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Diatomaceous Earth for Chickens: The Complete Guide

If you’ve never used diatomaceous earth for your chickens it’s time to start! It has so many great benefits, so continue reading to learn!

Diatomaceous Earth Used for Chickens

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Diatomaceous earth is definitely essential on my farm. From the moment I started my research on diatomaceous earth and started using it, I quickly learned that it is a chicken keepers best friend!

Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth for Chickens 

After learning about each of the benefits that diatomaceous earth has for your flock, you’ll find yourself using it more and more. I know I have!

Benefit One: Kills External and Internal Parasites

It is a great natural way to kill bugs and external parasites that infest your chickens, such as mites and lice.

Studies have also been performed that say diatomaceous earth is effective in getting rid of internal parasites as well.

The study also showed that the laying hens that consumed DE were heavier and laid more eggs.

The way that the diatomaceous earth kills the bugs and parasites is by drying them out.

The sharp edges of the microscopic silicon particles are abrasive and cause the bodies of the parasites to dry out, blocking their airways, then attacking their respiratory systems… And woo they’re dead!

Benefit Two: Provides Essential Minerals

Diatomaceous earth is a perfect addition to your chicken’s feed because it is completely natural and packed with minerals.

Benefit Three: Removes Odors

Diatomaceous earth will absorb moisture and eliminate smells, so it is a super easy and effective way to control odors around the chicken coop!

It’s definitely a great product to incorporate when you’re cleaning your chicken coop!

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Chickens?

It sure is!

Diatomaceous earth is completely natural and safe for your chickens which is why I love it so much!

There are some things to be aware of though.

Since it is a fine powder, it could irritate somebody with sensitive lungs. If that’s the case for you it’s recommended to wear a dust mask while applying DE.

As far as your chicken’s health is concerned, there is nothing to worry about.

Which Type of Diatomaceous Earth Can Be Used With Chickens?

Any kind of diatomaceous earth labeled as “food grade” is safe for your chickens.

There are different grades of diatomaceous earth such as:

  • Pure Food Grade DE
  • Crawling Insect Control DE
  • Pool Grade DE
  • Other DE Blends

But the best grade of diatomaceous earth for chickens is food grade.

DON’T MISS OUT! Get your free checklist with all important chicken-keeping tasks here!

Where to Get Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

The great thing about this product is that it should be pretty easy for you to find!

It should be carried at your local feed store but if not, you can order it online.

I like this HARRIS food grade diatomaceous earth.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Your Chickens

There are so many great benefits and I use it so frequently that I keep it in a covered bin right next to my coop so that it’s handy to get to anytime I need it.

Below are some of my favorite uses!

First: Add DE to Your Chickens Dust Bath Area

It’s great to use in your chicken’s dust bath.

Chickens will naturally fluff themselves in the dirt and I’m sure that if you have chickens already, you’ve seen the holes everywhere!

Chicken's Fluffing in the Dirt

It’s pretty much impossible to keep your chickens strictly using the dust bath area. But I do have a specific dust bath area for them.

I made a chicken dust bath in an old tractor tire filled with sand, wood ash, and diatomaceous earth.

Along with the DE, wood ash is a great natural way to kill parasites. In fact, for years that is all chicken keepers have used!

Just be sure when using wood ash that it’s only fireplace ash, no briquettes or ash from treated wood.

Second: Use DE Around Your Coop and Chicken Yard

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the chicken yard and coop. Like I mentioned above, chickens like to fluff everywhere!

So to make sure that your chickens fluff in the DE, just sprinkle it everywhere the chickens fluff.

When sprinkling it in the coop, you can put it in the nesting boxes, on roosts, on the floor, and anywhere you see your chickens hanging out.

In fact, sometimes at night once all of my chickens are roosting I will go into the coop and sprinkle diatomaceous earth on all of their backs.

This way, you can be sure that your chickens have been treated for all external parasites!

Third: Use DE in Your Chicken’s Feed

The third way you can use diatomaceous earth for your chickens is by adding it to their feed.

I simply just sprinkle a few handfuls into their feed and mix it around. This way every time they eat they get a little bit.

It helps get rid of any internal parasites and acts as a natural wormer.

DON’T MISS OUT! Get your free checklist with all important chicken-keeping tasks here!

Summary of Using Diatomaceous Earth for Your Flock

Now that you know all the benefits of using DE for your chickens, make it a staple on your farm!

It’s great for:

  1. Adding to their dust bath
  2. Keeping the coop and chicken yard clean
  3. Adding to their feed

I don’t always put my heart into recommending products but DE is just truly awesome!

It is a super amazing and effective solution for so many things.

So instead of having different products for all your chicken needs, use diatomaceous earth because it’s the cure-all!

