Last time we started talking about chickens. A couple
years ago I began raising chickens so that my family
could have fresh eggs. After a while, we decided to
raise them for meat as well.

Between our layers and our fryers (the chickens for
eating) we have plenty of clucking in our backyard. Not
only that, but we have a consistent source of protein,
even if something happens to the supply chain and the
supermarket is closed.

Now it's time for me to pass on my chicken-keeping tips
so you can build your own backyard coop. Let's start by
talking about what a chicken coop needs to be.

But before you read any further, I want you to check out
this free video, where you'll learn the pro secrets of
building chicken coops for next to nothing:


Chicken coops serve two basic purposes: They keep your
chickens from destroying your backyard, and they keep
predators from destroying your chickens. Since chickens
aren't the smartest creatures in the world, they need a
little help with both.

The coop itself is the chicken's home. It needs to be
closed at night to keep the predators out. The chickens
will need something to roost on, like tree branches. A
wood closet rod works well for this. The chickens will
roost on these to sleep.

Figure on a minimum of two square feet of coop for every
chicken you have. More space is fine, but they need that
much room as a minimum.

Your chicken coop will also provide a place for the
chickens to nest and lay eggs. This is usually done in a
series of low boxes along the wall. Baskets work as well.
Chickens will share nests; one nest per three chickens is
a good ratio.

During the day, open up the chicken coop to let them
out. You'll want to leave it open so that they can go
inside to lay eggs or to hide in the case of inclement
weather. At night, you'll want to close the coop securely.

If you are raising chicks, you'll need to provide some
heat inside the chicken coop. This is easily done by
suspending a heat lamp. By the way, baby chicks don't need
to roost.

Most people put their coop inside a pen, called a run.
That way, they can let the chickens out while keeping
them from destroying everything else in the yard. Free
ranging is great, but you'll want to be able to control

Pens can either be totally enclosed or just in a fenced
area. Chickens don't fly so it's not necessary to keep
them from getting away. However, predators can get into
the coop if it isn't totally enclosed.

If your pen isn't totally enclosed, you'll need to put the
chickens in the coop and close it up every night. The
predators that will try and get your chickens come out at
night, not during the daytime.

The coop itself can be built of almost anything. I've seen
chicken coops that were made out of old desks and empty
refrigerators, or built from scrap wood gleaned from
pallets. The material just needs to protect your chickens
from the elements and from predators.

Actually, building a coop from a pre-existing container,
such as an old desk or dresser, is extremely easy since
the hardest part is already done. You just have to add a
roost, nesting area and an entryway.

Be sure to make your coop so that you can get into it as
well. You'll need regular access to collect the eggs and
clean out the coop.

The coop needs to be well-ventilated, especially if you
live in a hot environment. Ventilation should be near the
roof. Chickens can handle a lot of heat, but too much
isn't good for them. An unventilated chicken coop will
cause them to get sick.

Actually, ventilation is much more important than
insulation. Chickens can survive the cold because their
feathers provide adequate insulation. If you are in an
extremely cold environment, you might want to provide a
heat lamp in the coop in wintertime.

It's a good idea to put a litter tray in the bottom of the
coop itself. Chicken feces has a foul odor, and you will
need to clean out their home every month or so. By making
a slide-out tray, you can pull it out, empty it into your
compost heap, and simply slide the tray back in place.

Your chickens will also need food and water. Since
chickens aren't the smartest creatures in the world, they
will foul their own food and water if given the chance.
Using waterers and feeders that don't permit them to stand
in their food and water eliminates this problem.

Waterers and feeders are available at the local feed
supply. You can also build your own. There are several
plans floating around the internet for homemade chicken
feeders and waterers.

Make sure that there are enough available to allow all the
chickens to feed at the same time. They will feed all day
long; without access to food, they will peck at each

Remember, your chicken coop doesn't need to be fancy to be
effective. Chickens don't lay better eggs in a fancy home
than they do in a simple one. Either way, you'll have
fresh eggs to eat.

So, it looks like it's time to grab some tools and start
building a chicken coop. You don't want to go shopping for
chicks until you have that coop ready. After all, your
chickens will need their own home unless you want them to
share yours!

Stay tuned for more advice from me. I'll teach you how to
raise your chickens so that you can get lots of quality

Until then, you can watch this great free video to
discover how easy it is to build a great chicken coop that
nets you tons of eggs:


Last time, when we discussed how to ensure that your
children can carry on without you, we talked very briefly
about disaster plans. Every family needs a few of these.

