Compost and DE

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Suisan, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. Suisan

    Suisan In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2008
    Hello. What a fantastic forum this is. I'm reading and learning so much as I get ready to start taking care of a small flock of Wyandottes in my backyard.

    My husband's an organic butcher and has been wanting to have fresh eggs for a while -- now I'm spending all my time online looking at coop construction and predator proofing. He's pretty sure he's created a monster [​IMG]

    I have guinea pigs as pets and have a decently active compost pile -- mostly hay that they've peed on, guinea pig maure and kitchen scraps. Obviously I'll be adding the chicken litter to this as well. I plan to use DE to keep down flies and smells. (My husband *hates* flies. Ha. City boy.) I don't have that many worms in the compost, although there are some, but there are a lot of beetles scurrying around in there when I turn it. I'm assuming that the DE will kill off these bugs as well as fly larvae, etc.

    So my question is, is this a problem for the compost pile? Or do the bacteria and fungusy things take up the job of the beetles and worms in the presence of DE?
  2. ginbart

    ginbart Crowing

    Mar 9, 2008
    Bloomsburg, PA
    I'm sorry I can't help you with this but could you tell me what DE is? [​IMG]
  3. Suisan

    Suisan In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2008
    Diatomaceous Earth (spelling??)

    Sprinkled on chicken runs and during cleanup it dries out manure and combats flies. There are a bunch of threads on it in various areas. I just couldn't find one relating to compost.

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    What's an "organic butcher"?
  5. Suisan

    Suisan In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2008
    An organic butcher is one who sells organic meats and "all-natural", "No added hormones, antibiotics, humanely slaughtered" meats. High end stuff. Very pricey.
  6. chcknrs

    chcknrs Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Kelso, WA
    I think the DE would kill off the beneficial bugs, like worms, and you really want to have those. Once you get your chickens they will go after the beetles, tho.
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    I believe the DE will harm the beneficial insects as well as the flies. So, it will be a two edged sword.

    If you read how to properly do a compost heap, it should be covered with a tarp anyhow so I don't think the flies will be an issue. While you're heaping up the pile over the summer prior to curing, though, I could see how you'd have problems.

    Honestly, if it were me, I'd just put fly tape up near the pile. Far easier and cheaper.
  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Once DE gets wet it no longer works and has to be reapplied. In wet conditions and decomposition of a compost pile I would think it wouldn't compromise the insect life thriving there. I honestly don't know.

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