How much DE should I use in a dust bath?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by FlockOForbes, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. FlockOForbes

    FlockOForbes Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 19, 2012
    Smithfield, VA
    I have 5 17 week olds and I would like to make a dust bath for them but I am concerned about the amount of DE to use in it. Everywhere that I have read they say "sprinkle" the DE but I would like to know exactly how much to use so I don't put too much and hurt my girls. Can someone define a "sprinkle"; ie: teaspoon, tablespoon, 1/3 cup? I will be making the dust bath in a normal size cat littler box. Any help will be appreciated! Thanks!
  2. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

    Mar 20, 2012
    Even though DE s commonly used in dust baths, studies have shown that it causes respiratory problems. I would advise against using it, however many people swear by it. There are other safer and more effective ways to rid chickens of lice and mites.
    Good luck!
  3. FlockOForbes

    FlockOForbes Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 19, 2012
    Smithfield, VA
    What are the other ways? We don't have mites or lice but I also want to take preventative measures so my girls don't get them. I've read about the respiratory issues with DE that is why I wanted to know how much to use to make sure I wont hurt the ladies :) I'm open to any way to prevent lice and mites other than DE [​IMG]
  4. Mikedero

    Mikedero Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2012
    Watertown CT
    Actually there is no proven facts that DE gets rid of lice or mites. From the seminar I went to last Saturday they stated that in fact it is a waste of time and money.

    i use it in the coop to help keep it dry but now I use sweet PDZ instead it is cheaper
  5. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Any dust can cause respiratory problems. Sounds like a red herring to me.

    The statement that DE is of no benefit seems to me not to be based upon reality. Empirically, I use it in my shop to control spiders. A light dusting around the baseboards twice a year keeps the spiders under control - no cobwebs. Before that, I had cob webs all over the ceiling - wall junction all the time.

    Everyone has something to sell. You have to consider the interests of those making such statements. DE is no magic bullet, but nothing seems to be so. I like it because you get some insect control and drying without using poisons.

    Never give up thinking for yourself.

  6. Mikedero

    Mikedero Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2012
    Watertown CT
    I must disagree that there is facts that DE does not control mites or lice. It is a wives tale that it does.

    In order to prevent infestations of lice and mites, the coop should be cleaned regularly with particular attention paid to disposing of loose feathers that can harbor hatching eggs (nits).

    Limit visits from fellow poultry-keepers who can transport the beasts on their clothes, footwear or equipment, (vehicles, shared farm equipment, etc.).

    Keep poultry feed in a secure location so as not to attract wild birds, which can carry parasites and diseases.

    Always quarantine new birds for at least 14 days before introducing them to an existing flock to watch for parasites.

    Provide adequate dusting areas for chickens to care for their own skin and feathers naturally. A dust bath is the chicken equivalent of a daily dirt shower. It helps them maintain their skin and feathers and controls parasites. Some claim that adding food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) to the dust bathing area combats external parasites. According to Gail Damerow in The Chicken Encyclopedia, adding diatomaceous earth, wood ashes or lime-and-sulfur garden powder to their dust bath is hazardous to their respiratory health and should be avoided unless they are "seriously infested" with parasites. Even in that case, she writes, "the benefit may outweigh the danger of TEMPORARILY adding such materials." (p. 93 emphasis added)

    I do not add diatomaceous earth to my chickens’ dust-bath areas due to their highly sensitive respiratory systems. I feel that good sanitation practices, frequent flock inspections and providing ample dusting areas are sufficient preventative measures for my flock.
    Upon identification of lice or mites in any flock member, treatment should begin immediately. There are many different products employed to eradicate mites and lice with varying degrees of effectiveness, among them are: Poultry Protector, Pyrethrum, dog flea dips, flea shampoos, Poultry Protector, diatomaceous earth, Sevin Dust 5% (carbaryl powder) and ivermectin. When lice or mites are detected on one bird, the entire flock should be treated. Treating birds after dark when they have gone to roost is the easiest way to treat the entire flock.
    I use Sevin Dust 5% to treat my chickens. While wearing a mask and with the help of another person to hold the bird, I dust underneath the wings and vent area of each bird sparingly but thoroughly. I also clean and treat the entire coop with particular attention paid to nests and roosts.

    Same hen as above, after treatment for Northern poultry mites.​
    Treatment must be repeated twice after the initial application in 7 day increments, in order to kill the eggs (nits) that had not hatched at the time of the previous treatments.
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    There are a lot of varying opinions on DE. I use it in my coop and chicken feed and I add it to my dog's food too. I put maybe a 1/4 C in a 2X4' area they really like to dust bathe in. I sprinkle it over the ground and then mix it in a bit.

    Here is a link to a university study that was looking at internal parasite load and the use of DE in chickens. They also dusted one group of hens with DE and found that it reduced the number of mites present on the birds.

    So, I would say that there is some empirical evidence that DE controls mites. I don't know how widely studied it is.

    There were other university studies I found (I didn't save the links) that looked at the respiratory effects of DE. They used rats, guinea pigs and mice and exposed them to DE and had the animals breathing in the DE for an hour a day for a few weeks. They found higher levels of lung cancer in these animals. But, my birds don't breathe in the DE continuously for an hour at a time so I'm not concerned.
  8. BGMatt

    BGMatt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Battle Ground, WA
    DE really shouldn't be inhaled. It can control mites and lice though. I'd recommend applying it directly to the problem areas rather than letting the birds stir it up and inhale it.

    I'd be curious if a natural flea repellent like Doc Ackerman's would help with mites or lice? Surely there must be more non chemical options.
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    If you put an equal amount of chicken mites in a jar of DE and the same amount of chicken mites and marbles in a second jar then shake both jars equally hard and long, the marbles would kill more mites than DE dirt.

    There is much enviromental damage caused by a product like DE that has to be strip mined and then all the mud and clay seperated and washed out of it in our rivers, lakes, and streams before it can be bagged and sold, then only used one time and is lost back to the earth never to be reclaimed or used again. [​IMG]
  10. brahmapapa

    brahmapapa Chillin' With My Peeps

    I recently read an article on ridding ones yard of ticks using a garlic spray, they also recommended feeding it to animals and they did mention chickens and the fact that it helps rid them of other paracites as well. supposedly it helps keep all insacts off them.

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