City Chickens living in a area with soil tested at 350ppm Lead. Now what?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Gallina8, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Gallina8

    Gallina8 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 20, 2012
    They live in the long alley we share with out neighbors and scratch happily in the leaves. I've recently thought about the lead content of our soil, and while I haven't had ours tested specifically, there are results from a city-wide soil testing initiative that show our neighbors having 200-350ppm levels. 500ppm is considered hazardous waste by the EPA.

    So, I need help coming up with a plan to get my chickens out of the dirt. Here are some images of the run that I have to re-think.

    Fenced door opens to the street.

    This was our "farm cat"... but it gives a good idea of the alley space. Chain link flush to the ground- neighbors have dirt lots on both sides, and the fence is open to the street (where our neighborhood kids dote on them). Pallets are gone.


    And, FYI, they don't live in this dirty run all the time. They come into the garden and are treated with delicious goodies like these pumpkins and squash. :) The dirt is the same here too, though :(



  2. farmtotable

    farmtotable Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    My Coop
    First of all, let me begin by saying I am in no way an authority on lead. That being said, I'm not sure I would eat produce that was grown in soil you know is contaminated. Have you thought about switching over to raised beds filled with clean soil you bring in from an outside source? I've read you aren't supposed to eat produce that was grown in beds made from pressure treated wood because the chemicals seep into the food, I can't imagine lead or other soil contaminants would be any different. But any hoo, back to your question of getting your chickens out of the dirt. I couldn't tell from the pictures what the exact dimensions are, but perhaps you could bring in enough dirt from an outside source to cover what's already there? I live in the boonies, but last year I ordered in 12 yards of a compost/soil mix. That ran about $400 plus a $50 delivery charge. We enlarged one of gardens to be about 60 foot by 80 foot, and all that dirt had to come from somewhere. If you're really industrious, you could even dig out the dirt "floor" of your enclosure and then replace it with clean material. The only other option I could see would be to build a platform of sorts, similar to a "sun porch" type set up like you see on turkey farms. Basically building your chickens a deck. You could put in a few boxes filled with dirt for sunbathing and scratching, and maybe some logs or something for roosting. The obvious downside would be that without dirt, you're going to have to shovel it all clean a few times a week. I guess it all depends on what you want to spend on the project.....Hope this gave you some sort of ideas!

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