DE (Diatomaceous Earth) in pine shavings in brooder?


9 Years
Feb 2, 2010
Boulder, Colorado
I've been really really itchy since around the time we got our 8 chicks. They are 15 days old now and living in a large wire dog crate in my living room.

My husband has me paranoid that they've given me some sort of mites or something that's making me itchy. It could just be dry skin since I'm in Colorado!

Can I sprinkle a little DE on their pine shavings or would that be to dangerous for my family's lungs?

Has anyone ever gotten a parasite from their chickens?

Thanks in advance!
Poultry mites live on poultry not on people, or dogs, or cats. If your chicks mave mites, you'd be able to see them, look around the vent for little things running around, and look for clumps of a white substance around the base of the feathers. If you don't see either of those, you should be ok, and not have mites or lice. DE and pine shavings shouldn't be harmfull to you or your family, I don't know this for a fact, but I wouldn't be afraid to use it inside my place, in moderation of course. I seriously doubt that they would be infested at 15 days, where did you get them??? Anyway.................. good luck!! Nancy
I'm not sure about the diatomaceous earth (because of the lungs, as you mentioned), but I have had the mites crawling on me before and eventually they look for something else to snack on because humans are apparently not all that appetizing. They never stay. I don't think I've ever seen mites on chicks that young; are you allergic to the chickens? Once the chicks are old enough, you can dust them for mites, which should eliminate your problem.
I doubt you have mites after only two weeks and keeping them indoors. Do you have other animals? Could it be fleas? Have you had chickens before now? If not, you could have an allergy. You might try keeping your chicks somewhere besides in the house, such as a garage or porch, if you can keep them warm there. Another possibility is that it's all in your head. Not trying to be funny. I just know from my own experience, nothing makes me itch like thinking I have something making me itch. You could have had a brief itch from something unrelated to the chickens. Then you thought, or somebody suggested, the chickens were making you itch, and now they are.

As for DE, I wouldn't add it to their litter until they are older, and I definitely wouldn't use it in the house. I know it is used indoors, but not in a situation where it can be constantly made airborne by the scratching your chicks will do. You don't want that stuff floating around inside.

Good luck.
Thanks everyone! This is my first time having chickens. I have 2 dogs, but we don't have fleas in Colorado this time of year. I'm not sure what it could be, but it can't be all in my head. I wake up in the middle of the night because I'm super itchy. I don't have a rash.

I'd like to move the chickens somewhere else, but I have to keep them away from my terrier, and the garage is too cold and dark. We are moving to a new house very soon where their coop will be built (once the snow melts off the ground!!!).

Our dining room table has become an agricultural experiment - It's taken up by chickens and now my seed germinating tray taking advantage of the chicken's heat lamp. We just eat at our kitchen island now. LOL!

Is your husband itching? If you could get mites from the chickens, surely he could get them from you.

I don't think you have a mite problem, but you might be allergic to the chick dust. Have you tried Benadryl?
Boy am I ever glad to hear someone else's dinning room table is used for something other than family dinners !!! LOL
I am not alone !!!!
Mine is a dispensing system for horse supplement and feed. I surely don't want to have to go to the basement twice a day !!! LOL

I have chicks due to hatch this weekend, I think they are going to be in the basement when the hubby decides to make that brooder-running out of time quickly !!!

I just love this site, it has made me feel a bit more normal !!! At least in the chicken world. I thought I was the only one who brought chickens in the house- Yippeeee I'm just one of many !!!!

Hope you find out why you are itching. I sure hope you aren't allergic to chickens. If so you might have to take some benadryl.
Maybe you've become allergic to the hubby !!!! LOL

Good Luck figuring it out.
The following is a quote from the Wolf Creek Ranch website, which sells DE (here is the web address:
DE manufacturers who work in diatomaceous earth mines 5 days/week advise inhaling it is not a problem (tho of course, don't be snuffing it) and we have not had problems when inhaling DE in small amounts. IF you have asthma or some other lung ailment, either wear a mask or be very careful when using food grade diatomaceous earth.

It is the non-food grade DE that is dangerous to breath

- David​
Could it be that you are allergic to the bird feathers, dander, mold/mildew from bedding, etc.? I've had allergies to birds all my life starting with the use of a feather pillow as a child and then when I tried to have parrots. I was seriously allergic to the dander which caused asthma attacks and the feathers and dander also itch me to death. You might try keeping the chick brooder on a closed in porch, garage, building that is separate from the house. I raise chickens and this is what I do. :)
It could be the pine shavings. I am allergic to them and peat moss (in most garden soils you buy) and I have to wear gloves and long sleeves when handling either.

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