5 Birds (Besides Chickens) That Are Worth Raising

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Chickens are easily the most popular animal among homesteaders. Even urban homesteaders–who usually only have a small backyard–probably have some chickens running around. And why shouldn’t they? Chickens produce eggs and meat, and they’re fairly easy to take care of. But why should chickens get all the love? There are many other birds that are …

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17 Vegetables In Your Garden That Require Bee Pollination

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17 Vegetables In Your Garden That Require Bee Pollination

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So, you have planted your garden and are looking forward to eating all that fresh produce. Did you know that you can make your garden even more productive by planting flowers? That’s right, flowers. Attracting pollinators to your garden can impact how well your plants produce.

Different Categories of Plants

Garden crops fall into four different categories for pollination, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss three.

The first group is self-pollinating, and they don’t need insects or wind for pollination. Beans, peas and tomatoes are in this category.

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The second group needs pollination from an unrelated plant. Radishes and cabbages are the only vegetables in this category, but because we eat the root part of the radish you still can get a good crop without pollination.

The 17 Vegetables

The third and largest group is vegetables requiring cross-pollination. Cross-pollination is accomplished through windblown pollen in beets, carrots, celery, corn, onions, spinach and Swiss chard. But a large list of vegetables usually require pollination by insects. These 17 vegetables are: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, muskmelon, mustard, okra, parsley, peppers, pumpkins, rutabaga, squash and watermelon.

Bees are one of the best pollinators, but butterflies and hummingbirds can also help with pollination.

How to Attract Pollinators

So how do you get more bees, butterflies and hummingbirds into your garden? Make it a pollinator-friendly place by implementing some or all the following ideas.

1. Find space in your garden for nectar and pollen-rich plants that will attract bees and butterflies. Mint is great for attracting bees. Mint spreads quite a bit, so you want to have a space where it can grow and fill in without crowding out other plants, or take some steps to contain it, like planting mint in a pot in the ground to help keep the roots from spreading.

17 Vegetables In Your Garden That Require Bee Pollination

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Other herbs, such as chives, thyme, marjoram, sage, lavender and Echinacea, also attract bees and butterflies. Planting an herb garden, or planting herbs interspersed with your vegetables, will bring bees and butterflies to the garden. Pineapple sage is another great flower to attract birds, bees and hummingbirds. In warm climates, where pineapple sage grows year-round, it can get to be six feet high. A hedge of pineapple sage is constantly filled with hummingbirds and butterflies when the red, trumpet-shaped flowers are blooming. In colder climates, you can still grow pineapple sage, but it behaves like an annual instead of a perennial so it won’t get as big.

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Bees, of course, also love flowers. Wildflower mixes contain a variety of bright-colored flowers that will attract bees. If you are wanting a more cultivated look in your yard or garden, try some of the following flowers: Cosmos, calendula, bee balm, sunflowers, rose mallow and cornflowers. It doesn’t take much space to plant flowers and herbs that will attract bees and butterflies to your yard or garden. You can plant something as small as a container with a few flowers, or a large field covered with flowers and herbs, or anything in between.

2. Add water. Butterflies and bees all need water. Consider adding a birdbath or installing a water garden or catch basin to provide water. Hummingbird feeders will attract hummingbirds, who also can help with pollination, and you will find that bees and butterflies also use the feeders when the hummingbirds let them.

3. Provide shelter.You can purchase or build man-made bee boxes or homes, or you can allow natural spaces where bees can create nests, such as an old tree, allowing part of your yard to grow wild to provide shelter for ground bees, or leave a decomposing log in a sunny place.

4. Watch the pesticides … and go organic. Pesticides not only kill harmful pests, but they also kill beneficial insects. By using organic methods, you can control pests and diseases by working with nature. Using organic methods also helps protect the pollinators.

Attract more pollinators to your garden this year, and see how much better your garden grows.

How do you attract pollinators to your garden? Share your thoughts in the section below:

4 Ways To Attract Beneficial Birds To Your Homestead

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4 Ways To Attract Beneficial Birds To Your Homestead

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Birds are spectacular creatures — full of grace and elegance, truly creatures of beauty that God placed on the earth for our enjoyment and to showcase His magnificence.

