Keeping A Conservation Flock: 3 Threatened American Chicken Breeds

When it comes to poultry classification, the American class of chickens is perhaps the best known category in the United States. Consisting of yellow-skinned, dual-purpose birds, American-class chickens tend to be intermediate in temperate, size and foraging skill when compared to small breeds such as the Leghorn and large breeds such as the Brahma. American-class hens lay brown eggs, tend towards broodiness, and are good mothers.

The American class includes such breeds as the Plymouth Rock, the Rhode Island Red, the Wyandotte and the Lamona, among the most widely kept breeds in the U.S.

Despite the popularity of the American class, several of its chickens breeds are faring poorly and face extinction. Since the majority of American class birds are reared in the U.S., this threat is even more severe as there are few breeding flocks elsewhere in the world. We recently discussed the three American-class birds  rated as critically endangered by the Livestock Conservancy.

The trio of chicken breeds presented here all rate as Threatened. Each has fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the U.S. and an estimated global population of less than 5,000. Consider aiding in their conservation by raising these as your backyard flock.


The Buckeye holds a very special place in the history of American chickens: it is the first and only North American breed developed by a woman. In the late 19th century, Nettie Metcalf of Warren, Ohio, bred her Barred Plymouth Rock hens to her Buff Cochin rooster, producing chicks that grew into what she considered to be large, lazy birds.

The following year, she bred her Plymouth Rock-Cochin pullets to a Black-Breasted Red Game rooster. This produced offspring with maroon feathers and a black tail. In 1902, Mrs. Metcalf exhibited a pair of her birds at the Cleveland, Ohio, poultry show, calling them “Buckeyes” after the state nickname.

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Buckeyes were recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) in 1905.

In the 1950s, when poultry production began to be commercialized, the Buckeye fell out of favor and went nearly extinct. Today the chicken breed has somewhat recovered but it is still threatened.

Buckeyes are very friendly, active birds who do best when they have room to roam. They are excellent mousers, rarely feather-pick each other, and are very cold hardy due to their pea combs. Buckeye hens lay up to 240 eggs per year and are excellent mothers.

Buckeye roosters are known for their wide range of vocalizations, including what sounds very much like a dinosaur-esque roar.

Read more: These three chicken breeds are critically endangered.

New Hampshire

Developed in the early 1900s, the New Hampshire is a relatively new breed of chicken. It is often mistaken for the Rhode Island Red, and rightly so. New Hampshire poultry breeders started selectively breeding Rhode Island Red hens that feathered and matured earlier than other Rhode Island Reds.


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Can You Eat Rats in an Emergency? Surviving by Any Means Necessary

Emergency food shortages are a real possibility.

What will you do when your pantry is empty? You’ll need to improvise. Fortunately, you can hunt down a healthy meal easily enough. The forest is full of food, and one of the best protein sources is the oft-overlooked rat. 

You can definitely eat rats in an emergency. In fact, you might even acquire a taste for them. As long as you choose rats that are safe to eat, there’s no reason to worry about the quality of your fare. 

The prospect of eating rats can seem daunting at first. However, this is one culinary adventure you don’t want to miss out on.

Is Rat Meat Safe to Eat?

poisoned ratpoisoned rat

Most people balk at the idea of eating rats because they’re associated with sickness and filth. But while it’s true that rats can carry numerous illnesses, like monkeypox and hantavirus, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat them safely. 

Rats are considered somewhat of a delicacy in many Asian, African, and South American countries. Some cultures prize their meat and will catch them in traps or breed them as livestock for food. The practice may have started out of necessity, but it’s a surprisingly sustainable way to get protein.

Dining on the local rat population can help you around the homestead by decreasing the number of critters going after your grain supply. Furthermore, eating pesky rats will save you from sacrificing more valuable livestock, like cows or chickens. 

Learn how safe, sustainable rat farms feed citizens in Thailand and get inspiration for your next meal.

It’s important to note that you should never eat a rat’s brain or organs. Bad bacteria like salmonella and leptospira hang around in their intestines and kidneys, while the brain may carry parasites that cause toxoplasmosis.

Additionally, rats can have many other parasites and diseases that affect the brain, spine, nervous system, and other organs systemically.

Some parasites and bacteria might die off when the rat is cooked, but some of them won’t.