You can even use diatomaceous earth in the garden!

For more information on raising healthy happy chickens, check out my ebook The Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens! 

Pin it for later:

Diatomaceous Earth in a Pile, Ready to Use in the Chicken Coop

29 Comments

  1. Diatomaceous earth is wonderful stuff but be careful not to breath it in! I wear a mask to keep from inhaling it. It’s very bad for your lungs.

    1. Hi Sue, yes I am always very careful with it as well. It’s always better to wear a mask so you don’t have to worry 🙂

    2. It can also be hard on chickens lungs if improperly used, so don’t over due it; and when applying it in the confined space of a coop make sure all you ladies are out side until it settles. 😀

    1. You’re very welcome! I am so happy to hear when my articles are helpful! Good luck with your chickens, you’re going to love them 🙂

    1. Hi Larry, I don’t believe you have to wait for them to be around it. I don’t add any DE to the chick brooder so for that time they are not around it. Although I don’t think it would hurt them. But after 6 weeks when they have grown in their feathers I’d say it’s perfectly safe.

  2. MY HENS PREFERRED TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN THE RUN AND AVOIDED THE COOP. I SAW THE COST OF A SMALL BOTTLE OF LIQUID TO TREAT THE COOP Hmm! ON THE SHELF ONE BOTTLE WAS EMLBLAZONED WITH CAPITALS : D E. HENCE A LIGHT BULB MOMENT!

    i MIXED 50% WATER WITH DISINFECTANT , (SAY 300 MILLI-LITRES OF EACH) THEN ADD AND STIRRED IN FOOD GRADE D. E. TO FORM A THIKISH WHITE CREAM.

    i APPLIED WITH A 2 INCH PAINT BRUSH TO ALL WALLS, PERCHES AND NEST BOXES IN THE WOODEN COOP . THE COOP IS APPROX A CUBE OF 1 METRE FOR 4 HENS.

    THIS IS VERY EFFECTIVE AND CHEAP, THE MITES HAD EVEN ACCUMULATED ON THE OUTSIDE! HENS NOW OK FOR 6 MONTH+PLUS.

    1. Hi there! That sounds great! I am happy to hear you have found something so effective. Mites can be such a pain so it’s good to have a solution.

  3. Hi…I belong to a chicken group and most of the members totally disagree with using DE. They claim that is harmful to the chickens and most vets recommend not using it. Just wondering if you found any research studies that do recommend DE. I have done lots of research myself and it seems to be fine to use but I can’t find any actual written studies that I can bring to the group to show the benefits of DE.

    1. I have been using diatomaceous earth in my coop and in my chickens dust bath for seven years. Never a problem.

    2. I have been using it in the coop and the feed since my first chicken, chickadee. She is going on 8 years next month. She is still a tough cookie and laying almost every day.

    1. Hi there!

      It shouldn’t make a difference, although just be sure that it is food grade de and you’ll for sure be safe.

    2. You may have purchased DE for salt water pools. If so, it is not food grade, so I would not use it for your chickens.

  4. The only down side to using DE is that it will also kill earthworms. I use it in my coop and dust bath, but not in the garden.

  5. Great post! I know a lot of people have backed off on using DE lately but I still love it for my hens dust bath mixture! I think it does a great job and have not noticed anything negative from it. I’ll keep using it as long as it works!

    1. To be honest I don’t have an exact amount, but too much can’t hurt them 🙂 I would say maybe like 1 cup per gallon. But I usually just grab a handful of DE and sprinkle it on top of their food in the tray, but it would work nicely to pre mix it in.

  6. Thank you for this article. I purchased some, unfortunately discovered it turns into a funky sinking sand puddle in the rain ha ha! BUT, my question is this.. before I had a chance to pick up more (I was researching ways to make a covered dust bath area) I read that this is extremely hazardous to chickens. Many articles said that because it is such a super fine particulate that when the chickens roll around and fluff they also breathe it in which can be fatal!!? I read that chickens have very susceptible respiratory systems and that this causes infections and as I mentioned, can be fatal. What say you? Is it simply a matter of mixing it with sand and ash so as to “weigh down” the harmful particulates? Any advice is appreciated!

    1. Hi Jenn!

      I know exactly what you mean when it rains haha! Same thing happens to me! As far as your question goes, it is perfectly safe. I have used DE in my chickens dust bath for years and they fluff in it every day. Sometimes I will also add in ash and sand, but most of the time only DE. It definitely does not cause any infections. DE if anything, can help fix a lot of health problems that chickens can get. I wouldn’t worry about using it at all 🙂

  7. Hello! Thank you for the DE information. I hope I didn’t overlook the answer to this question, but if my dust bath is about 24″ x 24″ and 8″ deep, how much DE would you use?

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