Guest Author - Dale Y the Maintenance Guy
I lived on a horse farm that gave riding lessons as well as running a horse camp several times every summer, so I was constantly around animals. Not to mention all the cats and dogs that were a part of farm life, and I was virtually surrounded by animals and pets. Because I attempt to practice a green lifestyle as much as possible, virtually everything we used out there for farm maintenance was either bio-degradable or organic.
One of the most annoying things to happen when riding a horse is to have the hinges on the bits constantly squeak. I’ll tell ya, that noise drives me up the wall, and being in the maintenance business, I had to find a way to stop that awful racket.
Therein lies the problem. I could have used an ordinary petroleum based spray oil and doused the bit hinges good. That certainly would have quelled the noise, but how good would it have been for the horses to have that stuff in their mouths? Not very. So I needed to find a viable alternative.
I began to coat the hinges in olive oil and petroleum jelly, and guess what? The squeaking stopped, just like if I would have used a petroleum-based oil. Not only that, but I had no fears about the taste or whether or not it was good for the horse. I also tried it with various other cooking oils and even lard, and they all worked well.
Needless to say, that opened up a bunch of possibilities. My buddy’s daughter owns a hamster and has one of those squeaky metal-running wheels. I tried putting vegetable oil on the axles, then lo and behold, not only did that wheel stop squeaking but the hamster was able to run a lot faster too!
Cage hinges for birds or other small animals will benefit by this treatment. Even the latches and the handles too. Any kind of spinning or twirling pet toy will work better when lubed with a cooking or vegetable oil, and you can feel absolutely safe doing it as well.
OK, we have covered squeaky things that can be helped by vegetable oils, so lets talk about another way to use natural oils. How about as a wood preservative! True, all the people that like to watch birds and who have those natural wood type bird feeders or houses, they can be given a heavy coating of either mineral oil, or linseed oil. Neither of these oils are considered toxic, so that if your feathered friends peck at the structure they will not in any way be harmed. These oils will protect your feeder or bird house and shed water like chemically treated wood, yet they will be safe for all animal applications, even if the neighborhood squirrel decides to take a taste!.
Now, you’ll have to do this once per year of course, but for something as small as this, it will be pretty easy and not take much time to do. It will give you piece of mind, make your wooden structures last far far longer than if they were bare wood, and you’ll never have to worry about harming any animal that happens to take a bite.
Stop all those annoying squeaks from pet related gadgets, preserve your bird feeders and bird houses, and use cooking oils wherever there is a noise, or linseed/mineral oil as a wood preservative, and you’ll never have to worry about harming any animal with chemicals again!