When can they have diatomaceous earth? And what about treats?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rachelwillow, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. rachelwillow

    rachelwillow Out Of The Brooder

    48
    1
    36
    Feb 19, 2013
    My girls are 3 1/2 weeks old and keep borrowing into the wood shavings, acting like they want a bath. I've heard that chickens like diatomaceous earth...can I give them a little container of it?

    When can I start giving them treats, like table scraps?
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You can start doing both now. Make sure it is food-grade DE. You can mix it with sand or dirt (also cold woodstove ashes) to make a nice dirt bath.

    They will need grit or access to gravel to digest treats/grass.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  3. rachelwillow

    rachelwillow Out Of The Brooder

    48
    1
    36
    Feb 19, 2013
    Ok great, thank you! I have a HUGE bag of food-grade DE that I bought a couple of years ago to get rid of fleas on my cat. I'm glad to finally have something to use the other 49 pounds for.

    I got them some grit yesterday so I guess I'll grab them some grass or something to nibble on. I wish it were warmer here so we could take them out in the yard for a little outing!
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Make sure your grass clippings are short for chicks, as in about 1/2 inch. For adult chickens I don't give them longer than 2-3 inches. I use scissors or tear them with my hands little by little. They LOVE grass clippings and they contain valuable vitamins.

    You don't want the grass balling up inside the crop and causing impacted crop.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  5. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,051
    72
    168
    Feb 16, 2013
    Columbia, Virginia
    How about 1 1/2 week old chicks? Is that too young to give them some cold wood stove ashes to play in? I have sand in the brooder for their grit, and they try to bathe themselves in it, but it's too thin a of a layer...I have a wood stove, and a constant supply of ashes...if it's still too soon, how old should they be for me to give them ashes for a dust bath?
     
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I would wait until after about the age of 2 weeks to give them ashes.

    Before the age of 2 weeks I have noticed that chicks will overingest grit (fill up on it) if you give them a pan of it - like they think you are giving them a new and exciting food, and ashes are about 50% calcium (this is a lot of calcium if they overingest).

    However, I raise chicks on sand now and they do fine with that. If they ingest sand it is considered a nice grit for tiny chicks. Of course you don't want them overingesting sand either, but I haven't seen a problem with raising my chicks on sand (and paper towels the first couple of days).

    http://www.humeseeds.com/ashes.htm

    Mixing the ashes in with some sand or dirt, and DE is good too (but I don't buy DE anymore...I just use ashes and sand myself).

    There are probably many opinions on this!

    Also if your chickens ingest charcoal it turns the poo black, just so you know.

    With tiny chicks I would definitely mix the ashes with something so it is not such a concentrated form of calcium, but that is just me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  7. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,051
    72
    168
    Feb 16, 2013
    Columbia, Virginia
    In regards to the DE, is it possible to put too much in there? I was thinking of doing equal parts ash, sand, and DE. I have DE, bought some but haven't opened it yet...food grade of course...I've never used it before, so I don't know if it's possible to add too much DE. Do you think an equal ratio of each will do the job? Also, how about JUST the DE? Are they too young to dust them in it, just to help treat them for anything they MIGHT have that I don't know about? TYIA.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I personally don't like plain DE without mixing it with sand, since it is terribly dusty and expensive. It is bad for the lungs if you inhale it. A face mask is recommended by many websites for humans who might inhale it. I used to sprinkle it everywhere like crazy and breathed in a ton of it. Sand also has silica dust I think...not good to breathe in the dust from that either. I buy play sand that has been washed in the hopes that it is better. Whenever the chickens emerge from even just plain dry dirt after bathing they shake off a cloud of dust/dirt. There may be some people who use straight DE...hopefully more folks will respond and chime in.

    http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/diatomaceous-earth-insect-control.htm
    gardening site info. on DE

    http://www.deq.state.or.us/er/docs/LowerBridge/DiatomaceousEarthFactSheet.pdf
    dept. of environmental quality oregon state info. on DE

    I am no expert but I hope this helps.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by