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Chickens: A Rebel With A Cause - I Finally Did It!

rebel chicks

It’s funny when you tell a sales associate that you need a heat lamp for chicks in your garage!  The young guy said, “like chickens?”  I guess I look like the kind of guy that would have the “other chicks” in my garage!  Yep!  A wild party with some chicks and a heat lamp!

It’s funny that you have to explain stuff like this to people, especially around where I live.  The area has changed greatly in the last 20 years, but there are still enough high school students in FFA to have the local True Value Hardware sell all types of feed and animal supplies!

Well, I jumped the gun a little….let me take you back…

Every year, the 1st grade Science teachers teach the life cycle of a chicken.  In fact, every grade level covers a life cycle of something: butterfly – 2nd, frog – 3rd, mealworm – 4th (I’m going to get the leftovers and start my own little colony for chicken treats).  But 1st and 2nd grade do something cool, they actually let the students see the life cycle in front of their eyes.

Chicken Incubator in the 1st Grade Classroom.

Chicken Incubator in the 1st Grade Classroom.  These never hatched!

Recently hatched... The one in the middle didn't make it.

Recently hatched… The one in the middle didn’t make it.

Every year when the eggs come to 1st grade, I start to imagine what it would look like to have chickens in the backyard and fresh eggs every day.  Every year I tend to make excuses on why I shouldn’t take them home: the HOA, the neighbors, the dog, the size of the yard….  This year I didn’t make excuses.  1st grade hatched 8 chicks.  1 died and a substitute teacher asked if she could have 2 of them.  I took 5 home.

Chicks in the cage in my garage.

Chicks in the cage in my garage.

The suckers grow fast.  Because it is cold outside, and they should still have a warm environment, I’m keeping them inside the garage.  The cage that I borrowed from the school was getting a little tight, so I decided to make a bigger temporary shelter until they are able to go out into the cold…

Here are a few pics of my little project.

I had the idea to make some panels with 1×1 pieces and chicken wire, but I decided against it.  I figured I could use the setup below for other reasons if I ever needed.  I had a 4′ x 8′ piece of plywood cut into 2 – 2′ x 2′ and 2 – 2′ x 6′.

Plenty of room in this 2 x 6.

Plenty of room in this 2 x 6.

I decided to use plastic ties to hold the pieces of wood together for easy tear down.  I can always use the wood for other things if I need to.

Wood is held together with plastic ties.

Wood is held together with plastic ties.

I purchased a bale of hay to put down.  I put down about 6 inches and decided to walk on it a little since it just seemed so high.  But, surprisingly, the chicks trample it down pretty good.  I put the bale of hay in a contractor size trash bag first so it wouldn’t fly all around my garage. ;-)

Hay for deep litter... Gotta keep the smell down.

Hay for deep litter… Gotta keep the smell down.

I purchased a feeder that I attached to the board above so it could hang.  I also have a waterer that is not shown.  The heat lamp has a serious bulb – 275 watts.  It could go up to 300 watts if I wanted.

Feeder and Heat Lamp

Feeder and Heat Lamp

I turned on the heat lamp and put the chicks in.  I “borrowed” my wife’s Southern Living thermometer (don’t tell her – I’ve since replaced it) to make sure it was warm enough.

Nice and toasty.

Nice and toasty.

 

I took a pic of the chicks new home against the cage.  It’s a big difference.

New and Old Chick Home

New and Old Chick Home

 

This is what they look like now.

Recent pic

Recent pic

When they are old enough, they will move to this chicken coop that I picked up a while back.  The business that I got it from is no longer in business.  But, it went up with no problems.  Dad actually surprised me one day and put it together while I was at work.  I want to stain the outside before I move it to its spot in the yard.

Future home

Future home

 

That side panel comes off so that I can easily get to the eggs.  I also plan on attaching a run, the length of the back fence and attaching it with a little door that I can operate with a string to let them come in and out.  That might be when I use the 1′ x 1’s.  I’m not sure yet.

I don’t know what breed they are.  I called our Science Resource Center, who purchases the eggs and gets them to the school.  They told me that the eggs are a “breeder’s mix.”  So whatever that is….  I guess they are probably some hybrid mix of some sort.

Anyway, so far so good.  I’m glad I’ve made the jump to backyard garage chickens.  I can’t wait to see some eggs.  Hopefully I don’t get any roosters.  Any ideas on getting rid of a rooster?

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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Prepper Fail and A Happy Wife because I Prep! Get Important Preps for Your Vehicle Today!

tire1Guess what…preppers fail! Yes, I admit it. I failed! There! We are human and even though we plan for the “BIG ONE(S),” sometimes it’s the little ones that get us….Sometimes!!!

Recently, my wife and I celebrated our 23 year anniversary. It’s been a while since we just took a trip by ourselves (read without kids), so we decided to drive over to San Antonio for an extended weekend. We’ve been there a dozen times, so this trip wasn’t about site seeing. We wanted to relax at a nice hotel, eat, sleep and just hang out together.

We left Houston in time to get to the hotel right at the time we should check in to our room. However, right outside of San Antonio, my tire pressure gauge went off. A beep came from the dashboard as I saw my right rear tire pressure slowly losing pressure. I was on the freeway looking for a good exit so that I could get out and check the tire. However, the exits I passed didn’t look promising. As another minute passed, I realized that I was going to need to get off. I exited the freeway and stopped at a little convenience store.

As I pulled in, I realized it wasn’t the best of spots. The place looked very run down. However, I wanted to check the tire and see what needed to be done.

When I got out of the truck, I could hear the air escaping from the tire. Actually, it was so loud that I thought it was something else at the store. A quick inspection revealed that I had a puncture. The hole was huge!

I had a couple of dilemmas. One not so bad, but the other, not so good either.

I like to think that I am pretty good at situational awareness. I keep an eye out and let others know that I’m watching. As I inspected my tire and looked around the convenience store, I wasn’t happy at my surroundings. To add to the stress, my wife wasn’t happy either. She didn’t have a good feeling.

I also didn’t really want to get all sweaty and dirty. I sweat like a pig just being outside for a while, so I knew that if I dropped the spare and started changing the tire, that I was going to reek as we kicked off our extended weekend.

A while back, I made a kit for all of our vehicles. Two of the items that I included were tire plugs and fix-a-flat. I’ve never used tire plugs before, although I have seen it done and it doesn’t look that hard. But then I would have had to inflate the tire again. However, I didn’t think that fix-a-flat would really seal up the huge hole in my tire.

Due to my surroundings, I decided to try fix-a-flat first to see if that would get me on the road and a little further away from where we were. And to my amazement, the fix-a-flat plugged the huge hole!

Not happy, but grateful to have fix-a-flat!

Not happy, but grateful to have fix-a-flat!

I was able to get down the road a ways and find a Discount Tire where I replaced all 4 of my tires!

Lessons Learned:

1. Make sure you have a good tires on your vehicle. I know, this is a no brainer and where I say I failed! Yes, leave your negative comments and all that…I’m a big boy.

As a school administrator, I wait for our days off to get things done like home repair and routine vehicle maintenance, if I can help it. We are just very busy with family life, work, sports, Prepper Website, etc… I was waiting for the Thanksgiving holiday to put on some new tires. I realized I waited too long and this is where I failed!

2. Having preps in your vehicle can be a lifesaver! Many of us have EDC items with us on a regular basis. You might even have a bag that is specific to your car, especially those of you who live up North. But I’m not talking about survival supplies, I’m talking about mechanical and supplies specific to your vehicle.

Because I have a back seat, I have space that allows me to carry a kit that is specific to small repairs and basic necessities for the vehicle. I’ll post later on the kits I made up for our vehicles. But I was glad to have fix-a-flat. In my opinion, it was well worth it and I will purchase another can to replace the one I used as soon as I can.

3. Always maintain situational awareness, instead of panicking. I knew that I didn’t want to hang out in the parking lot of this convenience store any longer than I needed to. My wife swears that she saw a drug deal go down in front of her. I don’t know if that is true or not. And even though she took a few seconds to take a pic of me, not smiling, putting fix-a-flat into the tire, she kept a good lookout.

