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Barn Cats — 7 Myths Debunked | Homesteading

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If you have a homestead or farm, then you most likely also have barn cats. In fact, barn cats are as much a staple of the barnyard as livestock. Barn cats help keep the barn clean of mice and rats, which can save you the arduous task of trying to get rid of them yourself. However, over the years I’ve heard a lot of negative opinions and incorrect care “tips” about the barn cat.

Barn Cats: The Fact and the Fiction

Having grown up with barn cats myself — and still having them — I find that people are full of misconceptions about them. So, let’s go over some of what people are saying about the barn cat. Then you can look at what I, and others, actually experience with these very helpful and really necessary part of your homestead.

You Can’t Have Tame Barn Cats — They Won’t Do Their Job

This thought is far from factual. A feral cat will do no better or worse than a tamed cat in the barn. As a matter of fact, the friendlier that you can get your barn cats, the easier it will be for you. This is especially true if you want to get them rabies shots or need to take care of an injury. It will also be easier on the cats if you need to catch them, as live trapping can be traumatic for the cat. In addition, it can also make an already unfriendly feral cat even more unfriendly. Not to mention angry! This puts the person who needs to handle the cat at risk of being torn up by four paws full of sharp claws.

If I Want Good Barn Cats, I Need to Let Mine Have Their Own Litters

Again, false. If you have a cat who you feel has especially good genes that you really want to keep going, then you might want to let her have a litter. That way, you can try to keep those genetics on farm. Keep in mind, however, that barn cats tend to inbreed. This means that after a few generations, kittens tend to become sickly. This is counter productive to your desire to have good, healthy animals.

With that said, if you really feel that you have a good cat, male or female, whose genetics you want to keep going, allow them only a few litters. Select one or two from the litters who will keep the lines going that you want, then spay or neuter the rest. But, with this route, you’ll always have to be vigilant that inbreeding doesn’t occur. Even if all your other cats are fixed, this can still be an issue. You’ll have to be more hands on than you will probably want to be. Plus, you’ll have to watch for heat cycles so there isn’t an “accident.” Not to mention the continual spay/neuter of the litters will be expensive. But, there is another, better alternative.

barn cats spay neuter

barn cats spay neuter

Many shelters now are offering barn cats for adoption. These are usually cats that are feral or may be a bit friendly, but they’re still not quite house cat material. Because of this, the shelters look for barn homes for these cats. These cats are usually spayed or neutered and may even have shots. Because some shelters have so many of these hard-to-place cats, I have seen them offered for adoption at a reduced cost. Sometimes they’re even free! You may have to prove that you have shelter for them as well as any other requirements that the shelter might have, but then you have the satisfaction of giving a “home to the homeless.” With this method, there’s also no worry about inbreeding or litters, as they are coming to you already spayed/neutered.

As there is usually no shortage of the availability of these cats, you can usually always find some when you need them. With adoption, you keep your barn filled with cats without contributing to overpopulation! The shelter (or rescue) doesn’t have any available? Let them know that you are looking for animals for your barn, and you’re open to ferals who need to be placed. Then ask if they can contact you if and when they have any available.

If I Feed My Barn Cats They Won’t Do Their Job, So I Let Them Fend for Themselves

Once again, from my own (and others) experiences with barn cats, this is a total myth. In fact, starving your barn cats may not only encourage them to run away — especially if they find someplace else that puts food out — it could get you into a bit of trouble as well.

Just because you feed your cats, that doesn’t mean that they won’t do their jobs as the rodent hit squad of your barn and grounds. In fact, quite the opposite. A well-fed cat means a happy, healthy cat that will get out there and hunt. And, from my experiences, it may encourage them to leave your wild birds alone.

If I Let My Barn Cats in the House, They Won’t Want to Go Back to the Barn

Most people will have their barn cats stay in the barn. However, once in a while the kids may have a favorite (or maybe even one of the adults may have a favorite). But let’s say you don’t really want an indoor cat. Not to fear! Letting your barn cat come inside won’t ruin it for the barn. While once it gets a taste of indoor life, it may prefer it, if you get the cat into a routine of bringing it in for a few hours then taking it back out, the cat will learn. Then, you may even have a cat who decides that an hour indoors is enough. After the hour, they may want to go back out voluntarily. When that happens, let the cat out even if you wanted it in longer. Don’t force it, or the cat won’t want to come back.

If, for some reason, you need to bring a barn cat in for medical reasons — especially during fall/winter transitions — watch the weather. If the cat has been in recovery for weeks or months during warm weather and has missed that natural temperature transition, don’t just put him out if the weather is freezing or sub zero. The cat’s system will not have had time for the system to adapt to the drastic changes. Because of this, either keep your cat in till spring, or on the first nice day, let it our for a short time. Once the cats has briefly been exposed, bring it back in. Do this over and over, leaving the cat out a little longer each time. Within a month or so, the cat will probably be adapted to the cold enough. Then they can go out to the barn full-time once again.

