Diatomaceous Earth (DE)- Food-grade fossils for your chickens: What’s the rub about it?

If you’re considering a chicken coop to begin raising your own backyard chickens, it could seem like the web is saturated with what you should and shouldn’t do, One of the most clucked-about themes for debate is Diatomaceous Earth.

Diatomaceous Earth, or DE for short, is a mixture of fossilized microscopic hard-shelled algae called diatoms known to farmers for decades. A very fine powder which comes bagged, DE can prevent and cure many chicken ailments.

But how should you use it?

In Chicken Feed:

First of all, if you decide to implement DE, you MUST use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (FGDE). This quality DE ensures safety for your chickens, and for you. Industrial Grade DE is for other purposes, and will injure or kill poultry.

Once you purchase FGDE, however, you have little to worry about. FGDE is best mixed in with chicken feed to work as an anti-caking agent and flow aid. This means that your chicken grain and feed will have a much harder time clumping together and going to waste. Moreover, many claim FGDE is a successful poultry deworming agent. Most FGDE should be mixed in with chicken feed at a rate of 2% of the animal’s daily diet. (Did you know free-range backyard chicken eggs have way more vitamins and minerals than regular store-bought eggs?

As a Natural Pesticide:

FGDE’s coarse qualities also attack fleas, ticks, mites, and digestive tract worms by slicing into their exoskeletons. A process known as desiccation, this gradual destruction of the outer shell leads to dehydration, causing most pests to die in just hours.

In the Chicken Coop:

FGDE reduces moisture and foul odors. Spread a bit around the perimeter of your coop, being sure to hit areas where your chickens most often poop or where insects are prone to nest.

FGDE may seem esoteric at first, but in the chicken raising community, it’s a common material. For more information, please do not be hesitant to give us a call at 717-205-2660

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