Pesticide Question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chicky_Baby, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. Chicky_Baby

    Chicky_Baby Out Of The Brooder

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    Posting about my chicken / cricket problem has made me think about something disturbing.

    We live next door to a cow farm (not 100% organic but no pesticides that I know of. Unfortunately there are also a number of tobacco farms in the neighborhood. They are mostly small time but they use huge amounts of pesticides. Wild birds die when they spray. They eat the bugs who have gotten into the pesticide and the toxins build up in their system. Everyone in the neighborhood filters their water just in case. I am having a huge cricket issue as they migrate from the cattle farmer's fields and bringing in more chickens to eat the bugs but now I am worried about eating my own hens eggs. I filter all of our water - even for my livestock to drink so I had thought I was safe but my hens all free range and eat bugs. So how far will bugs travel after they have been exposed to pesticides? It is more than 1/8 of a mile to the tobacco farms but I do not know if that is far enough for us to be safe. I have a small baby so this worries me a lot now that I have the thought stuck in my head.
     
  2. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First off, Tobacco farms do not use a huge amount of pesticides.

    Normally the only pesticide used is Malathion. Anyone can buy Malathion: you don't need a license to use it.

    Tobacco is bothered by very few insects: mainly tobacco worms/which I've never seen a bird eat. I guess they would, but if that were the case then tobacco fields would be filled with birds which they aren't.

    The only thing I'd be concerned with is Sucker Spray and that is generally only sprayed on tobacco once per season: in the dead middle of summer.

    I'd say you have nothing to be concerned about. I farmed tobacco most of my life (when we still did it all by hand). Nasty job: good honest work and money.

    Not much prettier than a field of tobacco in bloom or a field of ripe tobacco ready to be cut.
     
  3. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    By the way, I spray my Chicken House and chickens with 55% Malathion: the same pesticide used by the tobacco farmers.
     
  4. Chicky_Baby

    Chicky_Baby Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Salidin please do not be annoyed with me for contradicting you but I am paranoid. We had a number of cancer deaths in the neighborhood a few years back and everyone started to filter the water to be safe. The tobacco farms were and are blamed for it by everyone. They were using a lot more than Malathion. One man had an actual law suit against him and lost his land due to not being able to pay the damages. (He had stored Nemacur (? spelling) and some other things that I do not remember the names of improperly and rain carried the toxins down to a neighbors spring box and it got in the water and into the milk of the dairy herd) I do not know if tobacco farming has changed over the years or not but I suspect that might be the difference. Another possibility is that the people in my area spray more than they should due to being taught the wrong things (all the mailboxes have the same last name so they are likely to all be related) I don't know if the way tobacco is grown has changed or if it is this particular group of people but there is a lot more than one spraying going on. Also I might be saying this wrong as not all of it is for bugs. Some is for weeds, nematodes (sp ?) and fungus issues. I don't know much more than that. I do a small organic family garden and that is it so I am in the dark on the subject and in my mind spraying that much stuff meant to kill things has to have an effect. All I know for sure is there were lawsuits and every year we have lots of dead birds that everyone blames on the tobacco farms. I am sure the story has grown with the telling over the years and the tobacco farmers have been unduely demonized but something is killing all those birds and it isn't the dairy or the other cattle farm because they are both semiorganic. The tobacco is all that is left in the area. I am fairly new in the area so I am getting all of the information second hand and honestly would not have bought the house if I had known but now that I live here I am not able to sell so I prefer to be overly careful even if I seem silly to other people.

    I did pull up info online and there is information (a lot) to back up what I have been told over the years.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  5. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No offence taken; I understand the fungicides.

    No reasons to be spraying pesticides over and over again: one maybe twice.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It's been over 40 years since I had any direct experience growing tobacco, so yes, things could have easily changed. We grew burley. I really don't know what is involved in growing dark-fired, other than it is quite different in how it is harvested. It could be totally different in other ways too. I could tell you about what we did, but I have no idea if any of that is relevent to your situation.

    It is real easy for farmers or anyone else to get blamed for things they have no control over or no effect on. A lot of people have their own agendas. I have no idea what is going on in your area or what the truth really is.

    The only suggestions I can come up with are, first to talk to your county extension agent, in the phone book under county government. Explain to them what you think is happening. See what they say. They may be of absolutely no help or they may do you some good.

    Those dead birds can be your ally. Next time you see a massive kill, talk to your county or state health department. See if they will test some to see what killed them. If that fails, get a vet to test one to see what killed it. That may cost a bit, but then you would be armed with facts, not rumors.

    It is hard being where you don't know what is going on and worrying about your baby. Good luck!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  7. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't see that dark-fire was referred too. If that is the case the you live near Springfield, TN (Dark-fire capital of the world).

    Sucker spray will kill birds if I remember correctly. I know it use to make me sick every time we sprayed. Spray two rows, vomit, spray two more, same thing over and over again.
    Same chemical that is used on potatoe plants (or use to be) that keeps them from forming eyes. City folk evidentally don't like eyes on their store bought potatoes. Only difference between the potatoe and tobacco is that the chemical is in the potatoe when eaten.

    Completely legal stuff, but not a pesticide.

    It may or may not be the sprays from the tobacco fields. I don't know. Only thing I do know is that Dark-fire tobacco built Robertson County (and surrounding areas). It's a way of life.

    Please don't take me as harsh or insensitive, I just grew up with all that and think nothing of it. It was my world for a very long time.

    By the way, rr, we raised Burley too: cigarette tobacco.
     
  8. Chicky_Baby

    Chicky_Baby Out Of The Brooder

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    No offense taken Saladin - honestly I can see both sides of it as I am sure they are just trying to make enough of a profit to hang on their land like so many of us these days. I just don't want to take chances with the baby's health. If the bugs cannot travel far after being exposed I am free and clear and don't have to worry about the eggs being contaminated but if they can I will keep a few hens confined to keep them from getting the bugs. 1/8th of a mile is a long way for a poisoned bug so I think it should be ok but another opinion would be appreciated.

    As for the potato thing - if people knew half of what goes on with their food these days we would have a lot of skinny people because nobody would want to eat - lol.
     

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