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Question regarded food grade DE safety and mites on chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Jody, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. Jody

    Jody Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Epping, NH
    I found some food grade DE locally and bought 50lbs of it to use for dusting the birds, coop, etc.

    My chickens often are seen pecking themselves under their feathers, wings, etc so I assumed they had mites. So, I dusted the coop floor and the bedding as well as the nesting boxes. I then dusted the run and each bird.

    Well, today when I opened the door to let them out, it was dusty in there from the chickens scratching the bedding, etc..

    What are the problems if any with breathing food grade DE dust? Not only did the birds breath in this dust, so did I and my daughter.

    I decided to sweep out all the bedding and clean it all out so it's not dusty in there and replaced all the shavings and straw. While doing so, I was exposed to airborne DE dust.

    About the food grade DE, I thought it would kill mites/lice, etc but someone says no, that I need poultry dust or sevin, etc..

    So, today I grabbed some poultry dust and I tried to get each bird dusted best I could, but doubt it was a good job. How often should I dust them with this to get rid of the mites? Does DE kill lice/mites, etc or just prevent them?
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009

  2. lovemyjerseys

    lovemyjerseys Hatching

    Nov 14, 2009
    I dust my chickens with the DE and put it in there food 1LB per 50LB bag of feed.It does work it takes awhile but it does work.it is recommended to feed this product to you chickens for a minimum of 90days to effectively eliminate worm and parasites.As for putting on the floor I do that but I don't use alot of it.I do put it in the nesting boxes and outside.I have breathed it in and it didn't bother me.
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    .it is recommended to feed this product to you chickens for a minimum of 90days to effectively eliminate worm and parasites

    It's never been proven to have any effect on internal parasites at all

    It will kill lice and mites, and breathing the dust can be harmful​
  4. We use DE in the chicken barn all the time. So far no ill effects for us or the chickens.

    DE is a preventative, I would worm them and sevin dust them if you are having problems.

    I have never put DE in any animals food source, but many state they do with no problems.

    I think it is pretty harmless, even if you inhale it.
  5. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    It is NOT harmless. It can cause symptoms similar to silicosis of the lungs (such as that suffered by workers where silica sand is used to make glass, etc) Even tho it is microscopic in size, the edges are razor sharp and can cause tiny cuts in the bronchial tubes as the lungs try to expel it. Wear a dust mask or bandanna when using it. It will keep bugs, mites down, but if you get an infestation, you will likely have to use Sevin dust, 10% strength.

    One way to dust chooks is to put the sevin in a small garbage bag. Catch a chook and place it in the bag, leaving it's head sticking out. Close the bag around it's neck with your hand and have someone else poof and shake the bag to get the dust all up and around the bird's body. Whatever is left over when all chooks are dusted can be put safely back in the package for later use. Any mites that get into it are very shortly dead. [​IMG] Another way is to add to dust bath area, but be aware that rain will wash it away or down into the dirt. DE can be added to dust bath for control so that mites, etc do not get to where they are an infestation. Needs to be food grade. I found out hard way by using swimming pool filter grade DE. I had no casualties, but it scared hell out of me when I found out the difference! [​IMG]
  6. Quote:I am getting a mental image here. Great idea though with the bag and the head sticking out.

    I started checking the chooks for "head lice". Apparently, many on here are stating that the lice will stay in the head area and you can miss their infestation until it is chronic.

    Many things on here that are so informative. I too put DE in the Dust Bath area that the chicken love. It is in the barn so I do not have to worry about the weather.
  7. hometownhorselady

    hometownhorselady Hatching

    Nov 10, 2009
    We just went through this with our chickens. Tried the DE dusting under the bedding in the coop and nest boxes and on the chickens. We also dusted the coop and boxes with the poultry dust the first time. What we found is it did nothing for the mites. So, we dusted the birds again, this time with poultry dust (because that is what we had) it has permethrine as the insecticide. That was Sunday and we can now collect eggs with no mites on them and go in the coop w/o that feeling of something crawling on us. My husband was getting mite bites all over. Our chickens did not look sick, egg production was not down, and when we dusted them there was hardly any redness or noticable spots but the mites were there and now they are not. We wanted to try the natural product first but after a week with no result we didn't want to go any longer for our chickens health.
    My recommendation is to always wear some type of mask (why take chances on questioning whether the DE or whatever you use is something to breath directly into your lungs) and use two people. Have one person hold the bird and one person dust. Watch their eyes and have a nice natural dusting area with some DE close by so your chickens can finish the dust job their own way. I can't imagine putting the bird in a bag and shaking. Seems like you would really have to shake to get the stuff down to their skin. JMO.
    We used the advice of the wonderful chicken owner's on this board and at this time our birds seem to be mite free. Thanks to all.
    Good luck.

  8. magentamomma

    magentamomma Songster

    Oct 26, 2009
    We have mites but iam hestitant to use poisons like sevin on my flock, particularly my babies. is there a problem using it on the babies?
  9. BoltonChicken

    BoltonChicken Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    Bolton, Mississippi
    Lots of good post on this forum about using DE.

    Here is a sample that answers most of the questions that newbies have about DE:

    DE is completely safe to use generously around the chickens. The only caveat is primarily for you. If you have asthma or COPD, be careful about breathing in the dust and perhaps wear a dust mask because the dry DE powder can make a cloud of silica dust that is not the best for breathing in, just like lime dust or cement dust.

    Hopefully, you got USDA Food Grade DE. If not, then STOP! ONLY use FOOD GRADE DE. The variety used by pool supply companies for usage in pool filters contains some other chemicals and will poison your chickens.

    So, if you have food grade DE, it is used both internally and externally to rid the birds for parasites. Mixing 5% DE into their food regularly keeps the birds free of all intestinal parasites and worms and also provides hen with an excellent source of calcium for strong egg shells.

    Rubbing it well into their feathers down to the skin kills all external parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites. The birds love to dust bathe in it. Make a dust box with DE and Play Sand mixed 50/50.

    Dusting all of the nest boxes keep them free from fleas and mites and encourage hens to lay there rather than driving them off the nests because of the pests that love the bedding.

    Sprinkling / dusting the rest of the coop and runs kill the parasitic pests and other like fire ants and slugs, but also kills fly maggots, and acts as a deodorizer, reducing chicken poo smells dramatically and reducing fly activity substantially. It also acts as a moisture absorbent to help keep things dry.

    The bottom line is to use the FOOD GRADE DE almost everywhere since it is great for chickens both internally and externally. The great thing about it is that it contains no chemicals at all, only the silica shells of fossilized diatom algae.
  10. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    This thread is VERY OLD. However, I will answer some of the points made in this last post.
    Quote:Silica is a chemical (SiO2); naturally occurring, yes, but it is still a chemical.

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