What Are You Prepared to Do When Your Family Is Hungry?

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Food is one thing that virtually everyone can agree you need to have because we have all, to some extent in our lives, known the feeling of being hungry. Yes, the seriousness of the actual hunger is probably very relative and for the overwhelming majority, this hunger, however severe it felt to us at the time, was probably nowhere near as drastic as we envisioned. Most of us have never been without food for more than a single day much less a week or more, but the gut tightening response is strong enough to elicit some realization that we never would want to go without for very long anyway.

After the pain of hunger, we can easily grasp the body’s need for food. Simply put, without food, we die. Sure, the time it would take varies by situation but it is generally accepted that if you don’t eat food for three weeks you aren’t going to be contributing to society any more. Nobody wants that to happen.

But for many preppers, and I would presume most of the unprepared out there, the question comes up relative to how much food you have stored; what would you do if the food ran out? What if something happened and you were unable to acquire any more food through traditional means and your family was hungry? What would you be forced to do in order to live? Have you thought about what you are prepared to do to feed your family when their lives are on the line?

Recently, a FEMA contractor predicted that due to potential shortages and weather related events in the future, there could be a spike in food prices of 395%. If that happens, would you be able to feed your family?

Where does your food come from?

I started thinking about this topic the other day during a very routine act that happens every day in the world and has been happening since the dawn of time. This Spring, we purchased about a dozen chickens as our older flock had really decreased their egg production and we had given them away to friends who own a farm. Some of the new chickens we purchased were sexed, meaning their color determined what sex they were so you were pretty much assured to be getting hens. Hens are all we wanted because they lay eggs.

But I also got about 8 Rhode Island Red chicks and with those you really don’t know what you are getting until they mature. As ours matured, it became pretty obvious that we had a few roosters in the bunch. Roosters, as I told my daughter sarcastically, don’t lay eggs. On top of that, roosters are not allowed in our city and ours had started practicing their crowing in the mid-morning. Each day I would cringe when I heard their call knowing that any day one of my neighbors could (but probably never would) call the authorities and they would be well within their rights. I know I wouldn’t want Roosters crowing that weren’t mine beside my home. It was time to get rid of the roosters in my flock.

To be perfectly honest, I had not in my life ever harvested any of our chickens. We have had chickens for over three years, but missed my first opportunity when some friends harvested theirs but I wasn’t able to go. I did put it off because we were still getting eggs even though the output was more sporadic. I had harvested deer several times so this wasn’t anything I was really upset about or dreading. It was just another chore but taking a live animal out and going through the necessary processes to obtain a meal are a little different.

Can you kill your dinner?

After a little research just to make sure I had all the bases covered, I set up a table, prepared hot water and got bowls, knives and trashcans situated. I then went in to get the roosters. As it turns out, we lost the chicken lottery this time around and out of 8 chicks, 5 of them were roosters. I had hoped for a lot more egg production, but instead I was getting meat.


I caught the first rooster and hung it upside down by the feet while my dog watched with curiosity. Once the chicken settled down, I brought it over to the stump I had in my yard. I had pounded two nails into the stump to loosely hold the chicken’s head so I could stretch it out slightly for a clean shot at the neck. I have heard some people just wring the chicken’s neck but I wanted to be a little quicker and cleaner so I got out my trusty hatchet. After hesitating a good long 3 seconds, which seemed longer in my mind, I brought the hatchet down.

Unfortunately, I misjudged where the chicken’s neck was due to the feathers so the first shot was not as clean as I hoped, but I quickly made another chop that finished him off. (Note to self: on the next one, feel where the neck is first).

You have probably heard if you haven’t experienced this for yourself that chickens will run around the yard with their heads off and this I can affirm is true. The saying, “running around like a chicken with their head cut off” is based in fact and my first rooster didn’t really run so much as flop and flap and cover a good bit of ground even though its head still remained on my makeshift chopping block. After he was dead, I dunked him into a hot pot of water until the feathers started pulling out easily, plucked him clean (which isn’t as easy or as quick as I thought it would be) and harvested him for the meat. I did that to 3 roosters that day.


Three roosters ready for plucking.

My family got into the act the next day and harvested the other two. My children participated by catching the roosters, cleaning and harvesting. My wife was the hatchet woman for the other two and I was very proud of them for stepping up and felt a little more confident in their abilities should something bad happen and our nice refrigerated, clean plastic packages of food were no longer available.

What could you face in SHTF when it comes to food?

Now many of you might be saying that of course you would kill a chicken if you were starving, but I do know that there are so many other people who would not have the stomach to do this. They would rather starve than do what is necessary to feed their family. Others would say that they would simply eat vegetables because killing another living thing is mean. I disagree on the latter part. We raised our chickens in our yard; they were treated very well and fed daily. When it was time for them to go, we killed them quickly and humanely. They were serving their purpose in the grand scheme of things.