Ever since I was a small child, I have loved to watch birds as they battle against the wind, climbing almost out of sight and return moments later to snatch some seed from a feeder or rest upon an outstretched tree branch to sing a song of joy.

Birds just seem happy — unencumbered and unbothered by changes in temperature, light or season. They make me and millions of other people happy as they put on shows of color and poise in our gardens or along our windowsills.

Besides their tremendous entertainment value, birds do serve a number of purposes, which makes attracting them to your yard that much more important. Birds provide:

Pest control. A great number of birds enjoy dining on insects such as aphids, spiders, mosquitoes and other bugs that we don’t really want hanging about our yard. Attracting birds will keep these insect populations under control.

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Pollination. Birds such as hummingbirds, orioles and others sip the nectar from flowers and play an important role in pollination. Without pollination we would not have thriving gardens.

Weed control. Some birds such as sparrows, finches and towhees can be very helpful when it comes to controlling unwanted plants in your landscape.

Education. Besides entertainment, watching birds in your backyard gives an upfront chance to study local wildlife. This is a wonderful experience for the whole family and makes for a very worthwhile nature study.

4 Ways To Attract Beneficial Birds To Your Homestead

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Conservation. As more and more habitats are being disrupted from development and human intrusion, birds, like other animals, need places to land. This is equally important for local birds as well as those that are migrating.

So, for whatever reason you see fit, here are some ways that you can attract more of these amazing creatures to your yard:

1. Food. In order to attract a wide variety of wild birds to your yard, it is imperative that you offer a diverse buffet of seeds, suet, nectar and other fitting treats. To know which type of food to offer, it is first important to learn about which kind of birds are in your area and which birds might stop during their migratory flight. A variety of feeders are also important — platforms, suet feeders, hanging feeders, etc. – in order to attract a wide variety of birds to your yard. Confused about foods? Then check out this North American bird feeding chart.

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2. Water. Many people may offer a variety of food but forget about water. Water is essential for birds just like it is for humans. Birds prefer moving water, but just about any water source often works. Install a moving water feature or even a bird bath, and watch the birds flock to your yard. Be sure to keep your water source clean and in good repair for best results

3. Shelter. Birds need a place to get away from predators and foul weather and a spot to birth and care for their young. Plant native bushes and trees, and put up birdhouses and nesting boxes according to the type of birds in your area.

4. Habitat. It is imperative that you create a welcoming habitat for birds if you desire to attract a variety to your yard. This will include trees, shrubs, grasses and plants. Native plantings are always best. Do research on what types of plants are native to your location before planting. The more you can mimic what is found in the wild, the more the birds will feel at home.

Have fun with your bird visitors!

What is your advice for attracting birds? Share it in the section below:

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The Easy-To-Build Chicken Tractor Guaranteed To Boost Meat Production

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The Easy-To-Build Chicken Tractor Guaranteed To Boost Meat Production

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Well, it seems that spring is finally here. I can see it in my fruit trees as they blossom, and hear it in the night sounds of frogs and insects that are slowly coming back after many months of silence. With the change of season, there always comes a chore list on a homestead.

Around my place, one of the things spring means is that it’s time to gear up for raising meat chickens. That is, it is time to get the chicken tractors in order, the brooders ready, and the feed and chicks ordered.

When I first started raising meat chickens, I envisioned it as being an income source in addition to a means of providing good wholesome food for my family. I started the venture with the notion of producing a free-range, GMO-free product. It didn’t go as I had hoped. Free-range works well for my egg-producing chickens, but what we found out through experience is that free-range slows the growth rate and produces an ultimately smaller and inferior bird for eating purposes. Modern meat-producing breeds are generally poor foragers, and are designed to grow and put on weight quickly with a steady supply of easily obtained feed. Thus, I opted for raising the chickens in the pasture, and to this end constructed several 10 by 12 chicken tractors.

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The chicken tractors house 40 chickens each. By moving these tractors once or twice each day, we achieve two things. First, our chickens get some supplemental feed in the form of available grasses and greens. Second, our chickens are always in a clean environment. The daily moving of the tractors is something that my young twin boys have enjoyed helping with since they were three.

