fertilizers and pesticides on lawn

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rebeccaj, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. rebeccaj

    rebeccaj Hatching

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    hi! i'm new to raising chickens and really excited about it. i just got 3 hens of egg-laying age.

    but unfortunately my dad applied synthetic fertilizer (those turf builder pellet things) and pesticide all over the lawn yesterday (even though i told him not to. grrrrr).

    how long do i have to wait to let the chickens roam free on the lawn and eat the grass and weeds? what happens to the chemicals in the fertilizer pellets? are they absorbed by the grass, but also remain in the soil? how long do the chemicals stay in the soil? even if the fertilizer pellets have all been absorbed by the grass and soil, is it still bad for the chickens to eat the grass that absorbed the fertilizer chemicals? i mean are those chemicals in the grass? so i guess i would have to wait a couple of years for the fertilizer to be completely gone from the grass and soil? if i don't want to wait years for the chemicals to disappear, should i get rid of all the grass, add new soil over the existing soil, and sow new grass?

    thanks!
     
  2. flockof4

    flockof4 Songster

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    Not sure about how long the fertilizer takes to absorb into the grass. Maybe check the label on the fertilizer to see what it says. I wouldn't worry too much about the chickens eating the grass once the fertilizer is absorbed. I would however be concerned about the chickens eating the fertilizer pellets themselves. At least wait until you don't see any sign of the fertilizer pellets in the grass before considering letting them graze. I'm no expert on this, so please check the label and also see what other people post on this topic.
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

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    RebeccaJ, find out from your dad if the lawn fertilizer also has an herbicide in it to kill weeds.

    Livestock often find herbicide-treated weeds to taste better than they did before. So, the critters are eating the dying plants. This not only cycles the herbicide thru the animal but also encourages the animal to eat something it may not normally eat.

    Farmers often fertilize forage crops with synthetic fertilizers. Over application can cause problems with the forage but farmers aren't trying to make the plants toxic, of course. But, I'd be very hesitant to put laying hens on forage that has been treated with an herbicide until all the weeds are dead and gone.

    Eggs are an animal product. Especially that yolk has just about everything that is circulating thru the laying hen. It would be best if the laying hen's food and her eggs are made up of only healthful nutrients.

    . . . just my 2¢.

    Steve
     
  4. keds

    keds In the Brooder

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    Hey--I am wondering about this too! I just found out my husband used turf builder and moss out on the lawn in late Feb. We got our chickens in March and they are just getting out to free range for an hour or so a day. ( Thats the plan for them, limited free range time). DH has promised to never to chemically stuff on the back yard again! Will it be safe to eat the eggs we will begin to get (hopefully) in late July or August? Oh and we live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains, rain, rains all the time if that helps any!
     
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

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    Well, if it just iron to kill the moss, I'd think that since many soils have so much iron anyway - it shouldn't be very dangerous to anything except the moss. Don't know tho' . . .

    I suppose you may have had warm enuf temperatures in February to kill weeds but "actively growing" is an important issue for effective use of herbicides. Whatever the case, 2 months seems like an awfully long time for an herbicide to hang around. Oh yes, I know a little something about Clopyralid persistence but, hopefully stuff like that is no longer allowed for use in people's backyards.

    As I say, farmers use fertilizers and herbicides on feed crops all the time. We even have GMO crops that are resistant to herbicides so that they can be used more often . . . We can only hope that the regulation of ag chemical use has enough safety built in. Or, we can take the entire feeding of our chickens into our own hands and production.

    Steve
     
  6. keds

    keds In the Brooder

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    well, I'm thinking that after 2 months of really rainy weather my is okay--and that by late summer (and even more rain) s it should be pesticide free?? And the eggs will be safe?
     
  7. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

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    Keds, I would think so too.

    I suppose I can throw in my 2¢ about insecticides, as well.

    Anything that is meant to kill a bug, is meant to kill an animal. An insecticide isn't applied for the amusement of the bug. It is toxic to animals and our chickens and their humans are animals.

    The idea of repellents is fine but there is little effective use of repellents and lots of use of insecticides.

    If the product label says "not for food crops" - I would be darn sure not to put it on anything that the chickens might eat. If it says "cannot be used within 60 days of harvest" - I'd be waiting 60 days before the chickens can get at it, as well.

    In fact, I grow a vegetable garden each year. I only use organic products on those vegetables. They aren't SAFE either, maybe just less toxic. And, I follow the instructions on the product labels.

    . . . once again, just my 2¢,

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2010
  8. keds

    keds In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the input! I hate lawns anyway! That's just me though.
     
  9. rebeccaj

    rebeccaj Hatching

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    Apr 24, 2010
    thanks for the help!
     
  10. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Songster

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    find out what exactly he put down. Read the label. A pre-emergent might just be corn gluten (which the chickens will want to eat) and that's not a big deal, but it may be chemical and in that case you need to do specific research on that chemical. Imidacloprid for instance is a nerve agent and I hate to think what that can do to a chicken. it's a main ingredient in Advocate, Gaucho, Merit, Confidor, Hachikusan, Premise, Prothor, Winner etc. it is banned in Canada and most of Europe but not here. Do your homework.
     

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