Phase 1 Plucking Completed – No, they aren’t pretty yet and hand plucking requires a bit more time than I expected. Looking to purchase a plucker for my drill.

Still others will find themselves forced out of desperation to steal or kill to feed their family and that is not what I think any of us should be planning for. It is one thing to kill an animal (that I raised) to feed my family, it is an entirely different thing to plan to kill other humans to feed your children.

But for those who would hesitate at doing something similar, what could you be faced with? I assume that a majority do not have any livestock of their own so that leaves you with less options. Many will say they will just go hunting and I think for most people that is simply not going to be an option. First, you would need to be near animals, second, you would need to be lucky enough to shoot or trap one and third you would be competing with everyone else who had the same idea. You may not even be able to hunt because all the game has been harvested already. What then?

What you should be doing now?

I maintain that if you want to be sure your family has food on the table you should not be looking at what you will do when you are desperate. You shouldn’t be contemplating killing your neighbor or anyone for that matter for the last can of beans or joining up with a gang to break into the local distribution center. You should be preparing now by stocking up on food yourself and investing the time it takes to produce your own food.

You can take steps now to build up your own food storage so that you won’t need to worry about going hungry for a very long time. You can begin a garden to supplement what you have stored with fresh vegetables. You can and should start preserving food and learning methods to keep foods fresh if you don’t have the benefit of refrigeration.

You should also look closely at your own abilities and motivations now. If you know you might not be able to swing that hatchet down, that is even more reason to stock up ahead of time in anticipation of future troubles.  Don’t plan on doing “what it takes” later because you didn’t do what it takes now to feed your family. Act now so that you don’t have to get desperate.

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Freedom-loving American doing what I can to help prepare and inform others. Editor and creator of The Prepper Journal 2013-2017, 2020 -

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paul crosley

The estimated deer population in the US is approx 32.2 million. The human population is 325,000,000! To all of the “good ole boys” who say the will just go and “get me a deer”, it might work for a while. But after the deers are decimated then what? You can learn foraging in you area to find what plants are edible. Some are surprisingly tasty while others will just fill the belly so you don’t starve. At least you won’t start feasting on Fluffy or Fido like they are in Venezuela! Hopefully you won’t resort to “long pig”, as humans… Read more »


Well said Paul. If you live in the northern bits of this continent and do not know how to tap tree sap and prep wild nuts and bark to eat but can hunt deer you are SOL in a real SHTF


What’s good cannibalism story without a mention of Soilent Green?

All those folks who are afraid, or unwilling to hunt for something, will be glad to take a thick slice of the Soilent Green being sold for sex, drugs, gold, etc.. by some enterprising types.


It would seem to me that in a scenario, as is implied here, that the population would drop dramatically and quickly. Also in addition to the deer you have turkey, duck and many other birds to eat and fish to be caught. I think some will find themselves in relatively good shape, looking to live off the land. But all that would be secondary to anyone prepping in the country since they should have chickens, goats, cows or whatever. The biggest problem will not be finding food for some of us but keeping others from it. Those in the cities… Read more »

Mike Lashewitz

This is true Paul and even though I will not right now I am a realist. I expect the golden horde to come and I will repel them as long as possible. I intend to clean up after each encounter and place heads on pikes to discourage others. Yet when it comes down to them or me, it will be them. Then my survival soup will become survival stew. Even though there will be readers who will disparage, which in itself is asinine they cannot claim realistically that when the hunger is the greatest and their children are dying the… Read more »


I have about a year stored up and resupply plans. This makes me happy. Then I started thinking about possible SHTF scenarios. Going upwards on the stores and separating the stores into a few more locations. Also burying said stores into the ground. What would I do? I’d eat you Pat and I’m a vegan. Works for me in the now. Thank you for thinking about the killing from the rooster’s perspective. Really all we need in this world is to think about other creatures a bit more and the world could be safer and happier. I will point out… Read more »

Pat Henry

Thanks Huples and I’ll be sure to save you a can of tuna so you don’t have to eat me. 🙂

Mike Lashewitz

Survival of the fittest. Did you know when it comes down to it Lions eat Lions.

paul crosley

Hey Mike,
A sincere thank you for being in one of the most unpopular wars… um, I mean police actions.
I saw the crap veterans went through after that one. My father was severely wounded in Korea. Another police action. I lived with what that did to him.
You are right, you do what you have to. The only sin in a survival situation is not surviving!
Don’t be upset with the Little Pony millennials, I heard they taste like chicken! (LOL!)

Mike Lashewitz

The pony millennials today are the same as the assholes of yester year that mugged me inside the LA Airport. Only the ones back then has some class.

paul crosley

Sorry to hear of your experience with predators. Although I think the millennials of today are too feminized and limp wristed to do much.

Mike Lashewitz

They rail against guns but they carry them as well…


There certainly are a lot of them. Don’t confuse their feminization and generally limp lifestyle with stupid. They’ll drop a dime on you in a second. Their understanding of surviving is just different than yours. Not everyone who can survive will fit in the “Conan the Barbarian” mold.

paul crosley

Hi Bob,
Quite true! Nazis and Commies always rely on weasels to help.


