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Survival Chickens: The Food Source in the Backyard

For many, the concept of raising survival chickens is something equated with living in the country. While having fresh, organic meat or eggs sounds great, you can’t have chickens if you live in the city or suburbs. If you’re not in a position to move out to greener pastures, that means you’re stuck being dependent on a grocery store for your meat and eggs.

Or does it?

The truth is that many towns and cities allow you to have survival chickens in your yard—with a few caveats, of course.

Get Informed About Your Area

The first thing you’ll need to do is find out what your area’s specific regulations are. A fairly standard list of regulations can include any of the following:

  • A limit on the number of chickens you can have (six is common, which means 4-5 eggs per day)
  • A ban on owning any roosters due to noise
  • A permit or license, with a fee
  • You will be expected to have adequate fenced area and housing for them, typically two square feet per bird
  • You’ll also need to keep their area clean and odor-free so as not to annoy your neighbors.

Regulations vary by locale, but you can often look up your town’s ordinances by simply doing a web search. You can also check with your local zoning office and county health office as well. In some cases, even apartment dwellers can have a few.

The Pros of Survival Chickens

We all know that having farm fresh eggs on hand is a great thing. After all, your average store egg is about a month old; once you’ve tasted truly fresh eggs you’ll never want to go back.

Meat is also a great reason to raise survival chickens. While a breed like Cornish Cross can give you fat, plump birds in just a few weeks, even your egg layers will be good eating later in a soup or as base for a broth. The best part is that you’ll never have to worry about what medications, supplements, or other things your meat has been injected with.

The Cons

Chickens are great, but they do require upkeep. Eggs don’t appear like magic; you’ll still need to feed them, provide fresh water, and make sure they have somewhere safe to sleep. If you’re not a fan of the idea of processing an animal you raised, however, then meat birds probably aren’t a good goal for you. If you aren’t currently set up for chickens, it can take a few bucks to do that. Once you have what you need, the costs go down exponentially.

Balancing It Out

Like most things in a sustainable or preparedness lifestyle, the decision to raise chickens comes down to risk/hassle vs. reward. If fresh meat and eggs is something that’s important to you, especially if you’re looking to ensure food security in an uncertain world, take a look at chickens—no matter where you live.

See how we’re putting survival chickens to work on our farm!

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Suzie Has Some Babies

This morning we figured putting the mamas out to pasture might help speed things along for Frenchie, who is very agitated this morning.

Shortly afterward, Eric looked outside to see Suzie laying on her side, yelling loudly, and Frenchie was nudging her like an experienced mama, pushing her onto her feet. NO GET UP. YOU GOTTA STAND UP FOR THIS. Suzie struggled to her feet, with Frenchie pushing and encouraging the whole time.

Eric could already see two tiny hooves and a little baby nose as he went up to her. He yelled to me that the kid was going to come right there in the dirt so I grabbed a towel and ran out there just in time to catch the baby before it hit the ground.

The little one is strong, healthy, and Suzie is being an excellent first time mom. We have a little doeling who is perfect, looks just like her mama down to her little black boots and white patch on her head…and blue eyes. Her full registered name will be Liberty 76 Belleau Wood.

Bella, for short.

After a short exam, a bit of selenium, and some iodine for her umbilical cord stump, we left them alone. Bella is currently spending some bonding time with mama and getting her land legs but we will go back down in a bit and get some video of her dancing around.

Frenchie is now yelling and acting quite annoyed. Double babies today? Maybe so. 

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Loki Learns to Leave the Cats Alone

Loki, one of our miniature Aussie Shepherds, is a sweet 7-month-old pup that is still learning farm life. He loves to play with the cats…but they don’t always love playing with him.

Today Loki got in his second fight with one of the cats. He lost this one. Why, you might ask, is he suddenly fighting with the very animals he loves playing with?

It all started when Sugar, one of the Cats Formerly Known as Babykitty, came up and rubbed her head against him affectionately, purring in a friend-zone sort of way. Loki, as many friend-zone males typically do, immediately misinterpreted the gesture as a green light, frantically attempting to mate with her in the frenzied, poorly-done manner of every virgin male with no clue who has been raised as a mama’s pet.

At first, Sugar tried to get out from under him, but Loki bit the back of her neck, trying to hold her there. Suddenly, Sugar went from “hey I don’t like you that way” to SUPER EMPOWERED FELINE, DESTROYER OF WORLDS. Executing what can only be described as a cat-like maneuver, she extricated her neck and spun around under him, clawing his face repeatedly so fast I couldn’t even see how many times she got him. All while screaming what must have been cuss words in Cat.

Jumping off of her with a loud yelp of pain, Loki backed up, bewildered. How could this enchanting creature NOT want some of this, he apparently thought. Sugar ran a few feet away, glaring balefully.

The pain of rejection was quickly replaced with rage as Loki charged what was just a moment ago the object of his obsessive brand of love. Sugar calmly awaited his attack, the tip of her tail slowly curling.

As he reached her with a snarl, Sugar proceeded to Whup. His. Behind.

And his face. And his back. And his belly. It took her literally about 1.5 seconds and I doubt he even got a smack in. Lol

Then she jumped on to the balcony rail and started cleaning herself like it never happened. Loki ran and hid between my legs, and Sugar looked at me as if to say…”well, keep your little predator on a leash and that won’t happen.”

