Hello Pack. We have had quite a productive week here on our survival homestead. The only downsides to this week have been the chilly weather, unwanted precipitation, and a predator looming about. I lost one of my beloved Pekin ducks and a guinea to a fox.
In the photo above (that I included simply because it was an awesome shot) my flocks were out for an armed and supervised walk about being kept in their coop and run for days.
In the picture it looks like my duck is walking on water, but there is actually an incredibly thin layer of ice that you can see our pond water running under.
The ice did not support the weight of my big ducks for long, and they would get quite perturbed when it would crack beneath their feet, and startle them.
My ducks are far better egg layers than the heritage breed of Buckeye chickens that took me so long to find. They do not possess good “barnyard smarts” when free ranging either.
I am down to just a single chicken hen now. She is a nice hen, don’t get me wrong, but I will not be buying anymore of them.
I actually broke my own rule that I had fun writing about in a chicken math / chick days survival tips article.
I walked into Tractor Supply yesterday just to grab an extra bag of horse feed, I did not hug the outer aisle walls of the store, and walked right past the only recently set up chick day area.
I would have been able to resist the urge to buy more chicks until the weather warmed enough that they could go directly into the outdoor brooder, but they had Bantam chicks.
I have really been missing my banty hens and planned on getting more – and right there they were just a few feet away chirping their little hearts out at me.
Tractor Supply in our area does not often stock banty hens, so I bought six… I was over the chick days guilt as soon as I brought them in the house.
All three of our blue heelers were a little too eager to meet the new additions, but after threatening to shoot them in the head if they used one as a snack, they have not ventured even remotely near the chick tub since.
The chicks are now settled in the brooder with ample bedding instead of a dish towel that my beloved was not happy about me wasting as I gathered up all of the brooder necessities:
They do not post what type of banties the little chicks are, the sign just said a mixture. Since they have feathering on their feet they have to be Brahman, Cochin, or Silkie breed.
In other preps this week, we co-hosted a self-reliance training for kids at a local gun range a tribe member owns.
The children learned firearms safety, what to do if they come across a gun, and the older ones had one-on-one instruction by certified trainers who were all former military.
We are also getting way ahead on firewood already this year. Each day we have cut up at least one pickup truck load. Some of it has been split and stacked but the rest is in a pile waiting to be processed.
A tribe member who is also an accomplished home butcher has a big bucket of beef fat for me to use for rendering tallow.
I will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend processing the tallow and using it to make healing herbal salves, lip balms, soap, shampoo bars, and then putting quite a bit up to store to use as gun grease, machinery lube, and for cooking and baking.
Our indoor seed garden is coming along nicely. I may need to invest in a few more grow lights if I want to achieve my goals of raising all of the plants for our garden myself.
Our newest batch of lettuce just came up. The five and under grandkids planted it themselves, and are responsible for tending to it.
I am a firm believer in giving responsibility at an early age – as well as ingraining the “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” life skills mantra.
This Week’s Questions
- How are your seed starting activities going or survival gardening plan evolving?
- What did you do this week to enhance the survival skills of the children or adults in your tribe?
- What chicken breed do you think is the best for laying and meat purposes?
- Do you render or use tallow? How do you use this nutrient rich resource?
- What did you do to prep this week?