Question about using Diatomaceous Earth

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Carolyn252, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    I've read lots of posts here about the advantages of using DE in the coop litter and sprinkled throughout the run, but I've got a question. How are the chickens going to find bugs and worms to eat in the run if the DE is there? Won't the DE kill off all that natural stuff?
  2. Mine free range and I only use the DE in the coop and nests and on the roosts, I also add DE to both layer pellets, and scratch to help prevent worms, and I have healthy chickens. marrie
  3. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    When I dust with food grade DE in our runs, I only use it to cover the freshest droppings.

    What I've done to guarantee the birds have access to bugs and worms is we lined the run "walls" with old, dead trees placed on the ground. It's a great place for the bugs to hide and the pieces are light enough that I can turn them by myself. I I also keep their waterers (in the run) up on cinder blocks. Whenever I add fresh water, I just turn the blocks over and move them to a different's like a free-for-all or a bug smorgasboard with both of the methods that I use.

    Hope this is some help!

  4. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    My understanding of DE is that it is fatal to soft bodied insects because it dessicates them, bugs with exoskeletons are not (as) susceptible. Mites, worms, slugs, aphids, etc. are soft bodied.
    Given that, my flock free ranges and I use the DE only in the coop. You'll have to get information from others as to the merits of using it in the run.
  5. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Portia's right. DE has been around forever as a "natural" insect control in the garden. BC (before chickens), I used to use it for slug control. I haven't noticed a decline in earthworms, though.... maybe because they're mostly underground? Dunno... anyways, I just use it inside the coop for odor/mite control.
  6. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    Great info, everyone. Thanks for all your replies.

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