Food Grade DE (Diatomaceous Earth) mixed with Calcium Bentonite Clay

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Papillons, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Papillons

    Papillons New Egg

    Jan 1, 2014
    Our local feed store offers 40 Lbs bags of food grade DE/Calcium Bentonite mix as a food supplement for life stock, as well as chickens.
    Anyone giving this product to their flock on a daily base by sprinkling it over their pellets, or crumbles?
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You could offer it free choice. I have not seen a mix like that. I used to feed DE (feed grade) in very small quantities in the feed in the belief that it would help to worm them, but then found out it doesn't. But it is a good dustbath additive, and that is why I have some on hand now.

    I don't know how much calcium is in the mix. If it is almost all calcium, you would be better off giving it free choice, as it will coat the feed and they will not be able to avoid overingesting it, like they do with the oyster shell. They can hunt and peck around the oyster shell if they don't want to eat it.

    Most people I believe offer oyster shell free choice as well, but I do mix it into my feed, since I am making my own layer feed basically. If you are already feeding calcium enriched layer feed (commercial layer feed) then additional calcium would NOT be a good idea unless it were offered free choice.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
  3. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Calcium bentonite is mixed with the diatomaceous earth as an absorbent. Its primary value is in preventing caking of the feed to which it is added. It appears that it is not taken up in the digestive tract, so would not figure into the chickens' intake of calcium.

    1 person likes this.
  4. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 6, 2008
    Northern California
    DE absorbs up to 4 times its weight in water and also has a very high absorption rate of oils. Because of this, it is a real concern of interfering with the hydration and absorption of oil based vitamins. Accumulation of DE can irritate the intestinal tract and cause crop blockage. It would be interesting to know how many people dealing with crop problems have been using DE in birds diets that post year after year in the Emergencies section of the forum. A bird suffering from symptoms of coccidiosis or bacterial enteritis may not fare well in recovery from further irritation in the intestines by DE either, since many intestinal problems can exist undetected for awhile. The intestines would already be in a raw and fragile state.

    Controlling external parasites or adding it for dust baths would present respiratory risks as well, since birds are even less likely to expel what they take in. That would explain respiratory distress with an otherwise healthy bird, with no treatment success. Just because something is considered "natural" does not mean it cannot be a health risk.
    1 person likes this.
  5. farmhand

    farmhand Chillin' With My Peeps

    But I thought if the label said "Organic", it was good for me? That's why I only buy organic cigarettes. [​IMG]
    2 people like this.
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    There are a lot of things in nature that are 100% organic and that are not good for you.

    Besides tobacco other of the dangerous organic things that comes to mind are the poisons: arsenic, strychnine, roanoke, permethrin, curare, ricin, about 30 species of mushrooms, and Socrates beverage of choice, hemlock. While we are on the subject don't forget A. Gore's favorite deadly organic substances, petroleum as well as soft coal, hard coal, brown coal and peat moss.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA

    I'm all for natural approaches, but there is just something about DE that doesn't make sense to me, so I have not used it. I wonder if anyone who is feeding DE to their chickens is offering it free choice? I mean, if the birds never touched the stuff, maybe they know something we don't?
  8. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    Also note that calcium bentonite can have a constipating effect if used too liberally. I can't take it for more than a day or two, using 1/4tsp a day (for me, not our chickens). But is said to be a powerful detoxifier of the lower GI tract.
  9. farmhand

    farmhand Chillin' With My Peeps

    "The solution to pollution is dilution"
    Any thing, no mater how pure will kill you given enough quantity. I use DE from time to time lightly dusted over the coop floor as a means to keep worms down.

    Just because some guy dumped the stuff all over and ended up killing his birds does not mean it's not an effective tool if used properly.
  10. chiknhurder

    chiknhurder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2014
    Cass County Missouri
    You can sprinkle food grade DE on their food or put it in their water. They also love to take dust baths in it. It's great for controlling moisture in the coop as well as insects in the coop and on birds. I'm not positive but I think I read somewhere that the DE with the clay in it becomes non-food grade for humans. Food grade DE by itself is very beneficial for both external and internal use. You don't really need the clay in it. I'm pretty sure it's added to DE more for the absorbent properties.

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