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Backyard Chickens Facts | 11 Chicken Facts For Homesteading

Home Animals Backyard Chickens Facts | 11 Chicken Facts For Homesteading

Are you curious about backyard chickens? There is more to a chicken than meets the eye. Get to knowthese 11 surprising facts. What have you learned from raising your own backyard chickens?

Raising Backyard Chickens

By Kathy Bernier

Visitors to my farm always welcome a tour of the barnyard and chickens – our favorite attraction. Raising poultry is trendy nowadays, and with good reason. Barnyard birds are readily available, useful, fun, educational, and endearing creatures.

Barnyard birds are readily available, useful, fun, educational, and endearing creatures.

Despite the chicken’s popularity, there are still lots of facts about them that seem to take people by surprise when they observe and learn about mine…

11 Surprising Facts About Backyard Chickens

Left: Ameraucana (not a misspelling, it is a cross between an imported Araucana and an American breed, commonly known as “Easter egg chickens” because they usually lay blue or green eggs.)
Center: Another Ameraucana (yes, the brown/multi one and the white one are both Ameraucanas. Confusing, I know. We can tell the white hen is because of her greenish tint legs and her green eggs.)
Right: Barred Rock.

11 Surprising Facts About Backyard Chickens

Backyard Chickens

Here is a list of the top eleven truths about barnyard chickens that amaze guests at my place. Please be warned, some items on this list are not well-suited to children or the faint of heart.

1. Chickens are omnivores.

This is the number one fact that startles most people. Maybe it’s because chickens are so small and beautiful, or because so many predators are a threat to chickens.

“Really?! People ask me in disbelief. “I thought they just ate grain and plants.”

Chickens do eat grain and plants. I give mine organic pellets and oat groats and vegetable trimmings and leftover bread and dough, all of which they enjoy.

But none of that holds a candle to any animal-based foods. My chickens will forego everything else for bits of meat, fat, or dairy products. In wintertime, I try to increase their fat intake to help them stay healthy and comfortable. In addition to kitchen scraps, they get fatback bought from a nearby butcher and cracklings left over from past lard-making ventures and saved for them in the freezer.

My chickens are free range and prefer to find their own food whenever possible, settling for what I provide only as a last resort. In summer, they eat bugs and worms. In addition, they have been known to kill and consume small reptiles, amphibians, and even rodents.

They are omnivores. Really. They are predators, too.

2. Roosters can be either an asset or a headache, but are not essential

11 Surprising Facts About Backyard Chickens

This is a rooster that was given to us and later we gave him back. (long complicated story, ha ha) His name was “Handsome,” and he was a sweetheart. I don’t know what he was. Maybe an orpington.

A chicken will lay an egg without a rooster around, but that egg can never become a baby chick. Eggs fertilized by a rooster can become chicks if kept in the right condition, which—not to worry—eggs for human consumption are not.

Many people keep roosters with their flock of laying hens. Roosters are handsome, beautiful, and if you’re hatching out your own peeps they are essential. Sometimes roosters will defend the flock from evil-doers, sounding the alarm for an avian threat and fighting off interlopers on the ground. Some people say that roosters are less likely to be aggressive towards people than are hen, and that has been my experience as well.

However, roosters can be noisy. I live in a northern climate where the sun comes up very early during summer’s longest days, and nobody appreciates a rooster welcoming dawn at 4 AM.

The primary reason I do not keep a rooster, however, is for the sake of the hens. Although roosters are often sweet to people, they are typically not so nice to the girls in the flock. I don’t want to give you too many details, but suffice it to say that chicken breeding is rarely consensual and often violent.

People usually wonder about the birds and the bees of poultry but are afraid to ask. When I tell them the answers, a lot of it comes as a surprise.

3. Chickens are fierce and competitive.

Chickens-feeding 1

This might not be true of animals that are kept as pets or in flocks of only two or three individuals, but my flock of fifteen semi-wild birds are real scrappers. Despite the fact that they have generous space both indoors and out, plenty of nest box space, and an ample supply of food, they push each other around a lot.

