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Could some one explain to me what diatamacious earth is for exactly?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicken_china_mom, May 17, 2009.

  1. chicken_china_mom

    chicken_china_mom Crazy for Cochins

    Apr 24, 2009
    Tab, Indiana
    I keep hearing people talk about it on here, but I'm not exactly understanding what it is, or what it does. It was mentioned at a 4-H poultry meeting too, and they were saying feed it to my chickens. But what EXACTLY does it do? Insect control is what I am seeing it used for most, but in another thread it was mentioned for use in keeping chicken poop from stinking. How does that work? And where can I buy it? I get most of my chicken supplies at TSC but I have never seen it for sale there. I am concerned with parasite and insect control as much as anyone else is, especially since my neighbor's across the street constantly have bird lice and mites, and their kids and my kids play together from time to time. I'd hate for my kids to bring something back home by accident. I plan to keep my birds MUCH cleaner than they do, and practice stricter parasite/insect control, not to mention odor control if I can! So any help people can give me with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone.

  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    It is put in feed as a drying agent and to kill any bugs that may find their way in. I sprinkle it under roosts to dry out and de-stink poop, in nests where they sit for long periods and dust the birds themselves with it from time to time. You cannot get it at TSC or most feedstores. It MUST be food grade or it's dangerous to the birds! Custom Milling has reps on the eastern part of the U.S. Freshwater Organics sells it, etc. This article tells you about it.

    Prices vary wildly. I use about 3 50lb bags a year and pay $25/bag.
  3. ScoobyRoo

    ScoobyRoo Songster

    Aug 21, 2008
    Land of OZ
    I would google it. There is alot of contoversy about DE. From what I understand it is microscopic crystals that have sharp edges that cut into the guts of worms killing them. It can be harmful if breathed. So if they are dust bathing in it?????????? Just read up on it thoroughly before making a final decision. Some people swear by it some shy away from it.
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Ummm, it can be used in worm beds to control ants.

    There are links to threads on DE on the FAQ page.
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    The truly harmful DE is the pool filter type. That should never be used around chickens! You may not know it, but feed companies sometimes put food grade DE in the feed to prevent clumping and keep it dry. It's like putting some rice grains in a salt shaker to absorb the moisture!
    You can have a reaction to just plain dust or flour shot up your nose, and DE is no different as it is a very fine powder texture. Food grade DE is, IMO, no more dangerous than breathing in any fine dust in large quantities.

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