1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Raising Chickens on Septic Systems

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ravenvalor, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

    101
    3
    123
    Aug 1, 2008
    Greetings my fine feathered friends,

    Shawn McCarty with Chickabee Farm in Ontario, Canada has an ingenious rotational pasture system over his septic system. It is perfectly legal in his area. I am wondering what your thoughts were on this. I had a permaculture designer tell me this was not a good idea just a couple of weeks ago. Also from what I have read there are some health risks. What is your opinion? Is it safe only if you do not use dangerous chemicals in your household?

    http://www.chickabee.ca/

    Thank you,

    Jim
     
  2. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens

    4,138
    673
    261
    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    As long as your septic system is healthy and not oozing raw sewage, I don't see any health problems for you or your birds. Consider that for centuries chickens have lived in barnyards and picked through the manure of other animals, looking for undigested grains and such.

    A properly maintained septic system is safe around people and does not allow for pathogenic organisms to be exposed to the environment aboveground.
     
    2 people like this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,935
    3,093
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Yes, if your septic system is working properly, not a problem. If it is not working properly it’s a risk to you as well as them. If you have any liquids standing over your septic system contact your local health department and get it tested. Then fix the problem if you have a problem. If you don’t have a problem there is no need to fix it or worry about it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

    101
    3
    123
    Aug 1, 2008
    Thank you both for the excellent replies. A permaculture design consultant warned me about heavy metal toxins in different household soaps and makeup which could find their way into the food system. Is this a concern of yours?
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,935
    3,093
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’m not the least bit concerned about heavy metals in my septic waste water. There is the dosage thing. I have no idea how much heavy metal laden make-up or soaps you are putting through your septic system every day. I don’t know what brands you are using but I can’t imagine the concentrations being anything significant. You can check your list of ingredients, maybe some make-up or soaps use heavy metals, but I just can’t see it being significant.

    The way the septic system works the stuff goes into a septic tank where the flow through gets really slow. Anything heavier than water settles to the bottom where microbes eat anything biodegradable. Heavy stuff stays on the bottom. The cleansed water flows out of a pipe at the top of the tank and goes into field lines that spread the water out so it soaks into the ground. I’d think if you had a concentration of heavy metals in the tank it would kill the microbes that eat the biodegradables.

    I don’t know how you’d go about doing it but maybe you could take a sample where the cleaned water comes out of a hole in a field line, this is where anything bad would accumulate. Maybe your health department can help you get that tested, might be expensive. It might be worth it to calm your concerns.

    People like to spread rumors and warnings of impending disaster. Many of them mean well and there might be a grain of truth in it, maybe some make-up uses heavy metals. But when it comes to real life, the true risk is practically non-existent. I feel this in one of those.

    Health departments all over the country certify septic systems as safe. I know there are conspiracy theorists that won’t believe anything any government authority says, but in my opinion if this were a legitimate concern you’d hear a lot more about it.
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    5,879
    680
    326
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    This goes back to what others are saying: a healthy septic system poses no risk as it's percolating down not oozing up. Heavy metal and anything else is going down through the filtering soil and in no way are ever in contact with the top of the system.
     
  7. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

    101
    3
    123
    Aug 1, 2008
    Thanks.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by