Chickens at Eight Weeks: An Update

Our first experience at raising chickens continues to go well. These ladies are about halfway to early adulthood and should be laying in a couple months.

Our chickens are now eight weeks old and still growing rapidly.  They were fuzzy balls with legs and beaks when we got them, they grew to look like badly feathered miniature dinosaurs, and finally  became recognizable as birds when they were about the size of a pigeon.  Today, they are obviously chickens.  Half size, yes, but clearly identifiable as chickens.  They are also developing distinct personalities. Happily, all 17 have survived.

At this stage, they have little red nubs where their combs will be, and the nubs are more prominent on the bird we assume are the males.  One roosters goes around chest bumping other birds.  I don’t think they are celebrating touchdowns, so I have to assume he is trying to establish his dominance and position in the “pecking order.”

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Is the Sh*t Hitting the Fan Yet?

Sometimes when the news is bad and it seems like every elected official is violating their oath to uphold the Constitution, you have to wonder how close the poop is to the impeller.

My mind is somewhat boggled. So much stuff is happening at once and very little of it is good. I have to ask myself, how far away is our SHTF moment?

When you have a parabolic curve, it climbs slowly, but before you know it is shooting straight up. I can’t help but wonder if we are at that inflection point. I hate to be an alarmist, but some days it seems like we must be approaching it.

There are protests in countries all over the world, including the U.S., France, Iran, Cuba, Guatemala, Tunisia, Australia, and South Africa. I expect they will get worse as shortages increase, prices rise, and we go into more lockdowns. In the U.S., I expect we will see protests as the end of the rent moratorium results in upwards of 12 million people unable to pay their past-due rent and now subject to eviction.

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Prepper News Update July 30

Vaccines Less Effective Over Time

The FDA has found that the effectiveness of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine drops by about 19 percent to 84 percent over six months.  That’s far better than the Chinese vaccine, which apparently drops below 50 percent after six months.  The news may worry the vaccinated, but Pfizer’s shareholders are probably celebrating.  This news could mean they get to sell booster shots.  According to the wall Street Journal, Pfizer expects to make $33.5 billion selling the vaccine this year.

The Best Places for Survival

A study published in the journal Sustainability rated the top places to survive the collapse of society are island nations in this order: New Zealand, Iceland, the UK, Tasmania, and Ireland.  These countries were chosen for their ability to grow food, protect their borders from mass migration, and maintain their electrical grid.  My guess is that the U.S. failed on the second point, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your retreat a “collapse lifeboat” within the U.S. 

The article is an interesting read for the serious prepper while the actual journal article goes into detail on the problems of a complex society and says it has determined “human civilisation that is in a perilous state, with large and growing risks developing in multiple spheres of the human endeavour.”  While I do not agree with many of the assumptions and predictions of the paper, it is still worth reading and provides many ideas worth considering.

Flashpoints and Future Wars

We’ve talked previously about rising tensions between China and Taiwan and its allies, and how this could result in a war. Here’s an interesting article on flashpoints for World War Three, and Taiwan ranks at the top.

The Slippery Slope: Where do the Mandates End?

First it was mask mandates. Then it was business closures. Now the government is forcing people to get the vaccine. Wher does this pattern of abuse lead us?

Webster defines mandate as “to officially require something; make (something) mandatory” and by Dictionary.com as “an official order to do something.”

America was founded on freedom and liberty and the concept that the powers of government are limited. Nowhere in the Constitution is the president or the executive branch given the power to force people to get vaccinated, and the CDC is part of the executive branch. Yes, in 1905, the Supreme Court allowed fining someone $5 for not taking the vaccine, but it also allowed reasonable exceptions. Citizens have a fair bit of leeway in deciding how they behave, and forcing someone to get a vaccine is probably illegal.

Most Americans don’t like to be told what they must do. It sticks in our craw and causes people to resist. It would not surprise me that there are people who would have taken the vaccine if made available but who chose not to do so because they felt they were being forced to do so.

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We Shop 7 Gun Stores Seeking Better Prices

I’ve heard ammo prices are dropping and the shortage is over, but is that true? I stop by gun stores during a road trip to check it out.

I have been watching YouTube videos and reading articles online saying that the ammunition shortage is abating and gun supplies are back.  I decided to check this out myself, so I made a list of the following items I wanted to buy:

  • Premium .22LR rounds, preferably in nickel cases.  I would look for Federal Punch, CCI MiniMags or CCI Stinger rounds.  
  • Any good 9mm FMJ under $16 for a box of 50 rounds and/or a box of Critical Defense 115 grain bullets.
  • .300 Blackout rounds, preferably 110 to 120 grain or 220 grain subsonic.  I don’t want the 150 grain bullets.
  • A takedown Ruger 10/22
  • A lever action .357 carbine, preferably with the tactical set up, meaning black furniture, a rail for an optic, and a rail at the front.  Henry makes a model like this, as do several other companies. 
  • AA1680 and H110 powders

List in hand, I set out to go shopping.

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In Search of Meat for my Survival Stores

I don’t want to live on grains an greens alone. I am a omnivore unless given the opportunity to be a carnivore. But that’s difficult to accommodate when prepping.

