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Written by Carole

Many people have told me I should be using Diatomaceous Earth (DE) as part of my routine feeding and maintenance with raising my chickens. Last fall when I bought my Dark Brahma hen from a lady in Central Florida she told me that since using DE she had no outbreaks of mites and lice.  That was enough for me to go in search of a source in my area.

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.

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26 Responses to “Diatomaceous Earth Helps to Raise Healthy Chickens”

  1. I bought a 50 lb sack when I got to Virginia. It sure helps keep the coop dried out and relatively odor free. It’s great stuff!
    .-= SimplyForties´s last blog ..Operation Nicaragua, A Plea for Help =-.

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  2. I have DE here for the garden. Will it be okay to put into my laying boxes? I haven’t fed any to the animals.
    Kelly

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    Carole Reply:

    I cover their coop floors, add it to their feed, and dust their nest boxes with it all the time. Somewhere I read 2 lbs. to 100 lbs. of feed. I have no specific measurements just use it to help ward off pests, insects, and anything else it helps with.

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  3. We have been using DE almost since I got my chickens. I heard about it through BackYardChickens…those people are GREAT! I have to order my DE online because I can’t find food grade locally – even with having an elevator almost next door! We also have 2 farm stores in town, plus another ‘local’ elevator…none of them carry it. Thankfully it does go a long way and we use it liberally on the coop floors, in the nesting boxes and mixed with their food. GREAT STUFF!!!

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  4. I have been using DE for some time now and in our hot summers here in AR it really helps w/the odor. And I have never had lice/mites/scaly leg be a problem. I even use it on the ground when it is unusually wet and soggy outside the coop; helps dry that up too. Buy it by the 50# bags at feed stores. Penny/AR

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  5. Great site,great information I thought everyone new about DE I guess not.It aids in keeping your animals and or pets safe. I would still maintain a worming routine as you mentioned. Thank you good post.
    .-= joe´s last blog ..Feb 10, Before You Loose Power =-.

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  6. It is great stuff. I have used it on my chickens, as well and would like to use it in cat and dog feed. The coop here closed last summer so I am having a problem finding it here now.
    .-= Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm´s last blog ..Making Quark =-.

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  7. This has been in the back of my mind for a couple of years. I haven’t had any pests that I know of, but I am now going to get some of this and start using it. I love that it is natural.
    .-= don´s last blog ..The Sap is Running! =-.

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  8. I just found your blog and it’s full of very helpful information. Thanks! We are in SW Alabama, so probably the same latitude as you in NE Florida. We have had a small flock for 5 years, using a chicken tractor my husband made of pvc. It’s about as attractive as a rusted-out car on cinder blocks, but it works. My husband is also an avid birder and I will soon become a birding widow for the duration of spring migration. I wonder if an interest in yard fowl and wild fowl frequently go together?

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  9. Go to: http://www.perma-guard.com

    Website has interesting info. Food grade is good for animals, gardens & people. They have different kinds so be sure to get food grade for animals and gardens and people of course!

    I use it in my stable to help reduce flies and it kills ants too.

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  10. From my experience, the 50 pound bags are the best way to go.
    .-= Billy Randford´s last blog ..Get Chicken Coup Ideas =-.

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  11. DE is such a big help for me when I was starting to raise chickens and until now I still used them. I found them through online stores and I have no choice but to pay the shipping fee nevertheless it’s worthy. I am so happy that many people have discovered DE and as far as I am concern I am satisfied with this product.
    .-= Ralph Stacy – Chicken Coop House´s last blog ..Free Chicken Coop Plans for the Ultimate Beginner =-.

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  12. I moved into a home that had a severe flee problem. Someone recommended DE and told me I could find it at the feed store. I sprinkled the lawn and my dogs, as a preventitive and lost the flees in a couple of weeks and my dogs stayed flee free. DE is great. I am glad to know I can use it with the chickens.

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  13. OK Carole, what is the name of that local feed store? I am interested:)

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    Carole Reply:

    Hey Jennifer glad you stopped in. Doctors Inlet Pet & Feed on the corner of 220 and College in Orange Park is where I picked mine up from. I also know that Bent Creek Feed Store on 103rd in Jacksonville carries it also.

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  14. OK Carole, what is the name of that local feed store? I am interested:)

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    Carole Reply:

    I purchased mine from Doctors Inlet Pet & Feed on College Ave., but there are a variety of feed stores that carry it.

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  15. I’ve read about this on a number of occasions and would really like to get some. I haven’t found a local source yet; the feed store only carries garden grade for pest control. Very cool to see the comment above about using it for flea control, as we’re battling fleas with our cats right now. Thanks for the post!

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  16. DE is the best to control worms, lice and fleas. I use in all of my cages.

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  17. I have been using DE for a few years and and have great results. CHP – you are right about the control.

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  18. A little food-grade D.E. in their feed not only helps prevent internal parasites, it also seems to deter flies from their droppings afterwards aswell.

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  19. It’s great that you mention where you have found it at. I ordered mine online and I did pay the ridiculous shipping fee for it. But, I must say it is great stuff. I am not having any problems with my chickens. I sprinkle some on them every other day I wonder if I should do it more often. Your thoughts?

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  20. I live in Seattle, raising one’s own chickens is very popular here. You could be walking down the street and look over some random backyard and there you see chickens. The value of having your own eggs out weight the cost of raising them I think. We are environmental friendly here as well this is why a product like D.E is great.

    Jerry

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  21. Glad to have found this informative post. I’m planning to have a chicken coop and raise chickens hopefully early next year, and gathering more info of what to do. Thanks.

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  22. I like very much this article, but i found

    someting more interesting here
    what is diatomaceous

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  23. Great article- i use DE on my poultry

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