Feeding chickens solely on pasture can be tricky, but isn’t impossible. Chickens can find their own feed, but each chicken needs a considerable amount of room. Chickens can’t eat what isn’t there, and the more chickens you have the less food there is for each chicken. You have to match the number chickens to your pasture size or they will die from poor health and starvation.
How It Was Done In The Old Days
In the old days people didn’t feed their hens at all. Much of the hen’s diet was provided by poor sanitation. People would throw their garbage out on the streets or around the outside of the house. The cows would spill grain. Manure was all over the place and was full of free lunch - maggots. Even with all this extra food the number of hens that could be kept healthy without supplemental feeding of grains was limited.
A farmer of the 1800′s might have kept a dozen hens and a rooster through the winter. The following spring the hens would hatch a brood of chicks, giving the farmer about 72 chicks plus the original hens and rooster made for 85 birds total. After the chicks had hatched the old rooster would be sold or eaten. Most of the young chickens and their mothers would be harvested in the fall. One new rooster and twelve young hens would be kept through the following winter, completing the cycle. By having 85 chickens during the summer and only 13 during the lean months of winter, the amount of grain needed for the chickens would be minimal.
This Always Meant Manlnutrition
A flock of 13 chickens could survive the winter on a small handful of grain, usually spilled by the farmer when feeding the cows. Add to that a bit of hay and whatever else they could find and they could get by. They would not be healthy, but they would live to see another summer. This winter diet would be nutritionally poor in vitamins and proteins. Because of this lean diet the hens would lay no eggs during the winter, but they would recover once spring started and the grass turned green again, and the cycle could repeat.
The More Chickens, The More Malnutrition
I’ve heard people say that you can only support 1-2 free range hens per acre, and others say they keep a dozen in a 10×10 coop. I think it depends on how much time you are willing to put into your chickens. If you’re willing to move them daily in a chicken tractor and buy (or grow) them a supplimental feed, then there’s no reason you can’t have a decent size flock.
Chickens are picky eaters as well. As your chickens begin to overpopulate your farm they first eat up the supply of high-calorie feeds such as seeds, then they move on to the supply of high-protein feeds such as bugs and clover. Finally, they exaust all the high-vitamin feeds such as green grass. It’s nearly impossible to tell what stage your forage is in, except for the last stages, when all the green plants disappear.
It Always Pays Off To Provide a Supplemental Diet
The increased production of eggs and larger hens always pays for the increased feed. The feed diet should be adjusted to reflect what the chickens can find as they forage. You can usually leave out vitamins (if they have greens) and proteins (if they have plenty of bugs or clover). In general, for the sustainable homesteader, grain may be all they need supplemented for the summer.
But enough dry summer days in a row browns the grass and makes it useless to the chickens, so this method has its risks. Also in the winter there will be no greens and very little bugs for them so they will need more suplemental grain. A store bought grain really works best here, but during a SHTF situation you may not have that luxery, so do what you can get to get them more grain. This is not ideal, and you may have to harvest a few cickens to make it work, but the bottom line is the flock will make it to the next spring.
If we can’t see what our chickens are eating it’s hard to determin what nutrients they are getting. Many of the things hens eat are so tiny that we can’t see them – tiny seeds, bugs, and worms. Fortunately for the homesteader, hens prefer fresh, natural feeds to processed chicken feed. They will eat their fill on natural foods before going to the store-bought feed whenever they have the chance. This makes it pretty easy to feed your chickens correctly, just follow the golden rule….
Offer your chickens as much chicken feed or homegrown grain as they want, and then let them eat however much pasture they want.
This will help to maximize production and save as much grain for the cows as possible. During hard times you can still get some eggs out of your flock without hurting your hens but you won’t get very many. Don’t plan your meals around fat chickens, plan them for the lean days and be happy with the excess during the summer.
What are you going to do when your pmedicinal preps run out, or you come upon a sickness you have not though of? I included the below guide to help you better understand herbs and how to use them. There’s no feeling like knowing how to find and grow your own medicine. This article is only a basic primer, there’s sooo much more that needs to be said but it just cannot be explained online because of size limitations. You need at least two good books on herbal medicines (to compare the two together before proceding). By far the two books I go to most ofen in my medicinal hobby/preparations are Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs and The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook.
Wild Herbs You Can Find
These herbs occur naturally in the wild and are readily avaliable if you know what you’re looking for.
Honeysuckle Honeysuckle makes a great substitute for Elderberry (see below). Honeysuckle can be used as an external wash for boils, infected wounds, swelling, scabies, tumors, and rheumatism. The flowers are traditionally used for bacterial dysentery, urinary disorders, eliminating toxins from the body, colds, fevers, flu, asthma, coughs, chest congestion, and laryngitis. The flowers have components that help to lower blood cholesterol, as well as being anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-tuberculostatic.
How to use it: You can make a tea from the flowers. The berries, however, are toxic. So stay away from those. The leaves are fine as well, however the flowers are much more potent.
Tincture: Fill a mason jar with flowers, cover with brandy. Shake once a day, keeping in a cool, dark place, for around 5-6 weeks. Strain though a cheesecloth or a T-shirt.
Syrup: The same way as the elderberry syrup, only fill the entire jar with flowers.
Red Clover Red Clover relaxes the nerves, and the entire nervous system. Can be used as a sedative. It has also been used quite successfully to fight cancer. It is a marvelous preventative for health problems, and a great wash for sores. It is especially good for whooping cough, and it can be consumed freely. It is also wonderful externally for burns, sore, athlete’s foot, and ulcers. An anti-spasmodic and expectorant, also good for asthma.
How to use it: Tea: made from the blossoms. Place 4-5 blossoms in a cup of hot water. Steep for 20 minutes. Sweeten if desired.
Tincture: Fill a mason jar with only the blossoms (the other parts are not harmful, however, it is the blossoms that are the most potent), cover with vodka. Let sit in cool, dark spot for 4-6 weeks, shaking daily. Strain through cheesecloth or old T-shirt.
Preserve the flowers by drying.
Mullein Mullein grows throughout the Northern tier and Eastern half of the United States. It is a strong, self-sowing biennial. Dr. Christopher states that it is the “only herb known to man that has remarkable narcotic properties without being poisonous or harmful. Great painkiller and nervous soporific, calming and quieting all inflamed and irritated tissues.”
Like most herbs, each part of the Mullein plant has different uses.
- The leaves are used for asthma, allergies, bronchitis, coughs, croup, pulmonary diseases, mild sedative, antihistamine, swelling, pain, and the list goes on.
- The seeds rapidly pass through the intestines and have been used successfully in intestinal obstructions. However, some say that with repeated use they can be toxic. They have a pretty strong narcotic effect as well. They are also used in asthma and infantile convulsions.
- The Flowers are excellent for earaches and ear infections.
How to use it: Poultice from the leaves. Tear a few leaves pretty finely, pour just enough hot water to barely wet. When it cools enough to touch, apply to affected area.
Tea: Put one or two leaves in hot water and allow to steep for around 20 minutes. Remove the leaves, and sweeten if you need to.
Infusion: For the flowers – gather the flowers every day (there will be new buds each day) and place in olive oil. Place in a warm spot, but not to where the sunlight is hitting it directly. What I do is place it either in the sun under a cardboard box, or in my car under a blanket or cardboard box. Shake daily and allow to infuse for about 3-4 weeks. Strain though a cheesecloth or old T-shirt. This is what you use for ear infections. Works like a charm!
Preserve the leaves by allowing to dry. Just KEEP THEM OUT OF SUNLIGHT. I cannot emphasize this enough. It applies to all herbs, but mullein especially. It is very important because the sun creates oxidation, which eventually leeches out all the minerals and nutrients in the herb.
Blackberry Blackberry is well known for stopping gastric bleeding and is known to prevent fluid loss during dysentery. Regular consumption of the berries (can make a tincture) can aid in killing off the free radicals that are linked with the development or heart disease and cancer. Blackberry is an astringent, tonic, alterative, anti-emetic, hemostatic, anti-abortive, parturient (leaves). However, the leaves and roots are useful too. They are great for colds and flu. It is also used for fever, arthritis, gout, pain, and infections.
How to use it: Tea from the leaves and woody part of the bramble is wonderful for diarrhea. Tea from the berries is wonderful for colds and flus.
Leaf Tincture: Fill jar with leaves and roots, cover with either cider vinegar or vodka. Process goes as all other tinctures. Used for fever, arthritis, gout, and diarrhea. Used topically for pain. 1 tsp./hour until fever drops.
Berry Tincture: Same as above, only with berries instead of leaves and roots. Used for colds, flu, and infections.
Plantain can be found virtually anywhere in the United States and every continent except Antarctica. Long-leaf is the most common in the U.S. and is a powerful astringent. Used to heal the bites of mad dogs, staph infection, snake bites and venomous creatures, bee stings, abscesses, boils, congestion in the lungs, the list goes on forever! A mixture of only plantain (external and internal), tea tree oil (external), and clove (internal) has been shown to treat MRSA (antibiotic resistant staph infection) . Can also be used for earaches, and has been said to restore quite decayed hearing when it’s infusion is placed into the ears. It’s also been used as a expectorant, astringent, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, anodyne, styptic, diuretic, the list goes on.
