Where to live?

Hello Everybody, Frank here.
We received the email below a long time back. Through simple neglect we have not addressed this issue. Recently here in Oklahoma, recently like 10 minutes ago, we had snow on the ground and still do, and I would like to attempt to answer this email. But you’ve got to read it first. See you in a second.
 Greetings! Thank you for the work you do on your blog. I enjoy reading it.


On July 1 you wrote of places you have lived and experiences gained. Seeing you have lived in Alaska,  I was curious as to the specific reasons why you choose to live in OK over Idaho or Wyoming (one of the more commonly promoted places to live by prepper/survival circles).

   I am asking because my husband and I have been considering moving our family with 5 young homeschooling children away from our current central west Texas city. I grew up in Oklahoma and am familiar with the climate and culture. The majority of my family live in OK. We have talked of leaving Texas because it is incredibly hot and dry here. Any property with water is extremely expensive and most small creeks and the like would be gone by this time of year when we have had day after day of 105-110 degree temperatures. We are far from an interstate, though a few hours from the Mexico border.  I understand there is no perfect place, but the heat and low rainfall make growing a garden a challenge.

  We have discussed moving to Idaho, but neither my husband nor I have spent any time living where there is snow in the winter. We have also discussed moving to rural OK. You have lived in both the cold and OK, I was hoping you might have some thoughts/insights into the advantages and disadvantages of both. In which climate is it easier to raise livestock? Grow a garden? Survive the potential of long-term electricity outage?

Thanks for experiences you may share to help inform our decision.

Interesting questions and points I will attempt to address.

Everything is harder to do in the cold than it is where it is warm. Let’s qualify a few things here. I’m not talking about riding around on your snow machine or alpine skiing. You’re just not going to be doing that in southeast Oklahoma, so yes, there are some things you can do better in a cold climate. Let me include ice fishing.

When you have cold, you have a shorter growing season. Animals require significantly more maintenance and food to stay warm. I know some folks are going to say, well I grow this and I grow that in the cold, and good for you. I’m talking about your normal everyday person and not some super ninja gardener that pretends like life is easier in a foot of snow. It’s just not. It is just plain and simple harder on animals and harder on gardening, not to mention people.

This writer indicates western Texas. Fern was born and raised in western Texas out around Amarillo. I was born and raised in Dallas. That can stand for itself. Western Texas and southeastern Oklahoma have vastly different climates. Parts of western Oklahoma are just like western Texas. Look at a map. Parts of eastern Oklahoma are just like eastern Texas.

We thought about Idaho or Montana, seriously. Fern has a cousin that lives around the Spokane, Washington area. Then one day while I was shoveling a couple of feet of snow to walk a narrow path it dawned on me that I’m in my late 50’s and I don’t want to do this anymore. So that narrowed our search down sharply.

Again, we live in southeastern Oklahoma. In growing zone #7. Without super ninja abilities, I will never raise citrus, but I can raise almost any crop I choose here. On the average year enough rain falls from the sky, average is the key word here – some years it’s drier, some years it’s wetter. Amazing isn’t it, how you can take the two and get an average. Again, we can grow about any crop we choose.

Let’s talk livestock. All the above applies to the livestock. We can raise just about any type of cattle, goats, chickens that we choose to in this area. I have lived where reindeer are harvested. A reindeer is first cousin to a caribou and they are tasty. As is muskox. But I have no desire whatsoever to raise reindeer.

So let’s get past being that super ninja herder and get in touch with what people in the south call reality. I can raise a normal cow, a normal goat and a normal chicken, and do the normal things on an average day with my average, normal animals. Here the last few days we have gotten four to six inches of snow which is extremely unusual for our area. At the same time, we have had record breaking temperatures, cold temperatures, that is. Here is that term – record breaking temperatures. They’ve been keeping temperatures records in this area for more than a hundred years, which means these temperatures have not occurred in more than a hundred years.

