Ammonia can be very dangerous to the health of both animals and people. Studies have concluded that even low levels of ammonia can cause stress to an animal’s respiratory system. It is therefore extremely important to control ammonia within confined spaces.
For many years people have used and continue to use hydrated lime to help rid their barns and stables of ammonia and the smell that accompanies it. However, studies have found that hydrated lime may be doing more harm than good. In fact, specialists at North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University concluded that hydrated lime increases the alkalinity of litter and, in fact, creates more ammonia by converting ammonium into ammonia gas!
Not only is hydrated lime a very short-term solution (that only works to cover up the smell of ammonia) but it can also be a very dangerous product to use. If high concentrations of hydrated lime dust are inhaled, irritation to the respiratory tract will occur. Dermatitis can result from prolonged exposure and repeated skin contact and a risk of severe and permanent eye damage exists if hydrated lime comes in contact with the eyes. The product can cause burns in the presence of moisture and will cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract when ingested. Personal protective equipment should be worn at all times when using hydrated lime.
Alternatives to hydrated lime, such as Barn Fresh, are all natural and safe solutions that will work to absorb liquids and ammonia. Barn Fresh, for example, contains diatomaceous earth and calcium bentonite, making it safe to use with all types of animals, even if ingested.
Natural products like Barn Fresh are much more effective and safer to use than hydrated lime.
Image by Jamie Skelton