How to use it: Direct Poultice: Chew a few leaves and then rub them on bee stings , spider bites, snake bites, and it can help to draw the poison out. You will be amazed at how quickly this helps with pain! Even those highly allergic to bees have said that if they apply plantain asap, usually there is very minimal swelling, and very little pain.
Infusion: For chest colds and lung congestion, gather a large handful of leaves and pour boiling water them. Let sit at least 30 minutes…the longer the better. Strain the leaves out and drink up. Sweeten if you need to (honey is best). It also helps with lung congestion to make a poultice from the leaves and place on your chest for as long as you can bear to leave it on.
Tincture: Fill an entire mason jar full of the leaves, seeds, roots, and pour vodka until they are completely covered. Let macerate for 5 weeks, shaking the jar once a day. Keeping it out of sunlight in a cool place. Drain liquid out. For just external uses you can do the same thing with olive oil. If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can substitute it for apple cider vinegar.
Elderberry Elderberry is absolutely wonderful for the respiratory system! A powerful immune-booster, if you feel a cold coming on drink elderberry tea and it will knock it out quickly, typically within a few hours. It can be found throughout North America. An infusion made from the berries is an excellent remedy for cold and flu season. An infusion made from the flowers is a wonderful eyewash for conjunctivitis.
- Leaves: emollient, vulnerary (topically), strong purgative, expectorant, diuretic, diaphoretic.
- Flowers: diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory.
- Berries: Diaphoretic, immune-building, laxative, anti-rheumatic.
NOTE: Elderberry can be particularly dangerous to small children. It also contains an alkaloid that is toxic in fruit that is not ripe, so beware of that as well. As with any herbal remedy, reserach it well before use!
How to use it: Syrup: Place around 5 oz. Fresh berries, or 3-4 oz. dried berries in a mason jar, cover with boiling water. Allow to sit over-night. Drain out the liquid, and reheat slightly. Add about ½ c honey. Now you have your infusion. If you have it I add about 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract (GSE). It adds many benefits in aiding your immune system as well as preserving your infusion longer. Adults take 1-2 tablespoons every few hours, children around 2 tsp. Store in your refrigerator. Will last at least a month.
Herbs For Your Garden
Now don’t get me wrong, you can and should grow nearly all the plants on this list, but you will have to grow the ones below as they don’t naturally occur in the wild.
Lobelia is one of those plants that can save your life. Especially if you or your child, or someone you know, has asthma. Many people who have asthma plan to rely on lobelia during TEOTWAWKI. Lobelia can also be balanced by taking it with cayenne. It’s also a great Anti-asthmatic, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, emetic, bronchodilator, nervine (a Stimulant, in small doses, but a Relaxant, in large doses), diaphoretic, diuretic, cathartic, and astringent. The tincture can be rubbed on the body or placed in the mouth to relieve convulsions. Rubbing the tincture on the shoulders of a restless child is wonderful for helping him calm down and go to sleep. It also helps to rub on the gums of a teething baby. Especially good for croup and respiratory ailments such as asthma, croup, infections, boils, sedative, lockjaw, ringworm, hepatitis, and convulsions. It is excellent for convulsions.
How to use it: Tincture: Fill jar with herb, and cover with apple cider vinegar. Lobelia’s components work the absolute best with apple cider vinegar. It is important that you don’t allow it to get too warm, either. The structure of lobelia is lost when it is heated even slightly, so take care. It only needs to macerate for two weeks. Preserve through drying.
NOTE: Be adviswed that Lobelia is poisonous in high doses.
Oregano is used for food preperation, coughs and colds, degenerative arthritis, rheumatism, upset stomach, urinary tract infections, sore throats, infections, fever, vomiting, jaundice, and asthma attacks. It is an antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-microbial. Strong anti-oxidant.
How to use it: Tincture made from the leaves for coughs, rheumatism, bronchitis, asthma, infections, and sore throat.
Tea 3 cups of boiling water over 1 cup fresh leaves (or half cup dried leaves), steep 20 minutes. Take ½ cup three times a day.
Infusion Made with olive oil from the leaves is a powerful antiseptic externally.
Comfrey A powerful allantoin and traditional healer. Comfrey has been shwn to heal bone injuries and is a mucilaginous, vulnerary, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, anti-psoriatic, astringent, expectorant, anti-tumor, cell proliferant, nutritive, and hemostatic. A really amazing healing herb.
How to use it: Poultice made from the leaves applied to cleaned wound. Will heal extremely quickly. Even better if combined with plantain. The plantain removes the toxins, while comfrey heals.