Consider the expression “pecking order”. Some birds are more powerful and demand first dibs on everything. Others get what’s left. And if any of them step out of line—which they often do, just to make sure nothing has changed—they can get a sharp reprimand by way of a peck from a powerful beak.

They have their own hierarchy. I have no say in it and just stay out of the way. Who knew?!

4. Chickens fly.

Live+chicken

They don’t travel very fast or far, or get very high, but they can clear a three-foot fence pretty easily, and can possibly get much higher.

Some people clip a wing to keep them from flying. This works to prevent successful flight—clipping just one wing makes them unable to steer straight or get the lift they need to get far off the ground. It doesn’t hurt them and can solve lots of problems.

We do not clip our chickens’ wings. Around our place, being able to fly even a little bit is extra insurance against predation. Our hens have saved their own skin more than once by escaping to tree branches or over fences when a fox slinks onto the premises. It can be annoying to have the birds access places we don’t want them, but it’s a price we’re willing to pay for their added security.

Not only do chickens fly, but they can run pretty fast. It’s comical to watch them tearing up the tracks on two tiny feet, but they seem to take it pretty seriously. People unaccustomed to chickens think of them as flightless and slow—and are startled to find out they are neither.

5. Most chickens lose their feathers during their second autumn and every year thereafter.

Molting Chickens |11 Surprising Facts About Backyard Chickens

A molting chicken

It’s a natural cycle called a “molt”. They lose their feathers and look pretty ghastly. We always feel sorry for our hens when they lose their coats late in the season or when cold weather comes early. It often does happen as late as December, which can be pretty wintery where I live. They seem miserable but they always survive it.

During molting, hens do not lay. For a period of four to six weeks early fall, our mature birds produce no eggs.

Visitors are often aghast at the sight of a molting hen, and relieved to hear that her condition is not due to illness or injury.

6. Chickens can lay for years, but their capacity diminishes as they age

11 Surprising Facts About Backyard Chickens

Many folks are intrigued to learn that egg production decreases as chickens grow older.

Peak laying happens when they are pullets—first year birds—which typically lay an egg about every 26 hours. Every time they return to laying after molt, they lay less than before.

Commercial egg operations send a hen to become soup by the time she’s a couple years old and her efficiency has diminished. My hens stay around until nature takes its course. My older girls have a lot of barnyard smarts, and I like to think they impart their wisdom on the younger ones.

Many folks are intrigued to learn that egg production decreases as chickens grow older.

7. Eggs vary greatly among breeds, conditions, individual layers, and ages of the birds

11 Surprising Facts About Backyard Chickens

The variety of eggs, just from my coop

Open a carton of eggs from my place and you will find what looks like a crazy quilt of eggs. Brown, beige, smooth, rough, splotchy, mottled, dark green, pinkish, light green, sky blue, jumbo, dainty, football-shaped, and almost round.

I have a variety of breeds, with ages ranging from pullets to elderly. My youngest layers came from a local genetic conservationist who is developing a new breed of chicken, and those birds provide an astonishing diversity of egg colors.

As chickens age, their eggshells become thinner, more fragile, and rougher-textured. That comes as a real revelation to most people. It’s fun to do a show-and-tell with visitors and egg customers, letting them feel a pullet egg that’s a hard and smooth as a polished rock and an old bird egg that feels like 40-grit sandpaper.

We supply free-choice oyster shell grit for shell hardening, and some people give eggshells for this purpose, but older hens’ eggs will never be the same as younger ones’.

Every bird has her own signature shape, color, and general size of egg!

Eggs get bigger as chickens age, too. Pullets start off laying very small eggs but move up to average sizes within their first winter. Older hens sometimes lay enormous eggs.

Every bird has her own signature shape, color, and general size of egg. Now that’s a fun new fact!

8. Chickens Are Super Independent

Chicken facts

Golden Comet chicken

I always joke that my efforts of putting up fences for chickens are received as mere suggestions. Again, pet chickens may be different, but mine aren’t pets. My chickens and I have a deal—they provide me with eggs, and in return I provide them with food, shelter, and as much protection as I can. Beyond that, they have no use for me. Their body language tells me to “bring us food, bring us water, and get lost.”