I stuck to my guns on the GMO-free part of the original equation. However, finding GMO-free feed proved difficult, as we had to travel some distance to get it in bulk — and it was ridiculously expensive. Feed expense becomes a big issue when each bird requires 14 pounds of feed to grow out and you are raising 120 of them.

Ultimately, the chicken venture proved to be untenable from a commercial standpoint. Between the cost of chicks and feed, the time and diesel fuel required to move the tractors, the cost of certified commercial butchering and labeling, and the expense of getting the product to the farmers’ market, we had to sell chicken at more than $3 a pound to even eke out a minimal profit. Our area is not conducive to selling chicken at that price; it isn’t that people don’t care about that kind of product, but rather they can’t afford it.

But it wasn’t a fruitless endeavor. I inspired others to raise their own chicken, and taught them how to do it if they were interested. So, from that standpoint it was an excellent feel-good activity! I still believe that in the right area it could be profitable, but you need a more urban setting with a high concentration of well-employed and health-conscious customers. For me, it has become just a way to provide good food for my family.

The Easy-To-Build Chicken Tractor Guaranteed To Boost Meat Production

The author’s chicken tractor, during the offseason when the horses were using it for shade.

The tractors themselves are fairly easy to build. You will need:

  1. 3 12-feet 2x4s
  2. 2 10-feet 2x4s
  3. Scrap 2 by 4
  4. 3 4-feet-by-12 feet cattle panels
  5. 1 12-feet-by-12-feet tarp (I often go to 10-feet-by-10-feet to save a few bucks, and they are easier to find)
  6. 1 50-feet roll of chicken wire, 4-feet wide
  7. A box of deck screws
  8. A box of fence staples
  9. Cable ties
  10. 25 feet of good rope

To start, you will build your 10-by-12 base using your 12-feet and 10-feet 2x4s — use two 12-feet sides, two 10-feet ends, and a 12 footer trimmed by about 3 ½ inches to fit in the center. These are attached with 3-inch deck screws, and scraps of 2 by 4 are used to make corner braces.

Next, the cattle panels are arched over this frame, secured by fence staples. The result looks like a wire hoop house.

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Using more scrap lumber, build end frames and a door for one end; my design is always dictated by what scraps I have on hand.

The tarp is stretched over the cattle panels and secured with cable ties. The final step is to cover the tarp with the chicken wire, and cover the ends with chicken wire as well. Your rope is used to make a tow harness for the completed tractor.

Additionally, you will need feeders and waterers for your birds. Old rain gutter makes a great feeder, and if you don’t want to buy commercially produced waterers, your imagination is the only constraint. (I have uses 3-inch PVC and poultry nipples from a farm supply store to construct large watering apparatus.)

We grow Cornish cross chickens for their meatiness and rapid growth. They spend about two weeks in the brooder before going onto pasture in the tractors. Once they are in the tractors, I take them feed, and I fill the waterers twice a day when I move them; I move them one tractor length each time to keep the birds on fresh ground.

Chicken tractors are a great way to raise meat chickens, and a fun way to get the family involved in your homesteading activities. It is also a great way to have total control over what goes into the food you eat. And, let’s face it, everything tastes better when you grew it yourself.

Related:

How Chicken Tractors Can Increase Egg Production – And Get Rid Of That Nasty ‘Coop Smell,’ Too

Have you ever used chicken tractors? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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The Super-Low-Maintenance Livestock That’s Easier Than Chickens And More Fun Than Rabbits …

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The Super-Low-Maintenance Livestock That's Easier Than Chickens And More Fun Than Rabbits ...

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Whether you’re introducing poultry to your backyard farm for the first time, or adding to an existing operation that features chickens or other birds, ducks will not disappoint.

Ducks are excellent foragers who will find more than half their diet in your garden if allowed, cutting down your feed costs and helping with pest control. Some breeds are robust egg layers, producing 100-300 eggs per year. They are generally healthy and easy to care for, with few issues specific to domestication. Lastly, ducks are just plain fun to have around, with their silly waddle, quacking and tendency to splash around.

