Is it safe for my chickens to graze over an old septic leach field that had leaked?

KaraColburn

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2022
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Hi there!

I am pretty new to the chicken game and I am hoping to find some advice here. Tomorrow my first round of meat chickens are going for processing, and I am getting my first egg layers! After doing some chicken math I realized that the 11 meat chickens I raised wasn't enough, and I need 30 more. So I have two new coops arriving next week and I have the perfect spot to put them, but I am having a hard time deciding where to put the run because where I plan to have the run is on top of our old leach field, which was only disconnected less than a month ago. The entire septic system had to be replaced because it was leaking. It seems obvious not have to have chickens graze in a leaking septic area, but I am wondering if anyone knows if it would be safe for egg or meat chickens to graze there now that it is disconnected and/or how long I should wait before making that area part of the run. I have tried looking this up and all I can come up with is answers regarding whether or not it will damage the septic system, which I am not concerned about because it is no longer in use. The closest answers I could find are about people who are putting runs over a leach field that never leaked and has been abandoned for over 10 years. I'd hate to have this area go to waste, but I also don't want my chickens getting sick, or getting us sick from eating them/their eggs. Any advice on this would be very much appreciated!

Thank you!!
 
Old drain fields are deep enough to be safe for anything on top of the soil to graze.
Where was your leak? When I moved into my place they found a rupture where waste entered the leach field, so that may create poo closure to the surface.

I researched composting toilets awhile back. Humanure is supposed to compost for 1 year.
The leak was towards the end of the leach field which would be in the center of where I want to put the run. There is a slight hill where the old leach field ends that seems to be eroded and it was always pretty wet there before we had the new septic put in. Because of how wet the ground was in this area, and because of the hill we haven't mowed that section at all this year. The grass definitely gets thicker and greener there from all the "nutrients" that I assume were leaking out. That's good to know though! I most likely would not make that part of the run until next year anyway so if human waste is composted in a year it sounds like it could work.
 

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In the pictures I have attached the tall grass area is where I want the run and is also where the old leach field ended and leaked into.
 
When we were told we had to pay for city sewer services when it became available we decided to quit using our tank and built a chicken run over top of it(leach bed) A lot of people graze livestock on active leach beds . I assume it would be safe or it'd be illegal.
 
When we were told we had to pay for city sewer services when it became available we decided to quit using our tank and built a chicken run over top of it(leach bed) A lot of people graze livestock on active leach beds . I assume it would be safe or it'd be illegal.
A malfunctioning leach bed is a whole different animal. With an active functioning leach field, there's no problem. But with the malfunction you get nasty bacteria potentially all the way up from the drain pipes to the ground surface in those wet yucky puddles. Maybe you could ask the companies that pump and design septic systems?
 

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