Who uses DE(diatomaceous earth)

What do you use in your coop

  • SAND

    Votes: 5 13.9%
  • HAY

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • STRAW

    Votes: 10 27.8%
  • NOTHING

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • GRAVEL

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • OTHER(if you choose other please comment what you use)

    Votes: 17 47.2%

  • Total voters
    36

Stephanie8806

Chirping
Feb 18, 2019
217
234
91
Central Washington State
I’ve never used it for red mites, but I’ve had some success using it against fleas, flea beetles(garden), and aphids. Perhaps my flock has not had mites because I use it? Maybe I’ve just been lucky this far? Who knows...

The problem is, as I understand it, it doesn’t work well for pest control once wet... any time we got rain I would reapply any outdoor applications... so I wouldn’t think it would work as a dewormer.

I’d be curious about how much would need to be inhaled to cause the lung damage that some people state, or if that’s just speculative... you would have to inhale with a lot of force for a substantial amount of particles to make it to your lungs, not getting stuck and saturated in respiratory tracts... coming out through mucous membrane function(sneezes, snot, etc).

FOOD GRADE is certainly essential.... seems like most people know that, but for those who don’t...
 

JaeG

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Sep 29, 2014
7,070
19,505
871
New Zealand
I’ve never used it for red mites, but I’ve had some success using it against fleas, flea beetles(garden), and aphids. Perhaps my flock has not had mites because I use it? Maybe I’ve just been lucky this far? Who knows...

The problem is, as I understand it, it doesn’t work well for pest control once wet... any time we got rain I would reapply any outdoor applications... so I wouldn’t think it would work as a dewormer.

I’d be curious about how much would need to be inhaled to cause the lung damage that some people state, or if that’s just speculative... you would have to inhale with a lot of force for a substantial amount of particles to make it to your lungs, not getting stuck and saturated in respiratory tracts... coming out through mucous membrane function(sneezes, snot, etc).

FOOD GRADE is certainly essential.... seems like most people know that, but for those who don’t...
Food grade DE is for the most part amorphous silica and contains only a very small, trace amount of crystalline silica. It's the crystalline form that is the most dangerous. Inhaling anything over a long period of time isn't good for your lungs and people can even become sick from frequent exposure to the dander and droppings from birds (Bird Fanciers Lung or Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis). The truth is no one knows the longterm risks associated with it so it's just something to keep in mind. In livestock feed it cannot exceed 2% of the total diet as it is used as an anti-caking agent and pelleting agent, but there are no guidelines as to the environmental dosage (and it is not officially approved for this use) because the risks are unknown.

Mites are brought in by wild birds or rats. So if those animals do not have access to your coop then you shouldn't be bothered by them. I had chickens for years before suddenly having an outbreak due to rats chewing through a large piece of wood to access our run and coop. We have moved and now our chickens can free range, but we were visited by some rats recently (that have now been dispatched) but I am again battling the horrid critters, and in my country there is so little available to kill them. I can't even get permethrin concentrate - all the formulas here have other things added.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
13,977
18,929
782
California's Redwood Coast
I’ve never used it and I’ve never needed it 🤷🏼‍♀️no mites or parasites. I just keep things clean I suppose. Or I’ve gotten lucky. Or both? I use pine bark chips as run bedding.
No amount of cleanliness will keep parasites away IF they are an issue in YOUR location. Could be a combination of many factors :)

Though lots of things do have impact.. including your bedding type. Large chunk bark SEEMS to be good choice for aeration and drainage. :thumbsup

Human lice in fact prefer a nice clean head over a dirty greasy one. The nits don't stick well to greasy hair is one reason.

Yes cleanliness/husbandry DOES matter plenty though, I didn't mean to indicate otherwise.. especially when stock density is high. Many viruses can be shed in dander. Many parasitic worms and protozoa (microscopic eggs) like coccidia can be shed in droppings. Also if ammonia levels get elevated, respiratory systems get irritated.. effecting overall immune system and well being of the bird.. a fowl weakened by poor husbandry would be more susceptible to all things

Also come to find out.. humidity is key to certain life forms.. fleas for example thrive in more humid conditions... as do mites as far as I can tell from research. So dry hot summers would diminish populations. Which leads to temperature also being key to what is faced in different locations following links give more accurate descriptions and say Northern Fowl Mite thrive in conditions above 50% humidity and below 85 degrees.. Welcome to the Pacific Northwest (my location).. where it's hard to recall a time that conditions are not sounding favorable! That still doesn't have to mean out of control or constant infestation.. 100% our behaviors matter.. like don't roll out the welcome mat by hanging wild bird feeders. Use rodent resistant feeders and traps, etc to abate those free loading parasite vectors.

https://www.veterinaryentomology.or...bird, adult mites,and in young chicken flocks.

https://indianapublicmedia.org/eartheats/bugs-winter-protecting-chickens-lice-mites.php

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25275303/

https://parasitipedia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2540&Itemid=2816

Bringing this back to DE.. my links posted above show the temperature and humidity ranges where most parasites thrive.. DE *may* be helpful under the right conditions. Due to it's inefficacy at my current location and the long term implications of strip mining and atmospheric dust type conditions.. I have yet to find a good use for or reason to purchase DE and find there are better choices available for both parasite control and coop bedding.