You never really know what diseases a rat has without lab testing, so you can’t diagnose them with anything specific. Is eating rat brains really worth the risk? I say no.

Staying safe is paramount to your survival in an emergency, so leave the organs for the birds.

How to Choose Edible Rats

Although it may be tempting, you can’t start eating rats at random. You have to choose rats that are safe for consumption.

To determine if a rat is safe to eat, examine its diet and living conditions. City rats eat trash and often nest in sewers or other unsanitary places. They live a high-risk lifestyle that encourages disease, so eating sewer rats is generally a bad idea.  

Country rats are a different story. They nest in cleaner places and primarily eat grains,…

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Goat Milk Soap [Chapter 12] Raising Goats | Homestead Handbook | Homesteading Simple Self Sufficient Off-The-Grid

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Digestive Health Is Essential To Chicken Well-Being

Health is defined as the absence of illness or injury. Things that affect our birds’ health include bacterial or viral infections, scraps and wounds, heat stress, nutritional imbalances, etc. The primary system within the body that works to maintain health is the immune system, although the digestive system and microbes that live within it play a key role. A couple of physiological indicators show how important the digestive system is to the overall health of a chicken. The first is the dynamic nature of the intestinal cells.

The primary role of the digestive tract is to digest and absorb nutrients necessary to keep our birds alive and thriving. The secondary, yet still mandatory role, is for the intestinal cells to maintain a barrier so feed and other items ingested don’t enter the body and create illness. 

To ensure the intestinal cells are at their optimal function, the body replaces them every couple of days. Even though birds have a relatively short digestive tract when compared to mammals, the intestinal tract is still the largest surface area in the body. This means their intestinal tract must maintain a barrier of the largest surface area in the body while still absorbing and digesting nutrients. 

Microbes at Work

Plus, trillions of microbes live within the intestinal tract. Some of these microbes are good, some are bad and cause harm to our poultry, and some are neutral. These microbes play a vital role in helping with digestion and producing compounds that our intestinal cells can use.

Much is still unknown about the microbiome. But its role likely goes beyond the intestinal tract.

The dynamic role of the intestinal cell, the large surface area and the trillion of microbes is part of the reason about 70 percent of the immune system is in the intestinal tract. The digestive system is challenged daily with foreign invaders such as pathogens and allergens. So the presence of the immune system is essential.

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The intestinal tract is also a place for the immune system to sample the environment to see what potential disease they could be challenged with. 

It’s evident that the digestive system plays a key role in the overall health of our birds. But how do we tell if something with our bird’s digestive system went awry? Some of the following signs and symptoms are indicators of imbalances or disease in the intestinal tract. 

Read more: Supplemental winter treats keep chickens happy and healthy when the weather turns cold.


Diarrhea happens when something activates the immune system and is an attempt to clear the potential pathogen and prevent more severe disease.

Thus, the intestinal tract is flushed—aka, diarrhea. It is usually an early sign of disease or stress. 

Reduction in Appetite

Reduced appetite is another early sign of disease or stress and can have a compounded effect on our bird’s health. For example, a heat stressed chicken will decrease their feed intake…

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What Are CBDCs? Here’s What the Central Banks Plan for YOU.

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Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

An acronym that has recently been tossed around in an ominous whisper is CBDC. What is it, and how does it affect you?

CBDC stands for Central Bank Digital Currency, and these are digital versions of a country’s currency. We’ve talked a lot here on the Organic Prepper about digital currencies and the dangers of a cashless society, and if the WEF has its way, we could be looking at just that – and soon. The governments of the world are hard at work creating tunnels and secret routes that all lead to one place – a one-world monetary system. This is all part of the Great Reset they’ve been touting.

The Central Bank has a plan to implement digital currency in the near future.

As always, it will be positioned as something beneficial to get the less critical thinkers on board first. Then, at some point, it could become the only legal tender that exists, and this will give the powers that be the ability to completely control every financial decision you make.

For the record, governments already have the ability to freeze personal bank accounts. This was tested in Canada last year during the Freedom Convoy when truckers protested Covid regulations. The bank accounts of donors to the cause were frozen without recourse. This actually happened to a friend of mine back in Canada, all because she made a $20 donation to the Go-Fund-Me, which was, incidentally, withheld from its intended recipients.

