What about our livestock? How clean is the water you provide for your animals?
In the past I've been guilty of looking into a water trough and thinking "wow that might need a good cleaning!"
Hogs are constantly washing their noses off in the water and dropping feed into the trough. If left unattended it's not long before you'll have some sort of anaerobic bacteria growing in the water.
This spells trouble for livestock. A good question to ask yourself is "would I drink out of that?"
One of the major battles in keeping any type of farm animal healthy and growing is managing the "bad bacteria" levels in the animals system. This is one of the reasons that sub-therapeutic antibiotics are used so heavily in modern agriculture. They help keep the animal healthy and promote growth through the reduced bacterial load in the animal's gut.
Of course antibiotic over-use is fraught with side effects. Two that come to mind are residues in the meat and manure and they wipe out most of the good bacteria with the bad.
I posted about how we introduce good bacteria into our animal's system here. In this post I only gave a part of our system to manage bacteria...how to introduce new good bacteria.
Let me pause here and say I'm not a veterinarian nor am I a chemist. Please study out these concepts for yourself and make your own conclusions based on your study of the facts.
If all we ever do is kill bad bacteria, as in the case of antibiotics, we end up with a very compromised immune system. So much so that if the antibiotics are stopped there is a huge risk of illness until the good bacteria is re-established. If you are taking antibiotics personally you might want read the previous post.
Aerobic versus Anaerobic
Good bacteria is aerobic. In other words, they flourish in high oxygen environments.
Bad bacteria is anaerobic and cannot survive in the presence of oxygen.
So, when we study the natural order of things we find laws at work to to help us keep our animals healthy. The closer we can mimic nature the better. That's the essence of natural farming.
Peroxide is water with an extra oxygen molecule attached to it. H202 - notice the extra 2? Now think back to our aerobic vs anaerobic bacterias.
What if we could foster an environment that encourages the growth of good oxygen loving bacteria and discourage bad oxygen hating bacteria?
Hydrogen peroxide has been touted to cure almost everything known to man. Does it work? I have no idea. I encourage you to study for your self and draw your own conclusions.
Remember the watering trough way back in the beginning of this post? Let's go back there.
When we need to clean and disinfect things around here such as watering and feeding equipment we wash it with a solution of peroxide.
Most folks would stop there. It's clean, now put some fresh water in and go about your business.
We hopefully killed all the bad bacteria in the watering trough but what if we could encourage it to stay dead and encourage the growth of good bacteria if there is any present?
That's where hydrogen peroxide comes in. We use a solution of 35% food grade and add a tiny amount to all our watering troughs on a regular basis. (Roughly 25-30 ppm)
A word of caution here: peroxide in concentrated amounts is caustic and will take the hide off your fingers on anything else you dump/spill it on.
Using peroxide as a water treatment is not new and you can find studies around the net on both poultry and swine.
Here's a link to a site about well water and hydrogen peroxide.
Other sites have information about health benefits from hydrogen peroxide.
Here are some of the claims.
When hydrogen peroxide has been used for cattle, an increase in milk production and an increase in butterfat content have been reported. Farmers have also reported less mastitis in their herds. Hog farmers have reported their hogs using less feed and a shorter growing time (as much as 30 days less). Turkey and chicken growers reported increased weight per bird using less feed. A man in Wisconsin said he has had the best reproduction rate of his buffalo by using hydrogen peroxide in their drinking water.
Some animal research indicates that when hydrogen peroxide is given orally, it combines with iron and small amounts of vitamin C in the stomach and creates hydroxyl radicals. The rule of thumb is adding 8 oz. to 10 oz. of 35% hydrogen peroxide to 1000 gallons water. Chickens and cows have remained healthy by using 8 ounces of 35% Food Grade hydrogen peroxide in 1,000 gallons of drinking water @ 30 ppm. Hydrogen peroxide application into well water, or city water can best be accomplished by a metering device / injector, which keeps the application more constant and thorough, although manual application works just as well. If you do not have an metering device, start out by using 1 teaspoon of 35% hydrogen peroxide in the animal's drinking water. This same ratio is used for all farm animals: cows, pigs, poultry, sheep, goats, rabbits, birds, etc. http://www.drinkh2o2.com
While I believe hydrogen peroxide is working on our farm as another way to keep all our livestock healthy, I can only tell you our experiences here at Spring Hill Farms.
Study it, try it, and make your own judgment.
Until next time....