Now, we have normal here and that means normal for us. We raise normal animals. Our plants are normal. Summertime? It can get hot and humid, and it’s going to this summer, it’s going to get hot and humid. Hot. Plants like hot. Most of them do anyway. A key word to focus on here is humid, which means moisture. Look at that map again. The part that’s green is green for a reason, the part that’s tan, like in western Texas, is tan because it is the color of sand. I can grow food here. Read some of our older articles like, Without Food You Are Dead.

We have moisture here and without moisture, or water, you are dead. The temperatures here on the average winter, you can survive with a medium weight coat. So let’s see. Here we have food, water and survivable temperatures. This is a conservative part of the world. We do not have “water wars” here. The people in the northwest know what that means. We are conservative. We are for the most part Christian. We are patriotic Americans. If you want to live in western Oregon or Washington in that moral cesspool, you go ahead. I like living where we have more churches than bars. During deer season around here, people wear bright orange and camo, but then here we wear camo year round. We don’t give a shit what outsiders think about what we do. That’s part of why I live here.

I hope I didn’t miss any major points for the folks seeking information about why here, and hopefully I was able to answer their questions. The farther east you go from here, the more moisture content. In the last few years we’ve had quite a few people move in. It’s not unusual to see a tag around here from California or New York. I would assume these are just folks trying to escape. Most people want what is good for their families and some have the ability to relocate. Good for them. It’s a slower way of life here.

For us, we’re 60 miles away from a Sam’s Club, 25 miles away from a Wal-Mart, 6 miles away from a Dollar General and 4 miles away from a small town convenience store with gas. We’re a half mile from a wildlife refuge, about 2 miles from a national forest. We don’t get AM commercial radio, but we do get FM. I assume TV signals come through the air. We have reliable rural electricity, rural water, good well water, high speed DSL via a phone line, and we get cell phone signals with a booster. There is a hospital in a functional town about 25 miles away. If there is something I missed here, I apologize.

This is where I choose to be and these are the reasons I am here.

A bonus. There are no nuclear power plants west of me, so when the melt downs start to occur, it won’t directly affect us, just indirectly.

To be fair, we have people just like everywhere that like to participate in criminal activities. But you’ve got that everywhere.

Again, I hope I answered the questions. If you’ve got relatives that live in rural Oklahoma, I wouldn’t even consider Montana or Idaho. Give thought to it. If you’ve got young kids, then that means you’re probably young enough to harvest, process and chop eight to ten cords of wood a year. Give thought to it. They have crime there too, by the way.

One last thought here. Remember the movie Jerimiah Johnson? Remember the man that gave him his 50 caliber Hawkin? I think his name was Hatchet Jack. Have a good day.

We’ll talk more later, Frank

Prepper’s Livestock Handbook by Leigh Tate

If you are interested in livestock for a homestead, we would highly recommend Leigh Tate’s book Prepper’s Livestock Handbook. Leigh writes from experience and research, which is something I appreciate and have learned a lot from her over the years. It is an easy to read, informational text that will help get you started and be successful traveling down the path of raising livestock in a self-sufficient manner.

Leigh is an author of several books, eBooks and the blog 5 Acres & a Dream. Her blog is what led us to raise American Guinea Hogs, make and drink kefir, and this 

year, grow amaranth. Leigh’s extensive research in ways to become more self-sufficient for both the humans and animals at their homestead has led Leigh and her husband to try many different things. The benefit for all of us is that she writes about those experiences.

Leigh includes many resources and references in The Prepper’s Livestock Handbook that will lead you to more information beyond her experiences. I would highly recommend it for anyone starting out with livestock, or anyone that is looking to expand their animal husbandry experience. It is full of natural ways of raising animals and maintaining their health beyond dependence on chemicals and purchasing all that is needed. Leigh’s information focuses on being able to provide for the health and vitality of livestock independently, with knowledge, trial and error according to differing climates and environments, and with forethought and planing. She and her husband strive to provide for themselves and their animals in ways that decrease dependence and increase the probability of survival should the SHTF.

Other books Leigh has written include:

Critter Tales

5 Acres & A Dream: The Book

I learned to make lotion and lip balm using one of Leigh’s eBooks, which I still make and have for years. She has written a number of eBooks on a variety of topics. They show the efforts she has made at becoming more self-sufficient and knowledgeable about decreasing dependence on store shelves.

Leigh is a prime example of life-long learning. I truly appreciate her willingness to share her experience, knowledge and research with us. It has, and continues to enrich our lives daily.

Until next time – Fern

Critter Tales by Leigh Tate

Leigh, the author of 5 Acres & Dream The Book and the blog, has just released her second book.

Critter Tales: What my homestead critters have taught me about themselves, their world, and how to be a part of it

Leigh shares her experiences with a variety of homestead animals in a comfortable, conversational way, while at the same time providing valuable information whether you are experienced, a novice, or still in the planning stage. Leigh is also hosting a giveaway of Critter Tales on her blog if you are interested. Here is the official book description.

Critter Tales is a book for everyone who is interested in farm life, farm animals, and especially in homesteading with farm animals. Each section begins with the author’s careful research into the needs and care of various kinds of livestock: chickens, goats, llamas, livestock guardian dogs, guinea fowl, farm cats, pigs, and honeybees. The tales which follow describe real-life learning about those animals: opinionated chickens, goat drama, critters that won’t stay put, mysterious deaths, choosing the right breeds, the population dilemma, dealing with predators, and how the animals themselves don’t always agree with “the experts.” The sections conclude by discussing how each critter fits into the author’s primary homestead goal of self-reliance and sustainability. Includes 92 tales, 216 photos, a list of resources, and an extensive index.

We look forward to reading Critter Tales and thank Leigh for sharing her experiences with us. 

Until next time – Fern

When There Are No Pellets

What are you going to feed your animals? We have raised animals for many years, dogs, cats, chickens and goats, mainly. As the world has evolved into a place where we are no longer as sure of the animal feed supply as we once were, we have begun to question the sustainability of maintaining our animals should the SHTF. Thus, the title, when there are no pellets. There are many people that write and talk about storing up 500 pounds of animal feed or extra hay in case things get bad and they can’t buy anymore. Take dog food, for instance. Eventually, that food will run out. Then what are you going to feed your dog? Are you going to let it go because you can no longer feed it? And if you do, will it leave? It has always been dependent on you. Are you going to eat it? Most people would cringe at reading that sentence, but if it comes down to you or your dog, what are you going to do?

Sustainability. It’s something we contemplate regularly. The projects we work on are geared toward sustainability. Why start a new project, especially involving responsibility for another living creature, if it’s not sustainable? We have gradually started trying to grow more feed for our chickens and goats. Luckily, these animals can graze and forage for most of their own food, for most of the year, should the need arise.

Our cats will have plenty of rats and mice to eat. But what about our Great Pyrenees, Pearl? She doesn’t eat a whole lot, but she does need to eat. That goes back to storing 500 pounds of dog food. But what is dog food?

Most dog food and cat food is made out of corn and other assorted ground grains.We supplement the cats’ and Pearl’s diet with scrambled eggs from the chickens and milk from the goats. It’s good the goats and chickens can forage for themselves, but would some grain be nice? Yes, and you can raise some grain if you try hard enough. But you’re going to have to have a way to grind, or crack it for them to efficiently digest the nutrients inside. And if it is truly an SHTF scenario, you’re not going to be putting all that energy into raising grain for your animals, you’re going to be raising it for yourself. 

When we butcher goats, we save the organs, fat and some grisly meat that we don’t eat for dog food. We bag it up and freeze it, then add it to the dog’s diet on a regular basis. This, along with the milk and eggs, cut down on the amount of dog food she eats, and also has the added benefit of being a natural food source, which is much healthier than what’s in that bag of dog food. So if we ran out of dog food altogether, it wouldn’t be a big shock to her system to change over to these other foods. We would need to find a way to preserve this food for the dog instead of relying on the freezer. We would probably can it when we canned some of the meat for ourselves. Sounds kind of familiar, right? Canned dog food.

We have a friend that raised pigs every year for meat. A portion of their diet was always road kill. Yes, road kill. This friend would keep a container in the back of her truck and whenever she found a dead animal on the road, she would load it up and take it home to her pigs. She was different sort, and lived a life of sustainability with solar panels and a wood cookstove long before Y2K and the prepper movement came along, but it’s another example of how to manage. 

Now, if the SHTF we’re not going to be driving around gathering road kill, but we could trap things like opossum, raccoon, skunks and the like. This could feed our dog and cats, and it could also feed us as well. Until not so long ago, in the area where we live, people ate mud ducks, opossum, squirrels, raccoon, cotton tail rabbits and of course, deer. If people from 

this area ate these animals for food, then dogs and cats can too. Not so long ago, dogs and cats lived off of the leftovers from their owners, and will probably will have to again. We have never done this, but I do know someone who has recently begun to learn how to trap animals the old fashioned way. They caught a racoon and cooked it like a roast, eating only small portions at first to see how it might affect their bodies, which I thought was wise. They thought it tasted good, and just so you know, by watching these folks, you would never expect them to be doing these activities. It goes to show, that looks can be deceiving.

So, if you’re thinking about getting animals to increase your ability to raise your own food and become more self-reliant, stop and think about how you will feed them if there are no more pellets. Some animals that are great

meat producers, like rabbits, require specialized pellets when grown in hutches. We researched rabbits more than once because of the great feed to meat production ratio, but it always came back to the reliance on specialized feed. That is not something we wanted to be dependent upon. I know some will comment that you can raise your own rabbit feed, but today’s commercial rabbits are extremely sensitive to dietary changes which greatly affect their behavior. Therefore, rabbit will not be on our diet, unless of course, it’s wild rabbit, and we have some big, fat, wild rabbits around here.

So, how are you going to feed your animals when commercial feed is not readily available? You can’t just say, “Time out, I wasn’t ready yet!” and expect your livestock or pets to wait six months or a year while you get ready. I know we’re not ready, but we are working on it, and we’re trying to be realistic about it. If you know that something is coming, and you’re trying to live a sustainable lifestyle, then don’t play head games with yourself. When you alter that rabbit’s feed it is going to kill and eat any other animal it has access to. And don’t think that your lap dog is going to revert back to it’s wolf ancestors and start

hunting for it’s survival food. It ain’t gonna happen. We know that when we turn our chickens out to forage, our egg production is going to drop. Some of the weaker animals may not make it. When we quit feeding our goats grain, the milk production will drop sharply. These are just the realities of raising animals. Will our domestic animals eat foods raised in the garden? Hopefully. Will they eat meat and internal organs from trapped animals? Absolutely. So, give some serious thought to how you’re going to sustain your livestock and domestic animals, especially if you are depending on them to provide you with food and protection. It’s your responsibility. Think about it.

Until next time – Fern

I’m Going To ???

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

There are many articles out there that talk about what people are going to do when the collapse comes. Most of them are going to raise a garden, many are going to have livestock, many are going to forage for food, and some of them are going to take food from others. These articles all have the same general theme, what they are going to do. Unless you read very closely, some of these articles make it hard to tell that the wishful folks have not started these endeavors yet. Yes, I know, everybody dreams. Some people plan quite extensively before they make their move. Dreaming and planning are good things to do, but there comes a time when you have to put your boots on the ground. Literally.

Well, let’s talk about what it means to do some of those items up above, like gardening, livestock, foraging and taking from others. Let me deal

with taking from others first. If you plan on surviving in a rural setting by taking from others, and this is your plan, then you might want to consider that most rural folks are armed and know how to use their weaponry. It’s not uncommon to scare off a dog with a shotgun, send a mangy dog to dog heaven, and you get the drift here. Most rural folks use guns like any other tool. So, if you’re planning on taking from others in rural areas, this may be your biggest failure of all times. I know of little old ladies that are very comfortable with a 410 shotgun. We all know talk is cheap, but this type idea, taking from others, will promptly get you killed, even by a granny with a 410.

Okay, let’s go on to gardening, for those who plan to garden when things fall apart. I dearly hope you have a years supply of food stored up, and you have an existing garden place to go to. The reason being, if you’re going to take a lawn somewhere and just start planting seeds, you’re going to get awfully hungry by the time that seed produces fruit, if it does. Things to consider before planting. First, you have to be able to get to your soil. You need to be able to break the soil some how or another. Do you have a

source of water? If you’re going to use manure, then you have to have a source for the manure. Now you need to mix it in and let is sit for, hmm, a month maybe. During that month you can continue to weed it, water it, if you have water that is, and just overall tend to your soil. If I remember correctly, this is what you’re going to eat and feed your family. So, that piece of soil I’m talking about is probably going to be around 100′ by 100′. Better get started early if you’re going to do this with a shovel and a hoe. Say you like corn? Now you’ve got that 100′ by 100′ turned over and all conditioned, and the big day comes when you put that corn seed in the ground. What are you going to do for the next 90 days? Yep, this will give you time to weed everyday, because, remember this is what you are going to survive off of for the rest of your life.

Okay, while you are waiting for 90 days to get your first bite of corn, you can get a batch of day old chickens. That’s right, I forgot, there’s been a collapse of society. The guy you brought with you to help you survive decided one night he would expedite the matter and go steal granny’s

chickens, but he never came home did he? So, by some miracle, you get a batch of day old chickens and it’s in the heat of the summer, so the little guys might live, and you brought 90 days of chicken feed with you, because you’re not going to be able to grow it until your corn is ready to harvest. Remember, you’re waiting on your corn to get ready, some how or another you got some baby chickens, you’ve got less help now because your buddy never came back, and in about 12 to 14 weeks, you can butcher friers. What are you going to do with them? Well, if you butcher them at 12 weeks, you can have fried chicken and corn on the cob. Okee-dokee? You’re not getting any eggs yet because your birds aren’t 6 months old. You didn’t by mistake butcher your hens, did you?

Oh well, you’re going to eat red meat. Where are you going to get it? When you moved here, you were lucky enough to find a local farmer to sell you some baby goats. They’re probably about 8 weeks old. You want milk and meat, right? Right. Those 8 week old

baby goats you bought, you can butcher the males when they are about 6 months old. Now, aren’t you glad you brought that years supply of food with you? You’ve already waited 90 days to get your first ear of corn, 12 weeks to get your first bite of fried chicken, 6 months to butcher your first goat, you do know how to butcher a goat, don’t you? But you haven’t had that drink of fresh milk yet, because it’s going to be 6 more months before you do, right around one year from the start. You do know how to get milk out of that thing, don’t you?

Okay, now it’s been one year. You’ve got corn, eggs, chicken and goat meat, and milk. Congratulations on the milk. I’m really surprised you lived this long. Too bad your buddy didn’t. That was halted when he was stealing granny’s chickens. Lost some weight, haven’t you?

Okay, let’s talk about foraging. You know those books you brought with you about things to forage? What to eat, what not to eat. Those pretty glossy pictures, they just don’t look the same as they do when you are down on the river bank. That thing that you picked up that you’re considering eating, it looks just like that other plant there that

will make you deathly ill. Do you take your chances? Well, maybe we’ll forage a little deeper. What’s that pain in my ankle? Is that snake edible? Am I going to die from that thing that just bit me? Still got that book you were carrying with all those pretty pictures in it? Okay, so foraging didn’t work out too well.

Maybe you’ll just hunt your food. Did you know that wildlife, let me take the white tailed deer to be specific, during the early

1930’s, the Great Depression, there were no white tailed deer left in the state of Arkansas? But, you’re right, you watched all of those survival videos. If you think you’re going to live off of wildlife, sorry buddy, it ain’t gonna happen. Even if you do know how to butcher the animal. I hear opossum is tasty, never have eaten it myself. But, I have long past relatives that did eat opossum, racoon, skunk, snake, crow, deer, squirrel, ducks and they knew which were wild onions and which were not.

Back to that years supply of food you brought with you. Let’s say it’s a year later, your years supply of food is gone and you weren’t quite able to restock it. Things are looking a little gloomy, aren’t they?

We all hear stories about people that are going to do something. Everybody looks good at the beginning of the race, but there are few that finish the race. This thing coming our way is no joke. If we are not prepared, and we have not practiced, and if we don’t have our head screwed on right, then we’re probably not going to make it. You can practice in your apartment. You can buy a case of carrots or peaches

and start learning how to can. You can find chicken on sale and practice your canning skills. You can practice foraging while the times are still good. You can put together a ‘get out of Dodge bag’. Doing this will give your mind a lot of good work. Even those of us that do it everyday need more practice, because right now we are all living with the abundance that God has given us in this country. Everyday it gets closer. Nobody knows the exact day, but there are things you can do. 

By the way, our national population has almost tripled since the times of the Great Depression. A significant number of the population at that time were rural, and many did not have

electricity. When this thing does come, we as a population are going to be much worse off than the folks during the early 1930’s. Thank you for letting me play with your head, about gardening, livestock, foraging, gardening again and taking someone else’s stuff. Take advantage of the opportunities provided us while the stores are still full, travel is still free and the internet still works. There are many, many people that believe someday, in the not too distant future, the stores will be closed, travel will be highly restricted and the internet will be gone. Give thought to it.

We’ll talk more later. Frank

So You Want A Day Off?

If days off are important to you, don’t get a homestead, move out into the country or try to be self sufficient. This life style is a 365 day a year proposition. Don’t get livestock, or chickens or milk any animals. Don’t plan

to have a vacation or go somewhere overnight. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but they all involve family, neighbors or friends willing to do your numerous chores twice a day and make sure your place is secure for the time period you plan to be gone. There aren’t many people to be found that are ready, willing and able to do so, and most people I know that live this lifestyle would much rather not have someone else tending their place.

This is a way of life, not a project or task to accomplish. Trying to

have a thriving, successful homestead means it is your life. And that life entails daily chores that are just that…chores. Frank and I were talking about it the other day and he compared it to the old post office saying, “Neither hail, nor snow, nor gloom of night will stop us from….” Or maybe that’s how they said it in the movie Postman. Have you ever seen that movie? It’s really old, but well worth watching. It’s kind of about how to survive a collapse when things are really tough.

Well, back to chores. There are times that slogging out through the mud/ice/snow/dark/heat…….is no fun. No fun at all. 

There are times hauling water is a major and sometimes dangerous chore.

There are times that we’re just tired and want to sleep in and be lazy. There are times that it would be nice to take just one day off.

But then there are the cats, goats, dog and chickens to feed; the goat to milk; everyone needs water; they all need to be checked on to make sure all is well. Milk animals don’t usually appreciate the technique an unfamiliar person uses. And Sunday is the Lord’s day, a day of rest, when there are many things we don’t do. But the chores still need doin’, twice a day.

There are ways to leave the farm if you have a way to leave feed out for your dogs and cats. You can even leave extra feed and water out for your

chickens if they are not laying. It isn’t advisable to leave eggs in the nest boxes overnight. That may be asking for trouble if some of them break and they begin eating them. If you raise cattle it would be easier to leave them alone for a few days, as long as you weren’t milking. And every so often there are a few days a year when you may not be gathering eggs, milking, watching for new babies, picking and preserving the garden, making sure the pipes don’t freeze or some other time sensitive chore. Then you may be able to slip away for maybe two days. But as a standard rule, just don’t plan on going anywhere overnight.

