What’s for Dinner?
Part I

2012 December 11
by drdog09

A short series on micro livestock as part of a survival strategy.

Canned goods, vegetable and meat should be part of any survival pantry. Its the basis for riding out something like Sandy and other regional events. But canned goods do have a shelf life and must be replenished. For a longer term view part of one’s food supply should be ‘on the hoof’ and reproducible. In view of the fact that most people live in a suburban environment with certain zoning restrictions selection has to bear that fact in mind. That for example would leave having 4 Herefords grazing on the front lawn off the table. Unless of course your front lawn happens to be 30 acres in size. 🙂

General characteristics to keep in mind —

  • Small in size. Just as Herefords might not be acceptable, neither would 400# sows tearing up the backyard. Size matters. For example even if you could house the sow when it got down to rendering the beast what do you do with the 200# of meat left over from BBQ? Especially important if reliable electricity makes freezers questionable for meat storage. Offing 8 quail for a meal is an entirely different matter and no leftovers.
  • High reproductive rate.Survival strategies of animals on this planet have a fairly predictive feature — the bigger the animal the fewer breeding cycles. The bigger the animal the fewer predators that can make it lunch which lessens the need for high rates in reproduction. For us we want to select stock that has a high production rate.Consider. One could buy a calf house and feed it and 14 months later yield a 1000# of meat. Or I could buy a trio of rabbits and in the same period yield an equivalent amount of meat. The rabbit is a high breeding rate creature which can be leveraged by the breeder.
  • Low Housing Requirements. It is preferable that the survivalist not have to expend a great deal of money for housing the stock. Cattle, pigs, goats merely require penning. Quail on the other hand require complete housing as they cannot be free ranged. Its just a matter of return on your efforts for the dollars expended.
  • Self tending. Part of the reason to have one’s own stock is to at least comparatively speaking match costs with what is in the supermarket. You will never reach that goal with stock that require constant veterinary care and human intervention to survive. Certain breeds are better equipped for a ad hoc lifestyle than others even in the same genera of animal.
  • Noise. For the suburban survivalist being able to be on good behavior with the neighbors is essential. Better maybe to have ducks rather than chickens with a living 4am alarm clock. Or goats known to be people friendly.
  • Earn their keep.Essentially is the stock capable of providing an output capable of offsetting the feed bill? Chickens for example provide eggs that are saleable. Fresh/organic are at a premium if you can meet the labeling requirements. That output can be used to offset the feed cost and still provide the family with eggs and meat for their table.Of vital importance, whatever is to be offered does not end up in bureaucratic red tape. Egg sales are easy even according USDA rules for small producers. But selling the processed bird is a different matter entirely and must be done so at a federally inspected facility.
  • Not aggressive. Self evident for the most part. But one should be keen to keep in mind that you the owner are responsible for the critter. It would do no good to keep stock that injure yourself or visitors.

Keeping these factors in mind, lets leap into our first dish. —

Rabbit

Positives:

  • High reproductive rate.
  • Provides meat, fur, wool (angora).
  • Quiet.
  • Meat is high protein low fat.
  • Can be pastured in movable pens. Many house the herd in garages.
  • Can be fed a natural diet if one has access to the proper plant matter.
  • Manure is garden ready requiring no ageing to prevent root burn.

Negatives:

  • High housing requirements. Need cages to house the stock and grow out. Cost is moderate for cages but must be factored in.
  • High predation rate if not housed properly.
  • Disease though not a big factor can wipe out an entire herd if left unchecked.
  • Reproduction though high, is brought to a standstill as bucks become sterile at high temperatures. (>85F)
  • Meat product is not widely consumed as compared to chicken. Offering stock for sale would require connections to an approved processor. (Though it should be noted that rabbit goes for about $5/# and up in the stores that do offer it.)
  • Odor control can be a factor if housing in say the garage. Can be mitigated.

Overall Notes:

Its of interest that during WWII rabbit husbandry was encouraged as a means to extend family food reserves. Rabbit was also the substitute for high end fur during the 30’s. There is even a breed that is raised for that purpose still.

A family of 4 could provide most of their dietary requirements with just 5 animals (1 male, 4 females) under the right environmental conditions. The meat is extremely lean. Fact it is so low in fat that a sole diet of rabbit is not advised but be part of a varied meat regimen.

The most popular breeds are White New Zealand and California. These two breeds are the most popular of processors as the hair is easily detected during the processing. Preferred market weight is between 4.5-5.5# (eg a fryer) though breeding stock in either specie can reach 8-10# (eg a stewer). Live weight pricing varies with regional demand.

Feeding requirements are average. Approximately 3-4% of body weight per animal. Goes without saying that rabbits are herbivores. Most rabbit growers feed stock a prepared pellet feed. Rabbits will eat natural foods if trained to it. Hay with at least a 12% protein component can be used.

Disease of rabbit are few. The most serious being Pasteurella a bacterial infection. Untended it can infect the entire herd. Affected animals should be isolated and if treatment is contrary, culled. Most of the other problems are related to injuries — sore hocks, teeth etc.

Overall, after chickens the suburban survivalist should consider rabbit a top choice as a food source.

49 Responses leave one →
  1. 2012 December 11 5:37 am
    [1]
    MI Conservative permalink

  2. 2012 December 11 6:59 am
    [2]
    drdog09 permalink

    Obama scams his own report. Report here — http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ERP-2012/pdf/ERP-2012.pdf Go to the charts at pg413. The Bush Cuts worked. And Obama agrees as he signed off on this sucker.

    HT: AmSpec

  3. 2012 December 11 7:04 am
    [3]
    JustMary permalink

    Yay for goats and chickens!!!! 😀

    We live in a bad area for chickens if we can’t make their house like Fort Knox. There are bobcats, coyotes, snakes, etc- and we live in a city!

  4. 2012 December 11 7:05 am
    [4]
    JustMary permalink

    I should mention, our dogs have kept those critters out of our yard pretty well thus far.

  5. 2012 December 11 7:13 am
    [5]
    drdog09 permalink

    There are bobcats, coyotes, snakes, etc- and we live in a city!

    22cal with silencer and laser sight. I hear bobcat hides have value.

  6. 2012 December 11 7:35 am
    [6]

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more enteraining to keep a lawyer chained up in the basement, and just chop off a chunk when protein is needed?

  7. 2012 December 11 8:40 am
    [7]
    drdog09 permalink

    6,

    The Other White Meat. 🙂

  8. 2012 December 11 9:03 am
    [8]

    lONG PIG

  9. 2012 December 11 10:24 am
    [9]
    drdog09 permalink

  10. 2012 December 11 10:25 am
    [10]
    drdog09 permalink

    8,

    I will do a piece on hog after we have run thru a few more critters that could end up on the plate.

  11. 2012 December 11 10:49 am
    [11]
    drdog09 permalink

  12. 2012 December 11 11:27 am
    [12]
    bc3b permalink

    What’s for dinner?

    For the “residents” of Hut 1369, dinner will be rat:
    Monday – Fried Rat
    Tuesday – Rat a la Deee’troit
    Wednesday – Wayne County Rat
    Thursday – Baked Rat
    Friday – French Fried Rat
    Saturday – Ghetto Rat
    Sunday – Barbecued Rat

  13. 2012 December 11 11:30 am
    [13]
    bc3b permalink

    Speaking of rats, major protests in Lansing over passage of right to work:

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2515629#.UMdhiYPAcaB

  14. 2012 December 11 11:54 am
    [14]

    What no Ratatouille??~~~or rhat on the barbie??

  15. 2012 December 11 1:45 pm
    [15]
    drdog09 permalink

    BC,

    Hmm. If I were the Speaker of the Mich assembly I would immediately charge Rep Geiss for incitement to riot and abandonment of rules of the chamber.

  16. 2012 December 11 1:47 pm
    [16]
    drdog09 permalink

  17. 2012 December 11 1:50 pm
    [17]

    15. Yup.

  18. 2012 December 11 1:52 pm
    [18]
    drdog09 permalink

    Wow! 7th circuit tosses Illy’s ban on concealed carry. Demands that the state draft legislation in 180 days permitting such rights.

    It will be interesting to watch Chicago’s violence drop when citizens can carry.

  19. 2012 December 11 1:54 pm
    [19]

    11. Doubtful at least in terms of what one will pay in $’s for it as long as the printing presses keep running.

  20. 2012 December 11 1:55 pm
    [20]
    Mr Evilwrench permalink

    Want to stay with chickies and bunnies here, being all suburban and having a jerk for a neighbor. I’d feel better having them closed in at night, even though the yard is fenced in. We have a nice new surplus of yotes in the area. You can hear them in the evening. Just got myself a night vision scope, which was surprisingly affordable. It’s on a 5.56 right now, but could just as well sit on the .22 pellet rifle.

  21. 2012 December 11 1:56 pm
    [21]
    drdog09 permalink

    19, True but would be a double whammy if we did not have the tech and resources.

  22. 2012 December 11 2:36 pm
    [23]
    drdog09 permalink

    I still think the Bussard-Polywell method is going to get there first. They have made more progress with less funding that any other group out there. Not only that, but so far they have not found a single aberration from the theory as they have scaled up.

  23. 2012 December 11 2:54 pm
    [24]

    23 – I thought that project stalled out around 2009/2010 when the navy yanked the funding?

  24. 2012 December 11 2:54 pm
    [25]
    drdog09 permalink

    20, well get that scope sighted in and start poaching yotes.

    Damn fox got two of my ducks a couple months back. Ticked me off. Course the damn ducks were stupid too. Was not watching for s@#$% cause they can fly out of trouble, the rest did.

  25. 2012 December 11 4:00 pm
    [26]
    drdog09 permalink

    23,

    KH you are right it stalled as the Navy needed to transition the oversight function. Corp has taken the lead on running the show and the Navy is still one of the primary funding groups. They now on WiffleBall 7 and constructing WiffleBall 8. Got a new contract too — http://www.classicalvalues.com/archives/2009/06/the_boys_at_tal.html.

    That was back in June. I figure they make break even by this time next year. Not bad for a bunch of greybeards and young whipper snappers.

  26. 2012 December 11 4:17 pm
    [27]

    26. Oh good thanks for the update I must have been searching the wrong site last time I went looking for an update (probably back during summer).

    btw.. reward is up to 6000$ for Crowder attacker.
    http://www.indiegogo.com/Reward4Steven?c=home

  27. 2012 December 11 4:53 pm
    [28]
    JustMary permalink

    #27 6k? It needs to be higher, and how sweet would it be to have an union goon be the one to turn him in.

  28. 2012 December 11 4:59 pm
    [29]
    drdog09 permalink

    Oh God I love it! The reward is a peer to peer funding request. This could go down as the first privately funded kickstarter- like bounty in US history.

  29. 2012 December 11 5:02 pm
    [30]
    drdog09 permalink

    JM,

    Well guess what? YOU can make it higher! Indiegogo is a pay system. Enough people get interested it could go into the tens of thousands.

  30. 2012 December 11 5:04 pm
    [31]
    drdog09 permalink

    KH there is a Polywell discussion group. Its where I got the lead for the article. — http://www.talk-polywell.org/bb/index.php

  31. 2012 December 11 5:15 pm
    [32]
    JustMary permalink

    #30 Linking it on FB now!!!!!!

  32. 2012 December 11 5:16 pm
    [33]

    Thanks Dr!

    28 – Not bad for a couple hours, I’m sure it’ll grow once talk radio gets a change to pimp it tomorrow. 😉

    Saw this from a comment at PP, had to crack up cause you so count on this happening – and rightfully so.
    http://www.hughhewitt.com/blog/g/65a7a57f-2a98-487b-b34d-befb03e0beed

  33. 2012 December 11 5:16 pm
    [34]

    err.. chance.