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X Factor Gets the Girls

Yesterday I put X out in the yard with the adult does to finish breeding whoever didn’t succumb to his charms last go-round. Previously, all mating rituals had been done in a back breeding pen, out of sight of prying human eyes. We had an understanding, X and me. I let him have access to the ladies and he was supposed to do his business at night, away from us. Days are for flirting and hilarious buck behavior, nights are for breeding. Besides, none of the does were interested in the rag we had rubbed all over X anyway so I wasn’t worried. X would follow the terms of our understanding.

X apparently doesn’t actually DO understandings.

Five minutes after entering the yard, he fixated on Topaz and proceeded to breed her three times in a few minutes, 10 feet from the edge of the deck where my friends and I were chatting over coffee, rudely and repeatedly subjecting us to a wanton display of his manly power. Okay, X. We get it. You’re pretty studly. Put it away now…oh COME ON! You have like a WHOLE ACRE in the yard pen to do that in! Must you do it right here?

Yes, he seemed to be saying as he made creepy eye contact in the middle of his rampage. Right here.

The really fun part was that Tempest is apparently also coming into heat again, since she spent the entire time trying to block X from breeding Topaz by inserting herself between them in an effort to get bred herself. It was like watching a love triangle in action. Tempest was shameless, kind of like the drunk girl at the bar who is trying to make eye contact while putting her ankle behind her head in an effort to show how flexible she is, while you’re there with your girlfriend. Mighty X assured her that he would be back for her tomorrow but he needed to spend some quality time with Topaz right now.

We couldn’t look away. It was like a train wreck. If X’s goal was to put on a display of his amazing prowess, he achieved it. We were dumbfounded by his ability to go over and over….and over and over and over.

After an hour of near constant jump-and-humps, we retired to inside the house, both excited that the breeding was confirmed and a little sad about the death of the last of our innocence. Two hours later, I stepped back outside, certain that X was spent and I would find them calmly chewing their cud under the trees.

I was so, so wrong. I showed up just in time for yet another round of LOOK AT ME, and decided that I could go ahead and mark topaz as what I like to call “superbred,” which is like being bred, but with visual trauma for the viewers.

Today it’s Tempest’s turn. The little attention-seeking drunk girl will finally get her shot. When I let her out this morning I shook my head. Be careful what you wish for, girl.

UPDATE: 20 minutes in and he has bred Tempest twice and went back to Topaz once. He looked cross-eyed at Red, who promptly headbutted him and told him NOT

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X Factor’s Diary

[Note: The following text was found in a corner of the breeding pen, soaked in buck urine and tears, obviously penned by our very own X Factor after 2 days of being out in the yard with the girls.]

Topaz wants nothing to do with me now. We had a great time for 2 days and now it’s like no matter what I do she ignores me. I stood outside her house all John Cusack-like with the boombox of my manly voice, singing of my need for her, but she flounced off to eat hay like everything we had was a lie. I even peed on my face and showed her how amazing I smell. Nothing. It’s like I’m just somebody that she used to know. I saw that little brat of hers eyeballing me while she was trying to get some milk this morning, too. If you’re big enough to eyeball your mom’s boyfriend, you’re too big to still be nursing. Good grief. Remind me not to date any more single moms.

Just when I decided to amble off alone into the wilderness to lick my wounds, Tempest came up. Okay, so maybe we had a quick thing yesterday for like 10 seconds but this girl acts like she’s about to boil a bunny if I don’t give her some attention. I stood still and tried to ignore her but she kept trying to do the lambada on me or something. She smells really good too. Okay…I figured I could use Tempest to make Topaz jealous but it turns out that apparently there’s some kind of drama over Tempest being a grain hog or something and they aren’t friends. Whatever. Maybe Tempest can heal my broken heart. Wait, where’d she go?

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Power to the New Rooster!

My new black rooster, aka Uncle Festus, is currently staging a revolt in the chicken pen after making it through quarantine. Brutus, the longstanding and forever undisputed king of the flock, may end up losing his position to a spunky little guy half his size.

While my normal tendency is to root for the underdog, in this case I’m a bit miffed. Brutus is a protective, observant rooster who takes good care of his girls, watches for predators, and herds them into the coop at the first sign of danger, taking up a noble post in the doorway. This new guy, however, seems more interested in chasing the hens all over the place and running between Brutus’ legs so he can flip around and peck him in the back of the head. Poor Brutus.

You would think that my second-in-command rooster would step in and help. But no. He is simply taking the opportunity to mate all the hens out in the open while Brutus is otherwise occupied. I think he is excited that he no longer has to sneak around to the darkened corners of the coop to get love, like some teenager under the bleachers.

Will Brutus hold on to his spot as King of the Hill? Or will he be usurped by the dark and handsome newcomer? Stay tuned tomorrow on As the Waterer Empties.

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Welcome to Just Kidding!

This is the new blog, meant to showcase the wild adventures of our goats. Feel free to follow the blog for updates in email, or follow us on Facebook to see when there are new stories.

The pic is Hoss, a nice little buckling of ours that ended up at another farm as a wether companion.