What are the benefits of diatomaceous earth for chickens? Many benefits come with diatomaceous earth. Essential among them is the ability to keep your chickens healthy and free of pests.
When I acquired my first flock of chickens, I did not know much about taking care of them. My only concern was to provide them with the right feed, freshwater, and security. The rest came in later as I advanced my skills and acquired the proper knowledge of raising chickens. And this is where diatomaceous earth (ED) comes in. Let’s find out more about it and why it is a must-have for all chicken owners.
The use of diatomaceous earth is becoming popular among chicken keepers. This essential material for raising poultry is a game-changer when it comes to your chickens’ health. That’s why it has many uses ranging from being a powerful natural pesticide to eliminating pungent odors in the coop. Let’s look at this wonderful substance in detail in connection with raising chickens.
What’s Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is a term used to refer to the fossilized skeletons of small creatures known as diatoms. Diatoms thrive well in both sea and freshwater. They are a type of algae that comes in different forms, shapes, and sizes. But these tiny creatures are all microscopically small.
Diatomaceous earth is usually found in large deposits across different regions in the world. Each region has its own type of DE, which depends mainly on the deposit location. Regardless of this difference, the DE can either be seawater or freshwater fossilized diatoms.
It is usually mined using the open cast method. Then it is ground into different sizes for various applications. But the most common one is flour consistency.
As a fossilized alga, the DE contains a highly beneficial compound known as silica. This chemical compound is about 26 % of the total Earth crust’s weight. Meaning that it is almost everywhere.
Silica and diatomaceous earth, in general, have a wide range of benefits to the chickens’ health. And that’s precisely what we are going to discuss in detail.
What are the Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth to Your Chickens?
You must be wondering why other chicken keepers go the extra mile to look for DE. The benefits of this fossilized algae are very impressive and straightforward. Here are some of the reasons why you should start implementing diatomaceous earth into your flock’s diet and their coop?
Diatomaceous Earth Controls Pests
One of the major reasons why DE is increasingly becoming popular is its ability to control pests. The DE eliminates lice and mites in chickens. So if you suspect that your feathered friends have lice or mites, you can just sprinkle some DE in and around their coop.
The presence of this fossilized algae compound within the coop and outside will help get rid of stubborn pests. This compound simply causes lice and mites to dry out or shrivel up. Eventually, the affected pests die out after a short time of getting exposed to the DE.
Diatomaceous Earth Acts a Natural Worming Remedy
Food grade DE is safe for your birds to eat alongside their staple food. Most significantly, it helps in controlling or treating worms.
Just in the same way the DE eliminates external parasites, it will also control worms inside the chicken’s bowels and stomach. Diatomaceous earth is one of the most harmless and natural means to treat worms in chickens.
Much to your surprise, this chemical compound is not dangerous to you or your family. That explains why many chicken owners consider it a natural remedy for worms attacking their flocks.
Diatomaceous Earth Stops Bad Smell
The DE is also another remedy for bad smell in the chicken coop. If you have been experiencing a pungent smell coming from your chicken’s coop, this is the time to stop it. And the best way of doing so is by use of DE.
You can put an end to foal smell by integrating diatomaceous earth into the regular cleaning of the coop. Use of DE in your regular cleaning of the chicken house can greatly reduce those unpleasant and familiar odors.
Sprinkle a substantial amount of the diatomaceous earth in all areas of your chicken coop. Don’t forget to sprinkle the DE on the cleaning trays, nesting boxes, and bedding. A little DE around where your birds spend most of their time can always create a positive impact.
Diatomaceous Earth Can Control Ants in Your Garden
If ants are wreaking havoc in your backyard, worry no more. Diatomaceous earth is the ultimate solution for you.
Don’t let these stubborn insects invade your compound or the area around the chicken coop. This chemical compound can ward off any kind of nasty critters that are likely to plague your feathered friends.
It can also deter those stubborn ants from your backyard or garden. Never allow ants to crawl around your chickens’ coop inside the waterers and feeders when you can easily eliminate them using the DE.
Diatomaceous Earth is a Healthy Dietary Supplement
As mentioned earlier, diatomaceous earth has an array of benefits to your chickens. Besides controlling pests, worms, ants, and bad smell, this chemical compound is also a healthy dietary supplement.
However, the recommended amount of this compound varies according to the brand and variety on the market. But it should make up to 17% of your chickens’ diet for better results.
Food grade DE has always been in use, especially when it comes to agricultural feed. The main reason for including it to the animal feed is to prevent caking and invasion of unwanted worms.
As a diet supplement, the DE provides your chickens with silica and other trace minerals such as iron oxide and aluminum. These nutrients can help your chickens become heavier, lay more eggs, and improve their appetite. Eggs from layers that regularly eat diatomaceous earth have more yolk and albumen compared to those from hens that don’t.
How Do You Apply Diatomaceous Earth?
The DE is indeed a versatile material. This statement should tell you that there is no need to be extremely cautious when handling it. You may apply it by simply scattering, sprinkling, and splashing it over your garden or chicken coop.
During the application of DE, you need to be somehow cautious if you have certain underlying health complications. The DE can cause problems for those with already existing health conditions. If you think you are one of them, you must consult your physician for advice on how to handle it.
Below are some of the most effective ways of using this fantastic product:
Mix the Diatomaceous Earth in Your Chicken Feed
Perhaps it may sound counter-intuitive to have the DE mixed in your chicken feed. Surprisingly, your lovely feathered friends will find this mixture delicious and nutritious. They will undoubtedly love it.
When you feed diatomaceous earth to your birds, it will help them stay healthy and happy throughout. This is because this compound eliminates nasty parasites, both external and internal. It also contains a large number of essential minerals that help them stay healthy and active.
Sprinkle the Diatomaceous Earth Around the Chicken Coop
You can distribute the DE around your chicken coop to control pests and other destructive insects. As stated earlier, diatomaceous earth may help eliminate parasites both outside and inside your chickens’ bodies. Besides, it can eradicate parasites inside the coop.
The DE is also useful in putting an end to the bad smell inside the chicken coop. All you need to do is just to sprinkle it on the chicken bedding, inside the nesting boxes, waterers and feeders. Don’t forget to sprinkle it all over the floor. Do this along the roosts to completely get rid of unpleasant stench inside and outside the coop.
Use Diatomaceous Earth in Dust Baths
DE is an excellent choice for dust bathing. As you may know, chickens love dust bathing more than other activities when free-ranging.
Dust baths are essential structures that your chickens need to help them control pests and parasite infestations. That explains why you might have seen your birds rolling in the dirt to keep themselves clean.
To help them enjoy bathing in the dust, you can add some DE to their dust baths. A combination of this chemical compound and dust will soothe their bodies in addition to enhancing their hygiene routine.
How does the DE control pests? When diatomaceous earth gets into contact with the exoskeleton of an insect. The diatoms absorb the lipids, causing dehydration. With the exoskeleton destroyed and the insect dehydrated, there is usually no chance of survival.
Which diatomaceous earth is safe for your birds? Food-grade, freshwater D is safe for your chickens because it contains a tiny amount of crystalline silica.
Diatomaceous earth has many benefits to your chickens. The most common ones include the elimination of pests, deworming, and preventing bad odors. When added to the poultry feed, this fossilized compound can help backyard chickens acquire their nutritional needs. Most importantly, it is safe for your birds, whether inside or outside their bodies.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!