This free video shows you some of the best disaster plans
that can be tailor-made to families:


A single plan is never enough, however, since there is no
one-size-fits-all way to deal with a disaster.

How you best react to a flash flood, for example, may not
be how you best react to economic decline.

Furthermore, no one can give you THE plan for how to deal
with a flash flood or a new depression.

If your house is on a mountain, you may be safest there,
but if it's in the valley, you must flee.

With all of the available information about the unique
situation you're in, only you can fully determine what is
right for you and your family.

To help you formulate some plans for various scenarios,
here are the three main ways of dealing with a disaster:

* Bugging Out

If staying in your home is too dangerous, you will need to
leave for some more secure location. This is called
bugging out.

In order to bug out, though, you need somewhere to bug out
to. This is your planned bug-out location.

It's somewhere close enough that you could get in a
reasonable time by foot (most say three days), but far
enough away that it is less affected by the disaster.

Never expect to Bug Out to a hotel. Hotels have a tendency
to fill up the second an evacuation starts.

Your chosen spot can be anything from an old caravan on a
piece of property that you own to a friend or relative's

If you own it, you should make sure to stock your bug-out
location with preps. Just because it is safer than your
home doesn't necessarily mean that it is entirely
unaffected by the crisis situation.

Secondly, you will need a way of getting there. This is a
bug-out vehicle. Most plan on using cars, but some will go
for bicycles or even horses.

Now you might be wondering why you had to expect to walk
to your bug-out location, if you are allowed to take your
car. The reason is simple:

You never know if the roads are blocked or unpassable, or
you simply won't be able to use your car.

Next, you will need to get a map and figure out how to get
from your home to your location with or without your
bug-out vehicle.

You should know how to exit your area in just about any
direction, but at least using three different paths. You
never know what roads may be blocked or which way danger
comes from.

Next, you should assemble a file folder or plastic pocket
with copies of all the documents that you will need if you
are forced to start your life over.

Your house may not still be standing when you get back, or
you may never get back, so you will need proof of identity,
proof of home ownership, banking and insurance information,
medical papers including inoculation records, etc.

You might even consider providing a family member with a
copy, or making a second copy on a USB drive.

Lastly, you will need a bug-out bag, also known as a
72-hour kit. This is a bag covering all of your needs for
three days.

It will get you from home to where you need to go, even if
forced to go by foot.

* Sheltering in place

If your home has not become too unsafe to stay in, you
will probably decide to shelter in place. This is also
called bugging in.

This is the kind of disaster planning that we have been
mostly dealing with so far in this newsletter series. But
there is more than one way to shelter in place.

There is the pure prepping way; you decide to amass all of
the things you may need during a disaster and keep them
somewhere safe.

You may make alterations to your home to make it safer and
to provide you with more prepping space, and you may take
up some prepping related hobbies…

…but there is really no reason this means why you can't
lead a day-to-day life that is essentially identical to that
of your neighbors.

There is also the homesteading way. Instead of prepping
for the very long term, you design systems in your daily
life that will keep functioning in a disaster.

Instead of buying large quantities of canned goods, you
may can your own foods which you grow in your garden. You
save seeds to ensure that you will have future crops.

Instead of adding one new set of preps, add new systems.
Don't buy dried or canned meat and milk powder, but invest
in a goat to provide you with both meat and dairy.

Your life, choosing this strategy, will be significantly
different from most people around you, but that is not a
bad thing.

You may also choose to live mostly as a prepper today, but
be prepared for a future homesteading lifestyle. Do a
little gardening on the side and save seeds for a future

* Splitting up

A third way of dealing with a disaster scenario as a
family is one that we don't talk terribly much about in
today's survivalist scenario, but it's worth considering.

It's a strategy often employed in wartime.

If your home gets less safe, you do have the option of
splitting up. The children could be sent to grandparents
or other relatives living in a safer environment, while
you stay.

There are times when your home is not as safe as it could
be, but at the same time it is not so bad that you feel
comfortable leaving it high and dry.

You may be able to get by at home, but your children may
be in danger, and you might be in danger because you are
unable to stop worrying about and taking care of them.

Some food for thought, I hope. Now get to work detailing
your disaster plans!

Don't forget this free video showing you some of the most
reliable disaster plans for you and your family:


Introduction – First-Aid Kit

Chances are you have a small first aid kit around somewhere. Perhaps you picked it up when you were in the pharmacy, thinking it would be handy to have around. But have you ever looked to see what’s inside that first-aid kit? If it’s like most pre-made kits, it really isn’t going to be much help for anything more serious than a scraped knee.

