Whitewashed the meat bird half of the Chickenhouse today, using the traditional purist blend of nothing but hydrated lime and water. This is an old school farming standard from Bob, completely new to me.
The lime is a very fine powder that comes in bags. Mixing was easy. A power drill mixing attachment churned it to a thickness a bit lighter than regular paint, and then on it went with big brushes.
The lime is a bit caustic, so wearing a mask when mixing, and gloves and goggles to avoid splatter, is a good idea, although I didn’t this time around (and I did take care not to inhale clouds of lime dust!).
Afterwards (it’s follow Bob’s lead), I did some reading and, not surprisingly, was quite amazed: yet another simple, inexpensive, effective approach that’s been complicated (in this case, into the costly world of high tech paints and sealants)…
Classic lime whitewash disinfects, repels insects, and preserves by sealing surfaces and wicking up water. It dries to an opaque white that beautifully reflects light to brighten up dim spaces.
It’s also safe for animals (which, yes, includes us humans, lime can even be used in chicken litter to keep it dry).
There are lots of applications, interior and exterior, for wood and masonry. It’s not as permanent as oil or latex paint, will rub off a bit, and needs to be refreshed every year to keep it in top shape.
It’s also INEXPENSIVE: a 50lb (22.5kg) bag was about $7, and you can mix up at least 15-20 gallons from that, the way we used it. That means you could whitewash an entire small building, inside and out, for maybe $20! For big jobs, a sprayer would make it real easy.
You can tint it, and there are also various recipes that include alum, salt and other additives that may improve adhesion, but the tried-and-true basic is just lime and water.
And you need hydrated lime, NOT dolomitic lime nor calcium carbonate, aka garden lime (both are recommended for raising pH in garden soil). We got ours from the feed store.
I’m not sure how popular this sort of whitewashing is these days, but it’s certainly still used, and a few decades ago, this was a standard type of paint. Anyhow, it looks and sounds great, and we’ll see how the chickens like it!
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