best birds for homestead

Best Birds To Have On Your Self Sufficient Homestead When The SHTF

Any self sufficient homestead can benefit from chickens, geese, and other fowl… especially when the SHTF. Have eggs, meat and fertilizer on demand.

In a SHTF situation, resourcefulness and self-sustainability are two important aspects to strive to achieve.

One area that checks off these two targets is raising domesticated poultry.

Although a seemingly trivial part of the bigger picture, poultry ranks very high in sustainability and should be a goal for any self sufficient homestead.

They can provide for you in multiple ways. Outside of laying eggs for food, the bird can also be slaughtered for meat and their waste makes excellent fertilizer after composting.

Additionally, birds do not require any exceptional amount of resources to successfully grow and maintain. Having the ability to eat bugs, plants and garden scraps gives you the ability to grow healthy poultry in an efficient manner.

Also, who wouldn’t want a couple of feathered friends when the SHTF?

So, with that said, out of the many different varieties available to the modern homesteader we’ll break down the best birds for survival.

Best Poultry To Raise When SHTF


When thinking poultry, typically the first thing that comes to mind is chickens and for good reason. They make an excellent choice for a multitude of reasons and are one of the most popular type of bird to grow. Whether you consider yourself a farmer or not, many people raise chickens as a hobby or for an easy source of eggs with relative ease.

Best Breeds
Depending on the breed you raise, many are hardy and can handle wide ranges of weather, temperature, and living conditions without too much consequence.

Buff Orpington chickens are the perfect combination of good laying hens and great meat. As one of the most popular breed of chicken, accessing a starter flock is quite easy.

Plymouth Rock is another popular breed. Having the qualities of efficient layers, the breed is extremely sufficient. While, not widely known as good meat producers,

Plymouth Rock chickens still aren’t a bad choice when it comes to meat.

Cornish Cross is a go-to meat bird. With the ability to gain over 10 lbs. in 6-8 weeks, they’ll be ready for the kitchen table in no time. Although they won’t produce much eggs, you’ll still get broad breasts and large thigh pieces which make them one of the best meat bird breed available.

Proper Care
When it comes to raising poultry, chickens are some of the easiest, low-stress options out there. While it may be in the best interest of the bird to always have water available, food doesn’t have to be offered constantly.

You’ll find most chicken breeds are good scavengers, and if put in an outdoor, free-range setting they’ll find a large part of their diet in the dirt and grass available.

However, offering a couple cups of feed a day for each chicken is most likely required.
If raising hens for the purpose of eggs, you’ll find by having available nesting boxes will boost egg production.

Make an easily accessible, private and comfortable laying area for your hens by putting down straw or hay and check daily to gather your eggs.


Although not as popular as your everyday chicken, geese make a great option for survival situations in both eggs and meat.

Additionally, while geese are typically bigger than chickens, they don’t require a whole lot of care and even the novice poultry farmers can still successfully raise a flock.

Best Breeds
Arguably, the best breed is the Golden Goose, which has the ability to lay golden eggs – but unless you are Jack in Jack And The Beanstalk you probably won’t find many of them around.

Instead, you may have better luck with Chinese Goose. A descendent from the Wild Swan Goose, they are one of the bigger breeds available. As one of the best layers available, having the ability of reaching upwards of 100 eggs annually, it’s hard to go wrong with this choice.

If egg production isn’t your main priority, Pilgrim Geese is your go-to choice for meat production. As a medium-large breed, they won’t get too big for you to easily slaughter and butcher, but you’ll still easily get enough meat for multiple meals.

Proper Care
Similar to the chicken, geese are pretty easygoing when it comes to animal husbandry. The biggest difference being their size, they will require more daily food than a typical chicken will.

As most poultry do, geese prefer eating grass, grain and also corn. Another factor that goes into producing a happy goose is available water. Many geese prefer a lake or a pond for swimming and foraging in.

Though a body of water isn’t necessary for their wellbeing, it could be a benefiting factor to consider when considering raising geese.


For the more adventurous poultry farmers, turkeys offer a more advanced option when raising birds. While similar to chickens in their preferred habitat and food requirements, turkeys are much bigger and require more space.

Despite requiring more food and space, the amount and quality of meat available on turkeys outweighs the negatives.

Best Breeds
At the grocery store, Broad-Breasted Whites are probably what you are buying when purchasing turkey.

As one of the most popular meat-bird breeds in America, Broad-Breasted Whites offer great meat production in a short amount of time. However, despite great meat production, they are often prone to walking problems and diseases.

Bourbon Red turkeys offer some of the best characteristics when it comes to quality turkeys. Outside of being known for their beautiful red plumage, Bourbon Red’s also offer exceptional taste. As one of the better tasting heritage turkey breeds, they are able to gain upwards of 20 lbs.

If meat isn’t your primary goal with raising turkeys, you may want to consider Beltsville Small White. As a smaller bird, they aren’t as tasty and don’t provide as much meat as some other breeds. However, they are known for being exceptional layers.

Proper Care
The care youto give to a chicken is similar to turkeys. You can feed them worms, seeds, nuts, grain and insects if you want them to eat natural organic food. However, you can also buy commercial turkey food as well.

Also, they tend to drown in a deep water dish and even in a good rain.

Final Thoughts

People often don’t consider raising poultry in a doomsday situation. However, the benefits provided when raising either chickens, geese, or turkeys can be what you need to survive.

As great scavengers, most birds will not require a pure diet of grain. Instead, they’ll be able to eat up any pesky bugs around your shelter. Additionally, birds provide two different sources of food with eggs and meat.

While you may not think a flock of chickens or turkeys may be one of your best companions when SHTF, they might just be.

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Sergeant Survival

I spread the news of disaster preparedness and homesteading skills to the masses. My mission is to teach the keyboard commandos out there some real life skills.


  1. Very helpful information. Looking to start our own homestead.

  2. Indian Runner duck.

    Better than chickens, but their eggs go everywhere.

  3. Geese and Turkey are too loud for a “Survival” homestead.

    Geese are mean.

    What about Quail, the quiet bird meat?

  4. I would suggest ducks, as Old Bull mentioned. We raise Pekins and love them for both meat and eggs. Ducks are smarter and more trainable than chickens. Pekins are also fast growing for meat production and produce loads of valuable fertilizer.

  5. Good basic article. Two points to keep in mind;

    1. Cornish Cross are like a hybrid seed. They represent many generations of specialized breeding and the offspring of the crossed generation will not be true to type. You will always be dependent on getting new stock each generation. But if you want to breed your own type of meat bird you might start with these.

    2. Chickens and eggs are the first targets of a starving population. Depending on how bad things are you will need to protect the birds which might mean they cannot free range and forage for food.

    The above being said, chickens (and other fowl) and eggs are one of the best sources of protein in an extended situation.

  6. You are so very wrong about the Cornish/Rock. It is not a good post SHTF bird. You can’t breed them. You need a Cornish Hen and Rock Rooster to make the fat meat birds, that get processed at around 10-12 weeks and rarely live to the age of egg laying. They are great eating birds, but are a product of modern cross breeding.

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