4. You have to make the decision that you want to live with. Many people would suggest that I should have kept driving, even if it was on my rim, to a place where I felt comfortable enough to get out and put on the spare. Ultimately, you have to make the best decision for yourself. Of course, hindsight is always 20-20. But I think I made a good decision in deciding to use the fix-a-flat and get out of there as soon as possible. My rim wasn’t messed up, I didn’t get dirty and we were able to get where we needed to safely.

In closing, a little bit of preparedness goes a long way. The best thing would be that you never have to use your preps. But if you need them, I rather have them than not. If you are a husband or father, you should have a little kit, especially some fix-a-flat in every vehicle. Get some today.

Not my last stand...thank goodness! ;-)

Not my last stand…thank goodness! ;-)

 

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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What EMERGENCY is Your Biggest Concern? Feedback from the PREPAREDNESS COMMUNITY!

feed1

Recently, I put out a questionnaire to ask the Preparedness Community a few questions. The questions were:

  1. What ONE thing do you need help on to FEEL better prepared? Please type your response and feel free to elaborate.
  2. What EMERGENCY is your biggest concern? Feel free to elaborate.
  3. What other type of articles would you like to find/read about in regards to preparedness?
  4. What question have you always wanted to ask but never felt comfortable to ask?

I am grateful for my friends in the Preparedness Community, website and blog owners who made their readers aware of the questionnaire so that we could get a broad range of answers. I wish I could name them all here, but there are many out there who I know promoted the questionnaire.

The goal of the questionnaire was to get feedback so that those of us who own websites and blogs can target some of the questions that preppers might have. My hope is that articles, podcasts and videos will bounce off of this data and ultimately help ALL of us become better prepared.
At the time of this post, I have had 76 responses (the questionnaire is still open). In looking over any data, we know that if someone asks a specific question, that many more will have the same question. If a topic comes up 3 or 4 times, we know that we definitely need to cover it. And when we cover that topic or question, we need to tackle it in multiple articles, podcasts and videos AND from different perspectives.

Ultimately, I was hoping to find some major categories of what preppers consider their biggest emergency to prepare for. If a response included more than one response, I accepted it as several valid answers. For example, if someone said, “My major concerns are economic collapse, EMP and pandemics,” each of those categories received a point. If a response included two in the same category, for example, “an Ebola pandemic,” I only gave Ebola the point.

Major Categories

Economic Collapse – The category that received the most responses was an economic collapse. This is understandable because it effects all of us, no matter where we live. And if we are “keeping an eye on things,” then we know that our economy is not doing too good. In fact, the first article I ever linked to on Prepper Website was found on SHTFPlan and titled, “How to Spot the Triggers of a Socioeconomic Collapse.” That article was written by Fernando Aguirre, someone who has experienced economic collapse first hand and has written a book about his experiences in Argentina.

The problem that I see with the economic collapse issue is that many of us believed that it was supposed to happen already! Every down day on the stock market and news from the MSM causes preppers to hold their breath. We’ve also heard that it will happen in a slow spiral and then pick up speed, as well as heard that it will happen overnight. I know that I have linked to many articles on Prepper Website about economic collapse and it is probably one of my main concerns.

Pandemic – A close second category was concern regarding pandemics. I have written before that watching the History Channel’s After Armageddon was the show that convinced my wife to prep. The premise is that a pandemic causes a societal breakdown and tracks one family as they struggle to survive. A “real” pandemic would cause a domino effect that would bring about a societal breakdown which would cause other concerns like, power failures.

Many people are talking about the possibility of a pandemic due to Ebola. So, this is fresh on the minds of many people. However, Ebola only received 3 responses on the questionnaire. I’m not saying that people will not get sick and die from Ebola, but we might not see a pandemic that rivals let say, the Spanish Flu. Where we might have issues is with the fear that Ebola talk causes. People might not go out to eat, spend money at Christmas, etc… if it is found that someone with Ebola was nearby. This again will cause a domino effect, although probably not as severe as if a real pandemic happened.

Many people say we are overdue for a pandemic. We read about antibiotic resistant strains of (fill-in-the-blank), weaponized flu, mutating viruses, you name it! I believe the threat of a future pandemic is very valid. We should prepare for an eventual pandemic, but we should probably prepare to just bug in for a certain amount of time.