We can get away with not washing the dishes one day. But if we want to eat, we have to cook. Or at least heat up something we have already cooked. It’s funny. As I write this you are probably thinking, “Why not just go out and eat?” Right? Well, that is something we very seldom do. That is another part of our homestead lifestyle. It’s not that we are the best cooks around, it’s just that we like basic simple food that doesn’t have a lot of added chemicals or ingredients that you can’t pronounce. We like to eat at home more than anywhere else. Besides that, if I come home from work and we do the chores before we go out to eat, we have to drive about 30 miles to eat. That isn’t going to happen unless we are going somewhere for a special occasion. Once we’re home, we’re usually home for the evening.

And then if it’s gardening season, that is a whole other set of chores to complete. From tilling to planting to weeding to watering to weeding to watering to picking to cooking to picking to canning to preserving to……….And it’s a wonderful chore. It can be very relaxing and satisfying to put up your own food. I wish I could do more of it. It’s just that sometimes, it would be nice to have a day off.

One of our great get aways is reading a book. No, we don’t leave home physically to read it,  but it does give us a chance to ‘not think or do’ for a little while. Most of our reading lately deals with TEOTWAWKI  scenarios. They are all novels, and some are a little more farfetched than others, but there are at least a few ideas we run across that may increase our success and/or comfort when the time comes.

So….if you are the kind of person that really needs to have days off to be happy and function well, don’t get a homestead, or livestock, or plan to garden/can/preserve. But, on the other hand, there is no place like home, and no place I would rather be, and most times, these chores are just right for me.

Until next time – Fern

Exploring Chickens

Hello, Frank here.

Let me thank you up front for taking the time to look at this post. What I hope to do is spark an interest in raising chickens. Chickens were the first livestock that Fern and I raised. We both enjoy them a great deal, but I probably enjoy them a little more than Fern does. If you have read some of my radio posts, then you know I talked about radios in a series of posts, and that’s how we’re going to do it here. This post is going to be a very general introduction. You ready? Let’s start.

A question. Maybe a couple of questions. Which came first? The chicken or the egg? You see, I know the answer. The next question: Will you provide me with input about your region, climate, housing, and special needs that chickens require in your neck of the woods? You see, I live in southeastern Oklahoma – hot summers, mild winters, wet some times of the year and dry other seasons. These are the parameters that I work with. Someone living in Vermont is going to have an entirely different set of circumstances to deal with. That’s why I’m asking for your input, so we can help people everywhere get started with chickens.

There is not one perfect chicken, like there is not one perfect car or truck, or radio. If you strictly want lots of white eggs, there are chickens just for that purpose. If your interest is more in the lines of putting meat in the freezer as quickly as possible, then chickens can meet this need also. Chickens come in exotic breeds, Bantams, decorative type birds, fighting chickens, egg layers and meat breeds. So you see there is a large arena for most people to find something to meet their chicken needs. What we are going to focus on here is the dual purpose chicken. It is a good meat bird and a good brown egg layer. I will be providing you with resources: where to find chickens, health needs, butchering, housing and nutritional needs. As I said earlier, there is not one perfect chicken.

Some folks are going to have different opinions about how to raise their favorite chicken, and that’s great. What I’m going to give you, is just the way that I do it. Okee-dokee? Okee-dokee.

I use a lot of humor in life and so on occasion, I will try to tell you

a funny story. Are you ready for one? If you take a red chicken and breed it with a yellow chicken you can get an orange chicken, or pretty close to orange anyway. And an orange chicken is an ugly chicken. Not too long ago we had a rooster flog Fern. There was a 2 x 4 handy. I pre-tenderized that rooster before we ate him. But he was still extremely tough. So, this is my humorous anecdote for the week.

On a serious note. Chickens will provide you with a lot of meat, a lot of

eggs, meat that doesn’t taste anything like store bought chicken. They’re excellent for keeping bugs down. They are fairly easy to start with, relatively inexpensive as far as livestock goes. They will provide
you with a sustainable source of food. In hard times certain breeds will forage much better than others and will provide the majority of their own food. So, to me, chickens are an excellent livestock animal for a homestead. In the near future I’m going to break down individual parts: housing, feed, and other chicken related items.
We’ll talk more later. Frank