Basic Animals For A Basic Food Supply
There is no denying that we are living in uncertain economic times and many people have found a way to augment their food supply by some basic animal husbandry. Even people in cities have discovered that it is possible to keep small animals like chickens and rabbits for food. Chickens are great for providing eggs every day, and they can also be slaughtered to serve as dinner. Rabbits will also serve as a good food source and are as easy to keep as chickens.
Chickens are relatively easy animals to keep and the hens will lay an egg almost every day. You should do some homework before purchasing chickens as some breeds are more reliable layers than others. If you do live within the limits of a city, check local ordinances to be sure of how many chickens you can legally keep. Chickens are rubbery birds and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, although you will always need a coop to keep them in.
Hens will cluck, but are not too noisy, the problem usually lies in the rooster. Roosters will crow at any time of the night if a light is visible; when I was a child our rooster would crow when my father got home from work at night. Eggs will be laid regardless of whether you have a rooster or not, but there will be no future generations if you do not. Some people have solved this by making the chicken coop absolutely light proof, and not opening it up until later in the morning.
Rabbits can be another way to provide a steady source of food for your family. These animals are relatively easy to raise and care for, and the biggest obstacle will probably be training yourself not to think of them as pets.
Whereas many municipalities have restrictions or outright bans of keeping chickens or other livestock, rabbits generally sneak in under the wire and can be kept anywhere. Rabbits make almost no noise, unlike chickens, so even if you have dozens of cages of them, your neighbors may be completely unaware of them.
Rabbits do not like hot weather, so they are best suited for raising where the weather is cooler. Cages or hutches must be provided for the rabbits, and there should be some protection from the weather, such as a roof and two or three sides enclosed. You should also have the means to close the hutch completely should the weather turn particularly foul.
Rabbits breed easily and the mother rabbit will raise the next generation of dinners for you without any participation on your part. Rabbit meat has a high protein value and little cholesterol and is one of the easiest of meats to digest.
Keeping Them Clean
Regardless of whether you decide to raise rabbits or chickens, you must do your best to keep the cages and coop clean. Failure to do so in an urban, or even suburban setting will probably earn you a visit from some city official. The manure from both these animals is valuable as fertilizer and can be spread on the garden, although a light covering of dirt is recommended with the chicken manure to suppress odors.