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How to Hide Your Livestock When SHTF

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How to Hide Your Livestock When SHTFSource:

In a long-term survival scenario, livestock can be one of your most valuable assets. Even a few chickens can give you a reliable supply of eggs and meat, and if you have the space for larger livestock there are even more benefits.

Keeping some animals will make a huge difference in your diet, and it’s something every prepper should consider. If you have the room to grow crops, you can have at least small livestock too.

Livestock does have a disadvantage, though – it’s portable. A thief might steal vegetables from your garden, but he can’t take the garden itself; that’s still going to be available to you, and you can plant more vegetables (and beef up your security). If your animals get stolen, though, that’s it – they’re gone.

Unfortunately, in a crisis, livestock theft is a very real threat. Whether it’s a starving refugee grabbing a chicken from your yard, or a more serious thief looking for some cows to give himself a long-term milk supply, there will be plenty of people willing to steal your animals if they get the chance.

There’s also a risk that government or other agencies could confiscate livestock in a crisis. I’ve never really worried about the government coming after my food stockpile – when they can just requisition stockyards, grain silos and food processing plants, I don’t think they’ll be too interested by what’s in my root cellar – but there are some other risks attached to animals.

However, if you are concerned about the government or looters coming for your stockpile, you can learn here how to build an invisible root cellar. This way, you will know for sure that your supplies are well hidden.

How To Hide Your Animals

How to Hide Your Livestock When SHTFObviously your livestock is much less likely to get taken from you if it’s concealed; people can’t steal or confiscate something they can’t find.

The question is how do you conceal it? Animals can be quite conspicuous, after all. Some of them are large. Others need specialized buildings.

And they’re not just visible; they’re often conspicuous by their noise and smell, too. So how do you go about hiding them? A lot of that’s going to depend on what sort of animals we’re talking about.

Poultry And Rabbits

Chickens and rabbits are the easiest to keep, and they’re also very useful. Chickens supply meat and eggs, especially when you feed them this plant, which can double egg production. Rabbits are a fast-growing source of protein that costs almost nothing to feed. They’re also the simplest to conceal.

Chickens need a coop to live in, and rabbits are usually kept in hutches. The simplest way to hide these structures is to disguise them as a shed. It doesn’t take much; some simple board walls and a tarpaper roof will do it.

Locate them in the least obvious spot you can – in your back yard is ideal, out of sight of anyone passing by. A chicken coop close behind your house is going to be pretty inconspicuous. If you can’t put it out of sight, making it look like an old, flimsy shed (not the sort you’d store anything valuable in) will hide the fact there’s livestock in it.

How to Hide Your Livestock When SHTF

Of course you’ll need to let your chickens or rabbits out, so they can forage for food and get some exercise. To keep them out of sight, fence in their run with chicken wire – remembering to bury the lower edge at least 18” deep if you have rabbits, to prevent them digging their way out – then hide the fence by planting bushes or other plants.

Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that can quickly hide anything you want hidden, but some species need a lot of maintenance to stop them spreading. Look for a non-invasive species that doesn’t send out underground runners.

With rabbits, you really just have to keep them out of sight; they don’t make any noise, and there isn’t a lot of smell either.

Chickens are more of a problem, because they can make a fair bit of noise even if you don’t have a rooster. Screening their exercise area with plants will absorb some of the noise, but all you can really do is keep chickens as far away from the boundaries of your property as possible.

Related: These Are the Best Chicken Breeds for Preppers

Chickens can also get smelly if you don’t keep their coop clean, so if you want them to be unobtrusive you need to clean them out regularly and prevent their droppings from building up.

As far as roosters and geese go, you’re not going to keep them quiet. On the plus side, geese aren’t easy to steal – and in fact they’re a great natural alarm system, because if they spot an intruder they’ll make a real racket.


Pigs are a lot bigger and noisier than small livestock, and they’re much harder to hide. You can still make them less conspicuous, though.

How to Hide Your Livestock When SHTF

Keep pigsties as far from roads as possible.

Avoid the standard Quonset hut-style shelters that most pig farms use now.

Keep your pigs in a building that looks as much like a shed as possible, and use hedges or other plants to screen their outdoor area from passers by.

If you have a wooded area, you could always keep the pigs in it and fence it off. That works really well if you have oak trees; the pigs will fatten up nicely on fallen acorns. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot you can do about the oinking and smell. That’s a pity, because pigs are great livestock for a smallholding.

Cattle And Horses

If you keep large animals there are serious limits on what you can do to conceal them. For horses, it’s practically impossible. They’re big and active, and need a lot of open space. To protect them you’re likely going to have to rely on other security measures, because hiding them isn’t really an option.


Related: Security Mistakes You’re Probably Making On Your Property

For cattle the situation isn’t quite as bad. They’re still big and need lots of space, but they’re less active and don’t need so much exercise. If you have woods on your land, a grassy clearing with a fence round it can give enough grazing for a cow or two. Otherwise, just keep them as far away from roads as possible.

As well as hiding your animals as well as possible, make sure to conceal associated items. If you have a big pile of sacks marked “chicken feed”, anyone who sees them will probably manage to work out you have chickens somewhere around.

Start hiding livestock early – like now. Don’t post photos of your chicken coop on social media. Don’t talk about how well your animals are doing to people you hardly know. Don’t set up an egg stall right outside your front gate.

Maybe none of the people who know you have animals would think about stealing them now, but those same people might change their minds if the SHTF, they’re starving and they remember that time you posted a photo of 50 rabbits on Facebook. Like any other prep, livestock will be better protected if other people don’t know about it.

And, just as you shouldn’t let everyone know about your livestock, it’s better if they don’t know about your garden either. Try keeping your vegetable garden as far from sight as possible. You can even build this hidden food-growing fence, which is very effective in protecting your veggies from prying eyes

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