Anyway, a digital currency could mean such controls as automatic taxation or where and when you’re allowed to make purchases – all at the push of a button. The most likely way this will be rolled out is to “fight inflation” and “fix the economy.” As per the IMF:

A world with lower inflation (and even zero inflation) and no persistent recessions may sound like a pipe dream, but we argue that it is possible by transitioning to an “electronic money standard.” Such a transition requires eliminating the zero lower bound, which central banks can achieve using readily available tools. Breaking the zero lower bound implies that the optimal rate of inflation will be lower than in the presence of the lower bound. This will empower central banks to quickly restore full employment and, over the medium term, possibly move toward targeting full price stability with zero inflation.

Obviously, any kind of manipulation like this is false, and while there may be…

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How To Protect Your Home Against EMPs

Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks can have devastating effects on our modern-day society. The EMP, whether from a natural source such as a solar flare or man-made such as a nuclear weapon, can knock out all electronic devices within its range, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The consequences of such an event can range from widespread power outages to complete societal collapse.

As a prepper or survivalist, it is important to understand the dangers of EMPs and how to protect yourself and your family from the aftermath. In this article, we will discuss the different types of EMPs, their potential consequences, and how to defend against them in detail.

Types of Electromagnetic Pulses

There are three main types of EMPs: nuclear, solar, and non-nuclear.

Nuclear EMPs are the result of a high-altitude nuclear explosion. The blast sends out a powerful electromagnetic wave that can travel thousands of miles, frying all electronic devices in its path. This type of EMP is the most destructive and is a major concern for many governments around the world. A nuclear EMP attack could be carried out by a rogue state or non-state actor, and the effects would be widespread and long-lasting. The EMP would cause a sudden and complete loss of power, rendering all electronic devices useless. This would include not just consumer electronics like cell phones and computers but also critical infrastructure like power grids and communication networks.

Solar EMPs, also known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), are caused by solar flares from the sun. These flares release massive amounts of energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation, which can disrupt or damage electronic devices on Earth. While solar EMPs are less destructive than nuclear EMPs, they can still have significant impacts on our power grids and communications systems. A large solar EMP event, also known as a “Carrington event“, occurs once every 500 to 1,000 years and can have devastating effects on our technology-dependent society.

Non-nuclear EMPs are caused by weapons that generate a strong electromagnetic field without using a nuclear explosion. These devices can be used in a variety of applications, including military operations, electronic warfare, and even cyber-attacks. Non-nuclear EMPs can be used to disrupt enemy communications and disable their electronics, making them an attractive tool for military operations. However, they can also be used by terrorists to cause widespread chaos and destruction.

Consequences of Electromagnetic Pulses

defending against electromagnetic pulses

An EMP attack or a major solar EMP event can have far-reaching consequences. Some of the most significant effects include:

  • Power outages: EMPs can knock out power grids, leaving entire cities without electricity for weeks or even months. This would mean no lights, no air conditioning, and no refrigeration for food. It would also render electronic devices useless, as they would no longer be able to recharge.
  • Communications failures: All electronic communications systems, including cell phones, radios, and the…

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DIY Shed | Budget Homesteading Project

Want to know how to build a DIY shed? Whether you need a shed for your tools or just extra storage for the homestead, I’m sure you’ll find this easy and practical!

If you’re planning on building a shed on a budget, then this DIY project is for you!

RELATED: How to Build a Log Cabin By Hand | Homesteading Ideas

An Easy-to-Build DIY Shed Perfect for Your Homestead

Pointers to Keep in Mind Before Building a Shed:

  • Determine your needs.
  • Check if you need to ask for a permit.
  • Look what shed is available in store.
  • Create a plan which will benefit you in the future.
  • Plan what shed you want.
  • Determine what type of shed you will build (wood or metal).

What You’ll Need to Build a Cost-Effective Shed:

  • Hammer
  • Clamps
  • Air compressor
  • Air hose
  • Nail gun
  • Drill
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw
  • Caulk gun
  • Chalk line
  • Level
  • Drill bit set
  • Hearing protection
  • Jigsaw
  • Stepladder
  • Pocket hole jig
  • Router
  • Sawhorses
  • Speed square
  • Tin snips

Step 1: Build the Foundation

Make sure to check that the foundation of your shed is a perfect square. Install wood rails where the storage shed floor can rest on.

Thus keeping your wood floor from touching the dirt and moisture, prolonging the lifespan of your shed. Ensure that your own shed foundation is durable and sturdy.

