When we first got into keeping goats, Fiasco Farm was the site I used as my main learning guide, as I know many new goat owners do. They have such a wealth of knowledge and focus on humane and holistic care and it appeals to the kind of goat keeper I always strive to be.
One of the things featured on their site that really peaked my interest was the old-school white wash they do on the inside of their barn to help keep it fresh and clean and deter bacterial growth. I was determined to do it for my own goat barn, and worked on trying to track down the main ingredient – hydrated lime.
Store after store tried to sell me ag lime. Most of them (Lowe’s, Home Depot etc.) had no idea what the difference was. I insisted that hydrated lime was highly caustic, used for construction applications, and could never be put on a garden. After a while, I gave up on the idea.
Then, about a month ago, I was at Blue Seal for our weekly feed run, and after spotting the ag lime on a shelf, randomly asked if they had hydrated lime. And they said they did. And so I asked, several times “Really? The dangerous stuff? Not the garden stuff?” And yes, they really had it. For just $11 I finally had a 50lb bag of hydrated lime.
After mixing up the recipe provided by Fiasco Farm, I decided I wanted to try to make it a bit thicker in hopes that it would go on a little heavier. My mix was:
- 20 cup hydrated lime
- 6 cups salt
- 3 gallons water
- 1 small container of Alum
I mixed this very carefully, dry ingredients and liquids, alternating parts, wearing a face mask and rubber gloves and stirring slowly and carefully. I did not let it sit overnight as suggested, but used it right away.
Even though I knew this was a wash and not a paint, I was surprised at how runny it was, even with the extra lime. It made it a little tricky to get it on the walls, but we slapped it on as heavy as we could. The even trickier part of this processes is that it’s really hard to see what you’ve done until hours later when it finally dries. You will need to do a second coat in order to get everything covered.
We are really impressed with how this has brightened up the goat barn and how fresh and clean it made everything feel. Some of the goats have given it a taste with no harmful side effects, and I like to think it’s helped to deter harmful bacterial growth during the hot and humid season.