Limited use, requirement to use it all after opening

Another option is to get some 5-gallon buckets, oxygen absorbers and mylar bags, and pack your own survival food storage. This is best for staple goods like corn, wheat, rice or beans.  You can buy the supplies fairly cheaply at a number of vendors online, and if you’ve done it yourself you know exactly what the quality and quantity is. The downside is that once you open the bucket, you’ll need to have a plan to use all of the contents in a short timeframe.

Before deciding to take the plunge and do your own, you’ll want to do some cost analysis, and be honest with yourself about what you’ll use. If you aren’t a fan of beans today, for instance, it’s not an effective use of your supplies, time or money to start prepping them in huge quantities.

Canning Options

Pros: Low cost, wide range of recipes and options available
Cons: Shorter storage time

Home canning is a time-honored method of putting food aside. Done correctly, it can provide you with hundreds of foods, including jams, meats, vegetables and even some desserts. It’s easy to learn, and while it requires the biggest time commitment, it also arguably offers the highest return on your investment — especially if you have your own garden. With a few solid sessions of canning, you can eat fresh food both in and out of season.

The best way to maximize your home canning is to put up foods you’ll eat, use food that you’ve grown or raised yourself, and rotate your stock, eating your oldest food first. Canned food can last at least 18 months; many experienced home canners say it can last far longer than that if you’ve performed the process correctly.

Conclusion

You may choose one of the listed methods above, or a variety of them. What’s best for you and your family might be different than your neighbors or friends. It all comes down to what you can afford, and what you’re willing to do. Regardless of your chosen method, however, whatever you stock now can help you later.

This article was originally posted at Springfield Armory’s blog, The Armory Life.

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An Unlimited Meat Supply?

Prepared folks know that having the skill or materials to raise or make something is worth more than having the money to buy it. That principle has been shown true this year, as panic buying has made even something as basic as toilet paper a scarce resource for many. Money is great — until you can’t find what you need to buy; especially if that something is meat or other food.

In rural areas, local small businesses and butcher shops can still provide meat even while larger urban stores are seeing a shortage, but you might be wondering how to bring meat home if you can’t buy it. That leads us back to the principle of being able to raise your own. If you’ve reached the point where you’re ready to start looking at raising your own meat, then let’s talk about what’s out there besides beef (as having your own cows requires a lot of infrastructure and a much larger commitment).​

Chickens

You can get both meat and eggs out of chickens, making them incredibly versatile. If you’re in a suburban or even urban landscape, this is probably your only option; while many towns will let you have a few hens, they’re not going to be so understanding about Bart the beef steer. If you can also have a rooster, that means you have a self-perpetuating meat source. If you keep a staggered flock, with birds ranging from chicks to two-year-old birds, you’ll always have eggs and meat. Butcher the young roosters for meat and use the hens for laying until they stop — then throw them in a stew pot. You don’t need to raise separate meat chickens and layers, but you certainly can if you prefer the larger birds. (In fact, if you want to be able to keep a healthy flock with the proper level of genetic diversity, you can find out how here!)

Rabbits

Rabbits are easy to raise and breed, and they can provide you with nearly unlimited meat. One buck and two does, with proper care, can make enough rabbits to let you feed your family and even have extra to sell or barter with. They’re simple and quick to process as well. Rabbit manure is also fantastic for your garden and doesn’t need to be aged first, providing you with excellent additions for your soil. However, be sure to diversify your meat source some as too much rabbit mean over the long term can be problematic due to its notably low-fat content relative to its remarkably high protein content.

Goats

These amazing animals are perhaps even more versatile than chickens, but they require more space and are a bit harder to raise. Not only do they offer meat, but dairy breeds also provide excellent milk, which means a whole host of additional food products. In addition, their milk can be used in a wide variety of soaps, lotions and more. Goats are herd animals, so you’ll need at least two. Thankfully, they come in all sizes, and if a 200-lb. Boer meat goat doesn’t sound fun, then you can always opt for the smaller Nigerian Dwarf breeds, which still provide meat if necessary but are well-known for their creamy milk. We have been raising the Nigerian Dwarf breed for a few years now, and we find them sources of not only milk, but joy and fun as well.

Pigs

Pigs are walking garbage disposals that are fairly easy to raise as long as you know how to handle them. Like goats, there are all different breeds and price ranges available. If you’re looking for something smaller and more manageable but still want good quality meat, take a look at Kunekune pigs. They’re friendly, easy to handle, and smaller than your average hog at only 100 to 200 lbs. as opposed to twice that for a regular sized animal — which admittedly means less meat than the full size. Kunekune meat, however, is premium quality. Kunekunes also graze like cows and goats, which means lower feed costs.

How to Get Started Properly

As with anything, if you’re going to do it, do it right. Understand your own situation, what you can reasonably raise based on your available land. Animals need more than food and water; they need medical care at times, preventive measures for parasites and disease, and they require a consistent schedule. If you have animals, leaving for a few days isn’t an option unless you make arrangements for them to be cared for in your absence.

Study the animal you choose to raise; decide on the right species for your family. There are books available for just about every type of farm animal there is, geared for the small homestead. Storey’s Guides are excellent resources for beginners.

Start small, but get the best quality animals you can on your budget. You’ll need good genetics, and a plan for how you’ll breed, raise and process them. Have their living space set up before you buy, and have an experienced person you can consult with questions and learn from.

Raising your own meat is one of the most rewarding things you can pursue. Not only does it taste better than anything from the store, it will bring you that much closer to being ready for anything.


This article was originally posted in 2019 at Springfield Armory’s blog, The Armory Life.