Step 2: Assemble the Floor Frame

Grab your boards and start measuring. Once you’re done, you can now cut the pieces and start building your floor frame with 5 easy steps.

Step 3: Install the Flooring

Now that you’ve completed the floor frame, time to install your floor sheeting. Be sure that it’s the right fit before you cut, glue, and nail your sheet.

Step 4: Build the Roof Rafters

Be sure that you have all the angles of your roof rafters aligned properly. You wouldn’t want them to end up uneven.

RELATED: How To Build An Outdoor Fireplace | Homesteading DIY Skills

Step 5: Build the Wall Framing

Set your roof rafters aside and start working on your wall frame next.

Step 6: Install the Siding


Once you have the wall framed up, it’s now time to cover it up with the siding of your choice.

Step 7: Roof Framing and Sheet Application

After you have all the sidings attached, next up is roofing your shed. Remember the roof rafters you built earlier? You’ll be installing that along with the roof sheet.

Step 8: Attach the Shed Trim

Can you see it’s starting to look like a shed now? Don’t forget to install the trims. It’s just 5 easy steps, then you’ll be all set.

Step 9: Install the Asphalt Shingles

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Video: Make An Affordable DIY Chicken Water Deicer

One of the most dreaded farm chores for everyone is breaking ice in waterers. It’s cold, messy and tough! However, drinking water during freezing temperatures is extremely important for animals, because their bodies burn extra calories trying to stay warm.

Water consumption is directly linked to food consumption. If they are not drinking enough, they will not eat enough to stay healthy. 

Water deicers are a great way to ensure the water stays fresh and available for animals. Commercially available deicers for chickens cost upwards of $60, a pretty hefty price tag for items you likely need in multiples.

Luckily, you can make your own chicken water deicer for a fraction of the cost. Follow these very simple steps to make your own deicer for less around $17.

Read more:Your chickens need water, no matter the weather. Here’s why.



  1. Find a safe base area. Do not build the deicer on straw, hay, bedding or cardboard. Find a spot in your coop that is solid dirt or concrete, or lay a piece of sheet metal down and build on top.
  2. Place the cinder block in the center of your working area.
  3. Chisel a groove in the top of the block to lay the heating lamp cord flat.
  4. Prepare the heating lamp. Remove sheathing and clamps. Place the 40w bulb in the bulb holder. 
  5. Place the bulb in the groove of the cinder block, dangling towards the ground.
  6. Place the chicken waterer (at least 1 gallon) on top of the cinder block. 

Using a 40-watt bulb ensures the water will not absorb too much heat. The goal is to keep water above 32 degrees, which does not require the same wattage as standard heat lamps. Animals really want their water to stay around 40-50 degrees for drinking.

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The cinder block acts as an oven to intensify the heat in your chicken water deicer. 

As with any use of electrical components in coops and barns, you will want to check on the deicer multiple times during the day. It’s important to keep an eye on such factors as weather elements and chicken behaviors (you don’t want them to knock it over). Also check to make sure the deicer is working so your birds are still able to drink. 

Myth Buster

Snow does not suffice for water. Many people believe animals will consume snow in lieu of water. But the amount of snow consumption needed to equal out water is very high.

In addition, snow is cold enough to lower animal body temperatures, which is something you definitely do not want to do. Simply put, do not rely on snow as the animals’ watering source during inclement weather.

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Antibiotic Herbs And Plants To Grow Before SHTF

We know the sinking feeling of being unprepared at the onset of any infection. “Oh! We say in hindsight,  I wish I had x, y or z!”.

Antibiotics are medicinal substances that inhibit the growth of or destroy microorganisms.

Look at the following list, and grow whatever possible to create remedies to remain ahead of the curve.

Prepare antibiotic tinctures for herbs by covering one cup of the dried herb in a one-quart jar with two cups of 80-proof vodka.

Store in a cool dark place for between twenty to thirty days. Strain the herb into a clean one-quart glass jar.

Related: How To Make Your Own Herbal Tincture

Blessed Thistle (Cnicus Benedictus)

One can easily forage or grow this prickly herb. Please harvest it using gloves and cut off the stickers.

Holy Thistle, its other name, is a multipurpose antibiotic ally.

Used as tincture, it breaks up respiratory mucus, increases immunity, decreases harmful bacteria and fevers, cleanses the liver, aids circulation.

