If you’re raising animals for meat protein, you’ll want to see how Rick Austin does it. When it comes to livestock on your homestead, he sets forth a model of productivity and stealth.
Rick is my guest on DestinySurvival Radio this week to talk about Secret Livestock of Survival. Below I’ll tell you about his book as well as give a few hints of what we talked about.
The Stealthy Homesteader
If you’re not familiar with Rick, here’s some background info.
“Rick Austin is known as the Survivalist Gardener, and is a preparedness, homesteading and off grid living expert. He is the author of Secret Garden of Survival–How to Grow a Camouflaged Food Forest which is now the #1 Best Selling book in Garden Design.
“Rick is also the author of the Secret Greenhouse of Survival–How to Build the Ultimate Homestead and Prepper Greenhouse and Secret Livestock of Survival – How to Raise the Very Best Choices for Retreat and Homestead Livestock.
“Rick is a nationally recognized speaker on survival preparedness and has been featured on National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Castle, Doomsday Preppers, the documentary film Beyond Off Grid, as well as in Newsweek, American Survival Guide, Prepper &Shooter, Prepare Magazine, and in Mother Earth News (three times).
“You can also hear Rick on his #1 rated radio show- Secrets of a Survivalist -on the #1 Preparedness Radio Network, where each week he talks with the world’s best survival experts that share their own secrets of survival.”
The Guiding Philosophy
Rick says he likes to think outside the box. That sounds cliche, but he puts it into practice.
Just like in Rick’s previous two books in this series, Secret Livestock of Survival, will show you how to grow your own sources of food–in this case protein–with a much better return on your investment of time, money, feed, housing and real estate, than with traditional homestead thinking. Plus, these livestock animals are discrete, so most people won’t even know you are raising them.
The Brief Overview
This is an easy to read, enjoyable book, loaded with colorful pictures. Each chapter is a mini primer. Of course, many books can be, and have been, written on the subject covered in each chapter.
Rick begins by making the case for organic, sustainably grown food. It’s simply healthier than conventionally produced and processed food. He’s so passionate about this that he couldn’t help but talk about it during the first few minutes of our conversation.
In the first chapter he summarizes what his first two books are about as a way of establishing his credentials for what he presents. He also covered a little of this when we spoke.
Homesteading can be labor intensive, but Rick has found a number of labor saving, cost cutting ways to do it. As a result, you’ll find numerous sensible gems throughout the book, including recommended resources. He refers readers to several YouTube videos he has produced.
What you’ll find in this book isn’t theory. It’s clear as you read that Rick writes from his own experience. If you’re a homesteader or farmer, you may agree or disagree with some of what you read; but he’s doing what works for him. Thus, he recommends it to his intended readers because it can work for them as well.
It’s clear Rick carefully thinks through what he does. Stealth is important. So is strategy. The animals on Rick’s homestead are part of his method to grow wholesome food without chemicals and fertilizers while keepin it all hidden in plain sight.
Rick is blessed to have a wife (Survivor Jane) who supports what they’re doing. She pitches in to cook wonderful meals, can their abundant produce, make cheese and other dairy items, and more.
Uncounted synergistic relationships are in play on Rick’s property. You’ll recognize it as permaculture.
The Productive Livestock
Animals (and insects) mentioned in the book are ranked in order of return on investment and work. Rick is also quite selective about the animal breeds he raises.
It might sound strange at first, but something as simple as placing the barn closer to the house can make a big difference in animal care.
Meat onl the hoof, or on the foot, is how Rick gets around the problem of freezing and storing meat. In other words, butcher when you need to, rather than set aside a large supply of meat.
Rabbits – They’re easy to raise and are a good meat source. Can you conceive of 90 rabbits a year, each producing 12 pounds of meat?
In the book you’ll find tips on housing, breeding and butchering them. Rick tells how he provides his rabbits with food that replaces what normally comes from the feed store. For example, ever thought of feeding rabbits with barley sprouts?
Honey bees – They help with pollenation and, of course, produce honey. If keeping bees isn’t your thing, Rick suggests asking a local beekeeper to put hives on your place and care for them. You can divide the honey produced.
But he strongly encourages you to raise bees for yourself. It’s easier than you might think, and it’s a good investment.
Ducks – Rick prefers ducks for their eggs more so than for their meat. They lay more eggs than chickens. He has built a duck tractor, similar to a chicken tractor, for his young ducks.
Goats – Nigerian Dwarf goats are Rick’s preferred breed. He raises them for milk, rather than meat. Imagine a gallon and a half per day from three dairy goats. He says their milk doesn’t taste “goaty.” He and his wife preserve all that milk by making cheeses, yogurt, butter and ice cream.
Fish – Aquaponics is a trendy and intriguing way to raise fish and plants, but it is demanding and less appealing to Rick than digging and pond and stocking it with fish.
Chickens – Rick isn’t a fan of raising chickens, in spite of their popularity. They don’t produce meat as efficiently as rabbits, and they don’t lay as many eggs as ducks. His wife has a rare allergy to duck eggs, which is the reason he has chickens.
Pigs – While pigs are a meat animal, they’re farther down Rick’s ranked list. Butchering and processing are quite labor intensive. Nonetheless, like his other chapters, there’s good info in the one on raising pigs.
Nature’s Bounty – The chapter on hunting is short. While many idealize hunting, it’s not the best meat source for your family. Large game must be butchered, processed and preserved. It’s easier to hunt or trap small game, birds and fish.
That said, if you want to hunt and be stealthy about it, use a bow and arrow for larger animals and an air rifle or snares for smaller animals.
Protection and security – The chapter covering this topic focuses mostly on livestock guardian dogs. Other security tips are sprinkled throughout the book.
Rick doesn’t recommend raising…cattle, horses, sheep, geese, turkeys and several exotic animals. Remember, he’s homesteading on a small acreage and focuses on raising animals that give the most bang for the buck.
The Motivating Factors
A key to success in such a homesteading venture is to think like a producer, not a consumer. Rick and his wife aren’t going without any food. They have more than enough. And they’re doing it all on a small plot of land.
Not only are they practicing skills lost to most of us from previous generations, but they’re not dependent on the industrial food grid. Plus, they aren’t spending the money the rest of the population spends at grocery stores.
If you’re considering setting up a homestead like Rick’s, or if you want to modify your current arrangement, don’t wait. Now’s the time to get started. I can heartily recommend all three of his books to give you guidance.
The Information Gateway
I can only give you a taste of what’s in Rick’s book and what we talked about. Thus, you need to hear my conversation with him by listening to DestinySurvival Radio for December 1, 2016. (Right click to download.) Get Secret Livestock of Survival and Rick’s other books by clicking on their titles wherever you see them in this post.
Check out Rick’s site at SecretGardenOfSurvival.com.
Rick and his wife would be happy to welcome you at Prepper Camp. Find out about it at PrepperCamp.com.
While most people think of preparing to live off the power grid, you could follow Rick Austin’s example and live off the industrial food grid. The less you rely on that, the wealthier and more secure you’ll be–for now and in the future.