What Exactly is Diatomaceous Earth?
First off let me make it clear that I am writing about food grade DE. If it is anything other than food grade DE it can be harmful to your animals. Diatomaceous earth is an abrasive, fine white powder made of the tiny fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. It’s completely safe and non-toxic. (Info came from My Pet Chicken).
Many people I spoke with and the more I read the claims from this natural product seem to be great. Some of the benefits and uses of diatomaceous earth are:
- Controls worms, lice, and mites. This was the main reason I was interested in the product. You just add it to the feed and it is completely safe for the animals to eat.
- Pest control. I sprinkle DE all around the coop and the chicken run, as well as in their nest boxes. I have also read that you can use it in your garden as a pest control on plants even though I have not tried it. And in your house and I have not tried this either since I can’t imagine adding to the dust that is already present in my home.
- Dusting of chickens. I routinely sprinkle DE on my chickens the same as I would Sevin Dust to help in alleviating parasites.
I have been using this product for about six months now and have had no sign of bugs or parasites in the coop or on my chickens. I do continue to worm quarterly with Wazine. According to Poultrykeeper.com, “for internal parasites, the abrasive microscopically sharp edges will kill many of the worms with regular use (it must be used daily for it to be effective) although remember there are also larvae in the bloodstream that won’t be killed by diatomaceous earth. It is for this reason, I personally believe using a chemical wormer two or three times per year to make sure.”
Where to find DE?
When I first started searching for this product I thought I was going to have to order online but the shipping charges were ridiculous so I kept searching. I did find the pool grade at Walmart but this type of DE is harmful to your animals. It must be food grade.
I did eventually find it at a local feed store in Jacksonville. The same one that hosts a monthly swap so very convenient for me. I purchased a 40lb. bag and have had it for several months now so a little bit of DE goes a long way.
As summer approaches and the summer heat brings out the bugs and pests that frequent the coops and chicken feed, I am in high hopes that I have found a better and more natural product in this food grade Diatomaceous Earth than what I was using last year. Anything that I can find to help raising over 50 chickens an easier task is a great product in my opinion.