Diatomaceous Earth: All It's Cracked Up To Be?

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Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 01 December 2018

Diatomaceous earth (pronounced di-a-tom-aye-shus) - it’s touted as a miracle substance by many chicken keepers across the globe. But the exact benefits of it are often blown out of proportion, as it is seen as the ‘natural cure’ to end all ills. So, what really are the benefits of diatomaceous earth, and how should you be using it?

What is it?

diatomaceous earth is a versatile product for backyard chicken keepers

Diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized algae called diatoms-  pretty crazy stuff!

If you’re using diatomaceous earth around your chickens, or feeding it to them, it’s very, very important that you’re using FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth - otherwise you might have some very sick chicks on your hands!

There are three types of diatomaceous earth that are commonly used by poultry keepers:

  • Coarse grain

  • Superfine: great for dusting your chickens with.

  • Regular grade: Can be used for all of the above! Is the most popular and widely used.

What is it said to help with?

Diatomaceous earth is CLAIMED to have a number of wonderful health benefits for your chickens - whilst some are not scientifically proven, many poultry keepers have experienced the following benefits:

  • Clearing internal parasites such as worms

  • Strengthening the chickens cells as they absorb the silica from the diatomaceous earth

  • Protecting chickens against fleas and flies

  • Drying up the moisture from their droppings

  • Getting rid of lice and mites

  • Strengthening the chickens feathers and gives them shine

  • Gives the eggs firmer shells

What we definitely know is that diatomaceous earth contains lots of great trace minerals when fed to chickens, so it’s beneficial in that regard.

What are it’s proven health benefits?

How can I use diatomaceous earth with my chickens?

  • In their food

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is completely safe for your chickens to nibble on.

  • In their dust for bathing

Chickens dust bathe to get rid of lice and mites - so adding a little of the fine grade diatomaceous earth to the dust will give your chickens some added protection.

Diatomaceous earth can be bought online from a number of different websites - including ours!

Diatomaceous earth isn’t just limited to poultry - you can feed it to virtually all of your farmyard animals. Cows, pigs, horses and other animal friends can also enjoy the benefits!

Sources and further reading

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