I have recently begun keeping a small flock of chickens, and have instituted a regimen of cleaning out my little backyard chicken coop about once a month. I’m interested in using a natural disinfectant. Do you have any ideas or suggestions?
Congratulations on your move to a more natural lifestyle! Your chickens will bring you a lot of pleasure and enjoyment. The first thing I would suggest for all things chickens is a subscription to Backyard Poultry. It’s an excellent magazine for the backyard poultry keeper and has some great articles, advice, and information in it. In fact, this recipe that I’m about to share came from the most recent issue.
Citrus is a great natural disinfectant, primarily because of the chemical compound limonene, a natural insect repellent and larvicide. In addition, the recipe calls for distilled vinegar, adding to the cleaning power of the solution.
The recipe is simple… keep discarded citrus peels covered with distilled vinegar and let it extract for about three months. After three months, strain the solution into a spray bottle and apply. Spray when you change the bedding, applying to the roosts, around the perimeter of the windows and floor, and the nest boxes.
If you’re interested in reading the entire article, it can be found here: https://backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/7/7-5/natural_citrus_disinfectant.html
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I have read that lard is actually an excellent fat source for cooking and has less saturated fat than butter. In fact, I’ve heard that many chefs prefer it for pastries and baking. Is the lard that I can buy in the grocery stores the type that I would want to use?
Yes, people are rediscovering the excellent fat source of rendered lard, what our families used to cook with not that far in the past. Lard is a wonderful mixture of essential fatty acids, aids in calcium absorption, and enhances the immune system. However, if you’re trying to go for healthy, I’d steer clear of the grocery store lard packed in plastic buckets. Why?
Most of that on the grocery store shelves is from commercial farming operations. It’s been hydrogenated and bleached, and other chemicals have been added to it. Not only that, the residue of any antibiotics, growth hormones, or pesticides ingested become concentrated in the fat of the animal, and when you use commercially prepared lard, you’re eating these high concentrations of additives.
Actually, rendering your own lard is extremely easy. If you have no intentions of raising your own feeder pigs, then find an organic or local farmer that doesn’t introduce chemicals into the animals’ system and buy your pig fat from him. If you’re unsure of where to find someone, go to https://www.localharvest.org/ to locate an organic farmer in your area.
In this recipe article for lima stew and biscuits that was on Off the Grid News last year, you’ll see at the bottom the process for rendering lard. I have seen recipes that simply jar the lard up and store it, and I’ve seen recipes that put the jarred rendered lard in a pressure canner for 20 minutes at 12 lbs. of pressure. (If a lid doesn’t seal for whatever reason, don’t reprocess.)
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