Treated lumber in the run
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Edited by Kaylin - 5/5/16 at 6:30pm
1. Use treated wood for anything that touches the ground, use non-treated wood for anything else. It should last a long time.
2. Use non-treated wood that lasts a long time, like redwood, fir heartwood, or cedar heartwood. Very expensive.
3. Use non-treated regular wood and rebuild fairly soon.
4. Come up with a design that uses another material to touch the ground. Concrete, cinder blocks, bricks, galvanized metal, something that should last a while.
Personally I use treated wood.
I know you can argue about anything. Some things are pretty clear cut to me. Don’t use a broadband insecticide when they is one that targets exactly what you are after, such as BT for certain cabbage worms. But is the world better off using treating wood instead of cutting down another tree in a few years to rebuild?
To me some of these things are a personal choice. The chemicals they use to treat wood are not as bad as they used to be and they don’t leach out as much, but they are still pretty nasty. In your case, how much of that is really going to get into your eggs? Some chemicals will leach into the ground. The chickens might ingest a bit, but it is going to be such a minute quantity I don’t worry about it, especially the amount that actually gets to the eggs. You’re probably breathing in more quantity of bad things than that just from breathing air.
My garden fence posts are treated wood. The posts in my run fence are treated wood. The wood that touches the ground in my coop is treated wood but all other wood is not treated. Use treated wood sparingly but use it wisely. I figure that is the best I can do and that is good enough for me.
It might help to understand the chemistry. The original treated wood was called CCA.......standing for copper, chromium and arsenic. As in arsenic, the poison. While that may sound bad, arsenic is found naturally in many foods........and there was recently some info about how much if it is allowed in baby rice cereal. How much of it? Why not none? Apparently, tougher to do than you might think. But in CCA, it was concentrated to the point some felt it may be doing harm.
Anyway, those CCA chemicals were able to retard rot and did it well.........our old deck supports were CCA and after 25 years looked about the same as when they went on. But back to that arsenic thing......
So the treatment formula changed......twice. The first was MCQ.......which was highly corrosive to metal, and ate any aluminum metal it came into contact with, not to mentioned the screws and nails used to hold things together. MCQ is the main reason why you see some folks using stainless steel deck screws and nails. MCQ bombed in a hurry. The new stuff is called MCA.......standing for micronized copper azole.........extremely fine (micronized) copper dust, but suspended in liquid form and injected into the wood.........and azole, which is a broad class of fungicides that are even used on people. While not nearly as effective as CCA, when they are left above ground, they are more rot resistant than bare wood, and are considered to be far safer than CCA for people to be around. Birds too, I would suspect. The stuff that is listed for "ground contact" is simply injected with higher amounts of copper and azole than the above ground stuff. Harder to find, but still available for some restricted uses is the original CCA stuff. Fence posts. barn posts and such. Rated for ground contact and below ground contact. The reason being it still works well......far better than the MCA stuff........ and they don't expect much human contact with those. I doubt you will find CCA in a box store. Only specialty places have it.
I'm using MCA treated on the wood exposed to weather in the house I'm building and and not worried about the harm it may do to the birds or to me. Your mileage may vary.