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Discussion in 'Ducks' started by katharinad, Aug 23, 2010.
I can see your concern, Katharinad. At the same time, it seems that we choose between less than ideal options. An overabundance of flies brings its own health issues. Safe handling of chemicals is key for me. I use vinegar as salad dressing, and it is antimicrobial as well. I would not want it in my eyes. Even the dust from the shavings I use in the duck house can be an irritant, and I don't toss it close to the ducks - I wait till they are outside, or if one insists on staying close by, I just skip the area where she is.
Long ago people were literally hosed down with DDT to eliminate parasites. Lovely. Chlorine is often used to disinfect, but it creates organochlorides that are, if I recall correctly, carcinogenic.
It is good for you to bring up the safety concerns of DE. Many of us use it for a number of things around home, garden and animal shelter. We need to use whatever we use mindfully.
I realize that this may be a better option then some of the other poison chemicals out there. I personally have decided a long while ago to reduce the exposure to harsh chemicals as much as possible. This has become more important now that we have our own land, well and septic tank. I have almost no harsh chemicals in the house. Not even chemical toilet bowl cleaner! I use an earth stone to clean it. I use baking soda, lime juice, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol for cleaning. Best I save so much money using them compared to the scented ammonia, color, water mixtures they sell in the stores under some brand name. I do have ammonia in the house, but have not used it in over a year. Still for some jobs you need a tiny bit of it. Don't get me wrong I'm not totally opposed to using some of the harsh stuff, there is a place for everything. What I like is the control of how much and when, and not the convenience of a spray bottle used for everything and everywhere. What I'm trying to accomplish is to reduce the exposure to those chemicals in the long run. That is the way to go, because many things have an accumulative effect in our bodies. We have a lot of flies out here too. So I clean the duck house daily and have some fly traps hanging in the yard. The flies were here before we even had animals. It gets so bad that the siding of the house is at times almost black covered with that many flies. The high elevation makes them all come out at once. I have never seen that many anywhere I lived. And I have lived all over the globe. The fly traps may stink but they work. LOL Anyway the duck house is free of flies, due to my daily clean routine. All I use is pine shavings in the duck house. I bet I would be in deep trouble, if I would use the deep litter method in my duck house. Anyway, I just wanted to point out that not everything is safe to be used and that we should use other items in moderation or with consideration of it's long term effects.
Right now the midgets are out. They build huge green columns on roads and your car is green after passing through a couple of them. They also bring the spiders out and lake shore properties are covered with spider webs, it almost looks like Halloween decor. I have to take some pictures of that. Those people power wash their properties, including houses, shrubs, and trees twice per week and never win.
After the issues Norie had with exposure to DE, I would strongly advise anybody considering using DE to make sure it is used sparingly and very carefully. Don't let anything alive (other than what youre trying to kill...) nearby when you spread it and make sure it can't easily be kicked up into the air later.
Really good information - thanks!
Wait, isn't food grade DE safe to use with chickens? That's what I've heard recommended/used several times....
The information Katharinad found states that natural diatomaceous earth contains mostly amorphous silica, which is less of a problem than crystalline silica found in the DE used for pools. This probably relates to all the emphasis I have seen on getting food grade DE for coops.
There are probably better and worse ways to use the DE around animals. For example, applying it while the birds are outside of the coop instead of while they are in it, to avoid them having to breathe the dust.
Here is a blog entry that points out that breathing the dust is not a good idea. She also indicates "one layering" of DE and pine shavings.
Quote:Okay, I guess that's what you would call what I do. Remove chickens from pen, clean pen, sprinkle DE on floor, put a layer of pine shavings on floor, put chickens back in pen
if you use DE....IT HAS TO BE FOOD GRADE!!!!
the stuff for pools will kill anything
Let's be perfectly clear that food grade does not mean safe!
Food grade DE is still a fine powder that is easily inhaled and can cause irritation to te respiratory system. Food grade just means it's a dine powder and they tried to minimize the impurities that could be harmful.
I actually ate a small amount of DE before using in the duck pen. I probably ate (and inhaled) far more than the ducks have. But like many things in life, just because it was safe for me and 5 of my ducks, that doesn't mean it's safe for Norie.