Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by squat, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. squat

    squat Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2008
    Should we or should we not give our laying hens food grade DE - diatamateous earth (not sure of the spelling)? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    It's suppose to cut down on parasites. mix in 2-4% with their feed. Make certain it's food grade.
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Many also sprinkle around the pen and on the birds. Will not harm them if food grade. Lots of info here. Personal choice.
  4. fowltemptress

    fowltemptress Frugal Fan Club President

    Jan 20, 2008
    The new Backyard Poultry magazine had a letter in it listing some possible disadvantages, such as concerns it causes lung cancer and takes away hydration and oil based supplements. I believe there was mention that people have a tendency to mistakenly think "natural" automatically means "safe," and I tend to agree with that assessment. I don't remember any details, or whether it was an article, a letter, well researched or drawn from personal experience. If you happen to notice the magazine anywhere take a look and see if you can find it.

    I don't use DE for two main reasons . . . I don't think it kills internal parasites at all, for one thing, because I know the mechanism by which it's supposed to kill bugs, and it just wouldn't work on an internal parasite. People will argue that point with me, citing personal experience and whatnot, but quite frankly when someone believes the garlic they give their dogs dissuades fleas there is no amount of flea infestations on garlicky dogs I can show them that would convince them otherwise, and I got tired of trying. Some DE enthusiasts who feed their birds the stuff are much the same, I imagine.

    The reason I don't sprinkle my coops with it is because . . . well, this may sound silly, but I like bugs, and I don't like the idea of sprinkling something around that could kill bugs indiscriminately. I also use the contents of my coops in my garden eventually, and I can't help but think the DE would not be kind to my beneficial bugs that could potentially visit my garden's soil. I don't have any research to back up this last bit of reasoning at all, so if I'm wrong I'd love to know it. My SO gets fed up with me for denying his every attempt to do anything that MAY kill a bug . . . I imagine I'll change my tune if we ever get a good termite infestation, but for now I'm content.
  5. riderbecky

    riderbecky Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2008
    Ottawa Valley
    I do use DE in my chicken feed and coop and on the birds if I see any mites or lice.

    1. Feed - to control various bug and their larvae that eat grains. I mix with the feed in its bulk container where I hold the surplus feed.

    2. Coop - in the nests and spinkled on the floor paying attention to where floor meets wall to control mites and lice. I'm very generous with it here and in the nests. I also use lime to help control odor.

    3. Chicken - will dust the birds with it or mix it in their dusting holes to control pests on the birds themselves. Place the DE in the toe of a stocking and use it like a powder puff.

    Recommend that you use a dust mask when applying DE.

    As far as internal parasites are concerned...I'm not sure. I know that it won't harm the larger worms like round worms or pin worms for the same reason that it doesn't harm earth worms. What I have read (probably on a DE site) is that is traps the microscopic parasites that are present. Most (like 90%) parasites are microscopic. How this works is that DE is razor sharp on the outside and hollow (like a chicken bone, if you understand what I mean) on the inside. Its the hollow part that traps these microscopic parasites. Kind of like a roach motel. They go in but can't get out. Then they are eliminated through natural bowel function with the DE.

    I'll see if I can find that site I was looking at. The truth though is its a personal choice.
  6. marthas_ear

    marthas_ear Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 7, 2008
    Austin Texas area
    I used to use DE for pest control...but it does indiscriminately kill ladybugs and other bugs too. I decided I wanted to keep my beneficial insects for pollenizing and other things.

    I agree that the internal uses are not borne out with science.
    As hard as I try, I end up inhaling the dust which in the long run probably does more damage to me- than good!

    As far as bug control, that is why I got chickens!
    I let my banties scratch around in my garden after harvest and eat what they want and leave their poop!
  7. riderbecky

    riderbecky Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2008
    Ottawa Valley

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