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Effects of bamboo charcoal on the growth performance, blood characteristics and noxious gas emission

 
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https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09712119.2012.738219?scroll=top&needAccess=true

Interesting results.  Anyone feeding charcoal?
 
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This isn't something I've tried, but I'm currently reading, Burn - Using Fire to Cool the Earth - Albert Bates and Kathleen Draper, and they talk about using biochar in feed and the cascade of benefits it can provide. The book states it is approved in Europe to do so with cows and that farmers are doing so and the cows act as a way of inoculating the fields with biochar - the cows poop it out and the dung beetles bury it. The book also states that this is *not* new technology - this was commonly done for years before farmers were convinced they should be feeding their animals antibiotics instead. If I can improve my ability to make decent biochar, I'd like to try it on my chickens. I did try mixing it with bedding in the Noisy Duck winter house - we're really wet here in the winter and it seemed to help, but I don't have anything but subjective opinion. AT that time I hadn't read about using it internally, but a friend's vet used it on her dog when there was a possibility she'd eaten pills, so the concept is out there.

I'll try to read the article in closer detail - from the book I'm reading there's all sorts of ways to produce "charcoal" vs "biochar" vs "source material" vs "temperature" and all these factors *may* make a difference, but then again, that difference may not be as critical as is sometimes suggested when people start promoting "do it my way".  
 
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I also would be interested to hear from folks feeding biochar. I know of several poultry producers adopting charcoal after this article: https://www.caes.uga.edu/news-events/news/story.html?storyid=4067

Article conclusion: "Bamboo charcoal increased the growth performance and feed efficiency, while decreased noxious gas emission and faecal harmful microflora in fattening pigs. Moreover, such bamboo charcoal may protect pigs from infection and reduce stress due to decreased cortisol concentration and increased IgG concentration of serum or blood cell in fattening pigs. Bamboo charcoal is expected to improve swine production as a result of improved gastrointestinal environment of fattening pigs."

Charcoal as a feed additive is controversial because on the one hand, it has centuries of acceptance and demonstrated benefit, and on the other hand, a recent history of being used to pass off low quality moldy feed as high quality feed.

In toxicology, charcoal is regarded as a “universal antidote” to accidental poisonings. In moldy feed, the charcoal dials back the obvious signs in the animal that the feed exceeds established mycotoxin criteria. Because of this fraudulent activity, because of a concern for protecting the feed-purchasing public, in 2012, the USA Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) gave a ruling effectively banning the addition and manufacture of plant-based charcoal for feeding purposes.

"The [2012 AAFCO] ruling means that feed manufacturers can no longer legally add charcoal powder to feeds or supplements. The reasoning behind the removal of charcoal powder includes but is not limited to: fear of dioxin contamination in charcoal and the indiscriminate use of charcoal in pet food as a mycotoxin binder or for binding other contaminants."

source: https://www.progressivedairy.com/topics/feed-nutrition/charcoal-powder-as-a-feed-ingredient-whats-the-status.

This means that as of 2012 you can no longer get charcoal through an animal feed manufacturer.
As of 2012 you can no longer find charcoal as an ingredient in state approved feed mixes.
Users of charcoal in feed have had to work around this by finding their own sources of charcoal, and mixing their own feed. With the AAPCO prohibition, we won't be hearing much about it from the state, from industry, or from academic channels.


 
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I would think that the push for the law came from animal feed manufacturers.  

THis is a really interesting area.  I would imagine there is a lot of benefit with this.

John S
PDX OR
 
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Philip Small wrote:

As of 2012 you can no longer find charcoal as an ingredient in state approved feed mixes.
Users of charcoal in feed have had to work around this by finding their own sources of charcoal, and mixing their own feed. With the AAPCO prohibition, we won't be hearing much about it from the state, from industry, or from academic channels.  

It would be interesting to know what the rules are here in BC. Some things change dramatically at the border - some things don't.

I'd really like to consider experimenting with this concept. A friend and I were discussing it today. She's got two hens who aren't doing very well and she thinks biochar might help. I've got some home-made "char" - wood burned in low oxygen leaving black behind. I've just read that I should rub this material between my hands and if the black washes off easily, that means that it is biochar with the "occupants missing". Normally I would add this to my compost so that the local occupants would move in. I'm not very scientific about it.

So what we were discussing is whether we should try to add "occupants" before feeding it to the chickens, and if so, what would work to do that? For a general "wild" collection, I suggested we could put it in some aerated compost tea. Later I wondered whether adding it to some sort of "ferment" would be better - sort of like a chicken version of sauerkraut, although that tends to use salt which might be a problem. As a rule, I don't think chickens are keen on human version sauerkraut, as a friend brought some from a tofu factory and the chickens avoided it. However, I have heard of chickens liking yogurt which also has microbes in it.

Any opinions on any of that? Am I over-thinking it and should just add some to their feed as a powder and be done with it? Any other suggestions?

 
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