Winter is upon us in southeastern Ohio, this means that it is time to start heating the house with our wood-burning stove. And that means that we will have buckets of wood ash. We try to reuse, repurpose, & recycle everything on our farmstead so before you throw out those buckets of wood ash, here are 7 great ways to use it in your chicken coop.
This post was originally published on Faith & Good Works.
Wood ash contains important minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous. Sprinkling a pinch of wood ash on the feeds will nourish your chicken with these vital minerals particularly good for egg-laying chicken. Wood ash also works as a detoxifier and removes toxins out of the chickens’ bodies. Hardwood has higher quality wood ash compared to softwood.
Chickens enjoy bathing in dust. If the coop has a cement floor, you can build a simple box as a dust bath for your chickens. Mix wood ash with sand and put it in the box for the chickens to enjoy. It is important to note that wood ash will also act as a parasite deterrent because it suffocates fleas, lice, and mites.
Wood ash can neutralize coop odor. Studies show that wood ash reduces the amount of ammonia in manure by preventing fumes from forming. Wood ash is alkaline and mixing it with manure in the coop helps in regulating its acidity as well as soil acidity in the garden. If your garden soil is acidic, adding wood ash to the coop floor or to already collected manure will help maintain a balanced PH level.
Wood ash has antibacterial properties, and it can help in healing wounds due to pecking or injuries sustained from scratching.
Putting a little charcoal in the waterer has proven as a useful measure in avoiding harmful algae and bacteria from developing. With a bit of ash added to the water, minerals are also added. Remember to change this charcoal regularly when cleaning the waterer.
If your chickens like to knock over their waterer, its absorbent nature will help in keeping the floor dry. It also keeps a good humidity level. This ensures the chicken feet are dry.
Snails and slugs can be harmful to the chicken if eaten. Sprinkle a band of wood ash around the coop during the wet season and this will keep snails and slugs at bay.