DE ? Should I remove it?


11 Years
Dec 1, 2008
North East Indiana
About a week ago I started mixing 3 tablespoons of DE to 2 1/2 gallon container of egg maker food. I did this to prevent worms and any parasite that may bother my birds. Just yesterday I've discovered 2 of the birds having balding going on under their vent. I've been trying to figure out what to do and what is causing it. I posted a topic on here and doesn't seem anyone knows what it is or what could be causing it. So I called my feed store and they said to remove the DE from their food because that may be what's causing the irritation. She said that DE is ground up limestone. My question is this, has anyone ever had a problem with the DE causing this kind of problem? Or does anyone have any idea what could cause this and what to do about it?

It didn't have a label because they have it in bulk and put some in a brown bag for me. I asked them if it was food grade and they said it was. Also the place where I purchased it is a feed and grain farm store and they don't sell anything for pools.. Just farm animal food and about every accery you can think of. They did tell me they never heard of using DE for chickens.
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Well we just got 2 new bags of Food for the birds and I won't be mixing anymore DE with it. The mixed is all gone now. But now I've read where you put it in their bedding and in their food to help with parasites and mites. Where would I get some that I could be sure it was food grade and wouldn't cause problems? I have access to Rural King,, TSC in my area. Does anyone know if they carry it?

Also the feed store people told me that I can sprinkle a little seven dust in the coop when I change bedding to help with mites. I would be worried that pestiside would be eaten by the chickens and end up in the eggs.
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I was under the impression that you dust them with it, I didn't realize folks actually put it in their food...? I've not done that, I sprinkle it on the shavings when I clean the coops, but I've never added it to food.
Neither the closest Rural King or TSC carry food grade DE here; the only place I've been able to find it is online. I would NOT use DE that wasn't SPECIFICALLY labeled food grade even if someone said it was. If it isn't MARKED food grade, chances are it is NOT.
DE is not ground up limestone. Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae.

If the feed store was selling it, but they never heard of using it for chickens, it is probably not food grade. i would toss it.

Just speculating, it may be what is causing the irritation under your hen's vent. And further, if it's causing that to the skin, i hate to think what it might have caused internally. You may want to start giving them a high quality plain yogurt every day to help heal their insides.
It's my understanding that you can add it to the food AND the water, dust them with it (be careful not to get it around their nostrils or eyes) and put it in bedding and their favorite dust bathing areas. I haven't yet tried it in the water, but I read somewhere that it retards algae growth in warm months.

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