I Don’t Need to Put Out Water…They Can Find Plenty Around the Property!

Although you may have (or think you may have) plenty of water sources around your property, always, always have a pot or two of fresh, clean water out for your barn cats. Even in the winter! While you may see one of your cats drinking from the nearest mud puddle, they still need clean water available to them at all times. I normally put one pot of water around their food. You can also put another in one of their other favorite hang out spot. Don’t forget to scrub the water pots out every so often, as they can get quite dirty and scummy on the inside. Also be sure to change the water daily.

Feral Barn Cats Can Never Make Good House Cats

If you have a lot of patience, some feral cats actually will make excellent house cats. In fact, some of my best, most loving house cats began feral. If you get a barn cat as a little kitten, it’s quite easy to make it a household pet. However, if you get them as juveniles or adults it will take more patience and work on your end.

It can take time to get barn cats to trust, as well as time for them to get used to the indoors. Lastly, it takes time for them to realize that you actually pose them no danger. Don’t make fast moves towards them or force them to be picked up or pet. Work on the cat’s time, but also continually talk to them, call them by name, and give them treats. Eventually, they’ll come around. Some take as little as weeks, but others can take a month or more.

barn cats house cats

barn cats house cats

Now, all that said, there are some cats that — no matter what — do not want to be a house cat. Regardless of what you do, they’ll be unhappy if stuck inside. If this is the case, and it’s still a cat that you really want to make a pet out of, nothing is stopping you from making friends with the cat as he lives his life happily outdoors. And who knows? Maybe someday your favorite barn cat will want to be inside with its favorite human!

I Can’t Bring A Barn Cat Indoors…..He’ll Mess All Over My House!

Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I personally have never had a barn cat refuse a litter box when provided. Just make sure that the box is in a place where the cat can see it. (You can always move it later.) If you’re able to physically pick the cat up, you can also take it right up and into the litter box.

The Perks of a Good Barn Cat

So, there you have it. Some of the most common myths of keeping barn cats. Good barn cats are worth their weight in gold. If treated well, they’ll help keep your barn and/or property clean of rats and mice. Although they seem quite independent, as you can see, barn cats still need some care and attention. Treat them well, and your barn cats will reward you with years of pest control!

Did we miss any barn cat myths you’ve had to debunk? Let us know in a comment below!

Rats in your barn not your only homestead nuisance? Check out this article for 12 natural ways to get rid of flies!


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Self Sufficiency

NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls

New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.

The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.

The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.

“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”

The post New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll appeared first on Daily Caller

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Self Sufficiency

How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

The thing about homesteading is you get to create your own ingredient right from scratch! Cheese, yogurt, butter and now sauerkraut, a delightfully sour and crunchy ingredient you can use on your meals — or consume by itself — while on a homestead, or while facing this health crisis!

This homemade sauerkraut is a great meal because it has a long shelf life. You can either make plain sauerkraut or mix it with herbs and spices. In this tutorial let us make Lacto-fermented sauerkraut that preserves all the good probiotics in a jar, good for your guts.

So how to make sauerkraut in a mason jar?

RELATED: How To Make Buttermilk On Your Homestead

Delicious Sauerkraut Recipe Every Homesteader Should Know

Why Make Sauerkraut?


Not only does sauerkraut spoil a long time, but it is also a meal in itself, and it is also easy to make! You don’t need to be an expert cook, all you need to do is follow these simple steps.

So let us get started. Here are the steps in making sauerkraut in a mason jar.


  • 1 head of cabbage or 2 1/2 lbs cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

Tools Needed:

  • knife
  • bowl
  • mason jar
  • smaller jar
  • rubber band

Step 1: Wash & Clean the Tools & Ingredients

Wash all the equipment and utensils you need. Wash your hands too.

You don’t want to mix your sauerkraut with bad bacteria, anything that is going to make you sick.

Next, remove the faded leaves from your cabbage. Cut off the roots and the parts that don’t seem fresh.

Step 2: Cut the Cabbage Into Quarters & Slice Into Strips

Cut your cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Then, slice it into strips.

Step 3: Place in a Bowl & Sprinkle With Salt

Put the stripped cabbage into a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with 1 tablespoon of salt.

TIP: Use canning salt or sea salt. Iodized salt will make it taste different and may not ferment the cabbage.

RELATED: Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Step 4: Massage the Cabbage

Massage the cabbage for five minutes or more to get the juice out.

TIP: You’ll know it’s ready when you see a bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl and will look similar to coleslaw.

Step 5: Press Cabbage Into the Mason Jar

Add the cabbage to the mason jar gradually. Press it in hard to allow the juice to come out. Do this every time you add about a handful of cabbage.

IMPORTANT: Food should be covered by the liquid to promote fermentation. Add any excess liquid from the bowl to the jar.

