Some of the best survival animals are the ones that can help you out most once SHTF.
Sure, grocery stores are nice, and survival gardens/food preps are essential. However, there may come a time (and probably sooner than you think) where the stores are going to be cleared and your preps are going to be depleted. Sooner than you think you’ll be looking for other food sources to keep you alive.
Few preppers think about owning survival animals to prepare for a crisis. This is a sad fact, since they can be hugely useful in an emergency.
I’m not just talking about cats and dogs, either. There’s a ton of other animals that can provide you enormous advantages in a crisis. And trust me – once SHTF you’re going to need all the help you can get.
Pay attention, because you’re about to discover…
The Best Survival Animals For When SHTF
1 – Donkeys
Oddly enough, donkeys are some of the best survival animals you can have in a crisis. That’s because they have a natural rivalry with wolves, coyotes, and other dangerous predators, and will protect your livestock when the come.
Unlike horses (which are likely to bolt at the sign of trouble) donkeys will typically bray loudly at the sight of these predators, and will even stand its ground to fight if they don’t back down.
Donkeys can also be used as good cart animals, as has been done for centuries. However, as we all know, these animals can also be extremely stubborn. The trick is to prove your dominance to these animals. Once you’ve proved your salt, they’re more likely to respond respectfully.
2 – Pigs
Pigs are a plentiful source of meat, and can be low-maintenance when they’re allowed to forage and in a small herd. Plus, an adult female can give birth to two litters of piglets (about 6-14 per litter), giving you plenty of bacon, ham, and pork for the year.
Pro Tip: Make sure to preserve your meat so it stays good for years to come. Click here for our tips on how to do it right.
3 – Horses
Horses are hugely helpful in a crisis, as they’re able to transport you when cars are no longer an option. This can really come in handy, since horses will take you “off-roading,” and into heavily wooded areas that other means of transportation can’t get to.
Not to mention, you can also attach a cart/buggy to the horse to help you carry your supplies, or to carry a wounded member of your party.
And, in desperate situations, horses do provide meat to help feed yourself and your family.
4 – Goats
Most preppers think of cows as the best survival animals. However, goats are superior in many ways. For example, they’re much more lightweight, cheaper to buy, and still produce delicious, nutritious milk. Not to mention, goats will generally produce milk for two years (and have 2-3 kids to add to the flock), whereas dairy cows will generally do so for one year (and will only have one calf).
Another benefit to goats is they produce good meat. And, when you consider the work to prepare and store it, this process requires much less effort than preparing and storing cow meat.
5 – Farm Birds
Farm birds (aka chickens, roosters, turkeys, ducks, geese, pigeons, and quail) will generally lay eggs for a couple years. And, as fresh eggs store for months when unrefrigerated, you can bet you’ll be depending on this food supply to keep your energy up.
Plus, when the birds are no longer laying, you can cook them up for a tasty supper.
6 – Rabbits
Sure, it may be difficult to kill something so cuddly, but these little animals are worth their weight in gold in terms of supplies. Not only do they provide fine meat, but they also provide fur for warmth.
Better yet, rabbits multiply like crazy. So get a boy and a few girls, and before you know it you’ll have what seems like an endless food supply.
To keep these critters alive, you’ll need to keep them in a large pen (make sure to clean it out continuously), and give them grass/weeds.
Basic Care & Misc. Tips
Now, although it may seem obvious, many preppers in the moment don’t think realistically about how much work caring for a pet actually is. For example, all of the animals above need food, water, exercise, and protection from wind, rain, snow, and predators.
The smaller ones need fresh bedding every day, and most of them need to be trained in order to be effective in an SHTF situation. You’ll also need to be able to transport them if things go south.
So the crucial thing you have to ask yourself here is how much time, energy and effort you’re willing to put in to keep these animals alive and fed. You’ll also need to consider how many animals you’ll need (vs the number of people in your party), and how much space you have/need to keep them alive (considering they’ll likely have babies).
Another aspect to keep in mind is your living situation. Are you currently residing in an apartment or townhome? What about an urban home? These living quarters will make it difficult to keep your animals happy. However, many preppers opt to either buy land, or own animals on an existing farm until SHTF. That way, they can be prepared when they need to be.
By assessing these needs, you can make sure you get the right survival animals for your situation. Make sure to avoid any animals you can not realistically take care of before/after SHTF (i.e: avoid large animals if you have no land).
Keep in mind that apartment dwellers and preppers with no land may realistically be better off with a different survival animal than the ones listed above, such as a dog. Known as “man’s best friend,” dogs can actually be some of the best survival animals to have. When well-trained, dogs can be really helpful in emergency situations, such as for hunting, keeping you warm, tracking, and boosting morale.
However, most of these are skills you’ll need to actively train your dog to do in order to be successful in an SHTF situation. Most things won’t just come naturally. Here’s a video for more insight on the subject: