Activated charcoal is used to control all manner of odor complaints
from household air, to industrial sites, body flatulence, city dumps,
to hospital wards. So, it should be no surprise that charcoal is an
age-old remedy for managing odors associated with animals. The owner of
one large manufacturer of activated charcoal told me recently, that a
large pig farm in…, after he had several complaints from neighbors,
bought two tons of activated charcoal
to spread over his growing pile of pig manure. It quickly and
efficiently solved the problem of offensive odors and probably mended
some fences too.
The main problem is
obviously the build up of odors from animal wastes in and around the
animal sheds and pens. But the buildup of these odors have secondary
problems in that they tend to compromise the overall sanitation of the
animal areas, which tends to attract dangerous microorganisms and
insect pests. These bring with them a host of other potential diseases.
It makes perfect sense, both humanely and economically, to insure the
health of animals and those working with animals by controlling the
build up of odors that directly or indirectly compromise health or
invite disease. There is no other single ingredient that so effectively
helps achieve this goal as activated charcoal.
Kathy initially contacted us for some other reason than odor problems. She purchased a sack of charcoal powder and when it arrived she decided to try it in her barn.
Kathy writes: “Well, just
for the record, I want to at least tell you what we did, and got
fantastic results. I have a large 8-stall barn, (no animals) just
storage. There was one stall in particular that had some water
breaching and all the stuff in there was wacked, so we got a dumpster
and emptied out that one stall and the one next to it. There was such a
nasty moldy stagnant smell, I figured I'll put some charcoal in there.
So I took about 1 pound of the powder and spread it around the two
floors (dirt) and just raked it in a bit, and within a couple hours,
ALL the musty smell was gone. It has not even been a full day, and the
difference is amazing, I am so impressed. But I will take you up on any
info John can give about garden uses. I want to thank you for always answering you emails!! You'd be surprised how many folks never do. Thanks!” Kathy
We would add that this also
works for outdoor pet areas, animal runs, animal sheds and barns. You
can dust it around areas where animals mark their territory, it even
works when you've been “skunked”. I believe those raising mink and fox
would be amazed at the improvement in odors and overall sanitation with
a regular dusting of charcoal powder.
Depending on the situation, granular charcoal
may be a better application. Industrial granular charcoal meets high
standards and does what it is intended to do within minutes in confined
areas. One packaged granular product is Purrfectly Fresh®.
Kimberly just sprinkles a tablespoon in our roadside garbage bin if it
gets “ripe” before the week is up, and in minutes the odor is gone.
There are also plastic products
that are impregnated with activated charcoal that work well in small
areas and can be hung in indoor cages for birds and other small pets.
As for larger areas such as
farms, more and more progressive farmers are taking a lesson from past
generations and rediscovering this simple natural remedy that goes a
long ways to helping control livestock odors.
The Food & Fertilizer
Technology Center (Asia Pacific Region in cooperation with Kwang Hwa
Jung National Livestock Research Institute (NLRI) Rural Development
Administration (RDA), Suwon, Republic of Korea) carried out research
on the benefits of feeding charcoal powder to domestic animals
including cattle, pigs, and poultry. Besides noticing an increase in
milk production and decrease in mastitis for dairy cattle, reduction in
mortality for pigs and laying hens, overall disease reduction, improved
feed:weight ratio for pigs, they achieved a remarkable 50% reduction in
the offensive smell of manure. That is impressive for many reasons but
especially for the “bottom line” – increased production.
We have been told directly
and indirectly by dairy farmers here in America, that adding charcoal
powder to the feed or drinking water has improved production. One
unusual instance was feeding spent charcoal from a sugar refinery.
Since charcoal is the main filtering component in removing colors and
odors from sugar, in time the charcoal’s adsorbing capacity becomes
saturated and the charcoal is disposed. In this case, a nearby dairy
farmer offered to take the charcoal “waste” and fed it to his cows. I
don’t think it made the milk whiter but he continues to take the
“waste” for some profitable reason ($$).
Back to the FTTC research
on charcoal and animal odors. The bamboo charcoal powder was fed to
cattle as a feed additive, at a rate of 1 - 2% (by volume) - Table 1. Alternatively, it may be added to the drinking water - Table 2. Used in this way, it reduced the bad smell of manure by 50%.
Bamboo charcoal added to the feed or drinking water improves the smell of the shed and helps keep down flies.
Of course the less offensive the smell, the happier the living
environment (pets/livestock), the happier the working environment
(owners/farm hands), and the fewer the flies! The fewer the flies, the
less the disease, the less the vet bills, the more returns monetarily
and socially – no reluctant visitors or complaining neighbors!!
To learn more of the amazing benefits of activated charcoal, not only
to control odors, but also to help promote healing in people, pets and
livestock, and in its use in agriculture, we recommend the book CharcoalRemedies.com The Complete Handbook of Medicinal Charcoal & Its Applications.