Step 6: Press a Smaller Jar Into the Mason Jar

You want to squeeze every ounce of that juice from the cabbage. To do this place the mason jar in a bowl and get a smaller jar.

Fill it with water or marble to make it heavy. Press it into the bigger mason jar. Allow any juices to rise to the surface.

Step 7: Cover the Jars With Cloth & Tie With Rubber Band

Leave the small jar on. To keep your jars clean from annoying insects and irritating debris, cover your jars with a clean cloth. Then, use a rubber band to tie the cloth and the jars together, putting them in place.

Step 8: Set Aside & Check Daily

Set it aside in a cool dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the water level daily. It should always be above the cabbage.

Step 9: Taste Your Sauerkraut & Keep at Cool Temperatures

Homemade Sauerkraut Cumin Juniper | How To Make Lacto-Fermented Sauerkraut In A Mason Jar

After about five days, you can taste your sauerkraut. If the taste is to your liking, tightly cover it with the lid and store in the fridge or cellar.

NOTE: If after five days it’s still not your desired taste, leave it for a few more days. This will allow the fermentation process to continue.

You can now enjoy your sauerkraut in a mason jar. Enjoy its goodness! You can use it as a side dish or mix it with your favorite sandwich.

Things to Remember in Making Sauerkraut

  • Store away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Colder weather will make the process longer. Spring is the best time to make them since the warmth helps activate the fermentation.
  • Always make sure that the cabbage is below the water level during the entire fermentation process.
  • If the water level decreases during the fermentation process, you can make a brine and add it.

Let us watch this video from Kristina Seleshanko on how to make delicious Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar!

So there you have it! Making Lacto-fermented sauerkraut in a mason jar is as easy as slicing the cabbage into strips. Remember that as long it remains unopened, your sauerkraut can last for months. Best of all, you can partner this sauerkraut in many recipes.

What do you think of this homemade recipe? Share your best sauerkraut recipe in the comments section below!

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Self Sufficiency


Having plants in the house will bring peace to people. Having a little garden with vegetables is even better! You can grow these vegetables in your backyard garden easily as well!

RELATED: Microgreens Growing Guide

In this article:

  1. Tomato
  2. Eggplant
  3. Beet
  4. Spinach
  5. Pea
  6. Carrot
  7. Radish
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus

Growing veggies in your garden will give you an opportunity to understand what you eat and value it more. Early spring is when most vegetables are being planted. Keep reading to learn about 9 spring vegetables that anyone can grow in their garden!


Tomato is the most popular garden vegetable in the States! There are different varieties to choose from. Tomatoes need to be planted in early spring because they won’t survive a frost.

Because tomatoes are consumed daily, try adding them to your garden! They’re not difficult to grow either.


Eggplants are known to have low-calorie, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Plus, they are delicious! So why not plant them in your garden?

Eggplants shouldn’t be planted too early because they won’t be able to survive a frost. So you could consult an expert in your area before you plant your eggplants.


Beets are known to be a superfood for its various health benefits. They’re easier to grow in the garden, usually around late March or early April.

If the weather is always cool, beets will keep getting bigger and bigger. Once the weather starts to warm up, you’ll need to harvest them, or they’ll go to waste.


Spinach is a delicious early spring veggie, and it’s also very beneficial for health. And it’s not difficult to grow spinach in your garden!

Spinach needs cold weather to grow. Getting spinach to grow is easy, but keeping it growing will require some extra care.


Peas are usually planted in late April. Peas will die in freezing temperatures, but they also won’t survive the heat either. So make sure you plant your peas in early spring.

Peas are widely used in many different ways, and there are different types of peas. The soil you’ll be planting your peas should be suitable for them, so make sure you ask while buying seeds.


There are different types of carrots, but regardless of their size and color, it’s a fact that carrots are both delicious and rich in vitamins.

They’re root vegetables, so with proper sun and watering, they can be picked up as baby carrots as well.


A radish is an excellent option for beginners because it doesn’t require too much care. Radish is easy to harvest.

Radish grows fast, so it’s better to keep an eye on it after a few weeks. Radish usually is grown pest-free, but there’s always the chance of unwanted guests, so watch out for worms. Radish can be eaten raw or can be added to garnish recipes.


Cauliflower isn’t the easiest vegetable to grow at home, but it is very popular.

Cauliflower grows better in colder weather, so before you plant it, consider the climate of your garden. Cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is known to be very beneficial for health.


Freshly picked, tender asparagus is very delicious!

Asparagus plants get more productive with each harvest, and mature asparagus harvest can last for months! Make sure you plant them at the correct time, or else they might go to waste.

All the vegetables listed above are great for your healthy diet, and it’s fun to watch them grow. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to grow your own veggies and eat healthy this spring!

So tell us which veggies will you be growing this spring? Tell us in the comments section!




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