Bought a bag of DE...Now what???? Bake a cake?


9 Years
May 2, 2010
Pacific Northwest
I finally bought a bag of DE because I've heard so much about it's magical powers. I thought it would look like dirt and boy was I surprised to find a white powdery substance. What I would like to know is, what all do you use DE for and how much to you use? I've heard adding it to the dustbath is good for mite control. Some people feed it to the birds? Someone said rub it into their perch? Sprinkle it in the nesting boxes? Rub it on the bird?

What do you do with DE? I'm here to learn.....Can you use too much?
I toss a couple handsful onto the pine shavings in the coops whenever I add more to the deep litter. I mix a little bit of it with the pine shavings in brooders. I put some in the bottom of a PVC feeder, after I filled the void with gravel and before I added the feed. I scatter some on the ground in the run area, now and then.
I've been adding it to cottage cheese so they will munch it down without wasting it. I also put it in the dust bath and on the nests when I put fresh shaving down.
And (heehee) I'm making the hubby and the kids drink a couple of TBSP in a glass of water every night. I know it sounds kooky but my skin is clearer and smoother than it has been in a long long time. Plus, (not to be disgusting) I am suddenly as regular as clockwork.
Yes, it cures everything.... I'll sell you a tropical island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean real cheap too! DE is used as a drying agent. It might prevent lice/mites, but not a treatment for an infestation. It will not prevent nor treat worms.
First of all, make sure you wear gloves and a high quality dust mask/respirator when you handle it. While non toxic, it is abrasive to your hands AND your lungs. If you only have the cheapo dust masks, I'd think twice about using it - might be better to hold your breath. The cheapo felt ones don't make a good seal to your face. I use a good quality respirator.

I do not feed it to my chickens directly, but spread it around the coop, run, and nesting boxes to help control lice, mites and flies. I have not read anything convincing that it helps with intestinal worms, but on the other hand it is safe for them to eat so why not try it.

It is not effective if it gets wet.

I usually put on my gloves, respirator and safety glasses and sprinkle it around once a month in the summer when there are more flies and every few months in the winter. Like sprinkling powdered sugar on a cake
. I used to do a light sprinkling but this summer the flies were bad so I dumped about a few gallons in volume over a 100 square foot area and worked it in to the shavings in the coop and into the sand in my run. It helped a lot. Don't spread it around with the chickies around, especially if windy, let the stuff settle first. It is not good for them to breathe either.

I got a great tip once on BYC to reduce your exposure to it - put wood chips or whatever bedding / run material (I use sand) in a big plastic bin or box with lid, add some DE then shake the box/bin. Then put the bedding/run material in the coop, run or nesting box. This technique cuts down on the DE dust that would otherwise be blowing around when spreading it.
OK. All good ideas. I'll go sprinkle some around. Not too sure I'll be eating it myself, but enjoy that regularity all the same!
Thanks for all the answers.

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