Whether your backyard is rural or more suburban, ducks will likely fit in. Among the meat-producing animals, ducks are second only to rabbits for ease of care. They can provide a great project for a young farmer, or someone who can only devote part-time hours to livestock management. With some helpful advice, almost anyone can have a good year with ducks, and there is a wealth of advice to be found. I’ve been fortunate to have a flock at a near neighbor’s house this year, and enjoyed the fruits of her labors. However, every year of success comes with its lessons. Here are some of the best tips learned for raising your first flock of backyard ducks:

1. Choose the breed that works for you

The Super-Low-Maintenance Livestock That's Easier Than Chickens And More Fun Than Rabbits ...

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If you’re considering ducks, you’ve no doubt begun your breed research and learned that some breeds are better egg producers, while others are better for meat production.

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Many commercial ducks are flightless, but some will need wings clipped. Some breeds are noisier than others, and may be less cooperative with the needs of the neighbors. Do your research.

2. Learn about sheds and shelter

Because ducks have different roosting habits than chickens, they do not need elaborate housing. A well-enclosed shed with bedding and a raised platform provide the ducks with a place to hide, sleep safely, and lay. You will need to change bedding very frequently to keep ducks clean. Ready access to fenced forage will allow the ducks plenty of food and activity during the day; rotate the fenced yard bi-weekly or the ducks will turn it to mud.

3. Don’t forget water

All ducks need a reliable source of clean water, which is likely going to mean some kind of waterer and maybe a pool, trough or pond for bathing. Many backyard duck farmers use kiddie pools in their yard for the ducks during the day, and drain them at night. However, it is very important to watch young ducks with access to deeper water. They can tire when swimming and drown without proper supervision.

4. Watch for signs of bullying

You may be toying with the idea of getting a variety of ducks for your various needs. This can work out fine, with careful introduction of the birds and monitoring to ensure that larger birds are not bullying the smaller birds. This can be a problem with ducks of all one breed, as well, especially if you introduce new adults into an established flock. If you notice signs of bullying (feathers being plucked out, sores, listlessness, etc.) you may need to consider separating or selling some of your ducks.

5. Protect your eggs

The Super-Low-Maintenance Livestock That's Easier Than Chickens And More Fun Than Rabbits ...

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Your shed or coop is more than just a shelter for your ducks; it will keep pests away from your eggs.

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If you don’t want your eggs stolen, install wire mesh over any openings to discourage rats and other pests from invading.

6. Use clean killing

When it’s time to butcher birds, clean killing with an axe or hatchet is generally the preferred method. To prevent the duck from flapping around during placement, insert its head into a cone or bag with hole cut out, so only the head and neck are exposed and it cannot flap its wings. This will help you with a humane and controlled cut.

7. Understand that backyard ducks are not grocery store ducks

Don’t automatically assume your ducks will be fatty when cooked. When roasting a whole hand-raised duck, assess the fat content of the meat before beginning. If it is less fatty, like turkey or chicken, inject butter beneath the skin or baste the duck with fat to keep skin crisp.

In short, ducks are a great way to get your feet wet with poultry. If you’re a little timid, find some of the great resources available, like, “Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks,” or introduce yourself to a neighbor with ducks. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the satisfaction of providing your family with food raised at home, and any earlier uncertainties will be, well, like water off a duck’s back.

Have you ever raised ducks? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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The Best Upland Shotguns You Can Buy For Around $500

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The Best Upland Shotguns You Can Buy For Around $500

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There is perhaps no firearm as personal to a hunter, besides the deer rifle, as the shotgun used to take upland game birds. An upland shotgun, like the deer rifle, is truly an extension of the hunter – like a unique signature, as distinct to him as a thumb print. Sure, there are millions of the same model of many shotguns in circulation, but every ding, scratch and memory tells the story of that firearm.

Upland bird hunting is a terrific way to put meat on the table, and it provides hours of good, clean fun for yourself and others. Upland hunting is a challenge, and you need a fast-pointing, light and handy firearm to hunt birds. You also need the skill to pair with the shotgun, as birds are unpredictable and can fly in every direction.

Of course, upland hunting equipment, like any other hunting gear, can be quite costly. The two most expensive parts of any upland gear will be your hunting dog (if you run a gun dog) and your shotgun. I am not going to talk to you about man’s best friend today. We’re talking guns. And if you are like me, you probably don’t have a few thousand dollars just laying around to purchase an Italian gun. We will take a look at some excellent upland shotguns for the hunter on a budget, all for around $500.