Farm chickens like to do things their own way. When they pick a lane, they stay in it, and they can be hard to deter. I had three hens decide rather than move into the new ultra-insulated house for the winter with the others, they’d rather roost on the fence gate outside. I had to pick them off and hand-carry them into the house every single night for almost a month before they finally decide to let me win.

9. Chickens Are Clever and Resourceful

Raising chickens

My clever hens have been hiding their eggs from me.

If there’s a way to hide eggs, squeeze through a tiny opening to access off-limits space, kick another hen’s eggs out of the nest box, find some snow-free ground to scratch in winter, sneak into the garden when nobody’s looking, dive for cover when the shadow of a hawk crosses the barnyard, and know just exactly how close they can afford to let the dog approach—a chicken can do it.

They learn fast.

People think of them as bird brains, but most chicken-keepers have been outsmarted by their birds more often than they’d like to admit.

10. Chickens Have Language

Check out Backyard Chickens Facts | 11 Chicken Facts For Homesteading at http://pioneersettler.com/backyard-chickens-homesteading/

Not giving a cluck.

Vocalizations are not just random noises. In the same way that a growling dog or purring cat conveys meaning, chickens make distinctive sounds. “I just laid an egg,” is discernibly different sound from “Get away from my food!” and from “I am enjoying the sunshine.”

“I just laid an egg,” is discernibly different sound from “Get away from my food!” and from “I am enjoying the sunshine.”

Farm visitors are often surprised at what chickens can tell them.

11. Chickens Love Baths

Chickens Taking A Dust Bath | 11 Surprising Facts About Backyard Chickens

Chickens in a dust bath – image source

Chickens love dust baths, that is. Mine like to dig a little hole in the dirt and fluff themselves down into it, leaning off to one side with one wing extended at an awkward angle.

“Oh my gosh!” people will exclaim. “What is wrong with that chicken?!” Indeed, the chicken does look like it has a broken wing or some other malady. Sometimes people remain unconvinced until they see the hen jump up and run off.

Chickens are unique beings with a fun story to tell. I am glad to be a part of that story, and love it when I get to share the truths about chickens with farm visitors and watch them walk away with a whole new understanding of this wonderful piece of my world.

Still need a little backyard chicken 101? Then watch this video from The King’s Roost:

Did any of thesebackyard chicken facts surprise you? Learn anything new? Have anything you’d like to add to the list? Let us know what you think below in the comments!

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Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman

Learn to make your own homemade weapons so you’ll have a fighting chance in a survival situation where all you have is nature.

 [You Get One FREE] Weird Little Knife Drives TSA Crazy!

How to Make Homemade Weapons

Why Should You Learn to Make Homemade Weapons?

Let’s say you got lost in the wild, and you somehow forgot or lost your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT (or whichever is the best survival knife for you). What do you do?

While your situation is most likely not quite as bad as Tom Hanks had it in Castaway, let’s face it. The only way you’re gonna get out of this situation in good shape is to let out your inner caveman.

Let me explain. Our very primitive ancestors lived in a time when every day was a survival situation. Any tools or weapons they needed had to be made from scratch.

So, should you be unlucky enough to have only the shirt on your back while you’re lost in the wilderness, you’ll have to follow suit. Let the training of your inner caveman begin.

Today’s lesson: how to make DIY weapons in the wild with only the resources nature provided you.

How to Make a Knife | Homemade Weapons

Having a knife, any kind of knife is probably one of the best things to happen should you suddenly find yourself in a survival situation. You can use it to help you find food, build a shelter, and defend yourself against wild animals.

So it’s highly fortunate nature is waiting like a momma at a craft table with lots of materials you can use to create one.

1. Stone Knives

Bone, shell, bamboo, wood, or even an old aluminum beer can may work to perform the puncturing function of a blade. You know you’ve seen these a million times when you’re out hiking.

They’re easy to crack or break or shape into a fairly sharp point which will do in a pinch. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to use a chicken bone or an expertly-shaped aluminum can point to skin, chop, baton, or any of the other necessary functions of a survival knife.

