Diatomaceous earth (DE) Food Grade


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 15, 2013
Hi all! New chicken owner here and trying to get educated on a number of things and today's question is how does DE help with your chickens? What are the benefits? I heard that it is a must have but just want some details as to why. Thanks so much!
Quote: Those who tell you it's a "must have" are usually trying to sell it to you
It's really not all that some claim it to be.

It's good for killing SOME insects, and it will soak up moisture, but don't expect it to do anything more.

Most get by just fine without using it at all
It's just powdered rock
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Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized skeletons of diatoms. Conventional wisdom has it that the sharp edges of the skeletons will lacerate the exoskeleton of insects causing them to dessicate, since these wounds won't heal. Typically, it is used to control insects. There is no science to support a lot of the traditional uses. After all, the chemical companies cannot make money off of anything natural.

Nevertheless, adding it to feed can allow you to derive whatever benefits come from the diatomaceous earth passing through the gut of the chicken. The diatomaceous earth in the poop is considered to control flies by interacting with the maggots emerging from the flies' eggs laid in the poop.

I use it in my shop to control spiders. Dusting the baseboards keeps the spiders at bay, so I don't have cobwebs on the ceilings. I add it to my chickens feed. I feel that it does help with the flies, although I don't have any absolute method of determining this. I have killed fire ant mounds with it.

It is a fine powder, so use care to protect yourself from the dust. As with any dust, wear a mask or stay upwind.

Since food grade diatomaceous earth has no chemicals in it, its use is a neutral process. There are many things that people do simply because they believe in them. There are many sources on the internet where you can read about its use; and decide for yourself.

Thank you Chris for the helpful information. I've been reading online but just wanted to get opinions on the product and how it's used. I recently just bought a bag a have start to use some in the chicks coop. I sprinkled some on their wood shavings. So it's safe to put a bit in their food as well?
yes, it's safe for your chickens. you can put it in their feed, but i've never had a reason to. only if you need to control moisture. it helps to keep mites away from the coop as mites thrive in moist/wet environments. i use the deep litter method and have a dirt floor so during the rainy season it can get damp. by continuing to put DE in the bedding, it will help keep the coop dry and keep mites from setting up shop. it's also good to put in their "dusting bath" holes as they will get it close to their skin and this can help with mites.


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