DE - how much do you use ?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tri-5-ron, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. tri-5-ron

    tri-5-ron Songster

    Feb 6, 2010
    Orange County
    I have been trying to read up on the use of DE.
    I have seen both sides of the debates, as to whether it is safe to use around Chickens, Dogs, Cats, Asthmatic Children, etc.

    I have decided to try using it in my Coop, Nesting boxes and in the Feed,
    mainly for controlling flies,
    but any other benefits are also welcomed.

    I have read where everyone who uses it,...
    says to just "Sprinkle it around in the Coop", or, "Sprinkle it in their Feed".

    I am ready to go up to the feed store to purchase the DE, but my questions are,...

    How much should I buy? (how many pounds ?).

    Is there a recommended amount, per sq. ft. of area ?
    My feed store has it in a Bulk Barrel, and they sell it by the pound.

    My Coop is 4' x 8', with 3" to 4" of pine shavings on the floor, and 16' of Overhead Perch's, that have "Poop Boards" under the Perch's.
    the Poop Boards are cleaned every 2 or 3 days, and the pine shavings are changed about every 6 to 8 weeks.
    here are pics of the Coop...



    The Coop is built inside of the "Run", about 18" off of the ground.
    The Run, is 12' wide x 24' long, and has 3" to 4" of Wash-Con Sand, as the flooring.
    (in this pic, you can only see about half, of the 24' length of the Run).


    So as for using the DE...

    How much (pounds) Should I buy ?

    How much should I "sprinkle" around, inside the Coop ?.. (in/on the pine Shavings)

    The Run ?... (in/on the Sand)

    The Nesting boxes ?... (which also are half filled with Pine Shavings)

    and in the Feed ?... (the large green feeder, you see hanging in the Run)

    Should the DE be sprinkled, ONLY into the "Pecking/Feeding Pan", at the bottom of the feeders ?
    Should it be added throughout the 40#'s of feed, in the big Tube ?

    The large Feeder in the Run, holds about 40#'s of Feed.
    The smaller Black Feeder inside the Coop, holds about 10#'s of Feed.
    And we have a total of 8 full sized Chickens. (not Banties)

    Thank you as always,
    for your experience and replies,

  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    I use an old parmesan cheese shaker and sprinkle nests lightly when I change out the straw in them. Some days when they can't get out much, I sprinkle lightly under the roost to help dry things out. I put maybe a cup of it in every new bag of feed and stir it around so bugs that might get in are killed, but it won't harm the birds. I also sprinkle under wings and around their tushes occasionally. That's about it. I don't use tons of it-if you do, it really adds to the dust in the coops, but it does kill all soft bodied insects, including lice and mites.

    I don't usually use it with young chicks due to them being so close to the ground and maybe having breathing issues if they inhale too much of it. As with any powdery substance, you want to be careful not to use it too heavily, but it is a safer alternative to bug poisons, certainly. A 50# bag lasts me about 2/3 of the year and I have several coops.
  3. mkearsley

    mkearsley Chirping

    Jul 19, 2010
    South-west Idaho
    I usually just by the 10 lb bag that they have at the feed store & toss a couple handfuls in the pine shavings & stir things up a little. I have tossed a few handfuls in their dust baths, too. But I don't put it in their feed since its so fine....
  4. moetrout

    moetrout Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    I bought a 25 pound bag because that is what they had at the feed store. My guess is maybe a 1 cup sprinkled over the floor and some on the nests. If you are doing the run too then maybe one more cupful in the run. I bought the old style flour sifter at Kroger for spreading it around. I do my coup when I first put down the pine chips and then when ever it seems like it needs to be dried up, usually because of odor.
  5. MakNugget

    MakNugget Songster

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I bought a lifetime supply of 50#... what the heck am I supposed to do with all of it, lol. I figure it was a deal since my feed store was selling it in pound sized bags at a great mark up. It's paid for itself many times over.

    My rule of thumb is "just enough". I only add to help counteract the moistness from the droppings. So for a brand new bed of pine shavings, I just let the shavings do the work by it self. I'll add more pine later and maybe a handful of DE and mix in by hand and let it be until it could absorb more.

    I prefer NOT to use any kind of applicator that would help make it airborne. I also prefer not to add so much that it adds to the dust factor... just enough to help dry out the poo, and only when needed. I can go months without adding more this way.

    I've also added some under the coop which is their favorite dust bath area.

    For nest boxes I add to the shavings, and mix by hand. I also incorporate some nest box "spices"... an idea I shamelessly stole from Revolution that I really like: Allspice, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Cayenne. I had no ratios to go by, but I pretty much went something like 50/30/10/10... or 40/35/15/10. Natural mite deterrent... So spices and DE, hand mixed into the shavings, occasionally tossed to freshen things up.
  6. mkearsley

    mkearsley Chirping

    Jul 19, 2010
    South-west Idaho
    Quote:The birds aren't bothered by the black pepper & cayenne?
  7. MakNugget

    MakNugget Songster

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Quote:The birds aren't bothered by the black pepper & cayenne?


    We're only talking about 20-35% of the mixture too, and it's not like they're dust bathing in it. I prepared about 1 cup of the mixture and divided it between two nests. I did a test with just one nest first to see if they were avoiding it, but they were just fine. It all settles to the bottom beneath the shavings after a while, so I'll stir the shavings by hand if I feel the need.
  8. Sierra pachie bars

    Sierra pachie bars Queen of the Lost

    Nov 8, 2008
    I buy 50 pounds at a time. I. Use it for everything . In my horses corral, in their food, in the dogs food. In my chickens water, I use it in my horses water buckets. It lasts me a long time. I dust my chickens with it, my coops. I also use it around my house, to keep insects out of my house. Now if it kept rattle snakes away that would be cool. Lol
  9. cobrien

    cobrien Songster

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    my coop is 6' x 4' and covered run with sand bottom is 6' x 18'. I buy 10 lbs at a time because that's what I usually find (I don't live in the country so it isn't as easy to find). How much I use depends on why I'm using it. As a mite / fly preventative, I sprinkle like others said - probably about 1/2 lb sprinkled around the coop and lightly mix it in (I wear gloves and hold my breath or wear a respirator). Like putting powdered sugar on a cake [​IMG]. However I've struggled with fly infestations in the past and if they seem to be getting bad or if the run is damp, I will remove the chickens from the coop for a while, put on the gloves and respirator, and work in a good 5 lbs of DE with a rake. My run is sand and I really work it in 2-3" deep, in hopes that I kill more fly larvae that might be underneath the top surface. This is a lot of DE but it gets worked into the sand and I didn't feel it posed any threat to the girls - the air was not dusty and they have done fine. and it really helps with the flies.

    I don't understand the idea of putting it in water - I thought it lost effectiveness when wet (?)

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