Disclaimer: This list is by no means exhaustive. There are so many herbs that do so many things that I cannot even begin to explain them in full. Remember, when dealing with herbs, you are being your own doctor. I don’t have enough room to tell you everything you need to know about these herbs, so be sure to:
Do the requisite research. Identify the plants with absolute certainty. Label tinctures clearly with ingredients and dates prepared. Use at your own risk!
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average US family uses 400 gallons of water per day. Most of that goes to watering lawns and gardens. During a disaster, the grass can die, but the garden will need water. The big question is how much water will you really need post-SHTF.
Some things to take into consideration:
Personal hygiene – Hand washing (is the number 1 way to prevent the spread of disease), brushing your teeth, taking a bath or shower, washing your hair, feet, groin area. All of these are important to help you stay healthy and keep your moral up.
Physical activity – You sweat when you work, so more work means more water requirements.
Pets and live stock – They need water to. The larger the animal, the larger the water requirements.
Garden – In times of drought, the garden is going to need water. Outside of yourself and your family, your garden is your main water focus. You can skip a bath, but you can’t skip watering your main food source.
Some of the big questions are: how many family members and friends will be sharing your water source, how many pets and types of animals will your water stockpile need to support, and how big is your garden.
So How Much Do You Need??
You need, on average, 5 gallons of water per-person, per-day. This includes personal hygene, cooking and drinking water. This does NOT include washing clothes since this should only be done every two or three days unless water is plentiful. You can get a Rapid Washer, A DIY Manual Hand Washing Machine. It’s a great off grid washing system that takes just 4 to 5 gallons of water to wash a load of clothes.
Your garden will need about 1″ of water every week, plants like tomatoes and watermelons require more. To apply an inch of water to 1,000 square feet of garden requires 620 gallons of water.
Your animals vary in their needs so much it’s really hard to say how many gallons you need per day. A cow needs much more water per day than a rabbit or chicken, for example. The best way to tell is to raise your animals for a few weeks and keep logs of how much water you use every day. Most larger animals can be kept watered with a pond, lake, or collected rain runoff. Smaller animals will need their water brought to them and changed every day or every couple of days if you can keep it clean.
Quick Pro Tip - each person should have their own water bottles – and do not share bottles between people. This is to help control the spread of disease. After the bottle has been emptied, leave the cap off and allow the inside to dry. This will help prevent the growth of mold or bacteria inside the bottle.
“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” – Henry Kissinger
Over 200,000 farmers in India have committed suicide in the last decade, driven to despair by the trap they ultimately found themselves in once they were in the grip of Monsanto. And since many suicides go unreported out of shame or unnoticed, actual rates could be even higher than those reported. Over 1,500 farmers in an Indian committed mass suicide to try to drive attention to what’s going on in their country, but they were sadly ignored by the media. One dead man’s Brother said, “He was strangled by these magic seeds. They sell us the seeds, saying they will not need expensive pesticides but they do. We have to buy the same seeds from the same company every year. It is killing us. Please tell the world what is happening here.”
Global powers have literally robbed India of its self-reliance and self-sustenance in the name of “ending poverty” by thrusting upon them a system of monopolized agriculture controlled by companies like Monsanto.
Indian farmers are being scammed by multi-national bio giant corporations such as MONSANTO and BAYER as they adopted GM crops based on deceitful claims that GM crops would improve yields and essentially save the world. These are absolutely baseless claims! In fact Bayer CropScience contaminated a third of the US rice supply with transgenic rice in 2006, and in May of this year (2011) U.S. Farmers made an Alert that rice crop yeild fell 80 % due to Bayer’s glufosinate and Monsanto’s glyphosate.
But GM salesmen and government officials have promised farmers that these were ‘magic seeds’ with better crops that would be free from disease and insects. Far from being ‘magic seeds’, these same GM crops have been devastated by bollworms. Neither were these farmers, who live in an arid region with little rainfall, told that these seeds require double the amount of water as non GM seeds. With no rain for the past two years, and no money to install expensive irrigation equipment GM crops have withered and died, leaving the farmers with massive debts and no way to pay them off.
- Bullying of farmers: http://www.examiner.com/sunset-district-libertarian-in-san-francisco/corporat…
- Infiltration of anti-GMO groups: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/297701#ixzz1HDZcVpoj
- Bribery: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4153635.stm (Indonesia) http://www.ethicalinvesting.com/monsanto/news/10009.htm (Canada)
- Destruction of soil, air quality, groundwater contamination, deforestation: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A4664…
- Birth defects caused by Monsanto chemicals: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/07/roundup-birth-defects-herbicide-regu…
- Farmer suicides in India: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/indias-hidden-climate…