The Classics

Some very attractive options for upland hunters are used classic shotguns. These models include Remington Model 10s, Browning A5s, Winchester Model 12s, and the like. While some of these fetch premium prices, others can still be found for under $500 at many pawn and gun shops.

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Guns such as the Model 12 Winchester or the Browning A5 are certainly plentiful, while others are much rarer and harder to find.

The Model 12 is as fine a pointing shotgun as you can find, and a well-broken-in gun will have an action that is as smooth as silk. You can still find good examples of these guns under $500, but you will have to hunt for such deals.

The Best Upland Shotguns You Can Buy For Around $500

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The A5 is just as common, and for many decades was the semi-auto that all semi-autos were measured against. The A5 was commonly used by both waterfowl and upland hunters as really the only option for a reliable semi-auto. Like many firearms brought into production in the early 20th century, it was built heavy. The action is recoil-operated, and every pull of the trigger will remind you of that.

Among other classics that are sure pointers are the Remington Models 10 and 31, both of which are pump action classics that can still be found for under $500. An Ithaca Model 37, still produced, is a fine classic to take to the field and has dropped many grouse and pheasant.

Other options are the plethora of used Stevens, Savage, Remington, Browning and other break-action, single- or double-barrel shotguns. Break action tend to be the go-to shotgun in the upland hunting world, as they are quick to point and light to carry. I hunted for years with a beat-up single shot Stevens that pointed like a dream.

New Guns

When it comes to new guns, there are many options available for today’s upland hunter. From pump guns to over/unders, they are available at many price points.

Pump Shotguns

If you are going even to consider a pump shotgun, I suggest you look at one for more than just the purpose of upland hunting. A pump gun is the ultimate utilitarian firearm (home defense, squirrel, waterfowl, deer hunting), and with that in mind I have only two that I recommend: the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500. Both are under $500, and both are stranded-on-a-desert-island reliable.

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They come in a wide range of options, chambering and barrel lengths. I have both guns, and neither one has ever once failed me.

While not as fast pointing as some of the lighter doubles and semi-autos, these two guns will get you in the game fast, and can be used for much more than upland and bird hunting.

Semi-Autos

It can be a tricky thing to find a good semi-auto for under $500. Unless you are going to buy used, you have few options that I would really advise spending dough on.

I will, however, recommend the CZ 912 and 712 shotguns. These shotguns retail for around $490. Both have good reliability and have been torture-tested up to 1,000 rounds without cleaning. Sure, there have been some lemons but overall the reliability of these guns is what you would expect out of a much more expensive shotgun.

Break Action

It’s hard to go wrong with a Harrington and Richardson break action Pardner shotgun, but with H&R/New England ceasing production last year, new guns are hard to find. Still, you can find them for under $200, giving you a fast-pointing single shot 16, 20 or 12 gauge that does well for upland.

Another option is Stoeger Condor, which is an import. The Stoeger is a no-frill over under that points, shoots and can take a little abuse. It can be had for around $450. The Stevens 555 over/under is another option for double gun fans, and points well. It is a little north of $500, hovering around the $550 mark.

What shotguns would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:

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Animals To Catch and Eat For Your Survival

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In a survival situation you’ll have to feed yourself and food is not a matter to be picky about. Unless you’re a skilled hunter, with limitless supplies of ammo, you’ll have to change your options a bit, from delicacies to pretty much everything that has a heartbeat (or not even that).

The truth of the matter is: if it’s meat, you can eat it for sustenance. Almost all animals are fit for consumption, with the exceptions of course of those who are poisonous or detrimental in other ways to human health. But the list is not that long, and if you are trained a bit recognizing the poisonous species from the safe ones, you will not go hungry or jeopardize your health. Just prepare yourself mentally and accept the fact that you might find yourself animals to catch and eat; animals that not only walk or fly, but also crawl, swim, or buzz. If you are strong enough to overcome this mental barrier, you’ll find that meat is meat, no matter the shape or size it comes in.

In order to be as efficient as possible in gathering resources with the upmost of ease, you’ll need to read up a bit in the matter. Be aware of the animal life that’s native to your surroundings and know their lifestyle and patterns. So you’ll need to understand the behavior, food preferences, mating season and availability of a certain species. It’s important, as may prove very tricky to track down and hunt while others may be just sitting around for the taking.

Mammals

In principle, mammals are the best source of proteins available and to Americans is the food of choice. But hunting or

procuring mammal meat has disadvantages also. Most of them won’t come without a fight and the amount of damage an animal can inflict is directly proportionate to its size. So if you’re planning on hunting large game, it’s advised you do so with
professional hunting equipment. But it’s not always a matter of size, as even smaller mammals, like wild boars and even small rodents, can get very aggressive in order to protect their young. In a survival scenario, be very cautious as not to get bitten or scratched;
an infected open wound is the last thing you need. Almost all mammals are edible without boundaries, with few exceptions: scavengers (most of them are carrying diseases), the platypus (it has poisonous glands), the polar bear (has dangerously high levels of vitamin A in the liver) and more.


Birds

All species of birds are edible without boundaries and the only variables consist in size and flavor. As most of them fly, it’s very important to know and understand a specie’s habits in order to catch them easily. The best ones to catch are the ones that don’t put much of a fight. So during night time, pigeons can be easily picked up by hand out of their nests. And many other types of birds won’t tend to fly away when nesting, even if they sense the danger. So picking them up it’s just a mere formality. Most birds have a clear pattern, which is easily observable. If you study them carefully enough, you’ll know when and where they fly out from the nest area, in order to drink or procure food. If the nesting area is out of reach, the drinking or feeding spot could become a possible hunting ground. Catching them is easily done by setting traps and snares.

Nesting habits and patterns

 

Fish

Fish meat is extremely nutritious; not only is it an excellent source of protein, but also of beneficial fasts. They’re usually more abundant then mammals and most ways of procuring fish are way easier than hinting. Here too comes in play the knowledge of the patterns and behaviors of species. For instance, almost all species tend to feed abundantly before storms, because right after a storm the water tends to get muddy and impure.

So the best time for fishing is right before bad weather. If the water currents tend to get stronger than usual, fish tend to rest in “sanctuaries” where the water is calmer, like near rocks or other sturdy spots like logs, submerged foliage etc. They also have a tendency towards light during night time.

Salt-water fish can be poisonous, so you have to be aware of what you’re about to eat. Best stay away from species like red snapper, thorn fish, cow fish, puffer fish, porcupine fish etc. But the ones that are safe to eat, if you catch them further away from the shore, you can even eat raw. This is possible due to the high levels of salinity in deep waters, which prevents parasitic infestation.

It’s a whole different story when it comes to fresh-water fish. All of them must be thoroughly cooked before eating, in order to kill off all the parasites. As an up-side, fresh water fish are never poisonous. But this doesn’t mean you don’t have to be cautious when it comes to wandering into fresh-water. The catfish for example has very sharp needles in on its dorsal fin and barbels, which can deeply pierce into human flesh. So tread carefully and avoid painful wounds and infections.

The spikes in the dorsal fin and barbles (the Catfish)

 

 

 

Crustaceans

Most crustaceans are easy to spot and catch. The fresh-water shrimp can measure 0.25cm – 1 inch and can form large colonies or simply swim around vegetation. They can also be found in the mud vegetation of lakes. The larger crustaceans, like lobsters, crabs and shrimps are usually found where the water reaches about 30 feet deep. Lobsters and crabs are best caught during night time, with either a baited hook or a baited trap. Shrimp often comes at the surface of the water during night-time, attracted by light, making it easy for you to just scoop them up. Crayfish is also a great crustacean to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’re akin to lobsters and crabs and can be found in the soft mud near the breathing holes of their nests or by round rocks in streams (but only during the day time, since they’re active at night). They have a hard shell (exoskeleton), 10 legs and large pincers.

       Crayfish

 

Insects

They’re the most spread life form on Earth, and unlike beef which consists in about 20% protein, insects can pack up to 65% – 80% pure protein. And the best part is that they’re everywhere and very easy to catch. Grassy spots are usually a great place to pick up all sorts of insects and it makes it very easy to spot them. A rotting piece of wood for example may also be a great source for a large variety of insects such as ants, beetles, termites, grubs etc. You can also scout many other places that could naturally provide shelter or nesting places for the tiny critters.

But many bugs do not come bug-free, as some of them (especially those with hard shells) will host a vast number of parasites. So if you plan on having beetles, grasshoppers or cicadas, don’t do so before cooking them. As much as they vary in shape as sizes, so do they in taste and texture. Eating them raw or cooked is one way to go, but another valid option is grinding them into a nutritious paste which you can mix with various herbs and spices, to add flavor.

The ones that you have to avoid eating are the ones that usually sting or bite. The larvae are safe to eat though, as they haven’t developed the stingers or poison glands yet. Also, if they’re hairy or brightly colored, keep away, not only by eating them but also from touching or interacting with them. Also spiders should be off-limits and all of the insects that are carriers of diseases like flies, mosquitoes, caterpillars etc.

If you ever happen find yourself in the situation of having to survive strictly on what Mother Nature provides, you’ll be just fine as you respect the basic set of written and unwritten natural rules. Just educate yourself in the matter, read up on specialized journals and articles in what’s safe to eat and what’s not and never take unnecessary risks. A wrong move might cost you your life.

By Alec Deacon

 

 

The post Animals To Catch and Eat For Your Survival appeared first on My Family Survival Plan.

50 Birds Can’t Be Wrong

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For all the complaining I do about winter and cold and how tired I am of splitting wood, I have been lucky enough to watch our local bird population grow slowly.
This past week I’ve seen an increasing number of grosbeaks, purple finches, doves and an assortment of swallows. It helps that a neighbour a kilometer down the road has a cluster of bird feeders.
Spring is on it’s way, slowly but surely.
All those birds can’t be wrong, can they?

Garden Pests – And How to Get Rid of Them

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Rabbit in gardenYou love your garden and all of the vegetables growing in it. Unfortunately, so do the critters living in your neighborhood. Whether you have deer chewing on your tomato plants, birds stealing your strawberries or mice, rats and raccoons walking off with your carrots, you’ll need to do something to protect your crops. After all, you’re trying to grow vegetables, not provide food for  every creature in the neighborhood.

Deer – Deer will wander into your garden in the evenings, early mornings and even the middle of the night, so you may not see them until they have already damaged your drops. You can protect your garden by erecting a tall fence that’s made of wood or chunks of stone, since deer don’t like to jump solid fences. If this is out of the question, then hanging bars of soap from area trees or tying them to stakes sticking out of the ground will keep the deer away.

Rabbit – Rabbits are cute, but they’ll lose their cuteness once you realize that they’ve eaten all of the low-hanging leaves off of your vegetable plants. The best way to keep rabbits out of your garden is by installing a very low fence that is around 2-feet tall all around your growing area. If you have cats, sprinkling some used cat litter around the borders of your garden will also scare away rabbits, since cats are their natural predators. The downfall to this is that it might attract all of the feral cats in your neighborhood.

Birds – Birds like to eat ripe berries right off of your strawberry plants and raspberry bushes. They will also eat any invading insects, which makes them kind of a mixed blessing. Rather than scare off birds altogether, simply protect your fruit plants by covering them with netting. This will prevent the birds from getting to the ripe fruit, but make it easy for you to pick the fruit, as all that you need to do is remove the netting. If you don’t want the birds around at all, setting up plastic replicas of their predators (large owls and snakes) around your garden will scare them away.

Raccoons – Raccoons sneak into your garden at night and eat all that they can get their paws on. Motion-sending lights can scare them off, as will recordings of loud noises. You can also place a low fence around your entire garden (similar to the one that will prevent rabbits from getting in) or place particularly appealing plants in a cage to keep raccoons from getting to them. If none of these measures work, contact your local animal control officers about setting up humane traps to catch the raccoons.

Mice and Rats – Mice and rats will eat just about any fruits or vegetables that they can reach. Rats are mainly nocturnal, but mice will venture out at all times of the day. You will know that you have them when you find small droppings around your garden and bite marks on your vegetables. Placing a series of humane traps around your garden should take care of these pests.

Sick of Pests Ruining Your Garden? Natural Pest Control is NOT a Dream!

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Click here to see if it is right for you.

 Pic by see phar