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Does DE affect composting? And do I even need it?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by babsh, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. babsh

    babsh Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    1. I am contemplating using DE, but I compost all of my litter and use it in my garden. Will the DE hurt the composters? If it will kill slugs, it will kill worms, wouldn't it?

    2. To make sure I understand- the purpose of the DE is to dry up the poop right away so it doesn't smell? It's cold here and the poop freezes right away, so I'm wondering if I even need it.


  2. BethinIrving

    BethinIrving Songster

    Nov 13, 2008
    We do not use DE and in fact won't allow the stuff on the property.

    We compost all the poop. I'm in Texas, and have found it composts very quickly here. There is no odor whatsoever.

    I put a layer of leaves about knee deep over the poop, water it all down, and then start turning it two days later.

    Rabbit poop won't compost that quickly. We simply contain it and age it so it can be used safely. It has to be aged a year.

    Good luck with your composting! You will be amazed at how good the end result really is!
  3. Andora

    Andora Songster

    Aug 26, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Why won't you allow it on your property? I've found it works great against fleas on my cats and dogs, and it stops fly problem outside in the summer around the chickens. I have also wondered if it would mess up a compost pile!
  4. hollyk

    hollyk Songster

    Nov 21, 2008
    Canton, Texas
    DE is used for the control of insects and parasites. It won't control the smell of poop- you may be thinking of lime. I have never mixed DE with a compost pile on purpose. It is not a neccesary item for composting. However, I do apply it in large amounts to the deep litter in the chicken coop and the goat stalls. I am new to chickens, but have been composting for over 5 years and using the goat poop for 2 yrs. The DE contained in the litter from the stalls has never hindered the composting process. I don't use chemical fertilizers and I have a beautiful garden.[​IMG]
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I really don't know if it's good or bad , but I use Food Grade DE. When I clean up my litter it all goes into my compost pile. When I turn my pile, I always have come nice dark soil on the bottom that I turn up. I have never had any problems with my produce. On my BYC page is some pictures of my gardens. I'll have to do some research.
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I've often wondered about DE and the worms in the soil as well, since they are very important to the health of the garden. I really don't know what to say.

    Will DE in chicken litter hurt your composting? Absolutely not. Will plants still be helped by using compost that has DE in it? You bet! Will it eventually kill off or drive away the worms in the garden that produce castings that are very good for your plants, plus do a bunch of other good things for your soil? Will it eventually cause longer term negative effects on your soil because of this? I don't know, but I think it's a valid concern. I'd like to see somebody do a study on it.

    You do not need to use DE in your coop, not even if you are doing the deep litter method. Using DE in coop litter is a very new trend and people have been managing coops successfully without it for a very long time. I'm not saying you shouldn't use it, but I am saying it's a choice, not a necessity.
  7. spatcher

    spatcher Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    Worms are impervious to DE. It will kill any other bugs though. It doesnt appear to hurt in my garden though. When the garden grows, I only put it on AFTER the bees have pollinated the plants.

  8. Gazinga

    Gazinga Chook Norris

    Yay! i love this post!

    I to have wondered about it, becasue i use the little in the compost as well.

    You mentioned sprinkling it on the garden after the bees.........i never heard of sprinkiling it directly on the garden, is this good?

    thus far, i love DE
  9. Gazinga

    Gazinga Chook Norris

    come to think of it........
    i have a new garden (never been used, planted or turned yet) going in next spring, i think i will do this study and do have with no DE exposure and half with my normal DE exposure and see what happens over the next few years.
  10. babsh

    babsh Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    Quote:Thanks for your input. I have been having a hard time getting a concrete answer and i think it is because, at this point, there isn't one.

    But now that I know I don't *need* it and i'm still not sure why people use it- I'm going to skip it all together. Although I might use it in my strawberry bed to keep out slugs. : )


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