When valuables (food? Gold?) are offered as reward for outing ‘hoarders’, I think you might well see roving packs of snitches searching for those ‘hoarders.’

The question for those who prepare for a rainy day, is what to do with them. Don’t let them in to check, and they just say you are a hoarder. Let them in and what? Roll the dice?

Either way, the chances of a Gestapo raid are decent.


I thought the nazis were enemies of the Jewish communists who killed 6) million Christians in ussr and our own General Patton wanted to Re Arm Germany to invade ussr saying we warred with the wrong enemy
Go back to watching another Spielberg movie, cuck

paul crosley

WHOA There big guy! Aren’t we all friends? Too much caffeine? I’m not sure what General Patton has to do with feeding your family but I infer from your comments that you are a National Socialist sympathiser? To each his own!
By the way, which Spielberg movie do you recommend? ET? Close Encounters? The Color Purple? Hook? The Adventures of Tintin?

Kula Farmer

Been planting all sorts of food plants, choyote, banannas, fennel, daikon, have wild NewZeland spinach and other edibles as well as peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, avos,,, i have about 35 hens and 4 roosters, lots and lots of eggs, plus whatever i grow,,
If we are going hungry theres huge huge problems

Pat Henry

Sounds like you are well ahead of the curve Kula!

Kula Farmer

Just sorta evolved that way, have a lot of this stuff that just naturalized and keeps coming up, wasnt intentional at all, luckily our growing is year round. One neighbor has a big pond with tilapia and coi in it, huge tilapia, they got an 8#er a few weeks ago

Archangel 70

Being a former combat vet and outdoors person, most of the general public have no clue what it’s like to go hungry, let alone miss a meal. But I think the real problem is water !!! Once again in general most people will think nothing of drinking out of a river or lake when the lights go out There is going to be so much disease spreading that food supplies will become a secondary problem People need to wake up to the fact that its if, but when !!! Things are going south The upperclass think its never going to… Read more »


I think a point was missed here. If someone is to squeamish to kill chickens or couldn’t fathom the concept of having to kill another to feed their family then their long term prepping is not for them it is for someone else. If it ever really comes down to trueSHTF situation every person that survives will be put in the position of having to kill to protect what is theirs. if they are not willing to do this then they are just storing food for the next person that comes for it. JMHO


Wow, Pat. You crack me up. Start out with a title like, “What Are You Prepared to Do When Your Family Is Hungry?” then turn in a nicely written piece about butchering chickens. I think the human race has enough people who are resilient enough to handle the task. Those who cannot, or worse, will not, are doomed to extinction. Seems to me that the hook here is part of what Pat mentioned, and part of what Paul Crosley mentioned. There just isn’t enough wild game to feed our over-populated country. One cannot just find a rifle and suddenly become… Read more »

Pat Henry

Thanks Bob! Yes that was my underlying intent with the article. Too many people say they will go to drastic measures to feed their family if it all falls apart, but I am trying to get them to go to less drastic measures now before they have to.


I do like the idea of rabbits. I’ll look to expand into light rabbit breeding next year. Don’t need many, and its something that needs to be managed far more than chickens to right size the breeding levels. I want the skills, not necessarily a move to permanently adding rabbit to the dinner table.

Even a person living in the city limits can keep a pair or two of meat rabbits. Just keep the boys separate from the girls until you want to manage the ramifications. They are generally quiet, and low maintenance.

Patrick Flynn

We have recently been upping our knowledge base of local edible plants. We also keep several raised bed gardens and can up everything possible in the fall to carry us through the winter. However, harvesting enough food both by garden and gathering is a time consuming and dedicated amount of work during the growing season and you’ll still fall short of the calories required in the winter but you won’t starve to death. I hunt the ground hogs around here and if I had to, Possum would be on the list as well. Feral cats too. And don’t forget, fresh… Read more »


Careful with the thought of sharing, Snake. The idea is noble and good, but when one of those five little eating machines lets it slip to poor Johnny that they get food from you, the gates are already open.

Think ahead and make a plan to slip the neighbor some goods on the DL in a way that makes it not obvious where it came from.

Patrick Flynn

That’s my plan BobW. The neighbor and I have a great working relationship so we pitch in and help each other on several prepper related projects. We recently extended his raised bed gardens and plan on doubling that garden this fall. I have never seen 5 kids pitch in and help with the chickens and tending the garden and enjoying it. Usually they are too busy with texting or playing video games but Dad gets them out and insists they work. That was probably the norm 50 or so years back for semi rural families like ours. I see the… Read more »


Good on you, Snake. Having a legit battle in the coming drama is so important. Congrats on the new job.

Nam Marine

Learn to hunt. God will provide !

Nam Marine

Amen my Nam “bro” !

Badger Badgerism



Now now Badger, play nice.

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