Crop Issues and DE


10 Years
Mar 31, 2009
Virginia is for Chick Lovers!
I wish this forum had a poll option. If it does, I haven't found it.

Now, I want to ask a simple question and try not to get into a heavy debate about the pros and cons of DE. I realize there are MANY posts on this forum about DE, and the claims made about it's use. I really don't want to focus on that issue right now.

My question is, how many of the posters that have dealt with crop blockages, sour crop, or any other crop issues, etc., also use DE?

This is the article that brought up my question, and made me start thinking. Thus I wanted to do an informal poll/study to see if there was a correlation.

DE absorbs 1.5 to 4 times its weight of water and also has an extremely high absorption rate of oils. Food grade DE is commonly used to keep things dry and from ‘clumping’, as in pancake and cake flour, etc. Industrial grade DE has been used to control or absorb large spills. Mixed into the poultry feed for ingestion, I would imagine that DE could have the same affect.

I doubt highly that there's a correlation. I studied DE intensely for months quite a few years ago as it was something I wanted to use for my own flock of show birds. If people are having issues with DE causing soured crop, well there are worse problems going on. (Note - sour crop usually has more to do with the slowing of the digestive tract caused by stress, diet change, or illness.)

But I would like to give the DE thing a little discussion.

First, only fresh-water human grade DE should ever be used. DE is safe - if the right kind (not the kind from the hardware store) is used. People looking to save money will without doubt put their birds in harm's way.

Second, used correctly and sparingly, DE is very safe. It's actually used in flour, toothpaste, and things that we ourselves use and ingest every day. It's commonly used in many edible products to inhibit bugs.

Third, i hear a lot of complaints that DE causes sneezing, respiratory problems, etc. I always feel a bit saddened when I read this because a good product is being used perhaps not as it should and being distrusted as a result.

Understand that ANY particulates in the air can cause problems for birds, including just the dust in their foods. Birds' respiratory systems are very sensitive and for that reason we avoid any dust at all in their air. If DE is applied so that you can see dust in the air, it's way over applied. When using it, it must be used sparingly and mixed in well in bedding if that's where it's used. If used in food, you must never see it. If you do, once it's mixed in, you're using too much.

Also, when laying it, birds should be removed from the premises. We should wear a dust mask for small particulates. This is true of ANY dusty substance.

That being said, I used DE for years. I never had one single issue with it in any oh my birds. I feel so strongly about its effectiveness when used correctly that I recommend it, knowing full well that I can do so and still look myself in the face every morning.

I get immensely attached to my birds. I cry when I lose one, even now after nearly 40 years of owning them. Losing one is losing a member of my family. I trust DE with this family, and found it to be a very useful part of my show flock's care. Just make sure and fully educate yourself about it before using it and use it sparingly.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post.
You are correct in your concern that WHEN a bird has a slow crop (caused by other issues) which in early stages is not noticed , if you are feeding DE then you run the risk of exacerbating impaction risk. If your bird has never been ill then those birds would never have had crop problems for instance.
I think it is a good product to sprinkle around the coop or in their dust bath (in moderation) but personally I would not feed it to my birds... It is often already in their feed (as a product to deal with parasitic infestation of the feed or grain during storage). It does nothing to help with internal worms.
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I use 1 and 1/4 cup D.E. the food grade kind per each 50 lb bag, and i've never had a problem... aside from perhaps mixing too much and having a few birds sneeze, but i am careful about that ...

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