I do have and have used PDZ.. I would use just PDZ before I would use just DE as a coop bedding.. I'm not sure if that's strip mined also or what other implications PDZ may have.. but I haven't heard or read YET about micro shards cutting into exoskeletons.. So it SEEMS like it *might* be less harmful to the birds.. as coop bedding.. never heard of it added to dirt baths, but it does dry stuff out and absorb ammonia making it work at least in the aspect of helping reduce fly populations from feces.

I haven't figured out lime or looked into it thus far.

As an avid over thinker, I hold myself to the hot seat as well.. I said the dust and harvesting be one reason I dislike DE.. but now realize.. everything I use has some form of harvesting and dust.. regarding what we use for coop bedding.. the original question.. I guess it really is about deciding what the lesser of the evils is for YOU. Going a little deeper in thought though.. I also compost my bedding in addition to most items like shavings, straw/hay, rice hulls, etc are actually produced kinda close to me, so also not transported that far and so on. I guess DE is compost-able, and it's micro shards may have no impact on micro organisms but I wonder about the other insect and worm life? :pop
I mainly use the lime and DE to try to control flies and mosquitoes!
Mosquitoes are a prime vector for things like fowl pox and worse! Not just a nuisance their bites are so itchy, they can literally raise one's blood pressure. I use permethrin (horse fly spray) affordably, effectively, and safely.. originally to keep mosquitoes off my goats but discovered it's usefulness against most external chicken parasite attacks/infestations and no egg withdrawal required. Not safe on cats. Can you please share how it helps or how you use it against mosquitoes specifically. I already have lots of things I do to try and keep populations down. Though I don't anticipate changing my mind.. I still enjoy learning the ins and out of how things are working. Plus someone else might benefit from the information. :)

I don't think there are any perfect answers. But the more we share, the more we know, the more we are empowered to make our own choice! :highfive:

@TimberLine Homestead, Apologies if my input wasn't quite what you were looking for. :oops: When I was in junior high, many years ago.. my family lived in the Timberline apartments. I've always liked that word, Timberline. I think it brings cozy and happy thoughts. I love the redwoods and a lot of timber has come out of the pacific northwest.. but it's quite amazing to see the trees, timber, and timberline in other regions. I hope you're still enjoying your thread! :cool:
 

Stephanie8806

Chirping
Feb 18, 2019
217
234
91
Central Washington State
Food grade DE is for the most part amorphous silica and contains only a very small, trace amount of crystalline silica. It's the crystalline form that is the most dangerous. Inhaling anything over a long period of time isn't good for your lungs and people can even become sick from frequent exposure to the dander and droppings from birds (Bird Fanciers Lung or Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis). The truth is no one knows the longterm risks associated with it so it's just something to keep in mind. In livestock feed it cannot exceed 2% of the total diet as it is used as an anti-caking agent and pelleting agent, but there are no guidelines as to the environmental dosage (and it is not officially approved for this use) because the risks are unknown.

Mites are brought in by wild birds or rats. So if those animals do not have access to your coop then you shouldn't be bothered by them. I had chickens for years before suddenly having an outbreak due to rats chewing through a large piece of wood to access our run and coop. We have moved and now our chickens can free range, but we were visited by some rats recently (that have now been dispatched) but I am again battling the horrid critters, and in my country there is so little available to kill them. I can't even get permethrin concentrate - all the formulas here have other things added.
All great information! As I raise dual purpose birds, for meat and eggs, I don’t have any that I keep for more than two years, so I haven’t found that they develop negative symptoms from it yet. But I could see the risk of cumulative damage being present in longer living birds
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
90,115
111,843
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
Confusing Title vs Poll.
DE is good for nothing other than killing grain mite infested feed
(happens frequently in summer here).
It will not prevent internal or external poultry parasites.
If your birds get infested with lice/mites, get some permethrin dust or spray.

Check them regularly and real well for mites and/or lice.
-Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.
-Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.

-Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.
-Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).

Good post about mite ID by Lady McCamley:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/my-chicken-has-mites-now-what.1273674/page-2#post-20483008



What kind of bedding you use may depend on how you manage the manure.
This is about cleaning, but covers my big picture
-I use poop boards under roosts with thin(<1/2") layer of sand/PDZ mix, sifted daily(takes 5-10mins) into bucket going to friends compost.
-Scrape big or wet poops off roost and ramps as needed.
-Pine shavings on coop floor, add some occasionally, totally changed out once or twice a year, old shavings added to run.
- My runs have semi-deep litter(cold composting), never clean anything out, just add smaller dry materials on occasion, add larger wood chippings as needed.
Aged ramial wood chippings are best IMO.
-Nests are bedded with straw, add some occasionally, change out if needed(broken egg).
There is no odor, unless a fresh cecal has been dropped and when I open the bucket to add more poop.

That's how I keep it 'clean', have not found any reason to clean 'deeper' in 7 years.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom