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I've never seen sh'chita of birds, but my understanding is that kisuy hadam is done with sawdust. Why sawdust specifically?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I don't know if this is the only reason, but presumably one factor is the fact that it's good for clumping up liquid messes for easy clean-up.

From Wikipedia:

Sawdust is used on some floors to absorb any liquids that fall rather than trying to prevent them being spilt. The sawdust is swept up and replaced each day. This was common in the past in pubs and is still used in some butchers and fishmongers.

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Sawdust has a variety of practical uses, including ... as an alternative to clay cat litter ...

If I were operating a slaughterhouse, I'd rather deal with sweeping up clumps on a daily basis than frequent mop-ups of bloody, muddy messes.

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Sounds eminently plausible; thanks. (My thinking was it's lighter in weight (per volume) than sand or earth and so cheaper to transport. But your reason makes more sense.) –  msh210 Apr 1 '11 at 20:17
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http://books.google.com/books?id=ljl3bhVv0pAC&pg=PA48&lpg=PA48&dq=why+do+we+cover+blood+of+slaughtered+animals+with+sawdust&source=bl&ots=_qpCWhAVBV&sig=dpQSOy9_98DkFsSYrpJ8PHBqSjE&hl=en&ei=gwCWTYDZMcOO0QGnpYDlCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=why%20do%20we%20cover%20blood%20of%20slaughtered%20animals%20with%20sawdust&f=false

Any material that seeds will sprout in is acceptable, including, ashes, sawdust, gold dust, etc.

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That explains why sawdust can be used, and I thank you, but I was seeking why it is used. –  msh210 Apr 1 '11 at 20:15
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some of your list will not sprout, but is called afar in the Torah. –  YDK Apr 3 '11 at 3:21
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