Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by OcoeeG, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. OcoeeG

    OcoeeG Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 27, 2008
    What do you think, rail road ties for fence posts or is creasote not good for my chickens or what.??? I have ample rail road ties. I think in the long run run au natueral is the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. ChickaD

    ChickaD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2008
    central Vermont
    I'd be concerned that some of the toxic stuff could find its way into the eggs (or meat, if that's what you raise them for).
    BTW, [​IMG]
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Now, are these ACTUAL railroad ties, or are they the things sold for landscaping purposes?

    If they are actual I've-been-workin-on-the-railroad-all-the-livelong-day someone's-in-the-kitchen-with-Dinah creosoted railroad ties, I'd be awful cautious. The moreso the fresher and less weathered they are. I do not think I'd want to use them if ANY alternative existed. Also, railroad ties are unlikely to make good fenceposts unless you want one heck of a short fence, because after you bury 3' in the ground, not too much will be sticking up [​IMG] THey are much much better suited (if you must use them around the yard) to use lying on the ground, like to retain sand/gravel from washing out of the run or other similar not-necessarily-chicken-or-garden-related purposes.

    If they are landscape ties, though, they are unlikely to be creosoted (unless they are quite old) as I believe creosote is now banned for that sort of purpose pretty much everywhere in the US? (Not Canada, sigh). They'd be pressure treated though. Opinions differ on how much to worry about that. Me, not much (assuming you *need* that because of ground contact) unless the wood is starting to disintegrate; but, everyone has their own opinions on the subject.


  4. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2008
    Scappoose Oregon
    Anything soaked with creosote is a real no no around anything that eats off the ground. They are major no no's for vegetable gardens. I would NOT use them for chicken runs at all.
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    You might be able to use them if you sheathe them and separate any base ties from the floor with that foamy sill plate stuff...comes in a roll. Maybe use them for the exterior and cover the inside...?
  6. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    I agree w/ columbiacritter - ties are toxic and should not be used near chickens.

    From wikipedia:
    According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), eating food or drinking water contaminated with high levels of coal tar creosote may cause a burning in the mouth and throat, and stomach pains.

    ATDSR also states that brief direct contact with large amounts of coal tar creosote may result in a rash or severe irritation of the skin, chemical burns of the surfaces of the eyes, convulsions and mental confusion, kidney or liver problems, unconsciousness, and even death. Longer direct skin contact with low levels of creosote mixtures or their vapors can result in increased light sensitivity, damage to the cornea, and skin damage. Longer exposure to creosote vapors can cause irritation of the respiratory tract.

    The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that coal tar creosote is probably carcinogenic to humans, based on adequate animal evidence and limited human evidence. It is instructive to note that the animal testing relied upon by IARC involved the continuous application of creosote to the shaved skin of rodents. After weeks of creosote application, the animals developed cancerous skin lesions and in one test, lesions of the lung. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has stated that coal tar creosote is a possible human carcinogen.

    There is no unique exposure pathway of children to creosote. Children exposed to creosote will probably experience the same health effects seen in adults exposed to creosote. It is unknown whether children differ from adults in their susceptibility to health effects from creosote.

    A 2005 mortality study of creosote workers found no evidence supporting an increased risk of cancer death as a result of exposure to creosote. Based on the findings of the largest mortality study to date of workers employed in creosote wood treating plants, there is no evidence that employment at creosote wood-treating plants or exposure to creosote-based preservatives was associated with any significant mortality increase from either site-specific cancers or non-malignant diseases. The study consisted of 2,179 employees at eleven plants in the United States where wood was treated with creosote preservatives. Some workers began work in the 1940s to 1950s. The observation period of the study covered 1979- 2001. The average length of employment was 12.5 years. One third of the study subjects was employed for over 15 years.[3]

    My dad is a big railroad buff. Railroads are notorious for having toxins dumped on the railbeds to keep them weed free. Ties would soak up those toxics and release them to your chickens... and ultimately to you.

    Using pressure-treated wood seems to be ok as long as it's sealed: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=93074
  7. cjstanman

    cjstanman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 3, 2008
    Just north of Raleigh
    While I don't know creosote's impact on chickens, I can tell you as environmental coordinator for my company that we have stopped using them altogether. They are not allowed on the ground at our company due to stormwater concerns. Also, when we disposed of our last few ties, they were classified as "hazardous waste" and we had to pay to dispose of them safely.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2008
  8. purr

    purr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2008
    east freetown, ma
    My DH and all the men in the family are lineman and everything is made out of creasote covered crossarms and telephone poles except anything that has to do with the animals.
    ex. clothesline telephone pole and crossarms
    mailbox support crossarm
    deck supports telephone poles
    duck coop pine
    chicken coop new pine boards
    believe me if they thought it was safe the coops would be made out of it cause there all cheap as H E double hockey sticks
  9. DLS

    DLS Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you are scared to use the cross ties I will use them & I don't believe that a fence post can cause any problems . where are you? I shure could use all you got around the farm. I have been around creasote, burned oil, 7 more fertalisers & weed killers known to man. I I am still OK!! (exposed to agent orange also) & I think this country is getting full of sissys. [​IMG][​IMG]
  10. ole-crone

    ole-crone Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with the 'no' votes. Sure, some people use the stuff but thinking it is ok for use might be a result of having been exposed to it for too long.

    I've heard that the state of WY gives their old railroad ties away for free as long as you take them out of the state and that it's against the law to use them for landscaping there. I have friends who would drive over and load up truckloads to bring back to UT to resell.

    I've read reports that years later, soils tested in yards with railroad tie landscaping materials still leach creosote. I've heard that even if you wrap them, eventually the creosote leaks out as the plastic tears.

    I agree that these days people are too over-zealous about things and maybe we are a bunch of sissies but I wouldn't chance needless creosote exposure just to save some $$.

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