EMP – The third highest category was EMP. I will admit that an EMP would be devastating! However, in the probability of disasters, this is low on the totem pole! Books like One Second After and Lights Out provide the preparedness community with good reading, but also a lot of fear. And, I will admit, One Second After freaked me out too! I read both books over the summer and then went back to work, I’m an Asst. Principal, thinking that we were all going to die! I walked around just thinking of what would happen to all the little faces I saw walking in the hall… Then, I got over it!

Many in the preparedness community need to get over it too! Again, an EMP is a “possibility” but it is low in “probability.” I would rather spend my time working to be better prepared in other areas than focusing on making faraday cages and have electronics put up “just in case.”

Electrical Grid – Concerns about our aging electrical grid and the power going out due to natural disasters was next. Luckily, the most anyone has experienced with this is due to natural disasters. We have seen and read about people losing power due to hurricanes and tornadoes, but eventually the power does come back on. Two responses combined a failure in the electrical grid during winter to be pretty serious. No one, however, combined electrical grid failure due to terrorism.

We are very dependent on electricity to power our lives! But, our system is old and patched together. It is very reasonable to believe that this could be very concerning during times of extreme weather, (cold and heat) and to people who require electricity powered medical devices.
I foresee a time that our aging grid starts to sporadically fail, and we start to experience brownouts, like other countries. As a result, I think a way to power electrical devices with small solar chargers will be helpful. I recently wrote about that in 3 Trends in Preparedness and How You Can Get On Board!

Natural Disasters – These three natural disasters received the most responses in this order: earthquakes, tornadoes and cold weather (including blizzards). Of course, these are all relative to the area where you live. But I will say that cold weather only received half the responses that concerns about the electrical grid received.

The categories that tied with only three responses were: Ebola, hurricanes and war.

The categories that tied with only two responses were: terror attacks and societal breakdown. Again, societal breakdown would happen in many of the above categories if they were prolonged.

The categories that only received one response were: tsunami, volcano eruption, govt. shutdown, nuclear terrorism, wild fires, earth changes, polar shift, nuclear reactor meltdown, fire and flooding due to heavy rains.

My Thoughts

For what they are worth, here are some of my thoughts in regards to the above data.

Any article in the first 4 categories (economic collapse, pandemics, EMP, electrical grid failure) will want to be read by the preparedness community. One thing that might be helpful is to break down the categories even further. For example, an article like, “Using Your Food Storage During a Pandemic” is pretty specific. Another example would be, “How to Get Your Family Up in the Morning; Feeding, Personal Hygiene and Off to School during an Electric Power Grid Failure.” I know that I tend to write very general sometimes. But, being more specific will allow us to target the various preparedness issues within the categories that preppers are concerned about.

I continue to believe that as our economy does slow down and people start to feel it in their pocket books, that articles on how to be frugal and save money are going to be more relevant. That is one reason I started Frugal Living – Page 3 on Prepper Website.

We need to drop the EMP articles for electrical power grid failure articles. EMP articles will continue to be read, I know because I see the numbers on Prepper Website. And I will probably still link to the ones that I think are interesting reads. However, I think that writing articles on how to deal with power failures is even more important. An EMP has low probability, but mechanical things eventually breakdown. It is a matter of time before a terrorist does real damage to our grid or we start seeing brownouts and blackouts. Now is the time to be prepared for those!

Lastly, I was surprised that earthquakes received more responses than hurricanes. We haven’t had a major earthquake that disrupted our lives in a while, however, we have all seen hurricanes and their after effects recently. I’m wondering if when people say earthquakes, they are thinking about something like the New Madrid Fault line that if it went, would be very devastating. However, New Madrid didn’t come up at all.

What do you think about the findings and responses?

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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Passing Along Advice to A Younger Generation - What Would You Say?

advice1
Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper in sinks into the mind.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I tend to be a #’s  guy.  At work, we are always looking at data.  So, after a while, I was very curious as to who was really reading Prepper  Website.  I found out that there are many older men reading Prepper Website.

