Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sunday Reading - Carrying Capacity


I read a couple of articles and saw a video or two about feeding livestock in the future this weekend. Apparently many out there believe when we have a food shortage live stock feed will dry up as well. I am certainly not claiming they are wrong, although I imagine for different reasons. Most livestock feed is produced using grains and by-products that are not used for human consumption anyway however it stands to reason that animal feed will certainly be much lower on the distribution and production list regardless. Not to mention you have to go get it or have it delivered which may not be possible.

In short I can see it becoming a real concern in a very short order. One (of many reasons) I have voluntarily reduced my sheep numbers and stopped breeding em completely. 

The trick as I see it is to figure out as near as possible how many animals you can feed on zero outside inputs. Luckily the Small-Hold has enough land I could probably support the numbers of ruminants we have now indefinitely without grain inputs just from the hay I have stored and forage/pasture inputs even through the Winter months. This would allow me to begin producing more corn during the next growing season but in order to achieve this one must basically reduce the grazing animals by at least 75% of recommended numbers. Basically I figured mine at roughly one ruminant per 2 acres of good forage land assuming there is no stored hay available. 

In my case the numbers I came up with are probably way conservative. Depending on your area smaller ruminants can survive on less but drought and other circumstances can effect it of course. My numbers are worst case scenario for the Small-Hold. Assuming there is no fuel for harvesting hay and little to no grain production and I am forced to harvest some hay by hand...

 Ya on my own at my age that is not going to be a lot even though I have the tools and know how to do it our remaining sheep better count on foraging. The goats I am not worried about they are eating machines.

The point is I would begin thinking about the long term survival of your live stock now. It is easy to over calculate such things when feed and fuel are easy. I may have 3 years worth of round bales stored now but it still takes fuel to get em out and fed. Prepare for every aspect of the process while there is still time.


Keep Prepping Everyone!!!



  1. You might also look at tree forage for ruminants as well as alternative feeds for chickens like access to compost piles, black solder flies grub buckets and such. My Grandmother fed her critters long before Purina and couldn't afford much in the way of corn and such for them.

    Pollarding trees was done for the benefit of tree forage, pre-plastic uses as basket weaving materials (split Withs) and firewood as that same tree could produce over several years far more firewood alone from pollarding. And as long as less that 50% of the leaves were taken for forage the tree simply regrew them. Pollarded trees live nearly forever as examples of them in Austria are well over 200 years old.

    Take a look at Low Tech webpage for such information.

    1. Michael - All good advice for sure!!! I wish my little part of the Plains actually had more trees though :)

  2. I'm paying more for layer mash for the flying pigs... er... CHICKENS... on the order of $3.00 more since Traitor Joe took office. I free range my hens as much as possible to keep the feed load down, but now the ground squirrels have discovered the feeders! They've also discovered my traps... and my pellet guns... If you're going through a lot of feed, check to make sure you don't have any "welfare bums" skimming off the top!

    My hens are doing banner job of rolling my compost heap... and contributing to it at the same time!

    1. Recycle those pests in a black solder fly bucket. OR, if you cut them open the chickens will leave only fur and bones.

      Seems fitting a racoon is killed in the act and opened up to feed the chickens they were attacking :-)

  3. Pete - Our chickens usually flock me like an avian horde wanting some feed just so they can pick the good stuff out of it. Pisses the rooster off but so far he hasn't gotten brave enough to attack me directly yet. Otherwise they are content scratching through the various old hay remains I have scattered around. My place grows worms and bugs as good as weeds so our chickens never go hungry. I actually had a mated pair of squirrels here this year. First time ever but I have had a couple of singles the last few years. Somehow the cats managed to get into the and ran the parents off and then killed one of the babies but we saved the other pup. Ended up giving it to a squirrel rehab to raise. We will see if squirrels ever come back here I was kinda getting attached to the one we had.


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