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 Post subject: Using whitewash and lime
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 2:55 pm 
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Showy Hen
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I would like to cover the benefits of using lime around the chook pen, not the fruit but hydrated lime or builders lime.
Whitewash (lime and water) is something thats fallen on the wayside, once upon a time almost every barn, farmshed, pigpen, stable, chookhouse and pigeon loft used to get an annual coat of whitewash.
yep the old fashioned way of keeping down the bug numbers and pathogens.
To make whitewash around 1 1/2 kg of hydrated lime in 8 litres of water and it is painted on with a brush, for poultry sheds it needs to be re applied annually which is why it doesnt get widespread use. Personally, I dont mind a day or two of hanging around the sheds talking to the chooks while I paint perches, walls, nest boxes etc.
Mostly these days it is used inside, as it will dilute in the rain a bit. It tends to look streaky as its applied but dries to a fresh solid white.

Lime is also used to keep down smells etc associated with poultry. When cleaning pens a sprinkling of lime before the bedding/straw/ shavings is put in will work wonders. It can be raked in to sand, gravel floors and dug into dirt runs.

Benefits/disadvantages:
It will increase the ph of the litter, once it reaches a ph of around 10-12 great things happen! high ph will destroy the membrane walls of certain pathogens and destroy mite eggs. It is proven in controlling avian influenza, newcastle disease, ornithosis etc.
Greatly improves sanitary conditions and eliminates smells.

Never just heap it over existing manure in filthy areas without removing it first, even though it reduces ammonia it may become volatile in the process, take the poo out first!
Hydrated lime is what you want, never use quick lime as its caustic.
When handling dry lime wear gloves, dust mask etc
Always needs to be under the bedding or mixed through as big lumps can burn the birds feet if its wet, although most chooks will dust bathe in it.
It will also help to preserve timber.
So, it might be beneficial for some as it doesnt carry the chemicals or costs of modern paints or kreosote and it assists with keeping a sanitary enviroment.
I hope this is useful to someone, kind regards. H.f 1
Pics: freshly white washed poultry sheds


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 4:31 pm 
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Assist Admin
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Thanks HF,
the whitewash looks great! Nice and clean and looks like the pens are brighter with it too.
I might give it a go.

Did you scrape all the dried poop off the perches first?

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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 5:55 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Thanks Jo, it was such a pleasure to walk in the pens today, very fresh. Yep I gave them a light scrape than brushed everything with a broom head, I didnt go overboard with it though.


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 9:40 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Thanks Hardfeather for that info. I've also used lime for years although my knowledge is now more specific. Most of my pens are deep litter (under cover) and my young birds cycle thru these - 2 days before they go in everything above floor level is thoroughly dusted with lime. Perches and nest boxes are then brushed down, floor is thoroughly limed and a new layer of litter goes on top of the old deep litter. Then a fresh layer of litter is added. So far I do not believe that I have had health problems with my chicks as a result of them going into 'used' litter. I believe that is because of the lime.
Does the surface need to be porous for the white wash to 'stick' or will it work on gal?


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PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 10:17 pm 
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It does need to be porous, I slather it on everything though. If its inside the coop it will tend to stay on metal surfaces surprisingly well


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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 7:25 pm 
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Gallant Game
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I thought hydrated lime is Calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2?
That would be caustic. Suitable for walls but not for perches?
I have never seen recommendations to paint the perches with it, please be careful.

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 8:13 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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I had read somewhere (cant remember where) that only garden lime should be used around chickens not hydrated lime.
I'm not sure what the difference is between the two ?

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 8:30 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Ok, here is an extract from a farming website:

" to pay attention to what type of lime you are using in your whitewash–be sure to select hydrated lime(also called mason’s lime)– NOT dolomite lime or garden lime. We were able to find ours at our local building supply store, although you might check feed stores too. Hydrated lime is different than the type of lime you spread on the ground/garden, so make sure you have the right stuff!"


Last edited by Hardfeather1 on Sat May 30, 2015 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 8:34 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Ive been doing this for over 20 years, my dad and grandad have been doing it for 80 years combined.
I just thought that I never really have chooks "just die" or rarely get sick, or have any real health/parasite
complications that I could share the methods I have been using.
Cheers for the input


Last edited by Hardfeather1 on Sat May 30, 2015 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 8:51 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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Thanks for clarifying that hardfeather. My mum keeps telling me to paint my coops with lime and Ive been confused, thinking 'what is she talking about how do I paint my coop with garden lime?' :roll:
Silly me ! Now I know the difference :thumbs:

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 9:24 pm 
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I dont think we are allowed to buy "quick lime" (calcium oxide) in Aus anymore.
Quick lime is unstable terrible stuff, it will melt lungs/burn skin.


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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 9:25 pm 
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Showy Hen
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This is lime wash not proper whitewash. Ends up basically the same though.

The powder itself wouldn't be great for birds to be walking on, but once it's mixed with water and dried its not the same.


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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 9:27 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Thank you for sharing this Hardfeather.

So sprinkling it around the nests and floor etc won't hurt the birds when the ingest it?

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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 9:29 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Hardfeather1 wrote:
I dont think we are allowed to buy "quick lime" (calcium oxide) in Aus anymore.
Quick lime is unstable terrible stuff, it will melt lungs/burn skin.


Not exactly hard to make if you want though lol.


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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 9:33 pm 
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Lol sash, if you were so inclined. Ive heard of ppl fishing with quick lime explosives


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