Potash for mite protection?

NHchicks

Songster
May 13, 2010
548
16
184
New Hampshire
I remember someone posting something about putting potash in their dust bath area. Is that just ash from the woodstove? Because I have a lot of that, and if preventing mites is as easy as dumping it in their dust bath, that would be great. Would it help to spread it around the coop too?
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
597
448
South Georgia
yes it is ash from the woodstove. I don't know that it will prevent mites but it is supposed to cut down their numbers greatly. Good for the chickens. Use it, and check in a moth or two and see if there is any sign of mites/lice. Good in the coop, too.
 

Judy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
34,024
597
448
South Georgia
I have read many times that wood ash helps control mites. I know potash and wood ash are not the same but I believe wood ash contains potash.
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
699
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
Here is some information:

http://www.answers.com/topic/potash
scroll down to US history encyclopedia:
here is an exerpt:

Potash (potassium carbonate) and soda (sodium carbonate) have been used from the dawn of history in bleaching textiles, making glass, and, from about A.D. 500, in making soap. Soda was principally obtained by leaching the ashes of sea plants, and potash from the ashes of land plants. In their uses, potash and soda were largely but not entirely interchangeable. Indeed, before the mid-eighteenth century, people only vaguely differentiated between the two.

With the advent of gunpowder at the end of the Middle Ages, potash found a new use for which soda could not substitute: the manufacture of saltpeter. Thus, the increasing demand for glass, soap, textiles, and gunpowder in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century Europe accelerated the decimation of the forests from which producers obtained potash. In 1608 the first settlers in Virginia established a "glass house," and the first cargo to Britain included potash. Britain obtained most of its potash from Russia, but a potash crisis in about 1750 led Parliament to remit the duty and led the Society of Arts of London to offer premiums for the production of potash in America.

Potash-making became a major industry in British North America. Great Britain was always the most important market. The American potash industry followed the woodsman's ax across the country. After about 1820, New York replaced New England as the most important source; by 1840 the center was in Ohio. Potash production was always a by-product industry, following from the need to clear land for agriculture.

By 1850, potash had gained popularity as a fertilizer, but forests available for indiscriminate burning were becoming ever scarcer.
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
699
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
From:
http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/2/2-5/Laura_E_John.html
an exerpt:

Additional remedies used to treat poultry lice and mites include wood ashes and diatomaceous earth (these remedies are believed to smother lice and mites without a chemical effect). There are also new natural enzyme-containing lice and mite sprays that are non-toxic such as Poultry Protector.
 

GardenerGal

Crowing
Dec 20, 2008
1,244
114
251
Massachusetts
We heat with wood a lot so we have plenty of woodstove ashes. I mix them with children's play sand and fill the chickens' dust pit with the stuff. They love it and other than any issues that too much dust might cause (I haven't seen any problems for that, though), they probably are not harmful to poultry.

I do think using ashes in the dust pit plays a role in keeping mites and lice numbers down, but supplemental treatment with Seven is probably necessary for "total" varmint control. But in "Nature," I would think that birds and parasites have reached a certain level of ability to co-exist without it compromising the birds' health. I'm guessing that given free access to a good dust pit that you alway replenish with fresh ashes and sand, chickens should be able to maintain that "comfort level" with the buggies like they would if they were jungle fowl living in the wild.

By the way, charcoal is a natural filter and "neutralizer" of yucky stuff, which is why Brita uses it in its water filters. Who knows, chickens might ingest charcoal to sweeten a sour crop!
 
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