Diatomaceous earth is an organic mineral formed from sediments of fossilized algae found in water bodies like seas, oceans and lakes. The dried sediments produced from these fossils are very rich in a mineral called silica. Do you have a bag of Diatomaceous earth for chickens? I bet you do!
It is not yet very clear if you can use diatomaceous earth on your poultry but that should be a personal decision to make. This is due to the fact that high silica contents in the chickens body can lead to lung cancer. However, despite this, this mineral is still used to treat external parasites in chickens.
Diatomaceous earth can be used to treat the human skin, it can be taken by mouth because it lowers cholesterol levels in the blood and can be used to brush teeth. DE can also be used to filter water and as a filler.
Additionally, this mineral can also be used to prevent caking in cereals and to prevent lumps in food, paints, plastics and medicine. So, do you want to know if you can use Diatomaceous earth for your chickens? Go ahead and scroll to read more!
How to use diatomaceous earth on chickens
Although not everyone uses diatomaceous earth on their flock of chickens, there is no medical proof whether Diatomaceous earth is safe for use or not. For those like me who use it, caution is required as it can be toxic if used incorrectly because of the high silica content in it.
So, how can we use diatomaceous earth on chicken? Having said earlier that DE when used wrongly can be harmful, when used well diatomaceous earth can be useful too. Below are some uses of DE on chicken.
- Diatomaceous earth can be fed to chicken on small quantities because it contains other vital minerals like calcium which helps in the formation of strong eggshells.
- It can be added in small amounts to chicken sand dust baths.
- Used to control external parasites on chickens.
- It can be used to kill parasites in chicken coops.
Using diatomaceous earth in chicken feed
It is said that diatomaceous earth when given to chickens in small amounts they can lay eggs with large albumen and a big york. Use 5 grams of diatomaceous earth in every 100 grams of feed when giving it to chickens.
Giving small amounts of diatomaceous earth to your chicken will add silica to their bodies plus other trace minerals. It also helps reduce worms in chicken and boosts their appetite.
Additionally, it will help boost the levels of calcium in their bodies which helps in the formation of strong bones and eggshells.
Using diatomaceous earth in chicken coops
Diatomaceous earth is known to kill fleas and chicken lice very well. It works by removing oils and moisture from the insect’s body thus dehydrating them to death.
When applying diatomaceous earth in coops, always ensure that chickens are out since it can be harmful when inhaled.
Always wear a protective mask when applying it in your coop. Ensure the doors and windows are open to allow in fresh air.
Apply well under roosting bars and on walls as fleas easily hide there. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth while bending in such a way that it cannot fill the air and get to you.
Control those external parasites on your chicken with diatomaceous earth
Fleas and lice are very fond of chicken. They hide inside the feathers and attach themselves on the bird’s skin where they suck blood. When left uncontrolled, these parasites can cause illnesses and even death.
Use a dust powder to dust your chickens at the base of their feathers. When applying it to chickens, caution must be taken not to put it in the chickens eyes as it may cause irritations.
As a safety measure make sure you have a face mask put on.
Use diatomaceous earth in dust baths
Little amounts of diatomaceous earth will help control external parasites in chicken. Mix small amounts of diatomaceous earth in chicken sand before giving it to your birds to dust bathe.
Chickens are fond of dust and they will quickly rush to groom their feathers and this way they will get the powder in their feathers and get rid of fleas and lice.
Also sprinkle small amounts of this powder on beddings and litter to kill any hidden parasite.
Safety precaution measures when handling diatomaceous earth
Always use the food grade type with chicken
There is a certain type of diatomaceous earth powder that is calcined and heat activated. This should be only used for water filtration and in swimming pools.
This variety has crystals that have a higher silica content and may be harmful for you and the chickens.
Ensure you have covered your mouth and nose
When dusting poultry and any surface using diatomaceous earth powder, make sure you have covered your nose and mouth to avoid inhaling it. As I said earlier, diatomaceous earth can cause cancer and may be harmful to you.
Sprinkle or dust this powder when facing along the wind direction. This will prevent you from inhaling it or getting into your eyes.
Never apply diatomaceous earth when it is windy
When there is wind or any strong air movement, never apply diatomaceous powder as it may get to your eyes, nose and mouth and inhaling it can be harmful to your health.
Never apply the powder with the chickens in the coop
Let your chicken out first before applying diatomaceous earth powder in their coop. This will make sure that no powder will be inhaled by your flock.
By doing this you have a chance to apply the powder thoroughly in the coop while they get an opportunity to sun bask, forage and make new friends.
Cover the bird’s eyes when dusting them
Always be humane and consider that chicken can fall ill too by inhaling the diatomaceous earth powder. They can also get eye irritations too if it gets in their eyes.
You can cover their heads with a piece of cloth when dusting them. This will be helpful and no cases of irritation or blindness will occur.
Diatomaceous earth powder is good for chickens as long as it is used correctly and in the right proportions. This unique mineral occurs naturally and has several health benefits.
However, use only the food grade type because this is not calcined. This powder works by removing body oils and moisture from chicken parasites dehydrating them to death.