I’m on the younger end of the majority of men who read Prepper Website.  And although I like to share my knowledge and what I’ve learned in life with others, there are many out there who have even more experience and have even better advice.  I’ve created Your Preparedness Story as a means for others to share “their story” or experiences with others online.  But I thought that it would be a great idea to have one easy place to share little bits of advice with the younger generation.

If you could pass on a few lines of advice to a younger man, what would you say?  What would you do different?  What would you want to change or focus on more or less?

All of us at times become introspective and ask ourselves questions that have to deal with “meaning” and “what truly matters.”  In those times, it is good to have someone that you can bounce things off of.  But, many young men don’t have someone that they can ask advice from.  Or, maybe they are just embarrassed or don’t know how to word what is on their heart.

I hope this post/article provides a place for some advice to be shared from those men who have lived some and have the experiences to share.

There are no rules here.  All I would ask is that you answer honestly and provide advice that you believe might be helpful to someone else. Your answers don’t necessarily have to be preparedness related.  Besides that, anyone who is older than the age of the question can answer.  For example – Someone in their 50’s could leave a response for the 40’s, 30’s and 20’s question.  Someone in their 70’s could leave a response for every question.

 

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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The Prepper Letters: How to Ease Family Members into Preparedness

TPL-Ease FamilyTo: sallyjoeTX@******.com

From: julie79@*****.com

Subject: Thinking about you.

 

Hi Aunt Sally,

Thank you so much for the canning resources.  After reading the articles and watching the video, you are right, it doesn’t seem that hard.  I’m just going to have to get my hands dirty.  The thing keeping me from trying this though is the price of the All American pressure canner.  I’m going to save up to make sure I get a good one.  But I did buy a Ball Canning Starter Kit to leave on the kitchen counter to remind me of my goal of saving for one.

One of the last comments you wrote in your last email really hit home with me.  You said, “the crazier the world is becoming.”  You hit the nail on the head with that one!  To be honest Aunt Sally, I’m concerned.  There are so many things bad in the world that it’s hard to think about a future where Scott and I would want to raise kids.

Scott has become more concerned with our finances.  Don’t get me wrong, things are good.  We want for nothing right now.  But Scott stresses over finances.  He often talks about the state of the economy and rattles off statistics that I don’t really pay attention to.  But I know it bothers him.  And then at work there is a guy that is always talking about conspiracies and stuff.  Some people think he is a kook, but he talks about it with such passion.  He says that he doesn’t trust regular news and instead reads alternative news sources.  I know that when I watch the news, all I hear about is bad stuff.  I remember when the news used to have feel-good stories towards the end of the newscast.  I don’t see any of those anymore.

I’m probably over reacting and a bit paranoid.  I’m sure it has always been crazy, I just didn’t notice because I was in my own little world.  Now, I’m supposed to be responsible! HAHA  Don’t tell my parents!

Love,

Julie.

______________________________

To:  julie79@*****.com

From: sallyjoeTX@******.com

Subject: Thinking about you.

 

Julie,

I love the idea of putting the Ball Canning Stater Kit on your counter to remind you of your goal!  I know you will reach it!

On your other topic, I don’t think you are paranoid, I think you are on to something.  You are right, there has always been bad in the world.  And I too remember the feel good features towards the end of the nightly newscasts.  But we are living in very curious times. And, I think Scott is right to be a little concerned about the economy.

Both of you are heading in the same direction, you just don’t realize it.  Scott is concerned over the economy and your finances and what that might mean for your future.  You are concerned about all the bad stuff you hear going on around you and in the world and what that means for the future of your family.  You are both headed in the same direction and you don’t realize it…fear.

I don’t believe things are going to get better anytime soon.  So as things get worse, your fear will get worse too!  Unless you mitigate your fear by putting things in place so the things you fear don’t hold so much power over you.

I found this great Open Letter to Family and Friends that I thought about sending out to everyone, but I kind of held off.  But, I think it might help you right now.  You can read it here.

Let me know what you think!

I love you.

Aunt Sally

 

About: The Prepper Letters is a series of letters (emails) that are sent between Aunt Sally and Julie. The emails discuss matters of preparedness.  To read past letters, click here.

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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