A good first-aid kit is a critical piece of equipment to have around for emergency situations. During any emergency, medical services are overwhelmed. Even if you can get to the hospital or can get an ambulance to your home, you may have to wait for hours to get the service you need.

Having a well-stocked first-aid kit can literally mean the difference between life and death; especially in a crisis situation where medical services are overwhelmed. The ability to take care of minor injuries in your own home is something every family needs.

The Details

  • Assorted Adhesive Bandages. This is probably the most basic first-aid supply. Adhesive bandages are helpful for all types of minor cuts and scrapes. The fabric type are much better as they are more flexible and stick to your skin better. While more expensive, they are worth it.
  • Large Bandages. Some injuries require more than a simple adhesive strip. If you are going to be prepared, then be prepared for large injuries as well, such as gunshot wounds or wounds caused by power tools. Sanitary napkins make excellent bandages for large wounds and can be less expensive than the big gauze pads.
  • Blood Clotting Agent. People can bleed to death from serious injuries. A blood clotting agent, such as Celox, will help the wound to clot faster, reducing the total blood loss.
  • Medical Tape. Most large bandages do not come with adhesive strips on them so they must be held in place with medical tape. There are many types of medical tape available, but the best are the cohesive bandages made of a stretchy material that sticks to itself. It’ multi-functional and causes no pain when removing the dressing.
  • Antiseptic. Before bandaging, it is necessary to clean out the wound and apply something to kill any bacteria that might have entered through the broken skin. Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are used for cleaning, and then antiseptic should be applied.
  • Adhesive Sutures. A large cut needs to be closed up for healing, as well as being bandaged. If you were to go to the hospital, they would close that wound with stitches. Unless you have been trained in how to do that, you’re better off using adhesive sutures. Just make sure that the skin is clean and dry where the suture will be attached.
  • CPR Mask. Modern CPR techniques use a mask between the unconscious person and the one who is trying to revive them. The purpose of this is to avoid direct contact with bodily fluids (mostly saliva), which is the fastest way of transmitting a virus.
  • Glucosameter. Used by diabetics everywhere, these small electronic devices measure the blood sugar level. While most diabetics have high blood sugar, which causes long-term problems, low blood sugar can cause several short-term problems. Loss of strength, dizziness, loss of mental clarity and even unconsciousness can be caused by low blood sugar.
  • Blood Pressure Cuff. High and low blood pressure can cause a number of problems as well. This is one of the key vital signs that medical personnel use to determine a patient’s overall medical condition.
  • Ear Thermometer. Another vital sign that medical personnel look for is temperature. While an oral thermometer works, an in-the-ear model is both faster and more accurate.
  • Aluminum Splint. Broken bones need to be immobilized. While just about anything can be used to splint them, aluminum splint material is universal. This is an aluminum strip coated with a layer of foam rubber on one side. It can be formed to the necessary size and configuration by hand, making it very quick and convenient to use.
  • Elastic Bandage. When it is necessary to support a joint due to a sprain, an elastic bandage is used. They are also useful for holding an aluminum splint in place. These come in a variety of widths to accommodate different sized joints. Keep a variety of sizes on hand, from 2 inches through 6 inches.
  • Tweezers and a Magnifying Glass. Splinters can be painful and get infected. With a pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass, they can be easily removed.
  • Eye Cup and Saline. The best way to get something out of the eye, such as chemicals or dust, is to flush it with water. This is done by using an eye cup filled with saline solution.
  • Syrup of Ipecac. If something that is potentially poisonous is swallowed, the best thing to do is induce vomiting. Syrup of Ipecac is used specifically for this purpose, especially for children.
  • Instant Cold Pack. In the case of many injuries, such as a twisted ankle or a sprained wrist, putting something cold on it can reduce the swelling and associated pain. However, this must be done quickly before it has a chance to swell. Cold packs are the perfect way of doing this, especially when ice isn’t available.
  • Rubber Gloves. Just like the CPR mask is designed to protect the care giver from becoming infected by air, rubber gloves are needed as well to protect picking up bacteria and viruses through touch.
  • Pain Reliever. Maybe aspirin seems a bit obvious for this list, but it is an important ingredient in any first-aid kit. Most of the time that someone is injured, a few pain relievers are necessary. They also work to prevent swelling, which is important for many types of injuries.

The Bottom Line

Of course, having all that stuff in your first-aid kit doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know how to use it. While pretty much everyone knows how to apply an adhesive bandage, most people don’t really know how to do much more than that when treating injuries. Take the time to learn.

