Wood ash as a dust for chickens

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I've read in a couple books to put wood ashes in for your chickens to dust in to help with treatment for Lice. I did just that except they are not dusting but scratching and eating the small wood charcoal peices, will this hurt them? I just put the ash in today and already their poop is black from eating the charcoal pieces that remained in the ash. Their wasn't alot of charcoal but they have managed to eat most all of it. They don't seem ill in the slightest yet( I'm praying they don't get ill either.) Thanks

-- Kelle in MT. (kvent1729@aol.com), March 02, 2001


As far as I know, most animals benefit from eating charcoal, so I wouldn't sweat it too much. (Hopefully, we're talking about wood that has not been chemically treated.)

-- Laura Jensen (lrjensen@nwlink.com), March 02, 2001.

We've given our chickens wood ashes to dust in for years. Ours eat it and dust in it too. I think (but can't prove) that it cleans them out. The only thing to watch out for is when the ashes get wet they get caustic and might burn the chickens. We put ours where the rain can't get into it.

-- Peg in NW WI (wildwoodfarms@hushmail.com), March 02, 2001.

Kelle - Do your chickens have access to oyster shell? I might think that they are picking the stone size pieces out for grit. Chickens need about so many small stones in their gizzard to grind their food. Don't think it will hurt them either.

-- Betsy K (betsyk@pathwaynet.com), March 03, 2001.

Won't hurt them. When they get the urge to dust.....they will. We keep a flat rubber bowl inside the coop. Fill it about half full couple of times a week. By now they stand in line waiting to get in the tub! One of the neat "tricks" we show our city-folk friends.

-- Rick Powell (rpowell@email.ccis.edu), March 06, 2001.

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