Feeding Diatomaceous Earth?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SuburbanChickFarmer, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. SuburbanChickFarmer

    SuburbanChickFarmer In the Brooder

    Jul 22, 2008
    I read where feeding your flock diatomaceous earth is very beneficial not only for shell production but for keeping down the smell and fly population. Does anybody feed this to their hens? My hens are 10 weeks old, are they old enough to add this to their food? I worry about the smell because I do have my hens in a suburban backyard and I don't want to give my neighbors anything to complain about, especially since I also have two roos, which I would love to keep. I am totally legal in my community, but if neighbors start complaining about them being a nuisance, I would have problems. If anyone knows anything else that helps keep the smell down, please let me know what works for you.
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member 11 Years

    The accepted feed ratio is add DE to the tune of 2% of the feed. I dont do that anymore, but I do add some to each newly opened bag to kill any bugs that might get in. Sweet PDZ is zeolite, a natural granular product, and will absorb ammonia odors. Just keeping things dry and maintained will do that, though. They are old enough to add DE now.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I sprinkle some in the run regularly and this helps with flies and smell.
    I also put a little in each of the bags when open to get rid of them insect critters.
  4. spatcher

    spatcher Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Virginia - Southside
    PermaGuard suggests a 5% ratio for chickens if feeding it to them. Thats about an ounce per pound of feed. Hope this helps! You can also check out www.freshwaterorganics.com/what_is_de.htm for any other questions you might have.
  5. HeadHen

    HeadHen Songster

    Jul 1, 2008
    Houston, TX
    Offbeat question for you DE experts.
    I'm having problems with ants in my kids sandbox. The sandbox is big and I can't afford the cost (and labor) of replacing the sand. Someone suggested putting Ivory Snow detergent in there, but I don't think it would be good with the kids playing in it.
    So my question is, could I put food grade DE in the sandbox and get rid of the bugs without hurting my kids? [​IMG]
  6. Lea71

    Lea71 Songster

    The chick starter/grower I buy has DE already mixed in....they also put oil of oregano in it.

    I don't know about mixing it in with sand in a sandbox....I wouldn't do it.....DE has a very fine particle size and the kids would be breathing it in while they play. I would just place it around the perimeter of the sandbox....I did this around our house and the ants won't cross over it.
  7. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Best way to keep the smell down ~ clean the coop and run every day. I keep hens in the 'burbs as well, and that has made the biggest difference. It also helps keep the fly population down, which is very important to maintaining the health of your flock (and family).

    I just police up with a cat litter scoop, a whisk broom and a bucket before feeding time morning and night. Removing droppings often will also control cocci.

    I suspect the roos will be a much bigger issue than the smell in the suburbs. Maybe if you bring the neighbors plenty of eggs they will learn to enjoy the 6 a.m. crowing! Good luck! [​IMG]

    Jen in TN
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm 10 Years

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I use pine shavings in my coop and I sprinkle food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) on the shavings. Also my roosts in my coop are over wire which allows the poop through and I sprinkle the DE over the poop too. Some gets into their feed and probably their water also, but since I buy food grade DE, I also put in the areas they like to dust bathe. I don't worry and have had no problems. The pine shavings are on the floor in the rest of the coop. I clean my coop once a year. I have no problems with flies, smell, and such. My pine shavings stay nice and dry easy to clean out. I put them in my compost pile. which every once in awhile I give a toss to keep it mixed up with the other stuff that goes in. sprinkle with water and let it cook. I move my coop and chicken yard about every 3 months approx, clean up the poop under the roost and it goes into the compost. I grow so much produce that I give most of it away, and the chickens eat a lot of it too. My soil is low in acid so I think the pine shavings are good for my soil. .
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2008
  9. Sissy

    Sissy Songster

    Jul 18, 2007
    Sevier county, Tn.
    I am concerned about using DE
    in the feed i hear from different sources
    that its not good. yet some say its safe.
    have wood shavings on the floor, and just stir
    it up every other day to absorbe the droppings.
    and i have no smell so far
    or fly problem. I havent changed the
    shavings in four months.Also have a bug light out side of the coop.Is it necessary for the health of the birds to use DE?
    thanks ,

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: