first started white washing the inside of our barn because the barn
was so dark. We thought the white wash would brighten things up,
and we were right. The white wash gives the barn a real "neat
and clean" feel, and so, we like to white wash at kidding time to create
a nice showcase for the new kids we have for sale. We've also
white washed the milk room which now feels much lighter, brighter and
our does start kidding, Larry cleans out the stalls and gives the flooring
a good bleach wash, and then we give all the other surfaces a coat of
white wash. The white wash coats these surfaces with an alkaline
layer that discourages the growth of many bacteria, so we believe it
helps get the goat babies off to a good healthy start to life.
wash is very inexpensive to make and is fairly harmless to goats.
Goldie, our big LaMancha doe, not known for her brains, actually likes
to drink it (though we try not to let her) and many of the goats lick
it off the walls. We have never had a goat get sick from white
wash, so we don't worry about it. The goats will also wear
the wash off when they rub on it, so be prepared to recoat every year
or so. But remember, it's not paint, and it's only a barn, so
you can really just slop it on.
make your own white wash, you need lime. There are two kinds of
lime you can buy so be sure you get the right kind: hydrated lime, which
is pure white. It is also called slake lime, builder's lime, or
mason's lime (the old timers at our feed store incorrectly call it "burnt
lime"- DO NOT use burnt lime). Hydrated lime is also very caustic,
so the bag will have a warning on it. The other kind of lime is
light gray and is the kind we use to spread on our barn floor.
It is called "ag lime", "garden lime", "barn lime" or dolomite.
Do not spread hydrated lime on your barn floor. Why do we spread
lime on our barn floor? It provides that antibacterial quality,
dries out, "sweetens" the floor , and Larry says it makes it easier
remember that when handling hydrated lime and preparing the white wash
not to breathe the dust from the lime and to wear gloves. I learned
the hard way about the gloves (I hate wearing gloves). The lime
will ravage bare hands. If you do get the wash on your hands it's
a good idea to rub your hands with vinegar; the acid in the vinegar
counter acts the alkaline in the lime. Larry says a little Bag
Balm later helps too. Barn lime on the other hand is not as caustic
and you can handle it with your bare hands without worry.
about this whitewash:
will wash off over time if exposed to rain.
is "authentic white wash" and is not paint and is not permanent:
rubs off and sometimes flakes off over time.
you lean against a white washed wall you will end up with white on
do not recommend this for home decorating use.
is safe to use inside barns and is not harmful to small animals.
in a large bucket, a five gallon paint bucket is ideal:
you mix this together, mix a little lime/salt, then a little water, then
a little lime, etc. It you just dump it all together it's like stirring
boat anchor. You should let the mixture sit over night, but we usually
just use it right away and have had no problems.
large coffee cans of hydrated lime (about 12 cups)
pound or 1 small coffee can of salt (about 4 cups)
gallons of water
white wash should be fairly watery, remember it's a wash, not a paint.
Give it a stir once and a while as you use it.
use the white wash, just get a big brush and slop it on. Don't
worry about getting it on your clothes, it washes out very easily.
It may seem like it's not covering very well as you paint it on, especially
on new pine 2x4s, but it will whiten up considerably when it's completely
dry, be patient.
no time at all, you'll have a brighter and fresher environment for you
and your goats.
I have been told you can improve this white wash recipe by adding
about a tablespoon of powdered alum per gallon of whitewash. This supposedly
will improve it's "sticking" characteristics, i.e., makes it more
resistant to rubbing off. I have not tried this and do not know if
it helps or not.
I was also told by the same source that, to really make it last -- get some hide
glue flakes. Dissolve about 1/2 a pound of glue flakes in enough boiling water
to dissolve thoroughly and add it the recipe (with alum added). This supposedly
reduces the frequency of re-whitewashing at minimal additional expense. I
have not tried this and do not know if it helps or not.
If one is concerned about the animal content of glue, it's supposed to work with goat milk. I have not tried this and do not know for sure.