This is where the stone comes into play. I’ll start by saying making a knife out of stone isn’t easy, but it can be done.

You’ll need three things: a core rock, a hammerstone, and a pressure flaker. Remember, you’re going to be smashing these together in true caveman fashion.

So, having stones you can reasonably grip in each hand is going to make your life a lot easier. Although, it’s definitely an option to stand poised over one rock smashing down on it.

You, with a two-hand grip, pounding until you’ve chipped away at it a bit. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

2. The Core Rock

rock formation background | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

The core rock is what you’ll be making into a blade. Find any large stone, preferably made from obsidian, slate, chert, or flint with a relatively flat side.

In case you weren’t a rock collector in any of your previous lives, here’s another way to decide if a rock meets the requirements for good knife-making material. Tap or click a rock together with another rock and listen for a ringing sound (like glass).

The more rock sounds like glass, the better it is as a material for your core rock. If you can, choose a rock which is already a bit sharp to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to shape it.

3. The Hammerstone

The hammerstone is a medium-sized, spherical rock, preferably made of granite. It will be used to smash, chisel, chip and shape the core rock.

You’ll be using it to chip off pieces of the core stone and to narrow the edges to a blade shape.

RELATED: How To Keep Your Edge | Knife Sharpener

4. The Pressure Flaker

The pressure flaker, or flaking tool, is a rock with a sharp point to help you refine the blade’s edges. You’ll use your flaking tool after you’ve thinned the edges of the stone with the hammer stone to make the “blade” sharper.

When you start making your knife, you’ll want to be sure to wet the core stone to shorten the time it takes to shape it into a blade. Begin by striking glancing blows near the edge of the core rock with the hammerstone.

Chip away at the core rock until you get the general shape of a blade. Then, use the flaking tool to refine the edges you need to sharpen.

You can also use a stone with a rough surface such as a sandstone to sharpen the edge. Use some rope, cloth, or leather to lash the base and create a handle.

If you are having troubling shaping the rock into a knife, you can opt to create stone blades instead. Check out the videos below to learn how:

Part One:

Part Two:

How to Make a Spear | Homemade Weapons

south african zulu spear | Homemade Weapons You Can DIY To Awaken Your Inner Caveman | homemade weapons | deadliest ancient weapons

We’ve talked about how to make a spear using your best survival knife in a previous article. The same principle applies here.

Even without your Cold Steel Leatherneck Tanto 39LSFT or whichever survival knife you normally bring with you, you can still make a spear using your newly made stone knife. To make a spear, you’ll need to find a five-foot-long stick tough enough to endure repeated short or long-distance throws.

  1. First, pick the end of the stick which has a more rounded tip and use your stone knife to start shaving to create a spear. Once you’re done, be sure to heat the spear over some hot coals to make your spear sharper.
  2. As an alternative, you can also make a spear by tying your knife onto a stick. Find a stick which is about an inch wide.
  3. Measure about 2 inches from one end of the stick. Mark the point, then split the stick into two until you reach the 2-inch mark, creating a sort of Y shape.
  4. This will create a space where you can stick your stone knife before you lash it on with some twine, cord, or rope. To lock the blade in place, put some moss or lichen in the remaining space.
  5. If you haven’t had time to fashion your knife out of stone yet, you can also use broken pieces of shell or glass or splintered bamboo or bone and secure it to the end of your stick.
  6. If you find a way to split your stick without a knife, you can insert the splintered bone or bamboo into the wedge and tie it off like you would when turning a knife into a spear.

How to Make a Weighted Club | Homemade Weapons

While sharp pointy tools are all well and good, you can never go wrong with a blunt homemade weapon. You can use it for hammering or bludgeoning something such as a weighted club.

The weighted club could be one of the deadliest ancient weapons. To make one, you’ll need the following: a piece of wood around 14-16 inches, a medium-sized rock, and some rope.

  1. Once you have all the materials, you’ll need to wrap some lashing 6-8 inches from the end of the stick.
  2. Split the same end until you reach the lashing in order to create a V-shaped notch. The rock you picked out should be shorter than the length of the split.
  3. Insert the stone then lash it securely (above, below, and across the stone). The lashing on the stick above the stone clamps both sides of the split together providing the first point of security, so it’s especially important to create a good, tight lashing above the stone.
  4. You’ll want to make sure you bind the split ends securely so the stone won’t fall off whenever you use it to hammer or pound on something.

This video from Wannabe Bushcrafter will show you how to make a bamboo knife:

Now, hopefully, you never find yourself in a situation where making homemade weapons is going to be a necessity for survival. But, if you do find yourself in such a quagmire, this little bit of information and inner caveman training may be what saves your life.

Which of these homemade weapons do you want to make? Tell us your progress in the comments section below!

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***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 11, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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5 Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

Know these home remedies for chigger bites, or better yet, avoid the bug's bites in the first place with helpful tips included here!

RELATED: Top Ways to Deal with Insects [Especially Mosquitos]

In this article:

  1. What Is a Chigger, Exactly?
  2. Where Do Chiggers Live?
  3. Identifying Chiggers Bites
  4. Home Remedies for Chigger Bites
  5. Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites

What Is a Chigger, Exactly?

Chiggers are members of the arachnid family. They are extremely tiny, and my guess is you won’t even see them as they jump from the tall grass onto your skin and/or clothing.

Adult chiggers are about 1/60 of an inch and have eight legs. The larvae are red, wingless, six-legged creatures which measure less than 1/150 of an inch.

Because of their red color, you might be able to spot the larvae when they cluster together, especially on white clothing.

What Is the Arachnid Family? It is a large group or class of invertebrate animals where the spiders and scorpions belong.

Where Do Chiggers Live?

Chiggers reside in tall weeds and grass, berry patches, and wooded areas. They could be in your backyard, by the lake, or your favorite hiking trail.

They are most active in summer and fall afternoons – the warmest part of the day.

Identifying Chiggers Bites

Only the larvae bite humans and they tend to choose warm, moist areas of the body.

Chiggers also have claws which help them grab onto your skin. The chigger then attaches its mouth to the skin and injects saliva.

The saliva contains an enzyme which breaks skin cells down to liquid form. Your body responds by hardening skin cells around the saliva, creating a tube (cyclostome) through which the chigger sucks the dissolved skin cells.

Chiggers can stay attached and feeding for several days before falling off.

When the chigger falls off, you are left with reddish bumps. You may notice a bright red dot in the center—this is a remnant of the tube your skin formed in response to the chigger's saliva.

The bumps may look like welts, blisters, pimples, or hives. Bites generally appear in groups and get larger for several days to a week.

While many insects bite exposed skin which is easy to get to, chiggers like to bite in folds of skin as well as places where clothing fits tightly on the skin. Most chigger bites occur around the ankles, waist, armpits, crotch, or behind the knees.

Home Remedies for Chigger Bites

Just remember, no matter what, DO NOT SCRATCH THE BITES! I know, easier said than done. But, breaking the skin on a chigger bite can lead to infection.

Here are 5 home remedies to help with the itching and swelling.

RELATED: Spider Bite? Here’s How To Treat It

1. Vicks Vapor Rub

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Vicks Vapor Rub can put an end to itchy chigger bites immediately and will even reduce the risk of blisters. It’s the cooling menthol in it which relieves itching by affecting itch receptors in the skin.

Steps:

  • Take a hot shower (use antibacterial soap.) Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
  • Take a small amount of the vapor rub and add some table salt to it.
  • Mix well and apply to the affected area.
  • Repeat if the swelling continues (otherwise, there is no need to repeat the process)

2. Cold Compress

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A cold compress can help reduce the itching associated with chigger bites. Its numbing effect helps reduce the sensation of itchiness.

Steps:

  • Wrap some ice cubes in a thin cloth.
  • Apply the compress to the bites for 10 minutes. Repeat if needed to relieve itching.

3. Baking Soda

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Baking soda is another effective remedy to reduce rashes as well as itchiness. It acts as a natural acid neutralizer which helps relieve itching and reduces the risk of infection.

