wood stains and chickens

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here's my dilemma:

Boght some red stain from Ace hardware to do all the chicken house. Kinda spiffing up the place before we put it on the market. I had let my Reds out to range and stained the side of their house that is enclosed in their pen. First thing I know - the dang birds are pecking the dried stain off the lower boards!!!! Panic time!!!!!

Made some frantic calls to Ace - got people calling everywere - trying to find out if this is gonna poisin my birds! Got conflicting answers. One was - once dried - the polywhatevers, that ARE highly poisonus, would not be piosonous. Another said - they have NO idea! Never been tested for use around livestock. Best play it safe and don't use. AAAAAAAAUUUUUGH!!

I did NOT do anymore staining and returned the remainder of the unused gallons of stain asap! I have since picked up ome paint from Lowes that is "safe for use around livestock". But - I have ot used it yet because the Reds are STILL pecking at the stain that remains! I have not figured out how to remove the stain without leaving a bigger mess on the ground for them to get into.

They egg production is off. Some have runny poops. Some have slimmy white poops which is causing pasting, some have waterery clear poops with lumps of solid green. None of my other birds - in 3 other pens are doing this! I have used Sulmet, I have used oat meal, I have used DE. And they're STILL messed up! AAUUGH! They have oyster shells, and grit, layers crumbles and scratch, and get out to range apx every 4th day. Is it the stain??? And if so - how the heck do I remove it from rough sawmll lumber???? Soooooo - any help you all can throw at me would be greatly aprecated cause I'm about at my wits end!

-- dottie - in E Shore MD (mother-ducker@webtv.net), April 16, 2002


This is the first thing I thought of so take it for whatever it's worth. The thing it seems most logical to do is keep them away from the stain - right now - until you can find out for sure how to deal with it permanently. How about tacking some heavy plastic or maybe a fiber glass panel or anything else you can think of that they won't peck at over the stain so they can't get to it? That will stop them from ingesting it NOW and give you the time you need to find out about a safe and permanent way to deal with it.

-- Carol - in Virginia (carollm@rockbridge.net), April 16, 2002.


It is really hard to kill a chicken! My chickens range free. They peck on anything and everything. It doesn't matter if it is rusty, or moldy, or stain or paint, and even fine broken glass.

I don't think I'd be too worried. If they aren't dead by now. . .they likely won't be by tomorrow either. Chickens have very strong constitutions.

Many of the warnings on labels these days are dire in their warnings to protect from lawsuits, and "just in case".

-- Judy (JMcFerrin@aol.com), April 16, 2002.

My chicken health book recommends doing a flush for food poisoning. It basically removes the toxins from the body. There are 2 - an epsom salt or a molasses flush. The molasses isn't quite as effective, but you can use it on a flock whereas the epsom salt flush has to be individually administered because it tastes bad.

Mix 1 pint of molasses with 5 gallons of water. Take their water away and replace it with the molasses mixture. Leave the molasses mixture with them for 8 hours then take it away & give them their plain water back. This is for adult birds only, not chicks.

You can get more advice by posting for help on www.poultryconnection.com/forum www.nevadatea.com/chicken.html

If you don't have a poultry vet in your area, you can also call you Ag Extension office for help. If they don't have a poultry specialist, then ask if there is a State Poultry Vet and get a phone number. We have a state poultry vet here and he has been very helpful when I have called for advice.

-- Dash (forthechix@yahoo.com), April 16, 2002.

Thank you for your replies!!!! They are most helpful! :-)

-- dottie (mother-ducker@webtv.net), April 17, 2002.

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