New here, new to chickens, and need direction on using recyclables

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dkistner, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. dkistner

    dkistner Hatching

    Apr 18, 2007
    Hi, all. I'm Diane Kistner, and I'm FINALLY getting my first chickens after longing for them for three years. My friends Jamie and Earl have already received their second-year batch, to which they let me add five chicks. They will brood them for me for a while, at least until they can tell which are which. So I've been frantically trying to get ready for them.

    I started out planning this wonderful big fenced area, but then my farmer-neighbor said the owls had gotten all his chickens, so I'm scrambling to come up with a night-time penned area. That's working out, but I'm having to come up with the waterer/feeder free because I've been forced to overspend.

    My immediate question: Is there a place on this board dedicated to tricks and techniques for using recyclables that would be a more appropriate place for me to ask the following question? If so, please direct me and I'll ask this there. But if not, here's my immediate question:

    I have six heavy-duty 5-gallon HPE2 buckets I got on freecycle that once contained "Non Hygroscopic Soda Lime USP-NF" used for carbon dioxide sequestration in medical settings. I've rinsed them out as well as I possibly can (a little of the sediment remains, though) and was thinking of maybe filling them with a weak bleach solution or something and letting them sit for a while to leach out whatever might be in the granules that remain. (I suspect the "NF" means "Non Food" but I don't know.)

    Somebody keeps cleaning out the usual sources of food-grade buckets, and in desperation I'm wondering if I can use these buckets for chickens. I'm planning to do the nesting boxes with 5-gallon buckets but would also like to make my feeder and water out of them (as in the FAQ). Other than my concerns about suitability, these buckets are gorgeous. The lids have a spigot that recesses into the lid, which would work great for the waterer; I'd cut off the lids for the nesting boxes.

    I'm ANXIOUS about my chickens! Please let me know what you think. Could I use these buckets?
  2. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Songster

    Mar 29, 2007
    The only thing i've been able to find on this is a warning to avoid direct contact with skin or eyes. If you could scrub the buckets completely clean and remove the residue you spoke of, maybe it'd be okay to use, but I definitely would not use it otherwise.

    Also, I would be very careful using bleach. It may have a bad reaction with the 'sediment' still present in the bucket.
  3. dkistner

    dkistner Hatching

    Apr 18, 2007
    Quote:Well, you're right about that bleach! I'd forgotten about the time I mixed bleach and ammonia by mistake. I might have died!

    One thing it says on the bucket is that the granules, if fresh, are white and if thoroughly saturated, violet. Mine were pretty much white. Also, the cautions stress being careful if certain anaesthetics were contained in it, as they could be flammable.

    I guess I could do an experiment with the waterer: Make one and sit it out for my dogs. They are very good about refusing to touch anything that's the least bit "off." If they drink the water, then it's probably going to be okay. I hope!

  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Diane.....maybe you can put Vinegar in there, and get the sediment out? Im just not sure I would give it to the dogs either.....ugh, seems like it might be harmfull. can go to a fast food place...McD...BK...and ask them to save you a pickle bucket with lid. I have several of these, and they work great for makeing home made feeders.


    With 13 chickens...I fill it once a week. But of course, they free roam a few hours a day as well.
  5. urbanhomesteader

    urbanhomesteader Songster

    Feb 26, 2007
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Diane I wouldn't trust my chicken's food or water in anything that had questionable chemicals in it. As well as fast food joints and restraunts you can try a or a supermarket that has a bakery you can get food grade buckets for free. I work in a bakery and we toss them out regularly. Some of them even have plastic rings inside so they are tightly sealed.
  6. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    If you have a friend with cats, they may have a supply of white plastic tubs from kitty litter. Kitty litter is little more than scented clay and should wash out easily. Free, recycled, indefinite supply.

  7. motherhen

    motherhen In the Brooder

    Mar 25, 2007
    Halifax, NS
    Diane, I just want to say that my husband was a chef and he warned me about non food grade plastic. He said that plastic absorbses whatever was in the container and if it was an unsafe chemical it would stay in the plastic and may leach out. That's why they label plastic and stuff food grade or not.
    If the material in the container was unsafe I really would not risk testing it on your animals at all. You mentioned you have dogs. You can buy large dog treat containers with lids and I believe they are square shaped tubes. You might even check with your neighbours to see if they have tubes.
    I too am building with recyclables as much as I can, using palettes, discarded banner material and plastics. I hope to be able to work on it soon we have had a lot of rainy days.
  8. dkistner

    dkistner Hatching

    Apr 18, 2007
    Okay, y'all have convinced me that these buckets should be relegated to another use. I think HPE2 plastic IS food-grade...but, of course, if non-food was stored in it then all bets are off.

    I guess I was thinking that this lime is the same thing as the lime you use in your garden and so would not be that bad. But I'm not going to chance it.

    I just hope I can find some good buckets somewhere without having to buy them. The dog treat bucket is an idea I will explore.

    I LOVE that chicken picture! What a nice setup! (Now, after I finish replying to this, I have to go back and see who posted it.)
  9. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    You can use cardboard boxes for nest boxes....cut three of the lid flaps off and tape the fourth lid to keep the shavings in....Or use an old plastic bin. You can see both in this picture.

    Here's directions to the homemade bucket feeder from the learning pages of BYC....You can use smaller buckets too.

    You can also go to your local cabinet store and ask if they have leftover shavings.....I provide mine with a garbage can (free from freecycle) and they fill it with shavings (for free).

    Good luck!
  10. akyramoto

    akyramoto Songster

    Apr 10, 2007
    Northern CA
    I love that homemade bucket feeder, thats a great idea. i made a small feeder for my chicks outta a milk carton - keeps a little more feed in the bowl!


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