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with cool water.
  • Stir well and soak in this water for 15 minutes and pat your skin with a soft towel. (Do this once daily)

Another remedy using baking soda:

  • Prepare a thin paste of 2 teaspoons of baking soda and a little water.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for about 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.

Note: Do not use this remedy more than once or twice a day. Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.

4. Oatmeal

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Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties providing instant relief from itching–one of the common symptoms of chigger bites. It is recommended to use colloidal oatmeal, meaning oats which are ground into an extremely fine powder.

(You can accomplish this yourself by grinding regular oats in a sealed Ziploc bag, using the backside of a spoon to crush the oatmeal.)

Steps:

  • Add 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with warm water
  • Stir thoroughly
  • Soak in this mixture for at least 15-20 minutes
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day

5. Olive Oil

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Olive oil can also be used to get relief from the irritation and inflammation. It is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which reduce itching and facilitate healing.

Steps:

  • After rinsing the affected area with water, apply olive oil to the chigger bite.
  • Reapply several times a day.

Another option using olive oil:

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and apply on the affected area.
  • Repeat a few times a day.

Tips to Avoid Chigger Bites and Chigger Bites Infection

As summer and fall are prime time for chigger bites, it is best to take the following precautions:

  1. When hiking, stay in the center of the trail and avoid brushing up against vegetation.
  2. Wear long sleeves and long pants when going into the woods.
  3. Apply mosquito repellent on your hands, feet, and exposed skin on your arms before going outside.
  4. Shower immediately after being outdoors and use antibacterial soap.
  5. Wash your clothes in hot water.
  6. Resist the urge to scratch because breaking the skin on chigger bites can lead to a possible infection.

This video from Online Pest Control will show you tips to avoid chiggers and ways to get rid of chiggers:

Chigger bites much like other insect bites aren't only discomforting, they can be dangerous too. Many of these insects including chiggers carry diseases in some cases.

The best way to deal with these bugs is to avoid them or control them with our tips here. But, if you're so unlucky, you also now know the best home remedies to chigger bites!

Have you had to deal with chigger bites before? Tell us how, including more useful tips which worked for you in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites self-defense tools and gear!

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr!

***Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.***

Home Remedies For Chigger Bites | https://survivallife.com/5-home-remedies-for-chigger-bites/

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 28, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

This Article Was First Found at survivallife.com Read The Original Article Here

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9 Good Reasons To Carry A “Survival Stick”

Arm yourself with a survival stick, get savvy with it, but first, find out why as you read on!

RELATED: Deadly Parasols | Umbrella As A Self-Defense Weapon

In this article:

  1. Survival Hiking Stick
  2. Survival Stick for Support
  3. Fetching/Reaching Things
  4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense
  5. Balance
  6. Gauging Depth
  7. Carrying Gear and Supplies
  8. Club
  9. Fishing Rod

Survival Stick: An Underrated Multipurpose Tool?

The Survival Stick in History

A walking stick or a survival cane were popular in the 17th and 18th centuries as a decorative show of power and a defensive replacement for a sword. Yet, the truth is our ancestors have been using them for thousands of years, and for good reason…

…They work! Even the animal kingdom is smart enough to know just how useful these are:

(It may be hard to see, but this gorilla is holding a walking stick to gauge the depth of the water as she sloshes along)

A walking stick is not a new or revolutionary idea. In fact, the use of a walking stick predates history and its use continued on for generations including this present time.

Yet, it is one which is more often than not overlooked. When most people think of a walking stick, it is usually paired with a top hat or seen as a crutch for someone with a walking disability.

Far too few people even realize how important a walking stick can be, especially to someone in the outdoors. We will dig a little deeper into the many uses of a survival stick and maybe safely say, it could be the first multi-purpose survival tool.

Practical and Survival Uses for a Survival Stick

Walking sticks are also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles and hiking staff have quite a few different uses:

1. Survival Hiking Stick

Hold the survival stick in front of you and you can use it to clear your way by parting brushes and branches or leaves and thick tall grasses. You can also use it to clear spiderwebs, especially if you're not too fond of spiders.

Other insects, animals, poisonous plants, and even animal dung can get in the way. Use a survival stick to inspect or poke at those things if you are unsure, and never ever your hands or your feet.

2. Survival Stick for Support

Hiker in Caucasus mountains is crossing mountain river | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | hiking staff
Making your way through an uneven terrain will be more manageable with a walking stick for support. Whether you're going up or down, use the walking stick to either slow you down or hold you up.

You can use your walking stick like breaks to keep you from speeding down or use it to latch on to a rock or crevice when you're climbing up. Besides for yourself, you can also use your multipurpose stick as a support for your tarp emergency shelter.

3. Fetching/Reaching Things

It happens–a supply or gear falling on water, mud, puddle or in an area you dare not walk into. You can fetch or reach for those items with a stick.

It also happens where you need an item over a physical barrier and only a stick can fetch the item for you. You can also reach for fruits, nest, or other food sources up a tree or high structure with a stick.

RELATED: Unusual Weapons From Around The World And How To Use Them

4. Walking Staff Weapon for Self-Defense

To use a survival stick as a weapon, make sure it's a sturdy stick with a finished look and not just any stick you found along the way. You can use it to defend yourself from an attacker whether it's human or animals.

I would suggest to train yourself in some form of martial arts using a stick like a baton as a weapon to have a better handle at it.

You can also fashion a spear with your stick by tying a survival knife on one end. Don't throw this spear though or you risk damaging or losing your knife and stick.

Hold on to your homemade spear and only use it to thrust at your target.

5. Balance

Hiker is crossing the river in Sweden | Hiker in Caucasus mountain | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | survival hiking stickWhen you're crossing a log bridge over a stream or you're going through the stream itself or other bodies of water, a walking stick can help you balance so you don't fall over. If you're walking through a muddy or rocky waterbed, a walking stick will help you up.

If you're up for it and if the body of water isn't too wide across, you can also use a long stick like a pole vault to cross over so you don't get yourself wet.

6. Gauging Depth

Relative to crossing bodies of water, a survival stick is handy in identifying dips beneath the waters which could cause you to stumble. You can also use the stick to identify where it's safe to take the next step.

You can also use this simple trick with the stick when you're traveling in deep snow, marshland, and even the dessert.

7. Carrying Gear and Supplies

Use your survival stick to help you carry gear and supplies. Pack your supplies with a shemagh, tie it tight to one end of your stick then place the stick over your shoulders in hobo fashion.

You can also carry more supplies with your survival stick. Even today, a carrying pole is used by indigenous people all over the world to carry heavy supplies you never thought possible.

Hang bags of supplies or jars of water on either side of the pole or stick, putting a stopper like a notch or tie on both ends so they don't fall off. Place the center of the stick over your shoulders and balance your load to your destination.

8. Club

Man carrying blue backpack | Good Reasons To Carry A "Survival Stick" | walking staff weapon
Use your survival stick like a club to knock obstacle down. A pillar of rocks or other objects may be on your way and a sturdy stick can help you safely knock those.

If you are in a building with glass doors or windows or inside a car, you can break the glass with a stick. Make to knock over pieces around your entrance or exit with the stick, too.

9. Fishing Rod

You only need to bring a fishing kit and your survival stick will make a good fishing rod. Tie a line on one end of your walking stick and fish away.

A DIY fishing pole is actually effective and many a fish has been caught this way.

As you guys and gals already know, I am a stickler for carrying things only if they have multiple uses. This guy managed to fit almost an entire survival kit into a walking stick he built from scratch, for under $20.00.

Check out this video from SOS 2054 I found, and find out for yourself, too:

A humble walking stick will indeed surprise you with what it can do for your defense, convenience, safety, and survival. Since you know now the practical and survival uses of this primitive multi-purpose tool, it won't surprise me if it lands a top spot on your list of survival tools for camping, hiking, or SHTF.

What other uses can you think of for carrying a “survival stick”? Let us know in the comments section below!

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**Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. Please read our full disclaimer.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 11, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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