Backyard Food Production DVD Review

The folks at Backyard Food Production contacted me before Christmas and asked if I’d like to review their DVD for free. I said sure and had them send it to the ultra secretive, totally anonymous Bat Cave mailing address. A few weeks go by before I can pick it up and by then I’d found myself, somewhat unexpectedly, knee deep in a bedroom remodel project that consumed my already non-existent spare time. Eventually I got to it, though, and I invited the wife to sit next to me on the couch like a little movie date night to see – Backyard Food Production.

You can get a feel for the DVD by watching the trailer here:

My review of the DVD is mixed.

First – The Bad

  • The editing is amateur. It has that “produced on my home pc” look and feel to it. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but don’t expect professional editing. The amateur editing could have been buffered with more creative delivery, though. It’s very “here is some information” as you would expect it to be, but the delivery didn’t have to be so … dry. A little humor or personal touch would have gone a long way.
  • A lot of the information is specific to their location in Texas. While I understand they need to describe what works for their environment, that information does little for me up here in Maine.
  • After she kills a rabbit in her kitchen and processes the carcass, she puts the rabbit guts on a dish for her dog to eat. That part wasn’t so bad in itself, it’s that the same clip was shown a few times. Seeing the dog eat rabbit guts off a plate was interesting – the first time.
  • There’s little information on financial costs. She talked about reducing the need for commercial grain and such, but there’s no information around how their operation cost to purchase, build or maintain. That would be useful for anyone serious about replicating what they’ve done.

Now – The Good

  • There’s a lot of crunchy, hippie-like talk on soil fertility. She talks about it as though it’s spiritual. I dig that action and my wife dug it, too. My wife said the family seemed very “Waldorfy“.
  • You see a rabbit get killed and butchered. Some people might think that’s bad, but I didn’t, mostly because of the way she did it. She was as respectful of the animal as she could be. She hummed some short spiritual sounding ditty while crumbling up some, presumably smelly thing in her fingers as the rabbit died. I wanted to know exactly what she was humming and what she crushed up in her fingers, but she didn’t get into that.
  • She feeds rabbit guts to her dog – more specifically – she uses, or has a plan for, every part of the rabbit. You can’t be a more spiritually conscious meat eater than she is. That was good to see.
  • Any prepper type will find something of use in the DVD. I went back to watch the poultry section a 2nd time before handing the DVD over to Jarhead Survivor to watch. I even paused that section a few times so I could write down notes. From a “big picture” perspective, if nothing else, the DVD will spark creative thinking about your own yard and what you might be able to do.

I recommend the DVD for:

  • Preppers in Texas – there’s particularly pertinent info for you.
  • People serious about trying to produce a large amount of their own food on their own land, whether you’re in Texas or Alaska.
  • People that more easily digest information from video than from reading. Each medium serves different learning styles.

I think the folks should do a sequel, and this time make it a bit more lively, more personal. The information is useful, but these folks have a story to tell, and I’d like to see their story weaved in.

If you’ve read the post this far – you’re a hardcore, non-casual SHTF Blog reader. Leave a comment and at week’s end I’ll draw a random number and the author of that comment will get the DVD mailed to him/her. Any comment will do, whether it’s relevant to the post or “I love you, Ranger Man” or “this blog sucks.” Only one comment per-person.

– Ranger Man

BTW: I wrote a Is Prepping Depressing? guest post over at Survival Mom today. Check it out.

27 comments… add one
  • fat albert January 24, 2011, 10:41 pm

    would love to have the room to grow more of our own food. Even though my thumbs tend to be more on the black then the green side. LOL I was also just telling someone I should have spent more time with my uncle and learned how to hunt and clean small game as my dad was not a hunter. Also, love your website/blog.

  • Raina January 24, 2011, 10:48 pm

    Super interesting. Aside from seeing the dog eat, sounds like something I would want to check out. Thanks.

  • Adele January 24, 2011, 10:53 pm

    Sounds like a DVD I will have to add to my wish list. Just the watching of butchering the rabbit will help me since I plan on getting them this year after the barn is built for all our animals. Goats, rabbits, chickens and pigs is what I am planning on to start with and will grow fro there. Thanks for the evaluation of the DVD.

  • CJ January 25, 2011, 7:57 am

    Does sound interesting but after seeing the trailer I would weigh the options of DVD price versus the usable content before I bought it. Also I would like to know more about raising laying hens and hens for meat.

    • Ranger Man January 25, 2011, 8:16 am

      I can tell you that the DVD focused more on laying hens. According to the host, raising enough hens for meat required far more space and energy input than laying hens. This is why they opted for rabbit meat.

