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DIATOMACEOUS EARTH - Page 2

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by cottonwood23 View Post

so I have heard mixed reviews on DE and want some opinions and experiences with it. I am wanting to know the benefits if any of using DE with chickens. Also what are the ways people use it and also the amount used.

 

I have DE mixed in with the chicken feed at a rate of 1%.  Does it protect them from internal worms?  Beats me.  It does provide a source of silica though.  I like how it attracts any moisture in their feed so that we have less chance of mold growing in the feed.  If it was truly bad for the chicken at 1%, then I'm surprised we don't have a high mortality rate.  I guess, though, that considering they free range and have scratch available, the layers are probably only getting between 0.6% and 0.75% of DE in their total intake. 

 

I think that we have fewer flies because of the chikens eating DE.  The goats didn't get DE when we had them.  The goat barn and corral had flies and the chicken coops and pens didn't.  Since the goats have been gone, we still don't flies at the chicken houses.  So, I like that we have so few flies.  They say that if flies lay their eggs in chicken manure with DE in it, the larvae can't survive because of the DE in the droppings.  I don't have a clue if it's true or not.  My evidence is purely anecdotal and should certainly not be used as the basis for use of DE.  There are just too many factors that can't be evaluated or measured. 

 

Sometimes my chickens have mites even though they dust bathe in dirt whenever they choose to.  It's definitely not every year, just now and then.  I prefer to not use pesticides on the chickens since I have read numerous studies about pesticide use/misuse and some effects that seem worse than the condition I'm trying to avoid.  DE continually takes care of the mite problem, a problem which also manifests itself as a mite crawling up my arm after collecting eggs.  Thankfully, humans cannot be hosts for chicken mites.  Yay!  With broody hens, mites can become more of an issue because the broodies will sit there in the nest (or broody box) with mites living on them for weeks and then the chicks will have mites, too.

 

When I clean out the nesting boxes and then refill them, I use about a closed handful in each nesting box mixed in with the new pine shavings.  My nesting boxes can be removed and all contents dumped at once.  The DE can be placed in the shavings and mixed without much dust getting around in the air. 

 

In my broody boxes, I use more DE ... probably three times as much, but broody boxes are larger than the nesting boxes.  So....

 

I put on a mask when I sprinkle the DE into the cracks between the wooden fixtures and the supports in the coop.  I don't sprinkle it in the litter since the layers don't spend any time to speak of in the litter on the floor and I don't want them to anyway.  They are let out to wiggle their feet in clean fields, yard, pasture, woods.

 

If I think the mite problem is widespread, I have once or twice, filled an old sock with DE and tapped the back of each chicken on the roosts at night.  The sock seems to help evenly distribute the DE into the feathers on their backs.  I wear a mask for this.  I wear a mask when I clean out the coop, too, because there can be all sorts of stuff in there that I think I can get sick from. 

 

I have some chickens as old as 6 or 7 years old and none have started to show any signs of silicosis yet.  But the jury is still out. ;)

 

One thing is for sure, though, chickens seem to thrive in a myriad of situations which is great because we humans have a myriad different ways of taking care of them.

It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

 

I laugh in the face of "Recommended Serving Size."  The bag is too big to eat just 14 corn chips.

 

A little bit of summer's what the whole year's all about.  ~John Mayer

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It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

 

I laugh in the face of "Recommended Serving Size."  The bag is too big to eat just 14 corn chips.

 

A little bit of summer's what the whole year's all about.  ~John Mayer

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post #12 of 15
I would more think that your lack of a fly problem is likely due to chickens eating the maggots. When I get goats, I was actually going to house a few chickens with them for this reason.

Good point about the DE keeping the food dry though.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jensownzoo View Post

I would more think that your lack of a fly problem is likely due to chickens eating the maggots. When I get goats, I was actually going to house a few chickens with them for this reason.

 

Okay, maybe.  Good point.  But our chickens were hanging out with the goats all the time because they could get through the fencing and liked the grain and hay that we fed the goats.  Maybe the chickens didn't eat the goat pens' maggots because they tasted different from the maggots hatched near the chickens.  I don't know and there's no way to prove anything one way or the other.   :hu  I'm just glad that we don't have hardly any fly problems. :weee 

 

For sure, though, when the ants start coming into this house sometimes in the spring, if I sprinkle DE where I think they're coming from, they stop coming in or make a new trail elsewhere.  Pretty soon they give up and stay outside.  So I love DE for that.  But I guess that still doesn't prove anything.

It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

 

I laugh in the face of "Recommended Serving Size."  The bag is too big to eat just 14 corn chips.

 

A little bit of summer's what the whole year's all about.  ~John Mayer

Reply

It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

 

I laugh in the face of "Recommended Serving Size."  The bag is too big to eat just 14 corn chips.

 

A little bit of summer's what the whole year's all about.  ~John Mayer

Reply
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
So it sounds like it has its purposes
post #15 of 15

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a great addition to a chicken dust bath when you’re having issues with parasites, like mites; however, there is no need to add it to their feed. To my knowledge, it is not going to help with fly control. When creating a dust bath, make it 10% diatomaceous earth to 90% peat moss.

 

Read more about dust baths here: http://www.purinamills.com/find-answers/articles/backyard-poultry/keep-your-backyard-flock-cool,-calm-and-comfortabl/

 

If you suspect that your chickens have worms, you should consult your veterinarian to confirm and prescribe a treatment plan. If you treat for worms without confirmation, you can develop a resistance to the treatments for worms.

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