100% Diatomaceous Earth

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jwalls01, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. jwalls01

    jwalls01 Hatching

    Oct 30, 2013
    Is 100% DE safe to use instead of sand in a small 2X4 Brooder? I read a post from 2011 which stated that it was safe to use, and safe for the chicks to eat.
  2. RoostersCrow HensDeliver!

    RoostersCrow HensDeliver! Songster

    Apr 11, 2011
    SE Michigan
    I wouldn't use it as it is a fine powder, like dust and I think you will immediately have respiratory issues. I would use clean sand or shavings.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  3. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    Placing chicks on a sorptive dust, such as ADE, wouldn't be doing you, or the chicks, any favors. ADE is a desiccant that absorbs ~four times its wt. in water. As an experiment, bury one of your hands in a bag of ADE and leave it there for 5 minutes. Use a dry paint brush to remove the dust from the hand; rub your face with the `untreated' hand and then use the ADE'd hand (the treated hand will be appreciably dryer/rougher - rinse it off when finished - can result in cracking and bleeding if exposure is long enough). A `bed' of ADE would `dry out' the chicks - use enough for long enough and one could probably mummify them in the stuff. Just not good for developing respiratory systems/or any other mucus membranes.

    It is one thing to use a handful of ADE mixed in with sand/wood chips to help dry out poop. But too much of a `good' thing isn't...

    Insofar as feeding ADE? Developing Nations are always looking to improve on production/health of poultry by exploring inexpensive alternatives. In the following study, ADE was examined as a potential `probiotic', they had better luck with clay...


    ADE kills insects by aDsorption of the waxy lipid layer of the exoskeleton (think of it as slow erosion - until insect experiences a `hull breach' and it loses internal fluids and dies). ADE attaches to insects pimarily owing to static charge (why it works more effectively in dry climates). If the brooder is dry and hot, the ADE will end up `painted' on all surfaces to which it is attracted.

    CALCINED (heated to melting and the resultant `glass' crushed into powder) diatomaceuos earth will kill insects by friction (cutting them to shreds), it will also do the same to human/avian air sacs/lungs. Constant exposure can result in Silicosis.

    Amorphous Diatomaceous Earth is a relatively effective, relatively benign (GRAS Generally Regarded As Safe by FDA) desiccant/insecticide and is useful as an adjunct to primary bedding with adult poultry and as an addition to dirt bathing areas.
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  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Agree. Not to mention that sand or shavings will do the job just fine and for far less expense. I'm personally not a fan of DE, the product nor the price!
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    DE is one of the most over-hyped, over-PRICED and misunderstood products on the market

    It will NOT do 90% of the things those SELLING it claim it will do , and it's chemically nothing but powdered SAND
  6. MoonShadows

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

    Jan 23, 2013
    Pocono Mtns
    My Coop
    You don't need DE unless you are looking to piss away money. There really is no need for it, and it can cause more problems than it can solve.
  7. Wrooster

    Wrooster Chirping

    Apr 13, 2013
    Northern Florida
    Of course nearly everything on the market is over-hyped and over-priced. And chemically - you're right. But it's not the chemical composition of it that's important, It's the physical characteristics such as the size and sharpness of the particles.

    Whether it works or not - you've been around this forum longer than many of us so your experience is worth something but it certainly conflicts with what many others say. The Wikipedia article links to several references on using it as an insecticide. One of those reports that it was effective against German and American cockroaches but not Oriental cockroaches, among other things.

    There are products on the market that have "DE" in big letters on the label but contain only token amounts. It's not a miracle product but my experience - which might be less than yours - is that if your expectations are reasonable it will do what it is supposed to do.
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Quote: That falls within the 10% of things that are TRUE about the claims
    The other true claim is it absorbs moisture

    It's the "health benefit" claims that have never been proven, as well as it being a "wormer"

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