Has anyone had a problem with diatomaceous earth clinging to feathers?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by FluffyLittleChicken, May 13, 2010.

  1. FluffyLittleChicken

    FluffyLittleChicken Hatching

    May 13, 2010
    I noticed that one of my hens was preening like crazy and sure enough she had lice. So I dusted underneath her feathers with diatomaceous earth. However, dusting her didn't seem to fix her constant preening and scratching. I examined her feathers and saw what I thought was lice egg clusters all over the shafts of her feathers. At my wit's end, I brought her to the vet. The vet took one of the supposed egg clustered feathers and looked under a microscope. It turns out that although dusting her with DE fixed the lice issue, it caused an entirely new issue! DE was clinging to the shafts of nearly every feather and irritating her, causing her to scratch and pick at her feathers. The vet suggested giving her a bath with shampoo to try to break up and eliminate the DE on her feathers.

    My question: has anyone had a similar problem? In all the things I've read, no one has mentioned DE causing this problem for their chickens. Thanks for any help you can give!!

  2. trilyn

    trilyn Songster

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    No, I've never heard of this. But, it is nice to know that the DE did in fact eliminate the lice problem. To me, washing the bird after the lice are gone, that's worth it-just knowing that I can treat the lice naturally. Cool! I am sorry however, that your hen has become irritated by the DE. I hope she gets better soon!!
  3. easton coop

    easton coop Songster

    Feb 5, 2010
    Winchester UK
    sorry to hear the problem. I have ordered some DE which should come tomorrow to treat my hens. I also have never heard of DE causing problems. Could the DE or birds have been damp? this could have clumped it together! I will let you know if I get problems. You will have nice clean birds anyway!!
  4. mkeawsh

    mkeawsh Woody Hollow

    Sep 23, 2007
    Beaufort, MO
    Never had a problem with DE. Been using it for five years on the chickens and spread it all over in the chicken house. Never had a problem with lice or any other little pests and I attribute it to the DE. I also put it in their food from time to time and in my goats food as a preventative for worms or other parasites.

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