Regarding livestock, I recommend long horned cattle. During the U.S. Civil War, cattle in Texas were left to fend for themselves. By the time the men came home from the end of the war there were over one million wild cattle taking care of business on their own. Many of these cattle were rounded up the next few years, making for the cattle drives north to Kansas and Missouri. If cattle are left feral and have access to water, they are pretty successful in foraging on their own. There is no comparison in maintaining cattle and goats, or sheep. Plus if you’re interested in keeping beef as part of your diet, someone, most likely you, will have to do the hard work in keeping the cattle contained, pasture at optimum, and fresh water available. Or if you’re ,blessed to have a nearby box canyon that is green most of the year round, drive them into it blocking the egress off. Otherwise you could develop fence rows of thick banks of thorn wood, ironwood, and various bushes as wild rose and holly to contain them. Being on a vegan or vegetarian diet after the fact of an infrastructure collapse is not my idea of well rounded diet when
we’re all most likely to see our level of living return to the 1800s era, if we’re lucky.
As to the horse, in the past the horse was the line between survival and death. The only Indians known for eating their horses, after they rode them to death, were the Apaches. I suspect the horse might regain his higher stature due to the fact he can be an efficient mode of transportation. Here again, the horse is a versatile animal, in what they eat. They’re more likely on their own to eat not just grass/hay, but the bark off trees, and the leaves off of various bushes.The Lakota [Sioux] would go in the evenings gathering up branches broken off of trees to feed their horses if they’d been rounded up.
Containing goats would mean having fencing they cannot penetrate, and this means either having non- climb before the meltdown, or building a Mexican fence which is posts positioned immediately next to each other…lots of heavy work, and intensive in cutting hundreds of posts, digging hundreds of holes, and then setting hundreds to have a fence that can contain the goats or sheep. The cattle can be maintained as they were before the country was fenced off, by having several pastures that can be rotated year round. This way the need for hay for the cattle is not needed, although it will be necessary for the horses. I’d recommend investing in scythes as well as fencing for hay stacks.
As to chickens, that is going to be a whole other story, the game chicken is a survivor, of course it’s a challenge in finding the eggs. Domesticated chickens can be kept by shutting them up at night. We free range our chickens now, they have a body guard, a Pyrenees. I believe the way the situation is handled by individuals will determine on what you have, keep, and develop. We now need, and will need when the fit hits the shan, is a can do attitude, no matter how hard the going gets. Being with like minded folks will make it more bearable, and maybe even joyous once we’ve adapted to the new living standards.
There are two books I recommend having and reading many times:
The Prairie Traveler: The 1859 Handbook for Westbound Pioneers by Randolph B. Marcy, Captain of the U.S. Army. Written in 1859.
Includes: Routes, First Aid, Recommended Clothing, Shelter Provisions, and much, much more. This is a daily dialogue of what was needed, and used. This book is being printed by Applewood Books, Bedford, MA. 01730
The other is Easy Game Cookery: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin.; This gives safe procedure for skinning and cooking critters listed from small game as rabbit to large game as bear with recipes. Printed by Storey Books, Pownai, Vermont, www.storey.com
Regards, – EMB