  34. 2012 December 11 6:51 pm
    [36]
    mulletover permalink

    Another leg falls off the obamacare stool

    Sixteen dem senators write letter to Hairy Reed requesting the medical device tax of 2.3% be repealed saying it will kill jobs.

    Duh.

    Early boarding of the reelection wagon.

  35. 2012 December 11 7:20 pm
    [37]
    Mr Evilwrench permalink

    Man, for that kind of scratch I could motivate myself up off my sciatic ass and put the fix in a place or two. I’d sleep like a baby, just like that cop in Canton OH, but for a different reason.

  36. 2012 December 11 7:40 pm
    [38]
    gnqanq permalink

    drdog – I would like to add a little to your post.

    I remember reading on a Survival Board that canned items can have a shelf life of years (20 to 30) IF kept properly. They had a link to a study to Oklahoma State & BYU that showed canned items were still good after 20 years.

    I can testify that I have had recently Green Beans with a “Best By” date of 2009 that there was nothing wrong with them. My brother a few years back had some mac & cheese that he found in his pop up camper that was over 10 years old with no problems. Also, I just recently had some Peaches with a “Best By” date of December 2009 – No Problems.

    From my pantry I found the following items that I have recently purchased (last 2 months) with their “Best By” date.

    Tuna – April 2015
    Yams – January 2015
    Asparagus – August 2015
    Canned Chicken – September 2014
    Pumpkin – December 2014
    Corn – July 2014
    Kidney Beans – October 2015
    Green Beans – August 2014
    Butter Beans – August 2015
    Corned Beef – April 2017
    Spam – August 2014
    Condensed Milk – February 2014
    Peaches – December 2013
    Pears – December 2013

    Pasta, noodles, rice, beans and other items IF kept dry and from pests can last years.

    Do watch for dented cans and move them up in your rotation as there can be problems with dented items.

  37. 2012 December 11 8:48 pm
    [40]
    drdog09 permalink

    Sixteen dem senators write letter to Hairy Reed requesting the medical device tax of 2.3% be repealed saying it will kill jobs.

    And that is exactly what Boehner should do too. He ought to get a full caucus vote to extend the bush cuts for 6 months and delay the fiscal cliff, straight party line. That would bring the debt ceiling front and center first. Obama has got his second term, make him own it.

    I can probably guarantee those same 16 senators never read the damn bill to begin with. We pay these guys hundreds of thousands and they can’t get it right. Politics are not a game with mulligans.

  38. 2012 December 11 8:51 pm
    [41]
    drdog09 permalink

    Gn, thanks!

  39. 2012 December 11 9:17 pm
    [42]
    drdog09 permalink

    Britain — http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-11/better-benefits — no incentive to work. Sound familiar?

  40. 2012 December 12 6:22 am
    [43]
    drdog09 permalink

  41. 2012 December 12 6:59 am
    [46]
    drdog09 permalink

    KH,

    France’s top actor has moved out of France to avoid the taxes.

    Unrelated. A GIS of the London Blitz — http://bombsight.org/#11/51.4970/-0.0903

  42. 2012 December 12 7:03 am
    [48]
    justrand permalink

    been traveling and had “other distractions” for the past few days…missed a lot, including BJG! 🙂

    back in the saddle or, at least, on the keyboard!

    drdog…your comment #40 just further highlights the stoooopidity and hypocrisy of those Democrat Senators. They DEMANDED ObamaCare, and each and every one of them (including Franken) took to the floor of the Senate and screeched about how AWESOME and NECESSARY it was…and how it would “create jobs”.

    Now, without batting a freaking eye, they lament how dangerous it will be for our economy!

  43. 2012 December 12 3:09 pm
    [49]
    Mr Evilwrench permalink

    I remember being roundly ridiculed for eating some 14 year old Campbell’s soup (that was perfectly good, I’ll have you know) but now I have some stuff that’s rated for 30 years, so I’ll be fed forever.

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