Thanks to recent natural disasters and other catastrophes, a lot of people have started to see the value of food storage. Of course, if the idea of living on canned ravioli and tuna fish doesn’t sound all that appealing to you, you may consider keeping chickens as part of your food storage. Not only do they make eggs appear every day like magic, but they also provide you with a fresh chicken dinner while you are waiting to have access to the grocery store again. Unfortunately, chickens don’t remain happy and healthy tucked away on your pantry’s shelf, so here are some tips to get you started.
1. Check the Law Books
Nobody likes confrontation—especially with the police and most definitely not with that nosy homeowner’s association lady (you know the one). So before you bring home those cute little chicks, check out the local laws and subdivision rules to make sure you are allowed to have them. Clear the idea with your neighbors if they are close as well.
2. Select the Right Breed
If you live in someplace like North Dakota, getting chickens that are used to hot climates won’t survive through that long, cold winter. When selecting a breed, research which breed will thrive best in the climate you live in. On top of climate, look at whether the breed is known to lay frequently or infrequently. The Rhode Island Red is a popular breed for getting a plentiful egg supply. Don’t forget to check the sex! Roosters don’t produce eggs, and are awfully noisy. Make sure all of the chicks you get are hens. If you’d like to use your chickens for meat, check into how good the breeds are for meat, and how capable they are at foraging for their own food.
Picture Credit- Visit grandmas-dreams.tumblr.com
3. Free Range or Coop?
Free range chickens are fun to watch as they peck the ground and give themselves dirt baths, but they also have a tendency to make a mess, wander where they aren’t wanted and get attacked by predators. If you want to go free range, be sure there is still an outer fence, such as around a yard or field, to keep them contained and that they have some kind of protection from predators. A rooster will fight a predator to the death to protect his flock, but your presence can also warn off aggressive animals. Cooped chickens will stay completely safe, but they won’t have access to a free range diet or be quite as fun to have.
Stock up on poultry feed for your chickens as they can’t live, generally, on what they find on your lawn (especially in winter). Fresh or dried worms, white grapes, pomegranate seeds and cherry tomatoes are also all good options and provide a nice treat. Chickens also make a nice food disposal, so toss them your leftover kitchen scraps. It’s like turning trash into fresh eggs.
5. Building the Coop
A chicken coop must be made to be completely secure from outside predators. As such, avoid building the coop directly on the ground where predators could easily sneak themselves up through a hole in the soil. Instead, build a raised coop with a floor. Use a smooth material to build the coop, as it will be easier to clean or paint, and construct outside access boxes, so you can retrieve the eggs without disturbing the hens.
“If my husband had his way, we’d live on a farm,” says Heather Bullard, whose career as a photo stylist instead requires close proximity to Los Angeles. So she and her agriculture-obsessed spouse, Jim, compromised by constructing a chicken coop.
Since the Bullards’ Riverside, California, backyard barely covers a quarter acre, looks mattered as much as function. Together, the two designed a Cape Cod–inspired structure that’s prettier than many human dwellings—and built it themselves for $1,600, using stock building materials and hardware from Home Depot.
Egg Skelter. For those of us with fresh eggs, it keeps you using the oldest first and never mixing them up. Visit incrediblethings.com
wonderful photo of chickens with their ladder and nesting boxes
Renée Finberg TELLS ALL in her blog of her Adventures in Design: Fabulous Chicken Coops
What people have learned building their coops…..good ideas Visit grit.com
Guest Post Lee Flynn
Emergency preparedness is no joke. It only takes one look at the biggest headlines of recent years, and you will see natural disasters, cities in lockdown, and economic crises across the globe; all of which required people to either stay in their homes for days on end, go without a steady income for a period of time, or evacuate their homes at a moment’s notice. These are the sorts of emergency situations that can really threaten lifestyles at best and lives at worst. And as such, it is more important than ever that each one of us is prepared to face any similar situation that comes around.