      • Adele January 25, 2011, 11:34 am

        We use to call the rabbits we raised four legged chickens because they do taste a LOT like chicken.

  • ksldr January 25, 2011, 9:48 am

    Very helpful review. Location is key. It would also be helpful to know the size of their “backyard” when considering this DVD (just puts it in perspective). Thanks

    • Ranger Man January 25, 2011, 1:56 pm

      I believe they have about 30 acres, but they maintain that everything they do can be accomplished in a few acres.

  • Bustednuckles January 25, 2011, 9:48 am

    Go ahead and throw my name in the hat.
    If I win, I’ll watch it and send it back to ya so you can give it away again.


  • Tony January 25, 2011, 9:52 am

    I seen this preview on YouTube awhile back. It looks pretty interesting especially the parts on raising rabbits.

  • TMM January 25, 2011, 11:01 am

    Maybe you should talk to them about producing a set of disks focusing on people doing the same thing in other (more relevant to us) parts of the country :)

  • Steelheart January 25, 2011, 12:12 pm

    I agree that Texas specific information isn’t as valuable for those of us in the northern climates, Minnesota in my case.


  • Marcia B January 25, 2011, 12:28 pm

    My Dad would love this DVD!

  • sput January 25, 2011, 1:23 pm

    Ranger and Jarhead, thanks for all the info you share, I’m in

  • Little Mrs. January 25, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Very informative review.

  • Emily the Harried Homemaker January 25, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Thanks for the thorough review. Sounds like something I’d be interested in checking out.

  • Silent Walker January 25, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Very nice review.

  • Chris January 25, 2011, 4:45 pm

    I just watch the trailer. They really wan their name out there, don’t they. Several people seem to have reviewed it. Compost does work by the way. I used to live in Oklahoma. My yard was clay when we moved in. By the time we left we had a beautiful garden!

    God, I can’t wait till I’m done with school. I hate living in apartments and dorms it sucks. I want a yard and a garden… blah.

    • Ranger Man January 25, 2011, 11:08 pm

      Don’t wish time away, bro. Some days I miss apartments and dorm life.

  • Chris January 25, 2011, 4:47 pm

    Forgot to ask. Has anyone ever eaten rabbits? I used to have 3 of them growing up but they were are males so no babies and no eating them. They were pets after all. Seriously though, anyone ever eaten it? Whats it taste like?

    • Ranger Man January 25, 2011, 11:09 pm

      I shot one once during rabbit season, but … I hadn’t cooked one before, and … well … it was a learning experience.

    • Jack January 26, 2011, 2:54 pm

      When I was a kid, we used to have a rabbit house with about 20-30 rabbits, as well as 30-40 chickens. We ate them both all the time. Rabbits taste like chicken when fried up like chicken or in a stew, just the bones are different. The wild ones taste a little gamier, but not much different.

  • ChefBear58 January 26, 2011, 12:12 am

    @Chris- Rabbit is delicious, my favorite recipe is hasenpfeffer. Its basically a traditional German rabbit stew. With some cooking methods it will taste like a slightly gamy dark meat chicken. They are pretty easy to clean and cook, the wild ones can be REAL hard to hunt!

    One thing for anyone considering raising rabbits for food should know that because of the extremely low fat content there is condition that is caused “rabbit poisoning”. It sounds pretty bad, but it only really effects people who eat lots of extremely lean meat and little or no supplemental fat. The simple solution is to plan on getting supplemental fat from other sources. I will leave it at that, if you want to read more about the condition here is a link to Wikipedia

    It was cool to see them mention the sweet potato, they are a great source of nutrition and can grow in conditions where other plants wouldn’t even germinate. Culinary history points to Africa as the home of the sweet potato and they have some pretty rough climates where people eat little more than the yams they can harvest.

    I think I am gonna have to check out the DVD, thanks Ranger Man.

  • Becky January 26, 2011, 7:57 am

    Thanks for the thorough review. It sounds interesting.

  • Jack January 26, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Add my name to the drawing. We lived on a farm when I was a kid, and I saw a lot of stuff then, but we moved when I was 10, and I could use a good refresher about homesteading today.

  • Mike January 26, 2011, 7:50 pm

    I loved your review… I have been wondering if I should buy this dvd or not… your comments were insightful and very helpful.



  • Prepared N.D. April 2, 2011, 11:28 pm

    Finally got a chance to watch this DVD. I believe she sprinkled tobacco around the rabbit, that’s what some native americans do.

    They have a pretty cool set up, most of it would work well in my area too. They’ve pretty much sold me on raising rabbits. I’m going to do a bit more reading and then run the idea by the wife and hopefully I’ll have some rabbits in a month or two.


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