Diatomaceous earth questions...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Funky Chooks, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Funky Chooks

    Funky Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2012
    Portland, Oregon
    Hi There,

    I was advised to buy diatomaceous earth last year and told to sprinkle it in their food and where they dust bathe for mite control(?). I know many use wood ashes instead, and I will next time but I already have a couple pounds of this stuff. Yesterday, I sprinkled about 3 handfuls into their dusting area but it occurred to me that I really don't know what I'm doing.

    How much and how often should I use this? I only have 6 birds, just as an fyi.

    Thank you to anyone who can explain to me what I should, and should not be doing. :)
  2. FarmGirl-NC

    FarmGirl-NC Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 16, 2012
    Topton, North Carolina
    Diatomaceous earth or diatoms or DE is a good product. But be sure to buy Food Grade not Pool Grade. You can get Food Grade at some larger feed suppliers. Pool Grade is coarser and sharper and can do internal damage to animals. And it may not be pure.

    You can put Pool Grade in the nests to reduce mites and lice. But Food Grade only for eating.

    I sometimes put some in the food for my chickens, ducks, goats, cats and dogs. It also has minerals in it. You don't need a lot.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Funky Chooks

    Funky Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2012
    Portland, Oregon
    Thank you so much for the info! I got it from a feed store, and told them what I needed it for, so thankfully it is the food grade as you said. Well, it's not labeled but it is so fine that it's like talcum powder. I just put a little more out, and onto some of their food. I just remembered that someone thought that it helps with flies in the summer as well? I think the gist of it is, that the flies eat their poop and dehydrate or something and it kills them? Is this correct if you know? I only had 4 hens last summer, and even though we have a large backyard, we had a fly problem. It was a bit of a surprise how bad they were.

    Thank you again for taking the time to help me!
  4. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Pool grade diatomaceous should not be used in the hen house, only in pool filters.

    The diatomaceous earth helps dessicate the poop and the larvae of the critters that hatch in it. The dessication causes the insects affected to die essentially from dehydration. The sharp edges of the diatoms' skeletons cut the shell of the insect. This process also kills many insects, fleas, roaches, that walk through the dispersed powder.

    The first year that we had chickens all year long, we had almost no insects in the vegetable garden over 100 feet away from the run where they stayed. Insects in general in the yard were few.


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