But what do you do if you find yourself in a situation that prevents you from cooking using your normal methods? What if you are suffering a power outage, your stove is broken, or you have been forced to evacuate your home? Here are some essential tips for being prepared for these sorts of situations.
Store Ready-to-Eat Food
Emergency Preparedness 101: keep an emergency food supply in your house. This should include plenty of nonperishable items that can be made into meals or keep you going for a long period of time. However, one important aspect of this is to make sure that at least some of your emergency food is ready to eat. This means that it requires no preparation in terms of cooking, and no special appliances to put it together. It might not be your favorite food, but it could save your life some day. Look into canning for some different options.
Put Together an Emergency Survival Kit
If you do have to evacuate your home, you probably won’t have time to put together all of the essentials that you need to get by for awhile, or you may forget important things if you only have a short amount of time. If you put together a survival kit right now, you will be able to grab it when the time comes. In that survival kit, be sure to include a cooker that you can heat food and water over. A word of warning however, if you do have a portable stove, never use it indoors as you could put yourself at risk to the fatal effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Remember Clean Water
It is something that is all too often forgotten when it comes to setting aside an emergency supply, but water is the most important thing to remember. You do not know whether you will have access to clean water, or any water at all, so be sure to store enough in your emergency kit. There should be about a gallon of water per person for three days. Remember you will need it for drinking, cooking, washing, and cleaning, so ration it accordingly. If you are mobile cooking, remember to boil any water before consuming it.
Bring Enough for Everyone
Don’t forget to store enough for each member of your household. Take note of how much food and water you go through on a daily basis, and store a similar amount in your pantry. If you have pets, make sure that you keep food and water for them as well.
Add to it Regularly
Food storage is never complete. For one thing, there is not much food that will actually last forever, so you should be regularly checking your storage for bad or expired food and replacing it. Furthermore, there are always new and better options to fulfill your survival needs, and a regular look at your emergency storage will help you to identify them. Food storage might sound like something that will never be necessary for you, but there are many people around who will tell you that it is no joke.
When you think about creating your emergency food supply, it is understandable that you want most of your focus and space to go to the basic necessities: foods that are high in protein and can easily be stored for long periods of time, bottled water, etc. It is important, though, that you set aside at least a small amount of space for foods and beverages that are more luxury than life sustaining. Even if the worst happens, it’ll be nice to have a way to treat your family once in a while, right?
This means finding a way to safely store treat-like foods for your kids and even some spirits for you and your partner.
That’s right: You’re going to want to make sure that your emergency food store includes booze. Remember: Some alcohol can be used for practical purposes as well as luxury purposes. Wine has health benefits (provided it is consumed in moderation). Vodka has medicinal properties. Alcohol can also be used to help start fires (or fuel fires), for sterilization, etc.
If you hope to store wine and other forms of alcohol, remember: Contemporary bottled wines are typically meant to be consumed within a couple of years. If you’re building a store designed to stay fresh for longer than that, you’re going to want to spend the money on a finer wine created with the intention of being aged before consumption.
It is also important to know that wine needs to be stored horizontally. Standing it up makes the corks oxidize and dry out faster, which allows air to seep in and spoil the wine.
This means you’re going to want to invest in some wine racks so you can store the wine properly. The exception to this rule is champagne (or sparkling wines), which need to be stood up.
It’s a good idea to stock up and store the harder liquors, too. For one thing, these age better and keep longer than wine. Their high alcohol content helps keep them safe to drink longer, and many types of liquor (like rum, whiskey, and gin) can be stored indefinitely if they are stored properly.
The best way to store harder liquors is to keep it in a cooler and darker part of your storage space. Heat, light, and humidity are the enemies of alcohol storage (this is true with wine as well).
While obviously this part of your emergency store isn’t going to be large, with these tips you can make sure it is long lasting.
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon. She covers a variety of topics ranging from prepping to pop culture.
Making a wine rack out of pallets- Visit skeeterpee.com
Making a wine rack out of pallets- Visit skeeterpee.com
Pallets turned wine rack- Pinterest