When applied topically, it becomes an analgesic.

Echinacea (Echinacea Spp. Compositae)

It’s a finicky herb to grow, yet absolutely worth the effort.

Antibiotic Herbs And Plants To Grow Before SHTFVeteran herbalists report that taking an acute dosage of this herb every three hours for three days quells yellow respiratory mucus, pus, puffy sores, venomous bites, poison oak or ivy, and other acute inflammatory conditions.

Even used extensively, in most cases, there are no contraindications.

Olive Leaf (Olea Europea)

Growing and maintaining olive trees in warmer climates is common.

Antibiotic Herbs And Plants To Grow Before SHTFBut did you know that the olive leaf is making a comeback as an antibiotic?

It fights infection and decreases viral symptoms, inflammation, high blood sugar, and fevers.

Check with a qualified practitioner if you have high blood pressure before using it.

Oregano (Oreganum Vulgare)

Oregano is easy to grow in a sunny area, kills bacteria, fungi, parasites, and microbes, and calms the nerves.

Antibiotic Herbs And Plants To Grow Before SHTF

Ingesting oregano tincture is one way to heal infections.

However, the essential oil of oregano is easily found online or in a natural foods store.

It’s an investment you can travel with. Use as the label directs.

Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)

Antibiotic Herbs And Plants To Grow Before SHTFGrow this gentle herb to help the whole family during cold, cough, and flu season.

Remarkably, a simple poultice with yarrow, packing the fresh or dried herb directly on a wound, will stop bleeding. It’s a superior herb for lowering fevers.

Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon Californicum)

One can grow this herb in dry western habitats. Often it’s found wild near chaparral plants, another antibiotic.

Antibiotic Herbs And Plants To Grow Before SHTF

It is also known as ‘Holy Herb’ or ‘Mountain Balm’.

Yerba Santa is an herb that reduces…

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EPIC Will Expand Work on Privacy and Tech Oversight in 2023

For nearly thirty years, EPIC has been fighting to secure the fundamental right to privacy for all, and the fight has never been more important. 2022 was a momentous year that brought new threats—in particular, the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, which undid 50 years of precedent protecting the constitutional right to privacy—but also hope for the future. In 2023, EPIC will work to establish strong, comprehensive privacy and digital civil rights across the United States; we will help to develop new fairness and accountability mechanisms to ensure that AI and automated decision-making systems do not exacerbate inequities and discrimination; and we will work to ensure that intelligence and law enforcement surveillance programs are subject to robust oversight.

EPIC’s important work is made possible by the individuals and charitable foundations that support our research and advocacy. Last month, EPIC was thrilled to be selected as a charity beneficiary for the 2022 Proton Lifetime Account Fundraiser. Since 2018, Proton Mail—a secure and end-to-end encrypted email service—has hosted an annual, community-driven fundraiser to support organizations that align with its vision and values. The record-breaking funds raised by the Proton community this year will help make possible the critical work that is being taken on by EPIC and other civil society groups.

EPIC is grateful for this support from the Proton community and plans to leverage this gift to improve consumer privacy, AI accountability, surveillance oversight, and other critical issues. Below is a brief summary of the progress we made last year and an overview of where we hope to take the work in 2023:

Consumer Privacy Advocacy

In 2022, we saw significant progress on privacy legislation. Congress introduced the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), a bipartisan, bicameral bill that EPIC believes is the most promising federal privacy legislation that we have seen in the United States in many years. We testified on the importance of the bill and worked closely with both coalition partners and Congressional staff to strengthen it. Unfortunately, ADPPA did not pass last year, but it is well-positioned to gain further bipartisan support in 2023. We have never been this close to getting comprehensive privacy protections for all Americans.

In addition to advancing federal privacy legislation, EPIC has co-led coalition efforts to support comprehensive privacy rulemakings in California, in Colorado, and at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). We have presented testimony, submitted detailed comments and feedback to regulators, and worked to build consensus among varied civil society organizations. Notably, in November 2022, EPIC published Disrupting Data Abuse: Protecting Consumers from Commercial Surveillance in the Online Ecosystem in response to the FTC’s call for comments in its proposed rulemaking on commercial surveillance and data security. The 230-page report puts forward numerous recommendations for how the Commission can better protect consumers in the digital era and is the most comprehensive proposal EPIC has made on a consumer privacy framework.

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