By now, if you keep chickens you have come across or at least heard about diatomaceous earth. It has many uses and benefits for the backyard flock. Diatomaceous earth was formed a very long time ago. It is made from fossilized, microscopic, hard-shelled algae called diatoms. Diatomaceous earth attacks fleas, ticks, mites, and digestive tract worms by slicing into the outer shell or layer of their bodies. This process, called desiccation, leads to dehydration causing most of the pests to die in a matter of hours. Diatomaceous earth works best in dry settings. When wet, it’s effectiveness is questionable. When you are using diatomaceous earth with your chickens be sure that it is food grade diatomaceous earth only (FGDE). This is critical as diatomaceous earth is used in other situations and not all diatomaceous earth on the market is food grade.
|Photo Credit: furtwangl|
Why Should It Be Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (FGDE)?
- You can add FGDE to their chicken feed.
- They are exposed to the FGDE in their day to day living.
- What they eat is passed on into the eggs that we consume.
- Products used in and around the coop should always keep safety in mind.
|Photo Credit: waitscm|
Try adding FGDE to your flock’s food supply
- Add a volume of 2% to the feed amount.
- Adding this to the feed supplies the flock with trace minerals boosting their nutrition.
- Some use FGDE on a daily basis as a worming preventative/treatment mixed in their feed.
- It is safe to use in your garden to combat slugs, snails and so forth for free-ranging flocks.
- Adding FGDE to the food supply keeps bugs from living in the feed.
- Clean the nesting boxes.
- Sprinkle the dry cleaned out boxes with FGDE.
- Add fresh clean bedding on top.
- Rub the FGDE along the roosts and into the nooks and crannies.
- You can also sprinkle it on the coop floor and blast it into small crevices with a Pest Pistol.
- This helps to keep mites and lice from dining on your flock during egg laying, broodiness and sleeping.
- This lets the chickens dust themselves with the FGDE in addition to their regular dust baths.
- This acts as a natural booster to the benefits of regular dust bathing.
- Wear a mask when using FGDE.
- Let the cloud of FGDE dissipate prior to working in that area.
- Ventilate the coop well when applying and using FGDE.
- Most chickens live out their natural lives prior to developing Silicosis.
- Avoid using FGDE if you have a pre-existing lung condition.
- On an aside note, Silicosis can also be caused from the use of sand (silica dust) in the coop and run. So please take the above precautions for yourself when you are working with sand as well.
|Photo Credit: randomlife|
Disclosure: I purchased a Pest Pistol from Treat for Chickens almost 4 years ago, prior to them becoming my sponsor. It is one of my all time favorite products that I highly recommend. These opinions are all my own and in no way have I been compensated or asked to mention any of their products in my posts. All photos in this post were used under Creative Commons License.