Diatomaceous Earth question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DDNONIN2016, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. DDNONIN2016

    DDNONIN2016 Songster

    Jan 27, 2012
    SW Ohio
    I'm new to chickens and have read in previuos posts about DE dust being harmful for humans to breathe. Is it not harmful for chickens to breathe when they stir up the dust while dust-bathing ?
  2. moetrout

    moetrout Songster

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    That depends on who you talk to. There are some here convinced it will do harm to your chickens respritory system. I have been using DE for 3 years now to help keep the poo in my coup dry. I've not noticed any ill effects. If used probperly I doubt there's any problem. My proof is in 3 years of keeping chickens and using DE. I think it's mostly opinion that it will do your chickens harm as I have never seen any hard evidence of that.
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    This is why I don't use DE, there is so much conflicting information about it. If you have a wood stove, the ashes make a great dust bath (and kinda makes the chickies smell like BBQ if you're into that). Or you could just let them bathe in the plain old dirt. I've read that the food grade DE is safe for human consumption, but I'm still not sure about breathing it. And I know my girls have no problem dusting themselves up and shaking themselves off right next to me. Just my 2¢. Good luck.
  4. DDNONIN2016

    DDNONIN2016 Songster

    Jan 27, 2012
    SW Ohio
    Thank you both for your replies.
  5. DDNONIN2016

    DDNONIN2016 Songster

    Jan 27, 2012
    SW Ohio
    Bear Foot , Thank you very much for that information
  6. bowtie

    bowtie In the Brooder

    May 5, 2011
    It not the DE, any dust is harmful to breath into your lungs. It won't affect your chickens, food grade DE has many benefits, it eliminates pests in the digestive tract, and allows more of the protein to be absorbed and utilized as well...
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Quote: DE has never been PROVEN to do much besides kill insects.

    There are lots of claims about what it will do, but they can never seem to verify it in controlled laboratory testing

    It's basically powdered ROCK, and essentially chemically INERT
  8. SmokinChick

    SmokinChick Songster

    Apr 27, 2011
    Kingsville, MD
    Silicosis also takes years to develop. Shouldn't be a problem for chickens. They'll die from something else before they die from that. Again any dust would be an irritant. But the quanitities need to be huge and chronically present.
  9. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    I wear a mask every time. I just filled a new bucket of DE and I use it for everything. Bedding, nests, compost pile the girls dig in, dust bath and putting it in their food. Some interesting facts regarding DE. I have been in heated discussions regarding DE so it is just my opinion. Here are facts I have accumulated.

    DE (Diatomaceous Earth) Food Grade - Food grade diatomaceous earth is EPA approved to be mixed with grains to control mealworms and pests. Food grade diatomaceous earth makes a very effective natural insecticide. The insecticidal quality of diatomaceous earth is due to the razor sharp edges of the diatom remains. When diatomaceous earth comes in contact with the insects, the sharp edges lacerate the bugs waxy exoskeleton and then the powdery diatomaceous earth absorbs the body fluids causing death from dehydration. Food grade diatomaceous earth has been used for at least two decades as a natural wormer for livestock. Some believe diatomaceous earth scratches and dehydrates parasites. Some scientists believe that diatomaceous earth is a de-ionizer or de-energizer of worms or parasites. Regardless, people report definite control. To be most effective, food grade diatomaceous earth must be fed long enough to catch all newly hatching eggs or cycling of the worms through the lungs and back to the stomach. A minimum of 60 days is suggested by many, 90 days is advised for lung worms. Best yet, parasites don’t build up a tolerance/immunity to its chemical reaction, so rotation of wormers is unnecessary. Internal feeding of food grade diatomaceous earth helps eliminate most internal worms, including roundworms, pin worms, tapeworms, etc. It's also excellent when fed daily to keep down fly loads, since food grade diatomaceous earth is eliminated from the body, exactly the way it went in, it helps reduce the manure odor and kills flies that come in contact with it. Mix in animal feed or grain and/or feed free choice. Our goats, fowl, and dogs eat it free choice. DE is primarily used for the control of external parasites, and as a wormer when using food grade DE. Diatomaceous (die-uh-toe-may-shus) "DE", as diatomaceous earth is abbreviated, has the neat quality of killing insects. It's perfect for natural insect control. It is 100% ecologically safe to the environment and non-poisonous to man and beast. In fact, if you've eaten anything made with flour you've eaten DE. It's used in commercial grain storage as a means of natural, poison-free, insect control. Worming add 2% D.E. to your feed to reduce, or eliminate internal parasites and worms. Delousing your birds to help control external parasites like red mites, and lice. You will also need to spread this liberally on roosts, bedding areas, and dusting spots. Take care not to inhale the dust, as it can cause lung problems. Run down system food with protein I would separate her in a kennel away from your other birds in the event it may be contagious. I would set up a little pet hospital with good lighting so your bird is not locked up and being punished but in a warmer area with lighting and a hospital environment. A large Dog Kennel would do very well. Feed this girl/roo foods that offer substance like eggs (scrambled or hard boiled or fried), flax seed, linseed, sunflower seed no shells ground up, broccoli & cauliflower crushed up, cooked chicken minced up in a food processor, corn frozen in a bag and steamed, meal-worms, cottage cheese with flax seed, linseed, sunflower seed no shells ground up in it. Foods that deliver a punch to the digestive system. As far as respiratory tract and internal part the doctor took car of that for 2 weeks so do your job and feed her great nutritional stuff. Best of luc
    Deep litter methods with DE is 1 of the preferred methods discussed here on the BYC Forums. I lay down up to 4" in spots to start the in the beginning. Some use only 2" but do what you want but as you lay it down I add and sprinkle D.E. (diatomaceous earth). The DE helps with lice, mites and odor over the top and then throw down more wood shavings and DE until its the depth you want. Then each day I pick up poop and throw it into my 5 gallon poop bucket. Then with a stick I hang inside the coop I begin to stir the shavings up until they are soft and loose and not packed down. This stirs the poop you miss lower in the shavings toward the dirt floor. Now in a month or so you will begin to feel it is beginning to have an odor or is looking dark and dirty it may be time to throw down and sprinkle some more DE on the top layer after you have stirred the coop or shavings in the brooder. Then put down new shavings on top about 1" or so not a lot but enough to make it look fresh. This will continue until spring for me. In the spring I have 8" or more of shavings (15 to 20 cuft) and I dig the entire coop and brooder out into a wheel barrel and it goes to my flower beds and garden beds and the remainder goes to my compost pile where I empty my poop bucket too. At the end of Summer as it begins Fall I do this again to keep the flower beds warm to keep the cold off the roots and add to the compost pile again. It is a constant work in progress but easy to do.

    Dust bath benefits
    Dust bathing, chickens remove dander, feather flakes and excess oils from their skin and feathers. This encourages preening. This is when the chickens will oil their feathers using the oil gland located on the top of the tail pad to help keep the feathers in good condition and waterproof. Parasite control, Depending on the contents of the dust box,DE dust they bathe in may be harmful to parasites commonly found on chickens. By adding these organic powders, mites or lice can be controlled or reduced naturally. Makes for content hens and this benefit is more subjective, but the ability to do this natural action for chickens must lead to healthier hens. If you ever watch hen dust bathing, they have certain contentment to them, especially if they are relaxing in the sunshine. The fact the hens will line up to use it when new deeper dust is added speaks volumes.[​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012

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