A big thanks to Vey who is the founder of Prepperlytics.com for his guest post article “7 Preps Everyone Overlooks”.
7 PREPS EVERYONE OVERLOOKS – DO YOU HAVE THESE 7 ITEMS?
There are so many things to get ready for TEOTWAWKI we’re almost certain to overlook a few important things we’d wish we had thought of beforehand.
Here I’ve outlined a few really critical items that as a homesteader, I wouldn’t want to be without.
1. KATANABOY SAW FROM SILKY
The most common way to heat your home and cook post-collapse will be with wood. You’re going to need to process a LOT of wood by hand. Chopping down trees, cutting logs to size, splitting them and hauling that heavy wood around is hard work. Sadly, it’ll be even harder without a chainsaw.
Even if you’ve got a lot of gas saved up, after a week or two you’ll need to keep the loud noises to a minimum. That means wood processing needs to be done by hand. You’ll need a good axe, a hand saw and a mallet at the minimum.
2. AUTOMATIC DOORS AND WATERERS
After homesteading for a few years, I’ve learned that maintaining animals day to day gets old fast. Even if you have plenty of free time simple chores like food, watering and cleaning up after the animals becomes a drag. You look for ways to automate as much as possible.
The biggest time homesteading tip is the automatic chicken door opener. You wouldn’t think that opening the coop door in the morning and closing it at night is a task worth spending money on, until its winter and you wake up at 3 am, because you had a dream a fox cleaned out your hen house. Then you remember you forgot to close the coop door. Yeah, that’s a true story. It sucked.
I did a lot of research to find the perfect automatic chicken coop door, and guess what I discovered… You get what you pay for with these things.
All the cheaper units on Amazon had horror stories about the door failing to open or close. It wasn’t until I started looking at the more expensive ones did I find solid reliability.
This one I purchased (An Automatic Door by Cheeper Keeper) has worked flawlessly for 2 years. It opens when the sun comes up and closes when the sun sets every time.
This allows us to leave the homestead for a few days without having to ask neighbors to take care of the chickens. It’s amazing. Runs on a single AA battery for well over a year. Use rechargeable batteries, and if you have the cash, store an extra door in the Faraday cage.
Dumping that big red bucket of nasty chicken water was a task I began to dread. One day I was at Tractor Supply and found these plastic automatic waters that hook to a garden hose.
When the water gets low, the garden hose fills it up to the right level. No electricity is needed. I use these for chickens and rabbits, and a large one for sheep and dogs.
The parts are plastic, so they will likely break if left outside all winter.
You’ll probably want to switch these out with a heated unit, if you plan on having electricity, in the winter. If not, then you may need water them manually during the days it drops below freezing.
3. PRESSURE COOKER SPARE PARTS
Every prepper should have a pressure cooker. It’s one of the best ways of storing meat and veggies without refrigeration.
Good ones are pricey though. A 15-1/2 Quart All-American Pressure Canner will run between $145 and $212 new on Amazon. I was able to find a lightly used on off Craiglist for around $100.
While you may already have a good pressure cooker, do you have spare parts? A regulator, vent pipe, stream gauge, wing nut and rubber overpressure plug.
All the parts bought separately will run you about $75. If you can find a lightly used one for under $100, go ahead and just get the entire unit as a backup.
4. EGG INCUBATOR
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “broody hens”, and yes, you can indeed hatch eggs with broody hens, but there’s a good reason why you’ll still need an egg incubator.
Most people make 2 major mistakes when prepping:
- Underestimating how many calories they need
- Planning just for immediate family, not an entire group
I wanted to know exactly how many chickens an ideal sized group would need to produce their meat and eggs.
I found out that need to produce 507 birds for meat and 36 for eggs.
Below are my assumptions and analysis:
I used Rhode Island Reds for both meat and eggs because that’s what I currently have. RIR’s are considered dual purpose, but the modern ones sold from hatchers are primarily egg layers. Even full grown roosters are pretty scrawny.
- Each bird yields about 4lbs of meat.
- Each hen lays 160 eggs a year. They should get up to 200, but I’m being conservative.
- An individual in my group will eat about 70lbs of chicken and 200 eggs a year.
- Group size is 26 individuals.
- Chicken is just one of many meat sources including rabbit, fish, beef, lamb, and venison.
With a 26 person group
I’m looking at producing 26,000,000 calories. You can do this in year 1 by stocking up on a ton of rice and beans, but eventually, those will run out. Come year 2 and 3 you’ll need to produce 100% of your own calories. I’ve picked 40 foods that a homestead can produce by hand. With calories coming from only 40 foods, you’ll need a lot of each food to meet your calorie needs. Keep that in mind with this analysis.
That brings me to 543 chickens a year. Now that doesn’t mean you’ve got to keep all 543 chickens alive at 1 time. You’ve got to keep the 36 egg layers alive for 6 months until they start laying eggs, and they’ll continue laying well until the 2-year mark where production will decrease. For the meat birds, they can be butchered after 12-16 weeks.
If you’re butchering every 12 weeks (3 months), you can do 4 batches a year. 507 / 4 = 127 per batch. This can be reduced if using a meat breed that can be butchered in 8 weeks where you may get 5 or 6 lbs of meat per bird. But either way, you’re looking at hundreds of birds a year to food a group this size.
Broody hens are great, but there’s no guarantee you’ll have enough broody hens to sit on 127 eggs when you need them to. You’ll likely also have a lower success rate with a broody hen. That’s particularly bad news in a post-SHTF world where eggs are incredibly valuable.