I priced rabbits today at Rural King and they were about $42 each.  Yikes!  After buying chicks for just a few dollars each, I was shocked at the higher cost.  Of course, rabbit pens would be cheaper and easier to construct than the chicken coop and run.  I think three does and a buck should generate enough bunnies to butcher eat at least one per week.  I figure my start-up costs would maybe $300 plus food. 

I’m not ready to take that step yet.  I want to get the chickens laying and butcher and eat a few birds first.  They are my proof of concept, so to speak.  Can we breed and raise enough chickens to help feed us during a collapse or food crisis?  Will my chickens survive the weather and the predators long enough to lay eggs?  Will they become broody enough to hatch their own eggs and raise their own chicks?  Can we feed them if there is no commercial feed available? 

Maybe I will consider rabbits next year.  In the meantime, a dog is probably ahead of them on the list. (Don’t worry, the dog is not for eating. If I want to eat dog meat, I’ll just kill a coyote.)

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Life in These United States

The parallels between the years leading up to the Great Depression and where we stand today are hard to ignore. Is another crash in our future?

Have you ever looked back at the black and white photos taken during the Great Depression? People waiting in lines at soup kitchens. Displaced families living in a ramshackle one-room shanty. People unable to find work. Lines outside of banks during bank runs.

For about 50 years following World War II, that life disappeared. Manufacturing boomed, providing jobs for most anyone who wanted one. Millions moved into the middle class and bought cars and homes, something that once would have been considered impossible. Government brought electricity to rural areas, as was the telephone. Radio and then TV allowed news and information to be broadcast across the nation, and the news was objective. We eradicated diseases like polio and smallpox. Segregation ended. Food was plentiful and children grew larger and stronger. Lifespans lengthened and infant mortality dropped. President Eisenhower created the Interstate highway system. Jet airplanes connected distant cities, and our military won the Cold War.

Today, I look back at the past 50 years, and I wonder what happened to that era when every generation did better than their parents? What was the turning point? When did our country’s arc reach its peak and turn downward?

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How to Prepare for Drought and Changing Weather Patterns

The Western U.S. is experiencing a record-setting drought. How can you survive if your water source dries up? What options are there?

Note: The purpose of this article is not to debate the science or the politics of climate change or global warming; its purpose is to help preppers prepare for weather-related natural disaster, including drought. 

Unprecedented Natural Disasters

This year the Western states are experiencing what is or will probably become the worst drought on record. The snow pack in California is almost non existent. Reservoirs are at record lows, and hydropower generation may come to a halt as water levels sink lower. Farmers have had to let fields lie fallow because there is no water to grow crops.

The West is also seeing some of the highest temperatures on record with temperatures over 100 in places like Montana and Washington State. These high temperatures cause evaporation, which means even less water in those reservoirs, lakes and rivers.

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Are you Seeing Panic In Your State?

The Pfizer vaccine may be less than 40 percent effective against the Delta variant of COVID-19. We hit 49,746 cases on July 23. Are people around you panicking, or is it just the media?

We went to a restaurant the other day when my daughter was visiting and we brought my baby granddaughter, which means there’s always the chance of a screaming baby ruining our dinner and the dinners of everyone else in the restaurant. I am happy to report it went smoothly. She charmed the wait staff by smiling and waving at everyone. Service was good, the food was excellent, and by the time we left, almost every seat in the place was full. There was no sign of COVID concerns.

After the kids headed home, I dropped off the garbage, got the truck its 7,500 mile service, went to the post office, and ran a couple other small errands. Everybody I saw was friendly and helpful, and I didn’t see a single person wearing a mask. The only place that had a sign about masks was the post office, and their employees were not wearing one.

No one where I live seems to panic about the possibility of another COVID-19 wave, but I get the feeling that may not be the case in other parts of the country. Just reading the headlines about “breakthrough” cases that happen in the vaccinated and the failure of the Pfizer vaccine against the Delta variation in Israel is enough to cause some people to panic, and the echo chamber effect of mass media and social media is making the problem sound worse than it is. It’s also causing the anxiety levels in our society to increase, which will inevitably lead to more panic and over reactions.

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Prepper News Update July 23: COVID and Inflation Look Like they are here to Stay

I am still on vacation, but here’s a short prepper news update:

Shutdowns Begin in California as COVID-19 Cases Surge

A few restaurants in Los Angeles have become the first to close as this new wave of COVID-19 sweeps the country.  The difference between this outbreak and earlier waves seems to be thus: Before, public health officials and politicians over reacted to protect people.  This time, they are shrugging their shoulders and saying “We told you to get vaccinated.”  Nonetheless, I expect to see more mask mandates and other restrictions coming down the pipe.

Are we Underestimating how Bad Delta Will Be?

I don’t think WE are underestimating how bad this wave of the Delta variant will be, but plenty of other folks are. 

Life Gets More Expensive as Unilever will Raise Prices

Unilever joined Procter & Gamble, Conagra, Modelez International, and General Mills by announcing it would raise prices due to higher costs of ingredients, packaging and transportation.  We often talk about stocking up on food, and that advice is still good, but consider also stocking up on soap, cleansers, detergents and other household items to get ahead of these future price increases.  Check out our recent report on costs at club stores and consider making a  trip to Sam’s Club to stock up.

Here’s more info from the Wall Street Journal about inflation and companies like Fastenal who are raising prices.