There are lots of excellent videos online about basic first-aid care. Take the time to view instructional videos and even to practice using the things in your kit. While not always so, there are times when mere seconds count. Knowing how to use what you have could make all the difference in the world for someone close to you.

A lot of people think that if they have their bug-out bag packed and a general idea of where they want to go, they’re ready. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Oh, they might manage to get away from their home and maybe even to get out of town; but they probably won’t make it to their bug-out location. They’ll either give up and end up stuck in the wrong place, or they just won’t survive.

Bugging out is a complex task that takes planning and preparation. It is even more complicated if you’re taking off at the same time as thousands of other people, as in the case of a general evacuation from the path of a major hurricane.

If you want a successful bug-out, you not only have to think of what you are going to do, but how everyone else out there—all those unprepared people—is going to react. That way, you can develop your plan in such a way that you manage to avoid a lot of problems. In addition, you have to have alternate plans for just about everything you are going to do as things never seem to work out quite the way you want.

The Details

  • Avoid Highways. In a general bug-out, you can be sure that the highways will turn into parking lots. The U.S. highway system is not designed to handle the amount of traffic needed for a general evacuation of any major city. There are evacuation routes selected and even signs showing where they are, but that doesn’t mean that those evacuation routes will work.

You’re going to be a lot better off sticking to side streets, rather than going the same way as everyone else. Find yourself a number of ways to get out of town that are as far from the highways as possible. Don’t even think of using side streets that are close to major highways and thoroughfares; find the ones that nobody else will use. Those will be the quickest way out of town.

  • Avoid the Roads. If you have to leave your vehicle and set out on foot, then go cross-country. That way, you have much less chance of running into other people. While many of those other people will be self-sustaining, there will be some who see you as a means of supply and look for an opportunity to steal from you or kill you.
  • Avoid a Close Bug-Out Goal. If you are going to go through the trouble of bugging out, you want to make sure that you have a bug-out location that is far enough away from your home that it won’t be affected by any regional events. While having an alternate site is a good idea, you probably won’t be as prepared to use it as you will for your primary.
  • Avoid Looking Prepared. I know a lot of preppers like the idea of a nice big 4×4 truck for a bug-out vehicle. There might be good reason for having one, but don’t have it just because you think it makes a cool post-apocalyptic vehicle. Avoid dressing in camo and anything else that makes you look like you know what you’re doing. As people’s tempers rise and they get more desperate, you might just end up looking like a target.
  • Avoid Visible Weapons. While I am a firm believer in carrying weapons on a bug-out, I don’t think those weapons should be obvious. In much of the country, you don’t want to invite attention from the authorities. You might also attract those desperate people who didn’t bring any supplies with them. Just having a visible weapon might be enough for them to think that you have something worth stealing.

The big problem here is who surprises who. If you’re walking around with a gun, then anyone who wants to steal what you have will probably make sure that they’ve got the drop on you, if not shoot you outright before you know they’re hunting you. On the other hand, if you have it hidden, you can surprise them if they try and attack you.

  • Avoid Taking Too Much. While it is necessary to take enough equipment and supplies with you to survive, you don’t want to take so much with you that it will impede your movement if you have to abandon your vehicle. Since the possibility of having to abandon your vehicle is high, that really limits how much you can take.

One way that you can increase the amount you can take with you, without slowing yourself down, is to build a lightweight cart to carry your supplies. This needs to be something that you can use cross-country because staying on the roads on foot is a bad idea. With such a cart, you can carry much more and not tire yourself out.

  • Avoid Sharing Your Plans. As with any other tactics associated with prepping and survival, you need to keep your bug-out plans secret. Unless you have a survival group that you are going to meet up with, nobody outside your family needs to know your plans.
  • Avoid Leaving Too Late. If you think that it might be time to bug out, then do it. Don’t wait! That first inkling you get might just be the warning that keeps you alive. Remember, you can always head back home if it turns out everything is okay. But you can’t turn the clock back if you didn’t leave when you should have.

The Bottom Line

The biggest risk you will face if you have to bug out is from other people. While there may be hundreds of thousands of people in your city who are all trying to get out at the same time, only a handful will be truly prepared. Thinking proactively drastically increases your chances of survival, but stockpiling the right supplies also increases your chances of becoming a target to those who aren’t as well prepared. Keep that in mind in all your planning and develop ways to avoid becoming a target in a desperate survivor’s gun sights.