Will DE harm the "good guys" in compost?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Our7Wonders, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. Our7Wonders

    Our7Wonders Out Of The Brooder

    I've been using DE sprinkled in my coop to help keep the flies down and the other little critters at bay. My question is, when I clean the coop, is the DE that's mixxed in going to be harmful to the composting good buggies and bacteria? Or if I let it compost in a future garden area is it going to effect the worms? I really want to be able to continue to use DE as I've read so many positive reports of it's use but I've been pondering it's possible down side lately. If any one has any thoughts I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Debbi
     
  2. SandyK

    SandyK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've not noticed in my compost pile, still lots of worms. By the time it hits the compost pile, I would think it would be gone.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Many people have asked this question. I am not aware of any definitive, study-based answer. However, anecdotally you will find that people who compost stuff containing DE do not generally feel like they're seeing obvious effects. Personally I would not expect much if any effect, insofar as most of what DE does, it does only in a dry environment, whereas a compost pile (and the soil you use the compost in) are at least moderately damp.

    Still, there is no definitive empirical answer yet that I know of, so it's up to you what you want to do. Certainly the less DE you use in your coop, the less likelihood of a problem with it in the compost.

    (e.t.a. -- it will never be "gone", though. DE does not break down or decompose into other substances, not meaningfully. It is silicon, ideally in amorphous rather than crystalline form. It will not transmute to another element <g> and it is really quite nonreactive. Think of it as sand. Sand does not go away, it just gets smaller and smaller, and may be diluted out by other stuff that is mixed in)

    Personally I think an awful lot of people on this forum throw around WAY too much DE for not very compellingly good reasons, sometimes to the point of respiratory hazard, more often just in a wasteful way. But, it's a free country.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  4. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Patandchickens...

    When you say that people

    "throw around WAY too much DE for not very compellingly good reasons, sometimes to the point of respiratory hazard, more often just in a wasteful way."


    do you mean that they are just using too much unnecessarily and a lot less would do just as well? or do you mean that there is no actual fact that it really does what they say it does and they are wasting their time and money?
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:I mean both things, really, depending on the particular situation (sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes both at once).

    Pat
     
  6. shesaredroan

    shesaredroan Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had the same question when I got my first bag of DE at the feed store. Mainly I was concerned about it being harmful to worms.
    NO it won't hurt your worms. DE works on bugs with exoskeletons, it makes tiny scratches on their hard exteriors as they walk through it and then their insides start leaking out.
    I feed sweet feed to my horses and started to have a REAL problem with fire ants getting into my feed barrels. DE sprinkled around the feed barrels took care of that problem. Beats the #%&* out of using some kind of poison to do the same job.
    Just don't confuse feed store DE with the stuff that is used for swimming pools......2 very different things.
     
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    "throw around WAY too much DE for not very compellingly good reasons, sometimes to the point of respiratory hazard, more often just in a wasteful way."


    do you mean that they are just using too much unnecessarily and a lot less would do just as well? or do you mean that there is no actual fact that it really does what they say it does and they are wasting their time and money?

    I'd go with both of those statements.

    As Pat said, it's basically SAND

    It kills a few bugs and soaks up some moisture, but not much more​
     
  8. chick4chix

    chick4chix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am an avid composter (ALL kitchen and garden scraps get composted- along with all the litter from the run which is straw and chicken poop)
    I use DE in the nest boxes- sprinkled under and on top of the bedding there, and under the roosts in the litter there and, on the roost. I also put it in the chicken dust bath tub (which is a rubber horse feeder) filled with wood ash, pine shavings, and DE, and some dry soil. I also put a bit in their food. My chickens are all healthy and have had no parasites, due in part to a healthy diet and environment, but also to DE.
    All of these items go into my compost and I have seen no adverse effects from it- My compost is glorious and gets TONS of worms (after it has cooled down).
    So, in answer to your question- DE has not harmed any "good guys" in my compost. [​IMG] good luck with your composting efforts
     
  9. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    My chickens are all healthy and have had no parasites, due in part to a healthy diet and environment, but also to DE.
    All of these items go into my compost and I have seen no adverse effects from it- My compost is glorious and gets TONS of worms (after it has cooled down).
    So, in answer to your question- DE has not harmed any "good guys" in my compost

    If it won't kill worms in compost, it won't kill worms in chickens

    My chickens are healthy and have had no parasites, and I've never used DE

    It's not magic dust
    It's just powdered rock​
     
  10. Big C

    Big C J &amp; C Farms

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    de does not discriminate. It is non selective as used. In compost with de to help rebuild the "naturals" we use a mixture of molasses and humates. There are few if any chemicals or naturals that differentiate good from bad. You could use Orange Oil to do the same as a spray. Will do the same, but again there is no insect discrimination.
     

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