The caveat to an incubator is of course electricity. You need a stable source of renewable electricity, which likely means solar with a battery backup. If you don’t have a source of renewable energy or a large enough incubator, you likely won’t be able to produce enough chicken for a large group.
5. PET FOOD AND MEDS
Most preppers I know have at least one dog, sometimes two. They’re generally an excellent addition to the homestead, as they’ll greatly increase your security and may double as livestock guardians. The thing, they need to eat too, and store-bought dog food doesn’t last forever.
I asked a prepper friend who is a veterinarian how long sealed dog food in a 5-gallon bucket with mylar bags and oxygen absorbers will last, and he estimates 2 or 3 years. Personally, I don’t know any preppers who actually store dog food this way. Most will buy canned dog food to rotate, which I think is a fine idea if you can afford it.
Eventually, your cans and dry food will run out, and you’ll need to produce your own dog food. My veterinarian recommends meat and rice.
This is my preferred way of storing dog food, as rice from Rainy Day long term food storage cost about $1 a lb vacuum sealed in 6-gallon buckets. The meat will be a combination of rabbit, chicken, and fish. It just means I’ll need to produce even more of each to feed the dogs.
Pet meds are another commonly overlooked item. You can buy some common dog meds on eBay. You can also buy fish antibiotics which work well for dogs.
I rescued a lab once from the pound. Her left hind leg didn’t work. We thought it was broken, but our veterinarian told us she was bitten by a tick, and the disease the tick was carrying caused paralysis. He recommended Doxycycline if I remember correctly. I could buy it from him for $50, or I could buy Fish Doxy on eBay for $20. I went the eBay route, and the dog fully recovered.
Besides stocking up on some antibiotics, vaccines and heartworm type meds, there isn’t a whole lot you can do for your pets. Antibiotics are going to be pretty valuable post SHTF, so you’ll need to think hard before using them on an animal. You’ll also need to know what antibiotic your dog needs and what dosage to give.
6. WATER PUMPS FOR FIGHTING FIRES
Speaking of water, being able to successfully move water around the homestead is key to off-grid living. You need it for the garden, animals and fire protection.
A lot of preppers aren’t thinking about fire protection, but it’s going to be a HUGE issue post SHTF. Can you imagine the millions of people exiting the cities and suburbs once the social unrest fully hits? They’re going to be wandering around the woods and forests trying to build a campsite, starting fires for cooking and warmth.
If you live in an area that’s prone to wildfires, you need a fire plan. The likelihood of raging forest fires will be high the first year, and there will be no firefighters to fight them. If you want to save your retreat, you’re going to need to create fire brakes, store flammable items away from fire paths and pump large amounts of water around your property. There are a few important items for fighting fires:
- ICB totes
- water pump
7. GLASSES, CONTACTS OR LASIK
The New Yorker published an article a few weeks ago about prepping. They write…
“Steve Huffman, the thirty-three-year-old co-founder, and C.E.O. of Reddit, which is valued at six hundred million dollars, was nearsighted until November 2015, when he arranged to have laser eye surgery. He underwent the procedure, not for the sake of convenience or appearance but, rather, for a reason he doesn’t usually talk much about: he hopes that it will improve his odds of surviving a disaster, whether natural or man-made. “If the world ends—and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass,” he told me recently. ‘Without them, I’m f*****.’
Huffman, who lives in San Francisco, has large blue eyes, thick, sandy hair, and an air of restless curiosity; at the University of Virginia, he was a competitive ballroom dancer, who hacked his roommate’s Web site as a prank. He is less focused on a specific threat—a quake on the San Andreas, a pandemic, a dirty bomb—than he is on the aftermath,
“the temporary collapse of our government and structures,” as he puts it. ‘I own a couple of motorcycles. I have a bunch of guns and ammo. Food. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time.’”
The fact that some of Silicon Valley’s most successful entrepreneurs are getting into prepping is an article all its own, but the point I want to focus on here is just how important good vision is once things start breaking down.
If you wear glasses or contacts, you know how bad things can get when they break or get lost. If you’ve got the means to get laser eye surgery, that’s probably the way to go. If not, make sure you have multiple pairs of glasses.
Most insurance companies will cover at least 1 pair of glasses or contacts a year. Make sure you’re getting new ones every year, even if you don’t need them. You can literally never have enough backups.
DO YOU HAVE ALL THE ITEMS ON THE LIST?
I’m sure there are some super-preppers out there who have all 7 of these items. If that’s you, can we be prepper buddies? 🙂
If you don’t have any of the items I listed, don’t worry. These are more of the “next level” preps that you’ll want to focus on after you get your beans, bullets, and band-aids stocked away.
One thing I hope you took away from this post was prepping is not about stockpiling cans and hiding away in a bunker. It’s about transitioning to a more simplified life, one where you chop wood by hand and feed your family and pets off the land.
It doesn’t have to be torture. It can be enjoyable, and you can benefit from modern innovations. You just need to plan ahead and get things lined up ahead of time.
PREPPER ORGANIZATION TIP
It’s easy to overlook really important items that you don’t use every day. When you think of a useful item to store, add it to your Prepperlytics list. This way you’ll never forget that key prep. Take a look at how the inventory system works:
Prepperlytics is an online website that helps preppers calculate the number of calories needed in a SHTF scenario.